The turnaround has been remarkable. Last year, Michigan finished last in the Big Ten in passing defense (261.9 ypg) and scoring defense (35.2 ppg) and 10th in rushing defense (188.9 ypg). This year, the Wolverine defense is No. 5 (316.0) in the Big Ten overall, vs. the run (131.6) and vs. the pass (184.4). And one of the reasons for the turnaround is end Ryan Van Bergen.
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As we get closer to the Big Ten Football Championship, I’m seeing more and more mail on the end-of-season awards, bowl games and tiebreakers. I even got my first basketball question! I love to get your notes and encourage you to keep them coming. The more mail the better. Now let’s get to this week’s answers …
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At 6 p.m. ET Wednesday, Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Chris Martin and Teddy Greenstein bring you Big Ten Football & Beyond. On tonight’s show, our crew debates whether Michigan State, which wrapped up the Legends Division last week, should have a different approach for this weekend’s game. The guys also will answer which game they’d watch if both were on at same time they couldn’t flip channels: Ohio State-Michigan or Penn State-Wisconsin. See what else we’ll be talking about in this post.
The best player in the Big Ten? It has been a moving target for much of the season. Several players have occupied the top spot. In what has been the Year of the Running Back, it’s no surprise that a ball carrier tops this week’s edition of the Top 25 Players in the Big Ten.
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The Michigan-Ohio State game is the annual exclamation mark on the Big Ten season. This year’s storyline: Can the Wolverines end the Buckeyes’ seven-season run of dominance? A Wolverine victory not only would ease the pain for Michigan fans, but it also will enhance the team’s resume in its bid to earn a BCS at-large bowl slot.
Week 11 of the NFL season is in the books, and Big Ten products made quite the impact. All season long, use our Big Ten NFL Stat Tracker to see how ex-Big Ten stars performed each week. Simply click on a player’s name, and the link will lead you to his NFL.com game log. Every Tuesday, Brent Yarina singles out the best offensive, defensive and special teams performances, plus links to their NFL.com highlights. Watch our interview with Nebraska’s Alfonzo Dennard now and see Brent’s Week 11 winners in this post.
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Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
It was only a matter of time before former Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez received another opportunity. On Monday, Arizona AD Greg Byrne tweeted this picture, announcing Rodriguez as the new Wildcats head coach. And on Tuesday, the coach was officially introduced. Rodriguez went 15-22 in three seasons at Michigan, but he experienced a lot of success at West Virginia, where he went 60-26 in seven seasons. The coach spent this season as an analyst at CBS Sports. Read the AP story on Rodriguez’s hiring and its story on his introductory press conference.