Never Too Early: 2014 Maryland Preview

Written July 3rd, 2014 by Patrick

Gonna’ Take Some Getting Used To

After 4 non conference games and a bye week, the Buckeyes finally launch into B1G play. The scarlet and gray make their second trip in to the state of Maryland for the 2014 season and introduce the Maryland Terrapins to the B1G. The welcome gift the Terps get…..a B1G home opener against the best team in the conference.

The Buckeyes will be coming off a tougher than usual non conference schedule and they’ll play the Terps with a bye week to follow. The Terps will be playing their sixth game in as many weeks and will have one B1G game under their belts as they travel to Bloomington the week prior to Ohio State.

The Real Deal

There is little doubt that the Terps boast the best young WR in the country in Stephon Diggs, but quite possibly could have the best WR tandem in the country when you add Deon Long. Most notably, though, the Terps will try to overcome a horrendous injury plague season that was 2013. What would you think if I told you they ended the season with a freshman linebacker……AT QUARTERBACK. Yes, you read that right. The Big Ten’s new kid on the block has the potential to be potent offensively if it can get healthy.

Senior quarterback C.J. Brown became the first Terrapin to ever pass for 2,000 yards and rush for more than 500 in a single season, but his physical style makes him prone to injury, particularly behind an unproven offensive line still hoping to add pieces this summer.

But what Brown can do for you, besides make chunk-yardage plays on the ground, is get the ball to the aforementioned Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, both back from broken legs. Their return should make the Terps better on third down — where they converted just 32 percent of the time (114th nationally) in 2013 — and make Maryland a quick-strike team in a pound-on-the-ground league.

The return of sophomore tailback Wes Brown from suspension improves a running back-by-committee that boasts Brandon Ross and his 776 rushing yards last year. C.J. Brown and Diggs, who will get the ball in a variety of ways in multiple receiver formations, are the main threats, though. Read More

2014 Big Ten Conference Preview: East Division

Written June 30th, 2014 by Patrick
Part two of our conference preview looks at the “group of death” and a likely conference title game:

2014 EAST DIVISION PREVIEW

Many feel the east will be a battle of 2 teams and the winner of the November 8th battle in East Lansing between Ohio State and Michigan State can go ahead and make plans for Indy.

EAST PREDICTION

  1. Ohio State
  2. Michigan State
  3. Penn State
  4. Michigan
  5. Indiana
  6. Maryland
  7. Rutgers

OHIO STATE 12-2 (8-0)

Heisman Run?

There is no doubt that all of Buckeye nation is still reeling from the 10 point loss to Michigan State in last year’s B1G Championship game.

There are so many “what if’s” from that game: What if they don’t have the 3 personal fouls on the Spartans first drive? What if they give the ball to Hyde on 4th and 1? What if……..okay, I’ll stop. There’s no doubt Urban Meyer will use that loss as motivation for the 2014 Buckeyes.

The turnover for this squad was quite large. Gone are 4 5th’s of an offensive line that many believed was one of the best in the nation last year as is its work horse back Carlos Hyde. Also gone are Philly Brown, Ryan Shazier, Bradley Roby, Christian Bryant, and C.J. Barnett.

Now, some will say that losing players on defense isn’t such a bad thing. The front seven should be very very solid. Joey Bosa, Noah Spence, Adolphis Washington, and Michael Bennett should keep a ton of pressure on B1G qb’s while the secondary led by Doran Grant and Von Bell begin to mesh.

The best news of the offseason was most surely the return of Braxton Miller. Miller is considered by many to be a preseason top 5 Heisman candidate but will have to do it behind a rebuilt offensive line and with a new running mate in his backfield. Ezekiel Elliott is the odds on favorite to take the torch from Hyde. Elliott showed glimpses of greatness when given a chance last year. The Buckeyes B1G portion of their schedule shapes up rather nice.

