The Big Ten office announced the conference schedule for the 2015 football season today, which will consist of eight games for each of the Big Ten’s 14 teams before the conference moves to nine-game schedules in 2016. The 2015 schedule starts on Sept. 19 and will culminate with the fifth annual Big Ten Football Championship Game. [ RELATED: View the complete 2015 conference schedule ] The 2015 Big Ten season begins with Rutgers at Penn State in a matchup of East Division members on Sept. 19. The remaining 12 conference schools will kick off Big Ten play on Oct. 3,
The biggest difference between the SEC and Big Ten isn’t speed at the skill-positions on offense. Nope. It’s on defense—along the line, in particular. The Big Ten has some big fellas who can make plays and get up the field—just not the depth and breadth of the SEC. But, the situation is improving. Here is my ranking of the Big Ten defensive lines. 1. Ohio State. Hard to think this unit could rank this high with all four starters—John Simon, Nathan Williams, Johnathan Hankins, Garrett Goebel–from last year gone. But, it’s true. The Buckeyes are loaded with great young players
Is the Horseshoe about to get even bigger? According to Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch, the Ohio State athletic department will send a proposal to the university’s board of trustees next week seeking approval for a 2,500-seat addition to Ohio Stadium in 2014. The project, estimated to cost $9 million, would make Ohio Stadium the third-largest college football stadium. The two largest? Those also happen to be Big Ten venues, with Michigan Stadium coming in at 109,901 and Beaver Stadium 106,572. The addition would push Ohio State’s seating capacity from 102,329 to 104,829, surpassing Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium (102,455).
The Big Ten released a statement Thursday regarding Ohio State president Gordon Gee’s comments about Notre Dame and the SEC. Read the statement in this post. Here’s the entire statement: “The remarks made by Ohio State University President Gordon Gee were inappropriate and in no way represent the opinions of the conference,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “We have great respect for the University of Notre Dame and the SEC, and we are proud of the rich, competitive history we share with each.” Also, according to the release, Delany has personally communicated his regrets and apologies to both
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. 1. Ohio State. Line coach Ed Warinner continues to work wonders, transforming this into one of the Big Ten’s top units. Four starters are back in 2013, with only Reid Fragel gone from right tackle. Junior left guard Andrew Norwell, who also started five games at tackle last season
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. Here are the official composite standings (this only accounts for Big Ten standings, not NCAA performance): 1. Michigan 4.04 2. Minnesota 4.43 3. Ohio State 4.64 4. Penn State 4.92 5. Illinois 5.24 6. Nebraska 5.57 7. Wisconsin
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. [ RELATED: View all of Dienhart’s 2013 unit rankings ] 1. Nebraska. This is arguably one of the top collections of pass-catchers the school ever has had. Junior Kenny Bell is back after leading the Huskers with 50 catches. He’s a blazer. Senior
One of the more indelible moments from the 2012 football season was Devin Smith’s ridiculous one-handed touchdown grab in Week 1 vs. Miami (OH). The catch (watch it below) is now part of a pretty cool piece of artwork. Check it out above. That’s a poster, with one half capturing Smith’s aforementioned catch and the other displaying Smith, also a member of the track and field team, attempting the high jump. The best part, of course: the two shots capture Smith in very similar positions. Relive Smith’s incredible one-handed grab over and over:
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). Let’s get to it. 1. Wisconsin. Montee Ball and his NCAA-record 83 touchdowns
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. I’ve been rolling out my Big Ten unit rankings here, and I’ve been looking forward to taking on the quarterbacks. Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, the conference’s top Heisman contender, leads the charge. Here’s my ranking of the Big Ten’s complete quarterback units. Agree or disagree? Who will rise up this season? And who might falter? Make your own points at the bottom of this post.