November is here, and the Big Ten races are officially the most convoluted mess I’ve ever seen. Actually, I’m not sure there are official stats for that kind of thing – but, suffice to say, I didn’t see this coming. No fewer than eight teams head into the final month of the regular season with a shot at playing in Indy on Dec. 3. Crazy.
It hasn’t taken Greg Mattison long to revive the Michigan defense. And that’s a major reason why the Wolverines are in the thick of the Legends Division race as they travel to Iowa for a big game Saturday (noon ET, BTN). Defense had been a dirty word in Ann Arbor under the Rich Rodriguez regime the past three seasons. In 2010, Michigan hit a nadir, ranking last in the Big Ten in total defense (450.8 ypg), scoring defense (35.2 ppg) and pass defense (261.9 ypg). One year later, those numbers are now: 340.6, 15.3 and 196.3.
Have a Big Ten football question you want answered? I’m Tom Dienhart and I want you to fire off an email to me. This is a great place for us to interact, sharing our passion for all things Big Ten as the season prepares to hit the home stretch. This week, there were many good questions—as usual—but there was a theme in many emails that I received, asking: What are the tiebreakers to determine division champs? I address that, as well as—get this—a BASKETBALL question. Really.
October was a crazy and unpredictable month. The proof: Under-the-radar Penn State went 5-0 and sits comfortably atop the Leaders Division, Big Ten favorite Wisconsin lost back-to-back games on last-minute Hail Marys, Michigan State got through a stretch of Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin unscathed, and Iowa lost to struggling Minnesota despite getting 252 rushing yards from Marcus Coker. The list could continue, but you get the point.
The Big Ten is loaded with many good running backs (see the stats). In fact, it may be the deepest position in the conference. So, it should be no surprise that Penn State’s Silas Redd has taken over the No. 1 spot in my weekly ranking of the Top 25 players in the Big Ten.
Last week in Chicago, Big Ten basketball coaches and players gathered for their annual meet and greet with the national media. Producers from BTN’s award-winning series The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2012 attended and sat down with the conference’s movers and shakers as a new season of Big Ten hoops approaches.
In Week 10 of the Big Ten football season we’re adding the audio for all 12 Big Ten coaches on the Big Ten Conference Tuesday teleconference with reporters as we do each and every week. Also, @B1Gfootball spotlights a tweet or three from each coach live on Twitter so follow them for updates from the conference.