Week 2 brings more juice than the opening salvo to the season, as there are three nationally relevant games: Michigan State at Oregon; Virginia Tech at Ohio State; Michigan at Notre Dame. In fact, those games will offer the Big Ten a golden chance to make a statement. A win by the Spartans on the road in raucous Autzen Stadium would stamp them legit national title contenders. Here’s a look at the best of Week 2.
With the season less than 100 days away and preview magazines on the shelves of the local Piggly Wiggly, it’s never too early to start looking forward to the college football season. This week, I begin to take a week-by-week look at the coming season, highlighting what to look for. Consider it an early, early preview. You’re welcome.
The formula for building a non-conference schedule is pretty standard: play one challenging game vs. a team from a Power 5 league (ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten) and three games vs. foes from “lesser” conferences. And ideally, three of the four games are at home. But, as you can see, not all non-conference games are created equally.
We’ve reached the right side of 100 when it comes to the countdown to the college football season. Three months from now, there will be football. Get excited! Until then, we’re previewing the season. It’s time for Tom Dienhart to single out your team’s toughest non-conference game.
The Gary Andersen era began with success in 2013. In fact, Wisconsin had BCS bowl aspirations before losing the finale to Penn State at home.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
Everything came up roses, literally and figuratively, for Michigan State last season. The Spartans won their first Big Ten title since taking a share of the 2010 crown. And Michigan State went to its first Rose Bowl since the 1987 season, beating Stanford to finish 13-1 overall en route to ranking No. 3 in the polls.
There is a sense of urgency around Ann Arbor as Brady Hoke and his short-sleeved shirts enter their fourth season at the helm.
Welcome to the Big Ten, Maryland. But beware: Your maiden voyage may be a bumpy one, so buckle up. Playing in the rugged Big Ten East is hazardous to the health of a developing program like Maryland.
If you see Kirk Ferentz smiling a lot, you’ll know why after looking at the Iowa schedule. No Iowa coach would admit it, but this is a schedule to die for, a chance to get fat, happy and maybe win Iowa its first Big Ten championship since 2004. Heck, even master cupcake scheduler Bill Snyder of Kansas State has to be jealous of this low-calorie menu.
Indiana hasn’t been to a bowl since 2007. Kevin Wilson is getting the Hoosiers closer, going from one, to four, to five wins in his three seasons in Bloomington. A postseason trip almost happened last year, if not for tough losses to Navy and Minnesota. Just like last season, Indiana will be propelled in 2014 by one of the Big Ten’s top offenses. But will the defense be better?
As Year Three of the Tim Beckman era downs, a sense of urgency has set in around Champaign-Urbana. When will Beckman deliver a bowl?
Back in April, the Big Ten announced it was going to implement a nine-game conference schedule, starting in 2016. Thursday, it unveiled the first such schedule—along with the 2017 Big Ten league slate.
I know your time is precious in the fall. Between driving to soccer games, raking leaves, making cider and carving pumpkins, your schedule is packed. That means finding spare time to watch TV is difficult. No worries. I have ranked every game involving a Big Ten team for the 2013 season. As you can see, not all matchups are created equally.
Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Let’s say time and money are no object to you. You have plenty of each. Plus, you are a huge fan of Big Ten football. Well, you have come to the right place. Let me plan for you this season’s “Ultimate Big Ten Road Trip” that will put you at every week’s top game. Pack your bag!
Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
And, we’ve reached the finish line! That’s right, my early week-by-week look at the 2013 Big Ten football slate has hit Week 14, a week highlighted by the annual end-of-the-year Ohio State-Michigan rivalry game. Get all the storylines, matchups and my game rankings for Week 14 in this post.
It’s time to consider Week 13 in my early week-by-week analysis of the 2013 Big Ten football season. This is a busy week, with all 12 teams in action, and it’s one that figures to feature games that impact the Legends and Leaders championship races. Get all the storylines, matchups and my game rankings for Week 13 in this post.
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
I’m continuing my early week-by-week look at the 2013 Big Ten schedule, and it’s all about Week 12 today. This Saturday’s slate of games is heavy at the top, with big-time Legends Division matchups between Michigan-Northwestern and Michigan State-Nebraska. Get all my Week 12 storylines, top matchups and game rankings in this post.
Next up in my super-early week-by-week preview of the 2013 Big Ten football schedule: Week 11. This is a week highlighted by the massively huge Legends Division battle between Nebraska and Michigan at Michigan Stadium. It also features one nonconference game: BYU at Wisconsin. Get all the storylines, matchups and my game rankings for Week 11 in this post.