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Week 8 in the Big Ten is chock full of intriguing games. Michigan-Michigan State has arguably been the most talked-about rivalry in the conference over the last five years – from Mike Hart’s “little brother” quip in 2007 all the way through the early-season derogatory comments about Denard Robinson on Twitter by some Michigan State players this season. I can’t wait to get it going Saturday at 3:30 ET on BTN/BTN2Go.
A week or so ago, it would have been crazy to entertain such a topic. But with a 4-3 record and a grueling slate of games remaining, will Michigan State get bowl eligible? It’s a fair question, especially when one takes a look at the team’s final six games: at Michigan, at Wisconsin, Nebraska, Northwestern and at Minnesota.
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.
BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina is unveiling his 2012-13 preseason Big Ten Player Rankings one by one. The countdown goes in reverse order, of course, and each installment includes player stats and one video highlight from last season. Once the season starts, Yarina will release a weekly Player Rankings every Monday. Up next: Michigan State’s Branden Dawson.
On Wednesday’s “The Journey: Big Ten Football,” we profiled quarterbacks Tre Roberson (Indiana) and Kain Colter (Northwestern). The former suffered a season-ending broken leg in September, but he still prepares every day as though he’s the starter. Meanwhile, the latter has several interesting ties to Northwestern. Watch a clip from the show that spotlights the dual-threat quarterbacks now and see our bonus content in this post.