Penn State is entering a difficult era of NCAA probation and sanctions that figure to cripple the program for years. But first-year coach Bill O’Brien is moving forward undaunted and undeterred. The Nittany Lions can’t go to a bowl or win the Big Ten title, so O’Brien and Company must focus on regular-season success in the dawn of the post-Joe Paterno era that began in 1966. Penn State will have a chance to impact who wins the conference crown with games vs. the likes of Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska, as it aims to begin the healing process in pursuit of the best record possible.
Find out more about: Football Fix
Football season is slowly approaching. Less than four weeks from now, in fact, the games will be underway. To help kill the time between now and then, I’ve provided what I think is a bold prediction for every Big Ten team. See all the predictions in this post. Have a bold prediction of your own? Tell me in the comment box at the bottom of the post. Or you can tweet it to me, @BTNBrentYarina.
Find out more about: B1G Predictions
If you missed it Thursday, the highly anticipated and always criticized USA Today preseason top 25 poll was released. Four Big Ten teams made the cut, led by No. 8 Michigan. Also ranked: No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 13 Michigan State and No. 16 Nebraska. While the coaches think Michigan is the Big Ten’s top team entering the 2012 season, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart writes Michigan State should be ranked the highest. And I think it should be back-to-back Big Ten champ Wisconsin.
Find out more about: Big Ten Tweets
Mick McCall’s offense is ticking at Northwestern. The Wildcat offensive coordinator, who is in his fifth season on the job, has developed one of the more consistently potent offenses in the Big Ten under Pat Fitzgerald. Last season, the attack ranked second overall in the Big Ten (420.9).
Find out more about: Big Ten Q&A
I love lists. And I bet you do, too. With that, did you see Athlon’s ranking of the Top 50 Big Ten players? No shock to see Wisconsin running back Montee Ball No. 1 and Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson No. 2. But, honestly, that’s too obvious.
Fans of alternate uniforms are going to love the Wisconsin-Nebraska Big Ten opener Sept. 29 at Memorial Stadium. In what’s become the unofficial adidas TECHFIT uniform showcase, both Big Ten rivals will be sporting new alternate duds. Nebraska released its uniform last week – hello, red! – and Wisconsin, which is unveiling its uniform in phases, provided a third and final sneak peek Sunday. It will unveil the whole thing Monday. Catch a glimpse of all three released photos in this post.
Find out more about: Clothes Call
What’s the craziest thing you’ve asked an athlete to autograph? Maybe one of his or her game-worn sweatbands. Or your forehead. Well, an Illinois fan recently asked Illini offensive lineman Graham Pocic to sign his baby. OK, not the actual baby, but the baby’s miniature Illinois jersey. It made for a terrific photo op. See the picture, courtesy of the Fighting Illini Football Facebook page, in this post.