Earlier this week I helped take a look at who might land in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship game. Well, the road to that big game starts Saturday as Big Ten teams put a rocky non-conference run behind them and focus on pounding on each other. In this post, I take a close look at all six games, and then I’m headed to East Lansing to cover Ohio State and Michigan State on Saturday.
Saturday marks the beginning of Big Ten play. For the next eight weeks, Big Ten teams will be battling for their respective division crowns and a berth in the annual Big Ten title game. Who will make it to Indy? We’re only four weeks into the season, but BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina decided to share their best guesses.
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The Gophers can thank one specific unit for their early rise this season. Wisconsin has a new face in the backfield and he looks electric. Penn State does something interesting with their offensive lineman each week, and the Wisconsin-Nebraska game is becoming a new rivalry. And where is Nebraska looking when it comes to finding a new athletic director? Read about all of this and more in today’s Big Ten links.
Every week, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) and Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) offer their predictions for each Big Ten football game. We also provide a poll for all of the games so fans can vote for their winners.
It’s that time of week again. You’ve been sending me your Big Ten questions all week, and now I offer my answers. On tap this week: What’s wrong with Illinois? How could I have two Big Ten teams headed to BCS bowls in my latest bowl projections? Find my answers inside.
Find out more about: Dienhart's Mailbag
Staid and stoic. I can’t think of two words that better describe Tom Osborne. He also was very good at whatever he did, and he did plenty. First as a football coach. Later, as an athletic director. Now, the 75-year-old Osborne is retiring effective Jan. 1, making the announcement today in Lincoln.
Find out more about: Tom Osborne
This is a big week for the Big Ten’s top two Heisman contenders, as Ohio State’s Braxton Miller meets Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell.
It’s Floyd of Rosedale Week! Hallelujah! Not only that, but this is the first week of full-scale conference—save for one game. And there are some intriguing matchups. The headliner is Ohio State’s visit to Michigan State. The Buckeyes lost an ugly 10-7 game last year in Columbus with just 178 yards of offense.
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Another Saturday looms. And, I have questions. Here are my most pressing queries for the 11 teams in action entering Week 5, the first week of conference play.
Looky here: After an 0-2 start, Penn State is now 2-2 as we sit on the doorstep of Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions have some mojo as they head to Illinois on Saturday. Could this team win the Leaders Division? Hmmmm. If the offense keeps playing well under the leadership of surprising quarterback Matt McGloin, it could happen. No Big Ten quarterback is passing the ball better. Simply amazing. Read those Penn State links and find more of the Tuesday headlines from around the Big Ten further down in this post.
Four weeks are in the books, but the bowl picture remains a work-in-progress—as usual To review: The Big Ten has tie-ins with eight bowls—but it has only 10 bowl-eligible schools, as Penn State and Ohio State are on NCAA and banned from the postseason in 2012.
Find out more about: Bowl projections
My Monday links include some good and provocative pieces from my various colleagues in the Big Ten press corps. Here’s one: Bench Michigan QB Denard Robinson? Are you serious? It’s an idea that the great Kyle Meinke of MLive.com discusses in this interesting piece. Yes, Robinson has had some tough outings against quality foes—including his recent five-interception effort at Notre Dame. But he’ll still leave Michigan as one of the Big Ten’s best players ever.
I have a twist on my weekly “Tom’s Top 10” this week. With non-conference play complete save for two games and Big Ten action set to kick off on Saturday, I take a look at the “best” of the non-league season. What was the best game of the non-conference season? How about the best performance? And the best moment? Find out below.
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Before we turn our complete attention to Week 5 and the start of Big Ten play, let’s see how BTN.com fans, Tom Dienhart and yours truly did with our Week 4 predictions. Everyone involved went 8-2, meaning Dienhart and BTN.com fans remain tied for first, at 36-10, one game ahead of me.
Find out more about: B1G Predictions
Non-conference play, for all intents and purposes, is in the rearview mirror. Yes, Indiana and Purdue each have one non-Big Ten game remaining, but conference play kicks off Saturday. It was a fast first four weeks, no doubt, and now it’s time to release our All-Big Ten non-conference teams.
Find out more about: B1G Predictions
The Big Ten is home to three 4-0 teams after nonconference play. One of the perfect teams is no big surprise (Ohio State), while the other two are close to shocking (Minnesota and Northwestern). And you’ll find all three on top of my latest Big Ten Power Rankings. See the complete list in this post.
Find out more about: Power Rankings, Rankings
Another week, another not-so pretty result for the Big Ten. The conference went 7-3, with home losses to the likes of Central Michigan and Louisiana Tech, plus Notre Dame knocked off Michigan to finish off its sweep of Big Ten opponents. But, starting next week, it’s time for Big Ten play.
Find out more about: What Tom Learned
Another big game, another loss by the Big Ten. And so it has gone the first four weeks of what has been a black-and-blue season for the Big Ten.
Wrapping up today’s action, Minnesota held off Syracuse, 17-10, and Louisiana Tech dropped Illinois, 52-24. As he’s done all day, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart offers his thoughts and analysis from the action under the lights in this post. See his early game thoughts and afternoon thoughts.
BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart is offering his thoughts and analysis from every Big Ten game today. In this post, you can find his Snap Reactions from the Big Ten’s four afternoon games. Here are his Snap Reactions to the three early games. See what Dienhart has to say about Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern and Penn State’s victory here.
BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart is watching all the games today. Here are his Snap Reactions from the first three early games. Dienhart says the Buckeyes have some work to do, the Hawkeyes have to straighten up, and the Badgers may have found some answers.
Nebraska’s Rex Burkhead sprained the MCL in his left knee during the Huskers’ season-opening victory over Southern Miss, and he hasn’t played since. The star running back says he will play Saturday in the team’s final nonconference game. But should the Huskers play Burkhead and risk further injury against Idaho State? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina debate the topic in this post.
If Penn State is going to have any shot for success in the future, it will need a strong walk-on program. Bill O’Brien recently conducted walk-on tryouts, and the turnout was good. O’Brien estimated that about 65 people tried out at the recent work out. I think the Nittany Lions may find some players who could help the program down the road in a football-mad state that produces a lot of good prospects. That’s the first of my Friday links – read the rest of this post for more.
It’s time for my weekly ranking of the Big Ten’s slate of games and Week 4 holds some intriguing matchups. See where your team’s game ranks on my list and get my complete preview of all ten Big Ten games (Purdue and Indiana are off this week).
Find out more about: Dienhart's Previews, Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech, Iowa vs. Central Michigan, Michigan State vs. E. Michigan, Michigan vs. Notre Dame, Minnesota vs. Syracuse, Nebraska vs. Idaho State, Northwestern vs. South Dakota, Ohio State vs. UAB, Penn State vs. Temple, Wisconsin vs. UTEP