There is much anticipation around the unveiling of the James Franklin era. Franklin brings endless energy along with an impressive resume to State College, Pa., making Vanderbilt into a winner prior to his arrival.
Ohio State came oh-so-close to greatness last season in Year Two under Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes won their first 12 games after going 12-0 in 2012. But Ohio State lost the Big Ten championship game to Michigan State, which ruined its national title hopes.
Last year began amid much hope for Northwestern, which opened 4-0 with No. 4 Ohio State coming to Evanston for a prime-time national TV. Alas, Northwestern lost, 40-30, and never recovered.
Hopes are high in Lincoln for the program’s first conference championship since 1999. The defense looks like it could be the strongest part of Bo Pelini’s seventh Nebraska team. The front seven looks especially stout. The offense has some great building blocks, paced by a nice collection of running backs and receivers.
The Big Ten’s best football player? It has to be Braxton Miller, the two-time reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, right? Right. The Lincoln Journal Star’s Brian Christopherson is no fool, and he recently ranked the dual-threat quarterback No. 1 in his gallery of the Big Ten’s top 10 football players.
Jerry Kill has Minnesota on the rise. His win total has improved in each of his three seasons in the Twin Cities, going from three, to six to eight victories with bowls in each of the last two seasons. The best looks like it is yet to come.