It’s time of the week for me to reach into my mailbag. Some good correspondence this week, as my Big Ten stadium rankings seemed to rankle many people and drive a few debates.
I continue my look at each week of the Big Ten 2013 schedule, and I move on and examine Week 10 today. My game of the week? It has to be Michigan at Michigan State. Michigan State needs no motivation vs. Michigan. Before losing, 12-10, last year in Ann Arbor, Michigan State had won four in a row in this oh-so-heated rivalry. So, the Spartans know they can beat the Wolverines. Reasserting its power in this series is critical for Michigan State in its quest for a successful season. But Michigan wants to begin a run of dominance of its own.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Big doings yesterday in State College, Pa., Penn State coach Bill O’Brien got his deal re-worked. And, I think he’s worth every penny of his revised deal. Yes, it’s good to be O’Brien, who received a $1,000,000 raise, which pumps up his total compensation to $3.28 mil per year. No need for him to hesitate when asked if he wants extra meat on his Subway sandwiches. Ya, O’Brien can afford it.
I’m continuing my early week-by-week look at the 2013 Big Ten schedule, and it’s all about Week 9 today. This week features only four games, highlighted by Penn State’s trip to Ohio State. Get all my Week 9 storylines, top matchups and game rankings in this post.
Wisconsin has its fingerprint all over the Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year award. Not only is the award named after two Badgers, former Wisconsin standout Montee Ball is its lone recipient, taking home the honors in both 2011 and 2012. Will another Wisconsin back win it in 2013? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their picks in this post.
Next up in my super-early week-by-week preview of the 2013 Big Ten football schedule: Week 8. This is a week light on marquee matchups, with predicted Big Ten title contenders Michigan and Ohio State taking on Indiana and Iowa, respectively, and Nebraska and Penn State on byes. Get all the storylines, matchups and my game rankings for Week 8 in this post.
Now comes the tough part for Ohio State: The encore to a 12-0 debut under Urban Meyer. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman knows his attack must continue to evolve if the Buckeyes are going to follow up last year’s wild success and fulfill grand expectations for 2013 that have some predicting OSU to go to the BCS title game.
Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
In its short two-year existence, the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year has been very kind to its recipients. The inaugural winner, Russell Wilson, went on to have an All-Pro NFL rookie season, and last year’s winner, Braxton Miller, is a preseason Heisman Trophy favorite. Not bad, huh?
Perhaps the most intriguing quarterback battle in the Big Ten will take place in State College, Pa. But the great David Jones of PennLive.com says Penn State fans shouldn’t expect massively hyped incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg or junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson to be the equal of Matt McGloin this fall.
Schedule strength will become more vital beginning in 2014, when the four-team playoff is started. Why? Because a major component of the playoff team selection process figures to be schedule strength.
The 2013 football season may still be two-plus months away, but that won’t keep me from taking an (early) in-depth look at each and every week’s top matchups and storylines. Oh, and I’m also offering my rankings of every week’s slate of games. Up now: Week 7, highlighted by Northwestern’s trip to Wisconsin.
Here’s what we know: There will be no repeat winner for the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year. Last year’s winner, John Simon, is in the NFL, leaving a pool of worthy candidates to fight for the award now in its third year. Who’s the top candidate entering the season? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina discuss it in this post.
David Banks-US PRESSWIRE
Braxton Miller is kind of good. We all saw what he did a season ago in his first year under Urban Meyer, and it all resulted in the 2012 Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year. Back under center as a junior, Miller is the favorite to repeat in 2013. Will he do it? Who are his biggest competitors? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina discuss it in this post.
Another day, another opportunity to take an in-depth look at the 2013 football season. Today, it’s all about Week 6 in my early week-by-week series. The first week of full Big Ten play, the slate offers some intriguing battles, including Northwestern hosting Big Ten favorite Ohio State. Get all the storylines, matchups and my game rankings for Week 6 in this post.
Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
It’s the time of week when I reach into my mailbag. Even with the offseason in full swing, there are some good questions this week. Thanks a lot! Let’s get started.
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
Tackles are an inexact science, to be sure. Teams award them differently, so it’s not always as simple as comparing Player A from School A to Player B from School B. Whatever the case, the Big Ten returns several of its top tacklers, including 2012 leader Anthony Hitchens. Who will lead the Big Ten in tackles this fall? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their picks in this post.
If Big Ten football fans have a wedding to attend this fall, they probably hope it lands on Week 5 – aka Saturday, Sept. 28. Unless, maybe, you’re an Ohio State or Wisconsin fan. The Badgers trip to the Buckeyes highlights an abbreviated four-game slate, half of which includes nonconference games (Northern Illinois at Purdue; Miami (OH) at Illinois). Get all the storylines, matchups and my rankings of Week 5 games in this post.
Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
The Big Ten is moving away from games vs. FCS foes. That’s something we all can stand and cheer about! But, many “tomato cans” remain on the schedule in 2013. In fact, a few made this list of the “15 most shameful games matchups of 2013.”
Last year was hardly the season of the sack. For the first time in at least a decade, no Big Ten player recorded double-digit sacks. Nine was good enough for the 2012 lead, shared between Northwestern’s Tyler Scott and Ohio State’s John Simon. Who will lead the Big Ten in sacks in 2013? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their picks in this post.
I’m continuing my early week-by-week look at the 2013 Big Ten schedule, and it’s all about Week 4 today. Being the final week before Big Ten play kicks off across the conference, the slate leaves some to be desired. That said, there are a few intriguing games, including an early Big Ten draw (Purdue at Wisconsin). Get all the storylines, matchups and my rankings of the week’s games in this post.