In my latest Big Ten schedule analysis post, I take a look at the Penn State Nittany Lions, which are under the direction of a new coach for the first time since 1966. What will be Penn State’s toughest non-conference and conference games? Where is the schedule seemingly easiest, and then when does it get really rugged? Go ahead and guess which game I call their “must win” game, then read the rest of this post and see what I picked.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and league athletic directors will meet today in Chicago to discuss a playoff, our colleague Teddy Greenstein from the Chicago Tribune writes. A four-team playoff appears imminent. But issues need to ironed out before a playoff can begin with the 2014 season. Chief among them: 1. How to pick the teams. 2. Where to play the games. In this post I look at that story and some others, including a few bowl tidbits in Tuesday’s Big Ten links (full archive here). Football news and lovely weather. Isn’t life good?
Is there a conference with a better collection of running backs than the Big Ten? Maybe not. The group instantly became one of the best in the nation when Wisconsin’s Montee Ball announced he would return for his senior season. Add it all up, and 12 of last season’s top 13 rushers are back. The only departure: Iowa’s Marcus Coker, who transferred to FCS Stony Brook after ranking No. 2 in the Big Ten in rushing with 1,384 yards in 2012.
It’s time to turn our attention to Ohio State in my schedule analysis series, as I take a closer look at the 2012 football schedule for the Buckeyes. My previous schedule analysis posts are still available as we’ve now covered Illinois through Ohio State. The rest come out this week. Agree or disagree with any of my assessments? Come tell me in the comments section, or find me on Twitter and Facebook. See my Ohio State analysis in this post.
On Tuesday, the College Football Hall of Fame will announce its latest round of enshrinees. And three Nebraska players are on the ballot: quarterbacks Eric Crouch and Tommie Frazier, along with linebacker Trev Alberts. Crouch likely won’t make it since this is his first time on the ballot. But Frazier appears to have a good shot. In fact, I am flummoxed by the fact he didn’t make it last year. Just a shameful omission, as detailed by the Lincoln Journal Star’s Brian Christopherson.
Now I turn my attention to Northwestern as I take a closer look at the 2012 football schedule for the Wildcats. They’ve got two challenging home games and a back-to-back set on the road that rivals any two-game stretch in the Big Ten. I circle the game on the calendar that could be the toughest and easiest for Pat Fitzgerald and his team this fall.
The Big Ten will be bolstered by the return of nine starting quarterbacks in 2012. The only schools breaking in new starters under center are Michigan State (Kirk Cousins gone), Northwestern (Dan Persa gone) and Wisconsin (Russell Wilson gone). Without a doubt here, Michigan’s Denard Robinson looks like the top quarterback in the league. Could he become the first Big Ten quarterback to win the Heisman since Ohio State’s Troy Smith turned the trick in 2006?