Category Archives: Big Ten

2014 Big Ten football picks

I think this will be one of the better Big Tens we’ve seen in the past decade or so, but I’m not sure there is an elite team in the league. There should be depth, and that could set things up for a strong 2015, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Ohio State is rebuilding on defense, but that unit could hardly be worse than it was when the ’13 season concluded, so it’s hard to count that as a negative. Michigan State’s offense was a sore spot early last season but finished on a high and returns almost everyone of consequence. They’ll have some new faces on the offensive line, but that unit wasn’t great anyway so they can probably get by with an average front again this season all things considered. Teams may play them differently now that Connor Cook is a known commodity, though. How he responds to that will tell a large part of the tale this season. Recent conference history is littered with quarterbacks who looked good early in their career but plateaued. Big Ten logo

Michigan State is, pardon the pun, green in some spots on defense, and it is unlikely the Spartans will be as tough there regardless of how good coaches Mark Dantonio and Pat Narduzzi have proven to be on that side of the ball. The same can be said of Ohio State’s offensive line, though, so it all could be a wash when the teams play Nov. 8. Continue reading

Ohio’s latest football export to the north? Michigan State’s defense

Most avid fans of Ohio State football know Michigan football has long made a living off talent from the Buckeye State. Mark Dantonio has taken up the practice at Michigan State over the past seven years, too, but that’s not all.

Turns out the Spartans’ defensive strategy is a direct import from Ohio as well.

Dantonio, of course, first became well known nationally when the defense he coordinated at Ohio State was an integral part of the Buckeyes’ 2002 national championship season. Dantonio, a Zanesville native who was brought to Columbus by Jim Tressel in 2001, moved the Buckeyes from the imposing, press defense installed by Fred Pagac Sr. in the late 1990s to a scheme built around more zone concepts, though pressuring the quarterback was a key for both men.
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Big Ten West spring football review

After a bit of a delay for some NFL draft coverage, we have finally wrapped up our spring review for Big Ten football at BuckeyeSports.com. Big Ten logo

Earlier we took a look at the East. Now comes the West, which should have an interesting race.

Iowa and Minnesota both showed great improvement last season while Nebraska and Wisconsin have questions but remain contenders.  Continue reading

Big Ten East spring football review

I am going around the league recapping spring football around the Big Ten for BuckeyeSports.com. Big Ten logo

While we’re still rolling out the reviews from the new West, the East is complete.

The race for the first East division crown figures to be interesting as Michigan looks to pick up the pieces from a lost season, Michigan State tries to maintain its defensive strength while growing on offense and Penn State adjusts to another coaching change and the continued effects of scholarship reductions.

Can someone play spoiler out of the group of Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana? The Hoosiers seem like the biggest possibility.  Continue reading

Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian talks CFB unionization

It’s safe to say the pair of young men who shared the Northwestern quarterback duties for the past two seasons do not see eye to eye on the issue of the Wildcat football team unionizing.

While Kain Colter has been the face of the movement since he completed his eligibility after last season,  Northwestern senior-to-be Trevor Siemian voiced his opinion against today on a teleconference the Big Ten held for coaches and players from the West division to discuss spring football with the media. Continue reading

Rutgers and Maryland limping into Big Ten football

Per Scout.com’s Signing Day Primer we learn Rutgers and Maryland are all set to continue the Big Ten’s recent tradition of recruiting poorly:

Another sidelight to the 2014 class was the decimation of Rutgers’ class, which at one time was in the Top 30 but suffered through 12 decommitments.

The Scarlet Knights’ top in-state player is No. 10 Kevin Wilkins, and they only have two of the top 20 players in the state staying home. In fact, Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and Miami each have as many commitments from New Jersey’s Top 20 as the Scarlet Knights.

Maryland didn’t have much in-state success either as only one of the top 25 players in the state opted to remain home, although the state’s No. 1 player, four-star offensive tackle Damian Prince of Forestville (Md.) Bishop McNamara, has the Terps among his finalists heading into signing day.

(via Scout.com: Signing Day Primer: Storylines to Watch.)

With National Signing Day one day away, Ohio State (at No. 4) is the only Big Ten team in the top 10 classes nationally while Wisconsin checks in at No. 19, Penn State is 21st. and Michigan is 24th.  Continue reading

Close the books on another college football season

So another season of college football is over. And what did we learn?

The SEC isn’t the only conference where teams can be made up of big, strong Southern athletes, although anyone who didn’t know that must be under 30 or have a very short memory.

Clemson runs out the clock on Ohio State.
Clemson runs out the clock on Ohio State.

That’s because Florida State cornered the market on dominance for more than a decade leading up to and through the beginning of the BCS era. Before SEC teams were getting the benefit of the doubt in the polls because of recent history, it was the Seminoles. And they earned their place at the top by taking the place of the Miami dynasty that went off the rails after a swaggering, successful decade of the ‘80s.

I am curious what Michigan State might have been able to do in the national championship game because of its defense – the same reason I stopped being curious about how Ohio State would fare on the same stage.  Continue reading

Ohio State-Michigan Second Thoughts

Ohio State’s 42-41 win over Michigan was certainly worth a second full viewing.

The No. 1 takeaway? The Wolverines played pretty well, but Buckeye mistakes were mostly why it was a close game.

Credit goes to much-maligned Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges, who called a great game all the way down to the final touchdown. His uninspired two-point conversion call, however, might have cost the Wolverines the win… (read more).

 

As for Ohio State, Herman always strives for balance, but Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison practically dared him not to be, and that failed miserably.

I mean, yeah, the Wolverines avoided getting dinked and dunked to death by screens, and they forced Miller to pull the ball down in some passing situations, but why Mattison aside from a handful of field linebacker blitzes never put an extra hat in the box to help against a running game that gained nearly 400 yards is beyond my comprehension.

Read more: Scout.com: Ohio State-Michigan Second Thoughts.