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Big Ten Football Preview 2013

Last year’s Big Ten league was pretty terrible.  Only four teams ranked, and the two that did (Michigan and Nebraska) were ranked 24 and 25, and the second best team, Northwestern, finished 17.  Ouch.  In fact, the Big 10 hasn’t won a national championship since Ohio State in 2002. So, let’s review the teams for the upcoming 2013 season.

1.) Ohio State

Urban Meyer had  an awful year last year with a 12-0 record.  He is not known for keeping his players in line, either at his previous post as Gators head coach and the Aaron Hernandez shenangians or with his current Buckeye players.  He really needs to step up, but with players Braxton Miller as QB and Carlos Hyde as RB, they have a shot at ending the SEC’s reign.

2.) Michigan

The Detroit native, Devon Gardner, will start his junior year season as the starting QB after only playing a little last season, and at WR for parts of his first two years. Brady Hoke has done an excellent job recruiting high quality talent, such as newbie running back Derrick Green, to support his pro-style offense, and the go away from the spread offense of previous coach Rich Rodriguez.  They’re looking good this year!

3.) Northwestern

While the Wildcats were the second best team of the Big 10 last year, they still weren’t particularly noticeable.  They still have the very talented senior running back, Venric Mark and the equally thoughtful coach, Pat Fitzgerald. This year, the Wildcats have a huge advantage as Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State will play on their home grass.

4.) Nebraska

The Huskers have had a rough go of it lately. Every season they have huge expectations, and the last two seasons have been particularly bad, specifically when Wisconsin creamed them 70-31 in the title game.  This year isn’t shaping up too great either with another year of Martinez.

5.) Penn State

Under penalty last year for the Sandusky scandal, The Nittany Lions should do well this year under Bill O’Brien. Unfortunately, they are still ineligible for the postseason for three more years.  The team is made up of high quality tight ends, like Breneman

6.) Michigan State

The Spartans defense looks stellar again this year, as they did last year.  Their offense game, on the other hand, needs a ton of help.  They lost a key player in RB Le’Veon Bell.  Their passing game needs a ton of help too.  On their side is a weak schedule in their favor which might propel them into a quality bowl.

7. )Wisconsin

The new coach, Gary Andersen, hails from Utah State, after previous coach Bret Bielema departed for Fayetteville. The Badgers will continue on with the power running game, but the new OC has big plans to improve the passing game.  The Badgers are blessed with an easy schedule, they don’t play Michigan, Michigan State or Nebraska, so they’ll lack the game play to somehow get into the Rose Bowl for a fourth year.

 

8.)Indiana

The Hoosiers had the most passing yards per game in the Big Ten last .  Indiana has an abysmal track record, with  having played in one bowl in the last 20 seasons, but this year they have an advantage with  an easier schedule than 2012. Head Coach Kevin Wilson has his choice this year of starting QB with Cameron Coffman, Tre Roberson, and the rising sophomore Nate Sudfeld.

9.)Purdue

The Boilermakers have high hopes with new coach from Kent State, Darrell Hazell.  Hopefully he is able to work some magic on this team, who have only had one double digit win since 1979.  Ouch.  A lot of things are not on Purdue’s side, like a challenging schedule and an inexperienced backfield.

10.) Minnesota

Last year was pretty lackluster for the Gophers with only a 6-7  season with a loss to coach-less Texas Tech in a pre-New Year’s Day bowl. Minnesota takes on terrible opponents in the non-con schedule , so there is a good chance they could be 4-0 heading into conference play.

11.) Iowa

Coach Ferentz is back again and his team is just above .500 since 2005, if the fluke 2009 Orange Bowl season was toss out that is. An unnamed QB starts this year and they have a tough schedule.  The 2013 season is not shaping up well for the Hawkeyes.

12.) Illinois

Senior QB, Nate Scheelhaase is expected to have another stellar season, Heisman-worthy, even.  The team, though, might be a different story.  Scheelhaase, is a run-first, pass-last type of guy.  Good news for Illinois, though, is that they move tot he West division next year.

So there you have it, the good, the bad and the ugly of the 2013 Big Ten Football.

2012 Preseason Big 10 Football Rankings

2012 Big 10 Football Preseason Rankings

If defense continues to rule the Big 10, expect the Michigan State Spartans to rule the roost!

Although it’s only July, we thought it was about time to start thinking a little bit about college football.  What better way to kick things off than to take a look ahead at the Big 10 Conference.  Traditional powerhouse football programs like Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan, and Penn State make the Big Ten one of the toughest conferences in the country every year.  This year will be no different with 3 teams ranked in the top 10 to begin the year.  The question is who will win the Big 10 in 2012?

