College football is coming to FOX on Saturday, Sept. 1, and you know what that means: Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Erin Andrews are ready to bring you all the action. The network debuted a new commercial Saturday night that plays on Johnson’s knack for calling great games and for making games better. The promo features two friends on a couch flipping the channel back and forth between a boring football game and an exciting Johnson-called game, and when it goes to Johnson’s, one of the friends explains: “It’s the Gus Effect, it makes everything more exciting.” Watch the full ad here.
You have questions, and I have answers in this week’s football-heavy mailbag. I said the mailbag was football-heavy, but I did receive one great question about the chances of the Minnesota men’s basketball team making a Final Four run this year. Got to love Big Ten hoop fans! Read my answers to all of your queries in this post. And remember, if you have a question, send it to me in the comment section at the bottom of this post.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.