If you’re reading this, you’ve survived Bloody Tuesday… don’t you just hate corporate bonding retreats? Here’s some happy music to get you through the day.
On the surface, a 10-2 record for Big Ten teams in week one seems impressive.
But, factor in the opponents and margin of victory, 10-2 doesn’t seem so impressive anymore. We all know how the Ohio State game went, so let’s take a look at how exactly the rest of the Big Ten fared last weekend.
Minnesota kicked off the college football season with a 30-27 triple overtime victory against UNLV. The two teams are probably similar talent wise, as Minnesota will more than likely finish near the bottom of the conference.
In an intriguing matchup, No. 13 Michigan State welcomed No. 24 Boise State to Spartan Stadium Friday night. The Spartans passing attack was lacking as first-year starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell was just 22 of 38 for 248 yards and three interceptions. Not lacking, though, was the running game. Led by Le’Veon Bell’s 44 carries for 210 yards and two touchdowns, Sparty was able to wear the Broncos’ defense down and come away with the victory.
Northwestern defeated Syracuse 42-41 in what was probably the most entertaining Big Ten game of the weekend. Demetrius Fields caught a nine yard touchdown pass from Trevor Siemian with just 44 seconds remaining to give the Wildcats the victory.
No. 17 Nebraska was equally as impressive as the Buckeyes in its 49-20 win against Southern Miss. Quarterback Taylor Martinez looked very impressive as he threw five touchdown passes. Read More
Over the past two Thursdays, we’ve taken a short glance at Ohio State’s nonconference schedule and the first half of the Big Ten games.
While back to back matchups against Michigan State and Nebraska in weeks five and six will be tough tests for the Buckeyes, the final four games are the ones Buckeye fans are waiting for.
This is particularly true for the last two; given the lack of a post-season this year, both matchups will be the culmination of the season for the seniors and a hungry team looking to finish on an up note. While the rest of the country is preparing for their bowl games, Buckeye coaches will be on the recruiting trail- a strong finish will certainly go a long way to solidifying yet another stellar class.
Oh, and there’s not exactly “friendly feelings” with those two programs anyway.
Week 9, Oct. 27: Ohio State at Penn State
(Beaver Stadium—State College, Pennsylvania)
2011 record: 9-4
Returning starters: 9 (4 offense, 5 defense)
It has been dubbed “The Battle of the Banneds.” Both Penn State and Ohio State will not be playing in bowl games in 2012, but they will square off Oct. 27 in Happy Valley. Ohio State has had recent success in games at Beaver Stadium, winning its last meeting there with the Nittany Lions, 24-7, in 2009.
Thanks to its recent sanctions, Penn State has lost several players to transfers. It leaves the Nittany Lions in a tough situation for 2012 and beyond. There will be a lot of hype surrounding this game, though, because both teams are ineligible for postseason play and will want to prove something to the rest of the nation.
Week 10, Nov. 3: Illinois at Ohio State
(Ohio Stadium—Columbus, Ohio)
2011 record: 7-6
Returning starters: 15 (8 offense, 7 defense)
The only way Ohio State could lose this game is by looking ahead to its contest next week against Wisconsin. But, that’s why they play the game.
Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is a dynamic athlete that has the ability to create problems for defenses. But, the Buckeyes should be disciplined enough to contain Scheelhaase. And, with superstar wide receiver A.J. Jenkins no longer in the mix, it should make for an easy Ohio State victory. Read More
So here’s the thing.
The story of the day yesterday was the first episode of All Access, a behind the scenes look at the Buckeye program under the new regime.
But… in a moment of weakness, I DVR’d it And watched it.
And loved ever second.
How can you hate quotes like “Abso-smurfly”, “Bozo the freakin’ clown”, “I’m glad you’re a Buckeye, bro…”, “I like coaching you…” and other admonitions to play “hungry” and “angry”.
And the precision of the offensive staff’s work, the pride that Coach Mariotti puts into his time with the team, and the focus and plan that Coach Meyer is instilling into the team… it’s a really good piece. If you missed it and don’t mind the spoilers, the gang at LGHL have a really good review with picture pages and everything.