Home games against Rutgers, Illinois, Indiana, and TSUN seems rather easy and to most, their only tough road test will fall on November 8th as they travel to East Lansing for a date with Sparty. Other road games include Maryland, Penn State, and Minnesota putting the Buckeyes in a great position for a return trip to Indy and a date with Wisconsin.

MICHIGAN STATE 13-1 (8-0) Read More

2014 Big Ten Conference Preview: West Division

Written June 30th, 2014 by Patrick
Not content to only preview Ohio State’s schedule, Patrick is taking a two part look at the B1G for 2014. Here’s a look at the newbies and our Western Division brethren; after lunch the East gets due scrutiny in addition to the championship game predictions.

Motivation Fuel

When the dust settled on the 2013-14 season, the B1G had a Rose Bowl champion and……another bad bowl record as a conference.

Michigan State and Nebraska were the lone winners (Rose and Gator Bowls respectively) and the conference was 2-7 overall. Yet even after that showing, many pundits feel like the B1G is poised to be a top tier conference this season. When the season opens, they will more than likely have two top 10 teams (Michigan State and Ohio State) as well as a slew of others ranked in the top 25.

The B1G welcomes two new members this season as well. Maryland and Rutgers will make their football debuts in 2014. The B1G received a ton of criticism for the recent additions. Other conferences such as the SEC are adding schools like Texas A&M and Missouri while many people feel the B1G adding “schedule padders” for football. What people won’t tell you is that these two schools gets the B1G into markets (Washington DC and New York) that they haven’t been in since its inception.

The non conference schedules for a lot of the B1G schools is very very good this season. Defending champion MSU will travel west to Eugene, Oregon to take on the Ducks, Ohio State welcomes Va Tech into Columbus, Wisconsin takes on LSU in Houston, Nebraska travels to Fresno for a battle with Fresno St and then back home the following week to take on the Miami Hurricanes, Michigan will try to avenge a loss to Appalachian St (did I really just type that) as well as take on Notre Dame for the last time and welcome the Utes of Utah to Ann Arbor, and Minnesota will travel to Texas to battle TCU. The B1G as a conference will need a lot of wins from these non conference tilts in order to gain some respect from the rest of the country and the national media

2014 will also mark the first year of new conference alignment. Gone are the awful Leaders and Legends divisions and we finally get a traditional East/West divisions.

*2014 will also mark the 3rd year that Penn State will be ineligible for post season play.

2014 WEST PREVIEW

Even though the B1G divided up the divisions by east/west location, many feel the west is by far the weaker of the two. Nebraska and Wisconsin should battle for the next few years for the west crown with little challenge. Read More

Pick ‘em: The last week?

Written November 28th, 2013 by Scott

It’s the last week of the regular season and just like when we started our pick ‘em we are tied.

Big-10-logoLast week’s dud by Gary allowed me to tie it up. I was sooooooo close to taking Iowa over Michigan but I didn’t want to risk it.

Oops.

Gary went 3-3 last week, picking OSU, Sparty and Whiskey correctly, while whiffing on TTUN, Purdon’t and Penn State. The only difference with my picks was that I took Illinois over the Boilerstinkers.

Hey, I know when a team is really bad. I’m a Cubs fan.

So this week we have six games.

SPOILER ALERT: We will have to have a tiebreaker next week.

Gary and I have picked the same on all the games. We are taking Ohio State, Nebraska, Sparty, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Indiana.

No matter how you slice it, we are going to end up tied. I really, really tried to pick one game against Gary. But I couldn’t find one where I felt even remotely comfortable. Gary didn’t want to take any chances either.

Soooooooooooooooooooo, we will look ahead to next week where there are eight games we will use as our tiebreaker. And total points in the B1G title game will serve as the ultimate tiebreaker. IF we both pick the same number of points, I don’t know what to tell you.

Beer chugging contest? Jagerbombs?

Maybe we will take suggestions from our readers.

