It’s Friday … it’s late July … but the Big Ten football news never sleeps.
Brady Hoke’s debut couldn’t have gone much better last season. The moribund three-year Rich Rodriguez tenure saw Michigan go 15-22 (6-18 Big Ten) and left many disappointed. The program hit historic low points in many respects, as the Wolverines fell from the Big Ten elite. But Hoke changed all of that quickly with an 11-2 season that was capped by a Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.
BTN will kick off the 2012 Big Ten football season Thursday, July 26, with nearly five hours of live televised coverage of Big Ten Football Media Days from the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago. The show also will be available on BTN2Go.
How do you know you’re a big deal? When your likeness is plastered on a vending machine, that’s how. Former Wisconsin defensive end and current Houston Texan J.J. Watt now knows the feeling. The ex-Badger is featured on a vending machine that @JJWFoundation tweeted Thursday. Watt’s Twitter response: “Wow. I hope it dispenses sacks at will.”
Is it possible for the Big Ten’s best football player to be underrated? I ask only because I think Montee Ball is being slighted by media and non-Wisconsin fans alike entering the 2012 season. Yes, I’m saying the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist is underrated. Plain and simple, the senior back who’s fresh off a season in which he scored 39 – 39!!! – touchdowns and ran for 1,923 yards isn’t getting the respect he deserves.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins was the face of Michigan State’s 11-3 season in 2011 that concluded with a win over Georgia in the Outback Bowl. But make no mistake about it: defense was the Spartans’ calling card. Credit coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who is one of the hottest assistants in the nation. Michigan State had the No. 1 defense in the Big Ten—and No. 6 in the nation–last season (277.4 ypg). The unit also led the conference in rushing defense (100.5 ypg), interceptions (18) and third-down defense (.337).