I’d be really excited about this, to be honest, if all things were equal. Given the bad PR that my favorite program received over the past few years for numerous self inflicted wounds, it’s great to get excited about OSU football again- and to see a national response (including Southern Cal and Clemson recruits commenting on it) that was pretty positive.
But, I’ll be honest- It’s still hard for me to not be wary about this series. You kick a dog and reach to pet him, he’ll wince and cower even if he lets you stroke his head again. Given what we know about ESPN’s agenda (Entertainment Sports Programming Network), it safe to see that they are interested in a narrative of redemption up until the point that they bang the drums marking a fall from grace.
Just watch the history- 2002 upset their narrative, and then the 2003 Clarett story was a bottom. The 2006 season’s coverage was the apex of good vibes, and then this past year seems to be yet another trough in their coverage- again, a story that Ohio State wrote for itself, but one that got presented over and over and over again on the largest stage while others were way way off Broadway in Coral Gables and Columbia and Chapel Hill.
So- we’ll watch (yup) and see. And, if nothing else, this will give us the chance to celebrate the splendor and power of an Ohio State team on a very particular mission.
Buckle Buckeye up.
Ohio State cannot play for a Big Ten championship in 2012. They can, however, play spoiler to the rest of the conference in a year where it seems wide open.
Last week we dove in to the first four games of OSU’s schedule, all of which were games against opponents not in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes will be favored in each of their first four games, and should head into week five with a 4-0 record.
What is waiting for them in week five? A trip to East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans.
Let’s take a look at OSU’s first four Big Ten games.
Week 5, Sept. 29: Ohio State at Michigan State
(Spartan Stadium—East Lansing, Michigan)
2011 record: 11-3
Returning starters: 12 (4 offense, 8 defense)
As we sit here, just over three weeks from the start of the season, this game has to be one of the most highly anticipated of the Big Ten season. The Spartans are coming off a tremendous season that saw them appear in the first ever Big Ten Championship Game—a 42-39 loss to Wisconsin.
The Spartans lost their quarterback for the last few seasons, Kirk Cousins. Replacing him will be Andrew Maxwell, who has little experience at the collegiate level, but has the ability to be a serviceable quarterback at the Big Ten level. Le’Veon Bell also returns for MSU. He racked up 948 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground in 2011.
This is without a doubt the biggest game for OSU just five weeks into the season. The Spartans will give the Buckeyes all they can handle. Read More
Tim checks in again looking at the guy behind the guy behind the guy across the B1G
Throwing the forward pass is a big question mark for the majority of Big Ten quarterbacks. Their athleticism, though, is not.
Many of the 2012 Big Ten starting quarterbacks are doing everything they can to fight the stereotype of “game manager.” For a conference usually classified by others as boring, I see only four of the 12 projected starters as “pro-style” quarterbacks; the rest can be classified as “dual-threats” or “athletes.”
With that said, I give to you my 2012 Big Ten quarterback rankings.
12. Matt McGloin (Penn State): McGloin has started ten games in his Nittany Lion career, but just hasn’t gotten any better. However, he’s far and away PSU’s best option at quarterback. Last year, McGloin threw for 1,571 yards with 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. With the Penn State program in such turmoil, it would be nice if they had a savior at quarterback. Matt McGloin is not that.
11. Tre Roberson (Indiana): Although he was just a true freshman, Roberson struggled as Indiana’s starting quarterback last year. His rushing ability can make him a dangerous player for defense to account for. And in Roberson’s defense, he plays for Indiana.
10. Andrew Maxwell (Michigan State): Maxwell sat behind Kirk Cousins for two seasons, not getting many opportunities to show off his talent. Inexperience is the reason why I have Maxwell ranked where I do. He’s got the physical skills, but just simply hasn’t played in enough games yet for me to rate him any higher than ten.
