Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
In sports, we constantly hear the phrase, “What a difference a year makes.” It’s a cliche, no doubt about it. But, often times, it’s so true. And that’s the case when one compares the first four weeks of the 2012 Big Ten football season to the first quarter of the 2011 campaign.
With Week 4 behind us, it’s time for my latest Big Ten Player Rankings. Again, I’m doing these a little different this year. Whereas I used to rank the top 10 players – a practice that was tough due to all the talent on both sides of the ball – I’ll rank the top six offensive and defensive players each week.
I have a twist on my weekly “Tom’s Top 10” this week. With non-conference play complete save for two games and Big Ten action set to kick off on Saturday, I take a look at the “best” of the non-league season. What was the best game of the non-conference season? How about the best performance? And the best moment? Find out below.
Before we turn our complete attention to Week 5 and the start of Big Ten play, let’s see how BTN.com fans, Tom Dienhart and yours truly did with our Week 4 predictions. Everyone involved went 8-2, meaning Dienhart and BTN.com fans remain tied for first, at 36-10, one game ahead of me.
Non-conference play, for all intents and purposes, is in the rearview mirror. Yes, Indiana and Purdue each have one non-Big Ten game remaining, but conference play kicks off Saturday. It was a fast first four weeks, no doubt, and now it’s time to release our All-Big Ten non-conference teams.
The Big Ten is home to three 4-0 teams after nonconference play. One of the perfect teams is no big surprise (Ohio State), while the other two are close to shocking (Minnesota and Northwestern). And you’ll find all three on top of my latest Big Ten Power Rankings. See the complete list in this post.
Another week, another not-so pretty result for the Big Ten. The conference went 7-3, with home losses to the likes of Central Michigan and Louisiana Tech, plus Notre Dame knocked off Michigan to finish off its sweep of Big Ten opponents. But, starting next week, it’s time for Big Ten play.