As we sit on the edge of Football Saturday, there’s lots of news to catch up on. I will be at the Michigan at Nebraska game, and the more I think about it, the more I realize the magnitude of this game for the Cornhuskers. A win over the Big Ten unbeaten Wolverines would push Nebraska into the driver’s seat in the Legends—and give the program a much-needed marquee win. In fact, it would be the biggest Big Ten victory for the Huskers.
Took a quick spin around the headlines this morning and here’s what I found. How can Michigan’s offense keep it going? What’s fueling Penn State’s attack? How worried are the Hawkeyes? And here comes that rematch. Let’s dive in.
In today’s batch of Big Ten Links, I open with a good look at Ohio State’s struggling defense, which allowed a combined 87 points the last two weeks. That’s no secret, and as Bill Rabinowitz writes today in the Columbus Dispatch, a big reason for the struggles is the lack of strong linebacker play. Attrition through transfers, injuries, and position switches has chipped away at the unit’s depth.
Nebraska plays at Northwestern this Saturday in Evanston, but that venue could change in the future. Why? Money. A lot of people could make a lot of it if Nebraska played Northwestern in venerable Wrigley Field. And, it could happen, according to Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald.
My first Big Ten Links of the weeks takes a look at how Wisconsin reloads on the offensive line. Losing star left tackle Ricky Wagner with a knee injury at Purdue hurts, but the Badgers front didn’t skip a beat with left guard Ryan Groy slipping into the spot. The result: Wisconsin ran for almost 500 yards on the Boilermakers.
Is there a conspiracy theory as to why Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti was snubbed by the Lombardi Award in the quarterfinal round of balloting? Or maybe it wasn’t a snub. Maybe it was just plain, good old incompetence. David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News explores as only David Jones can. That’s one of the many Big Ten Links I present to you on this wonderful Friday.
The Wisconsin offense appears to perhaps be turning a corner after some early season tumult that saw the offensive line coach fired and the staff make a quarterback change. There have been many keys to the slow ascent. One key: quarterback Joel Stave is given the option to “tweak” plays—not necessarily totally change them—at the line based on the defense he sees.
We take a look at stories on one offensive line and one defensive line in today’s installment of Big Ten Links. Also, Urban Meyer is keeping an eye on the AP poll while Illinois fans are taking a long, hard look at Tim Beckman. One longtime Big Ten writer breaks out some wild stats from the season so far while another continues to grade the units at Penn State. Let’s get to the roundup of stories in this post.
Some strong opinions are emanating from Nebraska after that 63-38 loss at Ohio State. Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald thinks Bo Pelini needs to shake up things. Big Ten writers are covering a number of other stories today, including a disappointing showing by Illinios, an Ohio State team apparently ahead of schedule, and a Penn State team that has shown real resilience. Read it all in Monday edition of Big Ten Links.
Let’s just say it isn’t a great year for Big Ten quarterbacks. In fact, according to David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News, the conference’s signal-callers are at the bottom of the barrel. In other headlines in my daily links, we look at stories on Ohio State’s improved linebacker play, Iowa’s defensive uptick, and a fascinating comparison of the Buckeye and Husker programs through the years. Let’s dive in.
Bo Pelini vs. Urban Meyer. The matchup has juicy possibilities this Saturday night when they square off at Ohio State. And the two have some history. Meyer was a Buckeye graduate assistant coach in 1986-87, which were Pelini’s first two years as an Ohio State defensive back. The two also have met three times as coaches, from 2005-07, when Pelini was LSU defensive coordinator and Meyer was Florida head coach. And Pelini’s teams went 3-1 against Meyer’s teams.
The great Pat Harty of the Iowa City Press-Citizen takes the temperature of the Big Ten race. Did you see that video of Iowa players celebrating Saturday? Urban Meyer says Ohio State did nothing wrong with that game film. And at 0-1 in the Big Ten, Wisconsin seems to be in familiar territory. We take a look at those stories and more in today’s Big Ten Links.
Nebraska’s 30-27 win over Wisconsin offers much to build on, but there also remains a lot to fix following the 17-point comeback, according to the great Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald. The Cornhuskers may not have fallen behind and struggled early against the Badgers if they cut down turnovers and limit penalties. There will be little room for error in the game at Ohio State this Saturday in what shapes up as the latest “Game of the Year” in the Big Ten. Read more Big Ten links in the rest of my post.
The Gophers can thank one specific unit for their early rise this season. Wisconsin has a new face in the backfield and he looks electric. Penn State does something interesting with their offensive lineman each week, and the Wisconsin-Nebraska game is becoming a new rivalry. And where is Nebraska looking when it comes to finding a new athletic director? Read about all of this and more in today’s Big Ten links.
Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE
Are the scheduling gods against Penn State? Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror thinks that may be the case. The Nittany Lions are starting Big Ten play on the road for the third consecutive years and seventh time in nine years. Conversely, Ohio State has started Big Ten play with a home game 14 times in the last 20 years.
Looky here: After an 0-2 start, Penn State is now 2-2 as we sit on the doorstep of Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions have some mojo as they head to Illinois on Saturday. Could this team win the Leaders Division? Hmmmm. If the offense keeps playing well under the leadership of surprising quarterback Matt McGloin, it could happen. No Big Ten quarterback is passing the ball better. Simply amazing. Read those Penn State links and find more of the Tuesday headlines from around the Big Ten further down in this post.
My Monday links include some good and provocative pieces from my various colleagues in the Big Ten press corps. Here’s one: Bench Michigan QB Denard Robinson? Are you serious? It’s an idea that the great Kyle Meinke of MLive.com discusses in this interesting piece. Yes, Robinson has had some tough outings against quality foes—including his recent five-interception effort at Notre Dame. But he’ll still leave Michigan as one of the Big Ten’s best players ever.
If Penn State is going to have any shot for success in the future, it will need a strong walk-on program. Bill O’Brien recently conducted walk-on tryouts, and the turnout was good. O’Brien estimated that about 65 people tried out at the recent work out. I think the Nittany Lions may find some players who could help the program down the road in a football-mad state that produces a lot of good prospects. That’s the first of my Friday links – read the rest of this post for more.
Ohio State is blitzing more. Michigan wants more sacks, too. Michigan State needs receivers and Iowa welcomes a soft spot in the schedule. And what price does a coach pay in recruiting battles? Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema gives his take. Check out these headlines and more in my daily links.
Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE