Well we move on from THE game to the B1G game. Let’s see what our staff has in store for us this week:
If it’s Thanksgiving week, it’s time for our yearly check in with That Blogger Up North, Yost from the often hilarious and occasionally comprehensible MZone. Before I got started writing, Yost’s was the only “enemy” site that I visited regularly; my “career” is mostly “Hell, if he can do it, anyone can…”. We were able to pull him out from under his barstool for this year’s visit, and made sure to use small words in our questions.
In spite of his obvious deficiency, he’s a great guy who’s mostly on the twitter these days, and worth a follow.
Lots of speculation that Devin Gardner has a significant injury. Do you believe that he’ll be able to play, or will Shane Morris get his first taste of The Game? If it’s Morris, what does he bring to the table that’s different than Gardner?
I think rather than a singular injury, Devin is suffering from the effects of 11 games of playing behind an O-line providing him with all the protection of jello pudding. Couple that with a schizophrenic offensive strategy at the coaching level and it’s hard to tell where player injuries merge with play calling incoherence.
There’s no question Devin will play and I’ll think he’ll play the entire game barring any new injuries in the OSU game. Good, bad or otherwise, I think we’re long past the point of Morris coming into the game and expecting any significant improvement. He hasn’t had any real meaningful game experience all season.
Unfortunately, all the “easy” games he was supposed to get experience in (Akron, UConn, etc.), Michigan ended up in dogfights so he sat on the bench. To put him in Saturday unless it’s an emergency would just be pointless.
Long term, I think U-M is going to be fine, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed at the regression this season compared to Hoke’s initial campaign. I thought – and still think – Hoke can lead Michigan to great things. However, I’d be surprised if the head-scratchingly bad 2013 season hasn’t instilled a wisp of doubt in even the most ardent Brady Hoke supporters.
After the way this fall’s campaign has disintegrated before my maize and blue eyes, next year is crucial for Hoke. Because if 2014 is another substandard year like 2013, I think you’ll see the bottom drop out of Hoke’s support. And if he doesn’t make needed changes to his staff (yeah, you know who), then he’s turning the heat up another 20 degrees before next September even rolls around. Because if Hoke doesn’t realize something isn’t working on his staff at a coaching level, then much more of the blame will shift to him and not just on coordinators or position coaches.
Word Association- Al Borges. Read More
The next session of roundtable participants is a dandy and we’re privileged to have them with us! Our longtime friend who always takes time to help us out is Purdue graduate Robby Donoho who is the Sports Anchor/Reporter at WCBI in Columbus, Mississippi ; Adam Johnson who is the lead writer for the Crimson Quarry representing the Hoosiers; Hondo Carpenter representing the Michigan State Spartans and is the founder and publisher of Spartan Nation.
Who did you lose from last season and how big of a loss will it be?
In terms of production, the loss of these five guys isn’t tremendous. Purdue will miss Byrd’s ability from the perimeter as he really seemed to hone in his 3-point shot. Anthony Johnson just never seemed to click with Matt Painter and that also goes for Donnie Hale and Jacob Lawson. All three transferred in the offseason. Anthrop came off the bench and gave Purdue minutes towards the end but the Boilers will miss Sandi Marcius, who decided to use his 5th year waiver to play for DePaul this upcoming season. No one blames Sandi for his decision, but his beef inside and his effort on the glass will be greatly missed with a team that still needs to find its killer instinct in the rebounding department.
Adam - Everyone. Indiana lost 2 top 4 draft picks and 2 major contributing seniors. It’s going to take some time to get used to playing with Zeller, Oladipo, Hulls and Watford. All of them were major contributors in one way or another. I can’t argue that Indiana will be able to replace Zeller and Oladipo just like that, but I think Jeremy Hollowell can fill the Christian Watford role. Indiana won’t be able to fill Hulls’ role as a shooter, but I think an increase in ability from Yogi Ferrell plus adding a lot of size at the 2 guard will make it a net neutral change.
Hondo - Derrick Nix graduated and is now playing in Europe. He was a backup center and although he is a great young man his loss is nominal at best.
Who are your returners from last year? Which one will be the team leader?
Robby - Terone Johnson, AJ Hammons, Ronnie Johnson, Rapheal Davis
Those four are the big ones that are back in the old gold and black this year for coach Painter. Terone really began to find his shot last season and he’ll be depended upon to keep that jumper going this year. Hammons is the most crucial part of the puzzle for Purdue. He’s the lone returning player that is a true center and takes up space inside. His post game continues to be his most valuable asset for the Boilermakers going forward. With his play inside gives the ability to Purdue’s perimeter shooters to linger on the 3-point line and be ready to hoist up the treys. Ronnie brings back much-needed experience at point and Rapheal has to become the scorer the Boilers desperately need.
Adam - Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey are the two key returnees. Yogi was a starting point guard whose sole responsibility was to get guys the ball and get out of the way. That’s going to change as he will now expected to shoulder a scoring load. Will Sheehey for three years has been the spark off the bench, but will now also be forced to take an on-court leadership role to go along with his fiery play.
Hondo - Tom Izzo has said he might not have any captains because of so many returning key players. Branden Dawson & Gary Harris could both leave early for the NBA after this season. Harris is a sure 1st rounder as is senior Adreian Payne who chose to return for his senior campaign.
Who are your newcomers? Which one do you think will contribute right away? Read More
OK, I’m starting to feel a little nauseated.
This pick ‘em thing is not working out like I planned.