9. Kain Colter (Northwestern): Colter may not be the best natural quarterback for the Wildcats, but he’s definitely their best athlete. In addition to quarterback, he also spent time playing running back and wide receiver for Northwestern. In 2011, Colter threw for 673 yards and six touchdowns, ran for 654 yards and nine touchdowns and caught 43 passes for 466 yards and three touchdowns. For Northwestern, it is simple: Get him the damn ball.
8. Caleb TerBush (Purdue): From everything I’ve heard, Purdue doesn’t even know who its starting quarterback is going to be. It’s a race between TerBush and Robert Marve, who has been playing college football for about fifteen years now. My guess is the Boilermakers will go with TerBush, who threw for nearly 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns last year.
7. MarQueis Gray (Minnesota): Gray has all of the physical tools to be an All-Big Ten selection. The 6’4” 240 quarterback has a deadly combination of size and speed, but he hasn’t lived up to all of his hype—now entering his senior season. He did take major strides last season, though, under coach Jerry Kill. Gray threw for nearly 1,500 yards last season and ran for 966, scoring 14 total touchdowns. But, like Roberson, Gray does not have much help as he plays for a team that finished 3-9 last season.
6. Nathan Scheelhaase (Illinois): Illini fans were left wanting more from Scheelhaase in 2011. After a very promising freshman campaign in which he threw for over 1,800 yards, ran for 868 yards and scored 22 total touchdowns, Scheelhaase showed little improvement in h is sophomore season. In fact, many Illinois supporters say he took a step backwards during his sophomore campaign. He threw for just 13 touchdowns and ran for 624 yards. Losing superstar wide receiver A.J. Jenkins won’t make things easier for him either, but Scheelhaase is another dual-threat quarterback that has the ability to drive opposing coaches crazy.
As all is quiet on the (mid)western front, here’s Wednesday’s bucket o’ links and commentary.
Nope, this weekend starts the summer football camp season in Columbus, which is a B1G deal for the 2013/14 classes as well as for Coach Meyer’s continued
scorched earth policy building relationships with coaches and programs across the state. This weekend’s a one day camp, and the process builds to July’s Friday Night Lights event. For many HS students, this might be the make or break opportunity that they’ve been looking- a number of OSU targets have been encouraged to camp in order to either earn an offer or to be evaluated and have their offer “bumped up” to “Commit-able”. Many thought that QBs Malik Zaire and Mitch Trubisky were in this category, as Urban wanted to see them camp prior to having them join the 2013 class… obviously they wanted to be somewhere else or wanted someone who didn’t require them to “audition”.
Names to keep an ear out for this weekend include national #3 safety Vonn Bell, who will be making his second unofficial in less than a month- that’s got to be a good sign, methinks. Also, Lakota’s Kyle Meadows will be participating, as will Wayne’s Lovell Peterson, both will be looking to earn offers. Finally, North Carolina DE/LB Tyquan Lewis will also be present- another interesting recruit from the Tar Heel State.
Once the B1G had added Nebraska as their twelth member in the Summer of 2010, the conference expansion discussion found itself quietly simmering in the other room – out of sight, but not entirely out of mind. Every once in a while, not surprisingly, someone has to get up and stir the pot a little.
We’ve watched the Big East scramble to find partners, seeing their own demise written on the wall with the loss of Syracuse and Pitt to the ACC. We’ve seen the SEC poach Missouri and Texas A&M off the Big 12. And we’ve seen the Big 12 pick up WVU and TCU to boost their flagging numbers.
In the last two weeks that simmering pot just had to go and boil over onto the floor and force us to really pay attention to it again. This time though, the B1G fans and bloggers get to sit back and watch someone else clean up the mess.
Word passed down this weekend, reportedly from very high up sources at FSU, that the Seminoles will indeed be leaving the ACC for the Big 12. With this move Clemson will very likely follow right along behind, as has been speculated for the last week or so.
This is a major shift in the nature of conference powers. A conference that many of us wrote off as dead a little over a year ago, having lost 33% of their composition to the SEC, B1G, and Pac-12, is now potentially a surging power in College Football again. With the inclusion of WVU and TCU the Big 12 will again be at 12 member institutions.
And there’s always the chance this could grow into something bigger.