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It’s the third component of every team. It’s also the most overlooked component. It’s special teams. And it’s often the difference between winning and losing. So, pay attention to these rankings, from 1 to 12, of the Big Ten special teams. Oh, and don’t forget about all of my 2012 unit rankings. Don’t agree with the rankings? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post or tweet me: @BTNTomDienhart.
Big Ten defensive backfields are loaded with talent, including cornerbacks like Michigan State’s Johnny Adams, Iowa’s Micah Hyde and Purdue’s Ricardo Allen, along with safeties like Ohio State’s C.J. Barnett, Michigan State’s Isaiah Lewis and Michigan’s Jordan Kovacs. And some of the units figure to rank among the best in the nation, including those at Ohio State, Michigan State and Nebraska.
Linebacker play in the Big Ten should be strong this season, led by players like Wisconsin’s Mike Taylor, Penn State’s Gerald Hodges, Illinois’ Jonathan Brown and Michigan’s Kenny Demens, among many others. But which Big Ten schools have the best linebacking corps? Find out in my Big Ten unit rankings in this post. Don’t agree? Leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post. Also, don’t forget about all of my 2012 unit rankings.
The trenches are where games are won–ask any coach. And the Big Ten, led by a strong crop in the Leaders Division, has some good defensive fronts that will rate among the best in the nation. Where does your Big Ten school’s defensive line rank? Check out my entire list in this post. Don’t agree with my rankings? Leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post. Also, don’t forget about all of my 2012 unit rankings.
For any good offense, it all begins up front. It’s not an oversimplification to say the teams with the best offenses typically feature the best lines. Knowing that, Michigan State and Wisconsin have to be happy entering the 2012 college football season. I like the Spartans and Badgers’ front lines, to the point where they rank 1-2 in my Big Ten offensive line unit rankings. Where does your school’s line rank? See the entire list in this post. Also, check out all of my 2012 unit rankings.
Lots of questions loom on receiving corps across the Big Ten. The top seven pass catchers from 2011 are gone: Illinois’ A.J. Jenkins; Iowa’s Marvin McNutt; Northwestern’s Jeremy Ebert; Michigan State’s B.J. Cunningham; Wisconsin’s Nick Toon; Michigan State’s Keshawn Martin; Minnesota’s Da’Jon McKnight.
When Montee Ball opted to return for his senior season, he solidified Wisconsin as a Big Ten favorite and himself as a Heisman Trophy front-runner. Ball also cemented the Badgers’ status as having the Big Ten’s top collection of running backs. And perhaps the best collection in the nation. Here is how I rate the Big Ten running back units, which are a strong collection of talent with 12 of last season’s top 14 rushers back.