Next up in my schedule analysis series: Purdue. What will be the Boilermakers’ toughest non-conference and conference games? Where is the schedule seemingly easiest, and then when does it get really rugged? Go ahead and guess which game I call their “must win” game, then read the rest of this post and see what I picked. You can find all of my Big Ten schedule analysis posts here. All of the teams are included except for Wisconsin, which you can look for Thursday.
When you think of Wisconsin, offense usually comes to mind. Big, tough physical lines blocking for a strong running game. But the Wisconsin defense deserves credit for the program’s consecutive Rose Bowl appearances. The Badgers had the Big Ten’s No. 3 defense (316.4 ypg) in 2011 and allowed just 19 points per game (13th in the nation). I talked with co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash—who is in his second as co-coordinator working in concert with Charlie Partridge–to get his breakdown of the Badger defense. See the Q&A in this post.
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The outcry came about a nanosecond after the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame inductees were announced: How come Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier didn’t get elected? I wish I had an answer. But, alas, I don’t. It remains a mystery of the universe—and a Titanic miscarriage of justice. I am a member of the National Football Foundation, and thus a voter for the Hall. And Frazier gets the nod from me. The guy, without a doubt, is the greatest quarterback in the history of one of America’s greatest college football programs.
In my latest Big Ten schedule analysis post, I take a look at the Penn State Nittany Lions, which are under the direction of a new coach for the first time since 1966. What will be Penn State’s toughest non-conference and conference games? Where is the schedule seemingly easiest, and then when does it get really rugged? Go ahead and guess which game I call their “must win” game, then read the rest of this post and see what I picked.
Is there a conference with a better collection of running backs than the Big Ten? Maybe not. The group instantly became one of the best in the nation when Wisconsin’s Montee Ball announced he would return for his senior season. Add it all up, and 12 of last season’s top 13 rushers are back. The only departure: Iowa’s Marcus Coker, who transferred to FCS Stony Brook after ranking No. 2 in the Big Ten in rushing with 1,384 yards in 2012.
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It’s time to turn our attention to Ohio State in my schedule analysis series, as I take a closer look at the 2012 football schedule for the Buckeyes. My previous schedule analysis posts are still available as we’ve now covered Illinois through Ohio State. The rest come out this week. Agree or disagree with any of my assessments? Come tell me in the comments section, or find me on Twitter and Facebook. See my Ohio State analysis in this post.