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Like sacks? You’re in luck in 2014, because the Big Ten boasts a boatload of talented pass-rushers.
Tackles are an inexact science, to be sure. Teams award them differently, so it’s not always as simple as comparing Player A from School A to Player B from School B. Whatever the case, someone will finish the season atop the tackles chart. Who will it be? Tom Dienhart, Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina offer their picks in this post.
The NBA Draft is just over one week away, which means that former Big Ten stars such as Noah Vonleh, Nik Stauskas, Gary Harris, Adreian Payne and Mitch McGary, among others, will soon find out where their NBA homes will be. It also means that NBA general managers are doing their homework and completing their final evaluations.
It’s no shock to learn that Big Ten athletes are physically gifted. We see it throughout the seasons, especially on fall Saturdays. But, sometimes, it’s what they do off the gridiron that makes us realize just how impressive these guys are.
Thursday, the BTN.com panel offered its picks for the Big Ten’s most underrated player entering 2014. Today, it’s time to consider potential breakout players. These are the guys who aren’t household names but have the talent and opportunity to be so in 2014. In other words, guys like Connor Cook, David Cobb and Jeremy Langford prior to last season. See our picks in this post.
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.
The Big Ten lost a lot of talent at receiver, including, but not limited to, Jared Abbrederis, Corey Brown, Quincy Enunwa, Jeremy Gallon, Cody Latimer and Allen Robinson. With all of that top-flight production gone, which receiver will have the best 2014 season? See BTN.com’s Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina’s predictions in this post.
We had plenty of outstanding performances in Friday’s Big Ten Tournament action. Michigan notched a win over Illinois on a game-winning shot. Ohio State rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit to defeat Nebraska. And both Wisconsin and Michigan State looked outstanding in blowout wins over Minnesota and Northwestern, respectively.
The Big Ten basketball season is approaching the midway point and the conference picture is beginning to take form. Michigan (5-0) and Michigan State (7-0) are the only remaining unbeaten teams in the Big Ten, while Iowa is close behind at 4-1 and climbing up the national rankings. So, we ask, who is the best team in the Big Ten at this point?
Two Big Ten men’s basketball teams remain unblemished: Wisconsin (11-0) and Ohio State (9-0). Both recorded another win Wednesday night, and both have a good shot to enter Big Ten play unscathed.
So, here we are at the midway point of the 2013 Big Ten football season, and I can’t help but wonder which Big Ten title contender has the most to prove in the second half. Is it Ohio State, the undefeated team that hasn’t lost since the 2012 Gator Bowl? Is it Michigan, the 5-1 team that squeaked past Akron and UConn? Is it Nebraska, the 5-1 team that lost its lone true test? Or is it someone else?
Each week during the season, BTN.com web editor Sean Merriman and a featured guest will debate a topic related to Big Ten football. This week, Sporting News college football insider Bill Bender and I debate the following question: “Through five weeks of the college football season, which Big Ten quarterback have you been most impressed with up to this point?” Our answers may surprise you…
The excitement seemingly has been building since the spring for Saturday’s Ohio State at Northwestern game. Oh, who am I kidding? The buildup actually began the moment last season ended.
Each week during the season, BTN.com web editor Sean Merriman and a featured guest will debate a topic related to Big Ten football. This week, Nebraska beat writer Brian Rosenthal and I debate the following question: “Heading into Week 5 of the college football season, which team is your favorite to win the Legends Division”? Our answers may surprise you…
Each week during the season, BTN.com web editor Sean Merriman and a featured guest will debate a topic related to Big Ten football. This week, Ohio State beat writer Kyle Rowland and I debate the following question: “Assuming Braxton Miller is cleared to play this week against Florida A&M, should he start, or should Ohio State stick with backup Kenny Guiton?”
Each week during the season, BTN.com web editor Sean Merriman and a featured guest will debate a topic related to Big Ten football. This week, Detroit News Michigan football beat writer Angelique Chengelis and I debate the following question: “After scoring 41 points against Notre Dame last weekend, is it fair to say that Michigan has the Big Ten’s best offense right now?”
Ohio State entered the year as the overwhelming Big Ten favorite. Two weeks in, are the Buckeyes still the Big Ten’s best? According to Tom Dienhart’s latest power rankings, presented ArcelorMittal, the answer is yes. Dienhart and Brent Yarina debate the topic in this post.
Each week during the season, BTN.com web editor Sean Merriman and a featured guest will debate a topic related to Big Ten football. This week’s question: If you were a Big Ten coach, would you rather have Nebraska’s offense or Michigan State’s defense.
Wisconsin has its fingerprint all over the Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year award. Not only is the award named after two Badgers, former Wisconsin standout Montee Ball is its lone recipient, taking home the honors in both 2011 and 2012. Will another Wisconsin back win it in 2013? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their picks in this post.
Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
In its short two-year existence, the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year has been very kind to its recipients. The inaugural winner, Russell Wilson, went on to have an All-Pro NFL rookie season, and last year’s winner, Braxton Miller, is a preseason Heisman Trophy favorite. Not bad, huh?
Here’s what we know: There will be no repeat winner for the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year. Last year’s winner, John Simon, is in the NFL, leaving a pool of worthy candidates to fight for the award now in its third year. Who’s the top candidate entering the season? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina discuss it in this post.
Braxton Miller is kind of good. We all saw what he did a season ago in his first year under Urban Meyer, and it all resulted in the 2012 Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year. Back under center as a junior, Miller is the favorite to repeat in 2013. Will he do it? Who are his biggest competitors? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina discuss it in this post.
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
Tackles are an inexact science, to be sure. Teams award them differently, so it’s not always as simple as comparing Player A from School A to Player B from School B. Whatever the case, the Big Ten returns several of its top tacklers, including 2012 leader Anthony Hitchens. Who will lead the Big Ten in tackles this fall? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their picks in this post.
Last year was hardly the season of the sack. For the first time in at least a decade, no Big Ten player recorded double-digit sacks. Nine was good enough for the 2012 lead, shared between Northwestern’s Tyler Scott and Ohio State’s John Simon. Who will lead the Big Ten in sacks in 2013? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their picks in this post.
David Banks-US PRESSWIRE
No category, it seems, is more difficult to predict on a yearly basis than interceptions. Sure, we know who the best cover guys are in the league every year, but that’s not always who finds himself on top of the leaderboard. Last year, there was a quartet of guys who led the Big Ten, with four interceptions. Only Landon Feichter returns from the group. Will he repeat in 2013? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their picks.