Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
It all begins up front. Ask any coach. Without good blockers, skill talent is diminished—and offenses flounder. The Big Ten has some potentially strong blocking units, which has hopes high in several precincts. Here’s my ranking of the Big Ten offensive lines, starting with two of the conference’s biggest powerhouse programs.
This is interesting. From the JournalStar.com, here is the composite Big Ten 2012-13 standings, showing the average finish among each school’s men’s and women’s teams. A big year for Michigan, which is on a roll. The Wolverines took Big Ten titles in softball, men’s gymnastics, women’s cross country, women’s tennis and men’s swimming. Wait until the football team really gets it going.
When you think of Nebraska, you don’t typically think of receivers. You think ground-pounding offenses that play physical football behind big lines and star running backs. Well, this year’s edition of the Cornhuskers has some very good receivers. In fact, it’s the best collection in the Big Ten. Here’s my ranking of the Big Ten receiving units.
Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
The Big Ten lost its top two rushers in Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball. And Nebraska standout Rex Burkhead also is gone. But most of the conference’s other top running backs are back. Here is how I rank the Big Ten running back units, and it’s my latest look at how the various football teams units stack up by position. Read the others right here. Agree? Disagree? Tell me in the comments below, email me about here, or track me down on Twitter (@BTNTomDienhart).
Illinois and Indiana were selected to the 2013 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship. The Hoosiers earned the Big Ten’s automatic bid after winning the conference tournament and are a No. 1 seed, hosting Regional play in Bloomington, Ind. Illinois earned an at-large selection and are the No. 3 seed in the Nashville Regional, marking the second straight season that two Big Ten teams have been selected to the field. Check out the full interactive bracket at NCAA.com.
During Friday’s Big Ten Baseball Tournament elimination game between Illinois and Minnesota, players from both teams looked like they were rather loose. During the game, Minnesota’s players had some fun behind the back of Minnesota coach John Anderson. For Illinois, several players acted out a little pantomime before the game, with one player playing the role of a dog. Just watch the videos in this post to see what we’re talking about.
Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
Quarterback play hasn’t been at an elite level in the Big Ten in recent years. In fact, many feel that’s one reason for the conference’s struggles. But this year’s collection of passers teems with potential.