2012 Big 10 Football Rankings

1.  Michigan State Spartans

The Big 10 is always a defense first conference.  MSU should have the stingiest defense in the conference as they will be returning 9 starters from a squad the boasted the top overall defense.  There are some questions on offense but a solid running game should help new QB Andrew Maxwell settle in.

2.  Wisconsin Badgers

It never really seems to matter where people predict the Badgers to finish since they are always in the hunt for a Big 10 title when the season comes to an end.  Like MSU, there are some questions on offense but Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball is back to dominate the running game and the defense should be as good as ever.  The Badgers also have a rather favorable schedule as MSU and OSU will have to make the trip to Camp Randall Stadium.

3.  Michigan Wolverines

The Wolverines easily could be the #1 team this preseason with a potent offense led by Denard Robinson and Fitz Toussaint.  However, offensive juggernauts typically do not fare all that well in the Big 10.  Michigan’s schedule is also rather difficult with a date with Alabama in addition to conference games against Nebraska and Ohio State on the road.

4.  Ohio State Buckeyes

New head coach Urban Meyer has his work cut out for him rebuilding a team that finished 6-7 last year.  However, OSU has a lot of talent coming in with the #1 recruiting class in the Big 10 which includes two 5-star and thirteen 4-star prospects.  The new talent should help Coach Meyer install his new offense.

5.  Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Cornhuskers appear destined for Big 10 mediocrity this season.  While they have a sure and steady offense with Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead leading the way, there are still many questions on defense.  They also have a tough schedule that includes road games against Ohio State and Michigan State.

6.  Penn State Nittany Lions

Chalk this up as another lost season as PSU will be looking to get the Joe Paterno – Jerry Sandusky stink off the football program.  They still have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball but no one knows what the 2012 squad is going to look like outside of tailback Silas Redd.

7.  Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue could be one of the bigger surprises in the Big 10 this year.  They are fresh off a bowl victory in 2011 and will return most of their impact players.  This team will go as far as QB Rob Henry will take them.

8.  Northwestern

The Wildcats lost their QB – WR combo with Dan Persa and Jeremy Ebert leaving.  However, Kain Colter gained some valuable experience last year and showed his is more than capable of running the offense.  The big questions for Northwestern comes on defense.  If they can figure out a way to stop anybody this team could surprise some people.

9.  Iowa Hawkeyes

Most think the Hawkeyes are better than 9th in the big 10 but they lost a lot of talent from a mediocre 7-5 team.  Iowa #6 ranked recruiting class just won’t have enough impact players to truly contend in the Big 10.

10.  Illinois Fighting Illini

The Illini have a new head coach and there will certainly be some adjustment that will need to take place before U of I makes any impact in the Big 10.  They do have some talent on defense so don’t be surprised if they pull off an upset or two but consistency will certainly be a problem.

11.  Minnesota Golden Gophers

If the Gophers were in the Leaders Division they might have a shot if  quarterback MarQueis Gray can continue to develop.  However, they are in the Legends Division and it will not be a fun season for them.

12. Indiana Hoosiers

The Hoosiers finished just 1-11 last year.  While we expect them to improve quite a bit over last season, it’s hard to imagine this team competing for much.  Hey, at least the Hoosier have only one direction to go…up!

If you are looking for tickets to any exciting Big 10 football action be sure to check out our Big 10 Football Classifieds!

Week-5 NCAA Football Games to Watch

Week 5 NCAA Football Games to Watch:

Nebraska at Wisconsin – This will be a well matched game take place at Camp Randall this Saturday.  The ninth-ranked Cornhuskers will take their first swing at the eighth-ranked Badgers.

The Cornhusker’s offense coach, Bo Pelini, focuses on two key things when on the field: 1) running the ball 2) running the ball some more. Their rushing offense is very impressive. The Huskers are led by mobile quarterback Taylor Martinez who has an impressive 63 carries for 421 yards AND seven touchdowns.

While Nebraska has the impressive running game, Wisconsin is still expected to be the victor of this game as they have the best offense in college football with Russell Wilson’s arm.

Clemson at Virginia Tech – This will be a hot game.  This will be the third week in a row that the Tigers will face a Top 25 team.  Clemson has come out victories in every one of these games which include Florida State, Auburn, Wofford and Troy.  The Hokies have not faced such tough hurdles yet.  They’ve only been paired with Appalachian State, East Carolina, Arkansas State and Marshall thus far.  Clemson is expected to come out as the victor by a narrow margin.

