Names such as Ameer Abdullah, Shilique Calhoun, Melvin Gordon, Randy Gregory, Braxton Miller and Brandon Scherff receive plenty of hype, and for good reason. What about the guys who produce but don’t receive the appropriate fanfare, though? You know, the underrated players. The BTN.com team offered its most underrated players entering 2014, and you can see our picks in this post. Spoiler alert: Running backs were a popular choice. [ MORE: View Tom Dienhart’s 2014 Big Ten schedule analysis posts ] TOM DIENHART Josh Ferguson, RB, Illinois. When the conversation about top Big Ten backs breaks out, you always hear about Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford, among others. But don’t forget about Ferguson. The diminutive back is a jack-of-all trades who is as well-rounded as any running back in the conference. To wit: He led all Big Ten running backs with 50 catches for 535 yards. Ferguson added 779 yards rushing. Add it all up, and Ferguson finished ninth in the Big Ten in all-purpose yards with 112.6 per game. Yet, he remains largely anonymous because of Illinois’ lack of success. But don’t sleep on Ferguson, who again figures to be a prime weapon in a Fighting Illini attack that continues to improve under coordinator Bill Cubit.
I had to laugh a bit when I read where SEC coaches were hacked off about Penn State taking part in a football camp at Georgia State. Read here, and here.
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Rutgers is ready to take the lid off of its first Big Ten season. And excitement permeates the campus. Great potential looms—as do great challenges.
Two of the most important keys to a successful college football team are a good quarterback and head coach. Our friends over at Athlon Sports recently compiled a list of the top head coach-quarterback combinations in college football this year. Three Big Ten coach-quarterback combos appear on the list, which consists of 20 spots, as well as a “5 we don’t know about yet” category.
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As far as debuts are concerned, Darrell Hazell endured a rough one at Purdue. His maiden voyage in West Lafayette included myriad blowouts along the way to a 1-11 season that saw Purdue go winless in the Big Ten. And the lone victory came vs. FCS Indiana State. And even that was a close call. Add it all up, and it may have been the worst season in school history.
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Lots going on in recent weeks, with the NFL draft, Big Ten moving its hoop tourney to Washington in 2017 and the announcement of the Gavitt Tip-off Games with the Big East. My mail box is getting full. Let’s answer some questions.
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