Of course I expected to win. Who expects to lose other than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Let’s recap our last week of picks, which was two weeks ago. Took a week off to attend the funeral of my 95-year-old grandmother in South Bend.
So our picks from the previous week included both Gary and myself picking Penn State over TTUN and Nebraska over Purdon’t.
Gary took Sparty and the Badgers, while I incorrectly took Indiana and Northwestern. Blech!
Once again we don’t have a consensus for this week’s picks.
Gary and I agree that Ohio State will beat Penn State, Nebraska will beat Minnesota and that Northwestern will win at Iowa.
But again, we differ in another game.
I like Illinois to defend the home field against Sparty, who couldn’t score with a pocket full of change in a …. well, never mind.
“Sticking with my hometown boy Dantonio to bring me success in beating down a Chicago Blackhawks fan,” Gary said smugly.
Illinois can’t stink all the time, right?
So to recap:
Standings after four weeks:
Even though football is in full swing, the B1G is a hoops conference as well. As we love to do around these parts, we place some calls to our blogging friends around the B1G country and ask them some questions about their upcoming teams. I have invited some writers that we’ve had here before in Ben Jones from StateCollege.com for The Nitany Lions; Philip Rossman-Reich from Lake the Posts for Northwestern; Jay Swenson of Mad Town Badgers for Wisconsin. We will be covering all of the B1G teams as the season approaches.
Who did you lose from last season and how big of a loss will it be?
Ben Jones - Penn State had a bit of a player departure issue after the season for various reasons. Patrick Ackerman and Akosa Maduegbunam were both underclassmen who were never going to play, so to be blunt the team doesn’t miss much with these guys leaving . Sasa Borovnjak left following graduation and leaves Penn State without a real experienced post player.
Jermaine Marshall and Jon Graham both left as well to round out the group. Marshall left to try and support his son and girlfriend although there is some indication he wasn’t happy at Penn State. Jon Graham left for personal reasons. Overall Penn State had a tough offseason in terms of departures but the team will miss Marshall the most. Chambers brought in transfer Allen Roberts to try and stop the bleeding in the scoring department but obviously Marshall would have been preferred in that department.
In the end it’s a larger loss in terms of numbers than it might be on the court.
Philip Rossman-Reich - The big loss from last year is the coach: Bill Carmody. Carmody was at Northwestern for 11 years and really brought the program to a new height. That height was not the NCAA Tournament, but teams knew they would be in for a battle when they came to Evanston to face the Wildcats. There were limitations though and now that Northwestern has bigger expectations for itself, the school went in a different direction. So for the first time in a very long time, the Wildcats have a new head coach. Read More
I guess my sarcasm didn’t get me very far last week.
Gary had a solid week of picking, hitting on all the games except Illinois-Nebraska.
I thought I was safe with Penn State over Indiana. Really, Nittany Lions?
And Iowa let me down too.
Still a long way to go and we have some fun ones this week.
I’m done with Purdue. Boiler down.
I’m gonna jump on the Hoosier bandwagon while Gary will take Sparty.
“It’s a home game,” he said. “The hometown pick worked for me last week.”
The big game is up in Madison where Northwestern will try to rebound from the neutral field loss to Ohio State.
I like the Cats here. Gary doesn’t.
“I don’t think they can go up to Camp Randall and win,” Gary said.
So let’s recap.
Standings after 2 weeks:
Gary isn’t getting cocky ….. Yet.
“One game is not enough,” he said. “If you keep picking for your neighbor I might be ok.”
Another great look at the upcoming season from Scott, formerly from the Dayton Daily News and Beavercreek News-Current.
Wanna show us what you’ve got? You can always hit us up via gmail.
Ahhh, you have to love this time of the year.
It’s almost time for college football and I can picture it all now.
To help whet your appetite for things to come this fall, I present some notes and quotes from the recently held Big 10 media days.
Optimism abounds ….. sort of
I give you Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald. “I don’t know if you guys or anyone is charting how many times a coach up here says ‘excited’ but I think across the country every coach is really in anticipation for two weeks from now when we get together with our teams … ”
Just for the record, coach, the word was used 51 times based on the transcripts the Big 10 published on its website. The range went from 11 times by one coach to zero by another. The coach that finished at the bottom used the word the most. But if you are Illinois and Coach Tim Beckman, there is nowhere to go but up, so why not be excited.
The coach who said it zero times? The same coach who lost zero games last season. And if you have to look that up, you don’t belong on this website. Read More
When most national sports writers speak about schools dethroning the SEC’s run of seven straight national championships, the usual suspects are identified; Oregon, Stanford, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida State, and Notre Dame to name a few.
However, when those same writers talk about conferences that stand to unseat the SEC, the B1G usually isn’t at the top of the list. Many feel the Pac 12 with Oregon and Stanford is the closest conference with a shot followed by the Big 12 with Oklahoma and a somewhat surging Texas Longhorns.
Most feel like when it comes to the B1G it’s back to the old school “big 2 and little 10(11, 13)”. Ohio State and Michigan have noticeably separated themselves when it has come to recruiting in the B1G, which led Urban Meyer to call out the coaches and their level of recruiting. When the B1G expanded to include Maryland, Nebraska, and Rutgers, most pundits chuckled at the thought of the B1G returning to football prominence. The fact of the matter is, if the B1G is to return form, it is going to be the Indiana, Minnesota, and Purdue’s of the world who hold the key for success. Read More