David Banks-US PRESSWIRE
There is still so much to talk about, with spring football winding down and the NFL draft in full swing. Can Illinois win? What’s up with expansion? What’s the deal with football ticket prices? Time for me to reach into my mailbag.
Two years into the Jerry Kill era, and progress at Minnesota is tangible. The Golden Gophers went from 3-9 in 2011 to 6-7, earning a bowl bid. The next step: move out of the basement of the Legends Division and win a postseason game for the first time since 2004. Year Three has been a charm for Kill at his last two stops, going 10-3 at Northern Illinois and 10-2 at Southern Illinois. To continue that trend in Dinkytown, big keys will be developing some big-play ability on offense and tightening the defense vs. the run. And the special teams need lots of improvement. This is an underrated coaching staff that’s capable of doing it all.
The Dallas Cowboys selected Wisconsin center Travis Frederick No. 31 overall in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft on Thursday night. The 6-foot-4, 338-pound offensive lineman is the latest in a long line of pro products for the Badgers, who have sent 14 other offensive linemen to the NFL since 2000.
There is a sense of urgency in Iowa City, as the Hawkeyes look to rebound from the school’s worst season since 2000. There has been plenty of work to do on both sides of the ball, but the offense has the most heavy lifting. Except for running back and line, Iowa has questions on offense. The defense? A search for playmakers up front is on. That has made this an interesting spring for the Hawkeyes, as Kirk Ferentz begins his 15th season on campus.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The NFL draft is here. Hallelujah! But, Thursday night’s opening round may not be a joyous occasion for the Big Ten. In fact, the league may not have a first-round choice for the first time since—are you sitting down?–1953. Gulp. Yes, that’s 60 years.