Northwestern at Illinois – Two very competitive Big 10 Illinois teams will face off on Champaign campus.  The Illini are expected to narrowly beat out the Wildcats.

Utah State at BYU – These teams have a strong rivalry and will make for an exciting Friday night game.  Utah has been getting progressively stronger and better as a team; expect them to give BYU a run for their money.

Iowa State at Texas – While the Cyclones have a perfect record thus far, the Longhorns should make quick work of that.

Navy at Air Force - Two military teams pitted against each other always makes for exciting game watching.  Navy is expected to easily take down Air Force.

Nevada at Boise State – The Broncos are still miffed about missing their chance at the Rose Bowl last year.  Boise State is on a quest this year, they won’t be rolling over for anyone. 

Michigan State at Ohio State – OSU seems to be like a lost puppy without Terrelle Pryor.  MSU should easily sweep last year’s Champion team.

LSU at Kentucky – LSU is expected to continue to dominate all other teams for good long while. 

Arkansas at Texas A&M – As the Aggies officially join the SEC Conference this week, their out to prove themselves.  This game is critical for both teams who want to bounce back after their tough loses last week.  

Alabama at Florida - Both teams have very strong defensive games, but Alabama could face some big problems as they encounter Florida’s two dominant running backs, Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps.  The Crimson Tide and the Gators have previously shown their strength against formidable teams; Arkansas and Kentucky.

Big 10 Tournament Stats and Info

Ah, the Big 10.  Perhaps it’s because I’m a graduate of Indiana University, a Hoosier forever at heart, but I find the Big 10 to be the most inspiring conference of them all.

The tournament will be held in Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana and will begin on Thursday.

The tournament will tip off at 2:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 10, as No. 8 Northwestern (7-11) takes on No. 9 Minnesota (6-12) on ESPN2. The second game will feature No. 7 Michigan State (9-9) vs. No. 10 Iowa (4-14) on ESPN2. The final game of the day will be between No. 6 Penn State (9-9) and No. 11 Indiana (3-15), broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

Let’s take a quick peek at the teams. The Fighting Illinis look great going into the Big Ten Tournament. They hold down the number five seed, but they play the number four Michigan Wolverines on Friday. In the last matchup between the two teams on February 16th, it took two late free throws to finally take down the Wolverines.

Most of the media outlets like ESPN and CBS Sports are expecting Ohio State to take the top spot this tournament and nationally.  They recently annihilated the Wisconsin Badgers, 93-65, and this had fueled their fire. Senior guard Jon Diebler is unstoppable. In his last 2 games, Diebler has shot 17 of 20 from 3 point range. If Diebler continues to play like this, the other teams won’t stand a chance.

The 13th ranked Badgers are spearheaded by Jon Leuer (18.9 PPG, 7.3RPG) and Jordan Taylor (18.2 PPG, 4.8 APG, 4.2 RPG).  This team is speculated to be the only ones to give the Buckeyes a run for their money.

The Purdue Boilermakers have great potential and have won against the two best teams in the league. Their erratic play is perplexing and therefore not speculated to win the Big Ten Championship after being defeated by one of the Big Ten’s worst teams.(Iowa).

Stats:

(1)  Ohio State Buckeyes (29-2, 16-2)

(2)    (3) Wisconsin Badgers (23-7, 13-5)

(3)    (3) Purdue Boilermakers (25-6, 14-4)

(4)    Michigan Wolverines (19-12, 9-9).

(5)    Illinois Illini (19-12, 9-9)

(6)    Michigan State (17-13, 9-9)

First Round (Thursday, March 10)

Game 1: No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Minnesota, 2:30 p.m., ESPN2

Game 2: No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Iowa, 25 minutes following Game 1 conclusion, ESPN2

Game 3: No. 6 Penn State vs. No. 11 Indiana, 7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Second Round (Friday, March 11)

Game 4: No. 1 Ohio State vs. Game 1 Winner, Noon, ESPN

Game 5: No. 4 Illinois vs. No. 5 Michigan, 25 minutes following Game 4 conclusion, ESPN

Game 6: No. 2 Purdue vs. Game 2 Winner, 6:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Game 7: No. 3 Wisconsin vs. Game 3 Winner, 25 minutes following Game 6 conclusion, Big Ten Network

Semi-Finals Round (Saturday, March 12)

Game 8: Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, 1:40 p.m., CBS Sports

Game 9: Game 6 Winner vs. Game 7 Winner, 25 minutes following Game 8 conclusion, CBS Sports

Championship Game (Sunday, March 13)

Game 10: Tournament Championship, 3:30 p.m., CBS Sports

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