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.
First-year Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen has a schedule that’s built for success. The Badgers should start no worse than 3-1—maybe even 4-0—as they head to Ohio State on Sept. 28. After visiting the Horseshoe, the Badgers don’t have a lot of heavy lifting. In fact, a talented and veteran Wisconsin squad should be favored in every remaining game in its quest for a fourth Rose Bowl berth in a row. Fire up the grill and cue the polka music. Toughest non-conference game: There is a visit from BYU on Nov. 9. But the trip to Arizona State on Sept. 14
Gary Andersen continues to win over Wisconsin fans. Today, the first-year football coach was grilling and hand delivering butter burgers at a local Culver’s. It was all part of Wisconsin’s “Day of Giving,” with all proceeds going to Badger Honor Flight, which according to @BadgerFootball, pays to fly vets to memorials in Washington D.C. #Badgers Coach Andersen has taken over the grill Culvers https://t.co/28xSPHLbE5 — Badger Football (@BadgerFootball) May 21, 2013 Here are some more pictures of Andersen today: #badgers First customer for Coach Andersen at @culvers pic.twitter.com/haCWM4GIMs — Badger Football (@BadgerFootball) May 21, 2013 #Badgers Coach Andersen delivers some
This time of year, it’s always fun to look at the rosters and try to pick out the conference’s breakout stars. A year ago, if you had your eye on, say, Venric Mark, Allen Robinson, Jake Ryan or Ryan Shazier, you hit it out of the park. It’s time to go out on a limb and offer my top five candidates for who will go from an under-the-radar player to a household name in 2013. 1. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin – Perhaps a lame pick, because if the fleet-footed running back’s nine-carry, 219-yard effort in the Big Ten title game
Is it possible not to like Wisconsin product J.J. Watt? Not after watching the video above. Watt, an NFL superstar who does as much good off the field as on it, recently reminded us how likeable he is. After hearing the story of a local leukemia fan who named the robot that goes to school for him “Watt,” the former Badger defensive lineman paid the boy, Cristian Beasley, a surprise visit. Talk about a touching, heartwarming – you name the adjective – act, this is absolutely incredible. Watt gets what it means to be a pro athlete, a hero to
The Detroit Free Press has a neat piece that chronicles the salaries of Big Ten assistant coaches. Look here and here. Some thoughts: No shocker to see Ohio State ($3.416 million) on top. But I am a bit surprised that Michigan’s staff is over $600,000 behind the Buckeyes’ staff at $2.805 million. The highest paid assistant at seven of the 12 schools is the defensive coordinator. Coordinators at Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois are paid the same. The biggest gap in salary between coordinators on a staff is at Nebraska, where OC Tim Beck makes $390,000 more than DC John Papuchis.
It was all chalk in the opening round of our Big Ten helmet bracket. The biggest winner: Michigan State routed Northwestern, 71 percent to 29 percent. Now, it’s time for Round 2. See all of the matchups and cast your votes in this post. Here’s how it works: The field is divided into the Legends Division and Leaders Division, with the champion of each meeting for the title, and BTN fans will vote on every matchup. Also, only primary helmets are considered. Editor’s note: Seeds were determined by Facebook polls, using the results as of Wednesday afternoon (Legends | Leaders).
Newcomer Rutgers will take part in the first Big Ten game of 2014 when it plays host to Penn State on Sept. 13. That’s one of several interesting matchups in the schedule, which was announced today. The 2014 schedule will be the first season with Maryland and Rutgers in the conference. The 2014 season also will see the Big Ten split into new East and West Divisions. Teams will play eight conference games in 2014 and 2015, six vs. division foes and two vs. cross-division opponents. The Big Ten will move to a nine-game league slate in 2016. Here’s a
The Big Ten office announced the conference schedule for the 2014 football season today, as approved by the Big Ten Directors of Athletics. The 2014 schedule will consist of eight games for each of the Big Ten’s 14 teams, feature a new division alignment, include the conference debut of Maryland and Rutgers and culminate with the fourth annual Big Ten Football Championship Game. Looking for a printable version of the new schedule? Click here to download the full PDF. Beginning in 2014, the Big Ten football division alignments will feature Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and