Saturday is almost here. Can you feel it? Can you sense it? Every team gets four downs to make something happen. So, why not me? That’s the idea here. Here’s what’s running through my mind with Week 12 of the Big Ten season on the horizon.
Happy Football Friday! The analysis of the Michigan State at Nebraska game continues. Why not? It’s gonna be a great battle that essentially will determine the Legends Division race. But the latest injury news from Lincoln isn’t great, as the offensive line is banged up. Not good news for a Huskers team facing a terrific Spartans front.
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The Big Ten suffered its first losses over the past couple nights, and we learned just a little bit more about the shape of this conference. Let’s dive in. In a formula that might become common this season, Illinois struggled to score over Valparaiso’s length but did enough on defense to secure the victory. After facing two decidedly smaller teams to open the season, Illinois had trouble converting over Valpo’s big and experienced frontline. In fact, the Illini’s 35.6 effective field goal percentage is the lowest mark of the John Groce era, and last season’s team wasn’t exactly a collection of sharpshooters.
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Iowa had seven different players score in double-digits, led by Aaron White’s game-high 22 points, and the Hawkeyes cruised to a 109-63 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Thursday night.
Sure, it’s only mid-November, but whenever ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. releases his initial NFL Draft Board, both college and NFL football fans across the nation take notice. Kiper Jr. recently released his updated big board, which features three Big Ten stars on it. Michigan senior OT Taylor Lewan headlines the list at No. 16 overall.
An interesting Saturday of action is headlined by what could be the Big Ten Game of the Year: Michigan State at Nebraska. Ohio State will look to remain unbeaten when it plays at Illinois. The Buckeyes have owned Illinois, winning the last five meetings and eight of the last nine. The lone Fighting Illini victory in that stretch was when they stunned No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus in 2007 on the way to the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes haven’t lost in Champaign since 1991.