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.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Forget classification for a moment, Michigan’s Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III and Michigan State’s Gary Harris should be mentioned among the nation’s elite any time it comes to 2013-14 outlooks. Consequently, it was quite the surprise not to see any of the three guys featured on ESPN.com Myron Medcalf’s impactful sophomores list.
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).
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.
What would it be like to move to a new country, play one year of high school football, and then go on to become one of the greatest placekickers in NFL history? That’s exactly what happened with former Michigan State All-American kicker Morten Andersen. I recently spoke with Andersen and asked him to share some of his best, untold stories during his playing days at Michigan State.