Everything is new at Penn State. New coach, new schemes, new hopes, new era. It’s exciting … and a little scary for a program that was led the past 46 seasons by Joe Paterno. What’s gonna happen? I talked to Bill O’Brien as spring drills were coming to end with the Nittany Lions’ spring game this Saturday.
Spring drills are winding down, with Ohio State, Penn State and Minnesota conducting games this Saturday, so here are my newsy links for today. Wisconsin and Michigan State will finish April 28. I will be at the Ohio State game and there are two things I’m most interested to see. On offense, Urban Meyer has said he wants to throw the ball. How will quarterback Braxton Miller look? Which receivers are stepping up? And on defense, the linebackers lagged in 2011. The defense needs better play to take the next step in its development.
Last year brought us some epic Big Ten games. We soon won’t forget Michigan State over Wisconsin; Ohio State beating the Badgers; Nebraska rallying over Ohio State. What classics are waiting to be hatched in 2012, you ask? Good question. Get out your red Sharpie and circle these games that land on my Top 15 Big Ten clashes of 2012. Earlier, I ranked the top 15 nonconference games. Did I miss one? Tell me which Big Ten games have you fired up the most. I’m on Twitter and Facebook, too.
BTN lead football analysts Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith recently completed their spring trek across Big Ten country, and now it’s time for the impressions from the trip. Lucky for us, DiNardo is a dedicated tweeter. See some of Coach’s thoughts from his travels in this post.
Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is a genius–at least when it comes to spicing up spring football games. Let’s face it: These spring “games” often are little more than glorified scrimmages to appease and tease fans. The interest? Minimal—aside from the true cognoscenti. Many coaches don’t like them, preferring to run a scrimmage or just conduct another practice for fear of injury. Lack of depth is another reason many coaches don’t like intrasquad scrimmages, as it often makes it difficult to split teams into even squads.
Men’s hockey will become an official Big Ten sport in the 2013-14 academic year, so with that in mind, the Big Ten Conference office announced Thursday that its tournaments will be held at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn., in 2014 and 2016, and at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich., in 2015 and 2017.
What’s being said about Big Ten football on this glorious Thursday? Here are the top stories. Enjoy.