Former BTN contributor and current SI.com writer Andy Staples released his post-spring power rankings Tuesday. Most interesting of note, perhaps, is Michigan State’s placement. Staples put the Spartans, who went 7-6 last season and lost star RB Le’Veon Bell and several others, at No. 14. That’s two spots higher than rival Michigan, if you were wondering.
This is a big year for Illinois’ Tim Beckman, who shook up his staff after debuting with a 2-10 overall record and going 0-8 in the Big Ten. The schedule is built for a nice start, as six of the first seven contests are home games—including a tilt in Chicago. But it’s November that could make or break the Fighting Illini. Yes, three of the five games are on the road—but three games are winnable: at Indiana; at Purdue; vs. Northwestern. And Illinois needs to cash in if it hopes to play in a bowl.
Is there a harder working writer than Mike Griffith of MLive.com? Of course not. Today, the Spartans writing machine has four talking points on Michigan State. Please read if you wanna impress your friends at the barber shop. Learn this stuff, and you’ll wow and impress your friends. The tips about the quarterbacks are pure gold, Jerry. I’ve also got more Big Ten links in today’s post.
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BTN will televise 12 primetime games during the 2013 college football season, the most in network history. Five games feature a pre-season top-25 Big Ten team, while three of the 12 matchups feature games versus teams from the SEC, ACC and Pac-12 conferences. Eight Big Ten schools in all will be featured in primetime.
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It’s good to be Pat Narduzzi. The Michigan State defensive coordinator has it rolling right now, pushing the buttons on what was the Big Ten’s best defense last season (274.4 ypg) and No. 4 in the nation. In fact, it was the second season in a row the Spartans paced the Big Ten in defense.
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The Big Ten is home to one of sports’ top 10 most influential pro athletes. That’s the case, at least, according to the latest surveys from Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research that ranks the most influence among U.S. fans. For the curious parties, the study included each athlete’s N-Score, Nielsen’s measurement for a player’s endorsement potential.