Standings heading into final week:

Gary and Scott: 26-13

Top 25: The Week in Review and The Week Ahead

Written December 30th, 2012 by Gary Russell II

Let's Get This Party Started

Just because there wasn’t a bunch of action this week on the hardwood, doesn’t mean that there wasn’t anything interesting that happened.  Two Top 10 teams fell, one undefeated team dropped their first game, and two new teams were welcomed to the party (Sorry New Mexico, your fall from the Top 25 will keep me from giving you any attention for beating someone….finally!). This week will feature the opening of conference schedules which include Top 25 matchups as well.  With the conference play starting we can finally get this party started.

Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review.

1.       Duke (12-0) Previous Rank: 1

Past Week:  12/29 Santa Clara, W 90-77

Upcoming:  1/2 @ Davidson & 1/5 Wake Forest

The Blue Devils pulled away from Santa Clara late and will open up ACC play this week against Wake Forest. Read More

Logistics of a Big Ten Superconference – Part 1

Written December 4th, 2012 by Eric

Red Alert! It's a B1G Cube! (Haha, get it? "B1G Cube"...no seriously, I'll be here all day.)

The conference expansion discussion is heating up once again. The B1G has taken stabs at both the Big East and the ACC, nabbing academic powerhouses Rutgers, and Maryland to jump to fourteen teams. That move matches the SEC for total number of programs in each respective conference.

And yet, the discussion is that the conference is planning on adding more to the pot. Several names have been thrown around in the last couple weeks, and just recently we had word that Georgia Tech and Virginia were slated to join as early as yesterday. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your preference, that didn’t end up happening as expected.

In this 2-part article, I want to look at the various factors involved in the driving of a legitimate Superconference. The first article will look at the names currently on the radar – at least those that have rumors with some legs to them – and establish how likely they are as a potential new member school.

Second, I’ll look at the actual logistics of how a conference would go about getting 14, 16, or even more schools to actually play each other. I’ll also take a look at what I consider to be the “critical mass” for conference expansion, and why such a critical mass might exist.

But first, let’s take a look at the names being suggested for the Big Ten.

Read More

Across the Board Criticism of the Buckeyes

Written September 24th, 2012 by Jim

Luke Fickell and the defense have some serious soul searching to do before starting the conference schedule.

Across the board criticism for an undefeated team? only at Ohio State!

I had a long discussion with my friends on Saturday about whether I was being overly critical of this team or not.

I don’t believe so, but the Ohio State faithful have a long and storied history of being scathingly critical of everything short of perfection from the Buckeyes.

I have always been annoyed by Monday (Sunday?) morning quarterbacks that step in and nit pick every little thing the team does.

A fan who is full of negativity (and every Ohio State fan knows plenty of them) is generally right eventually.

A perfect season has happened exactly five times since Ohio State started playing football over 100 years ago; so unbridled optimism doesn’t win very often.

If you were a betting man or woman, betting on negativity to eventually be right would definitely be the smart play.

The worst part, though, is once that bad game does occur, Mr. or Ms. Negativity can come back and say “I told you so!” which is unbelievably obnoxious to me.

So, am I turning into that obnoxiously negative fan by making a list of criticisms of a 4-0 team? Once again, I say no, but I guess that is up to you to decide. Read More

Top Ten B1G Non-Conference Games to Watch

Written July 26th, 2012 by Tim Shoemaker

Feel the anticipation.

I’m just going to say it. College football’s regular season is the greatest in all of sports. Every loss counts. And, because of that, the regular season just means more.

Even with college football electing to implement a four team playoff beginning in 2014, games played between the first weekend in September and last weekend in November will ultimately decide who gets to play for the grand prize—a National Championship.

With every team required to play games against teams in their respective conferences (except for FBS independents), it is often early non-conference games that can make or break a team’s chance at a National title.

Playing in these big games early in the season can be a double-edged sword. If your team wins, it makes a statement and adds a marquee win to the résumé, albeit very early in the season. If you lose, however, it sometimes can be too deep of a hole to climb out.

It’s better to lose early in the season as opposed to later, obviously, but winning that early non-conference matchup with the whole country watching gets you noticed.

In recent years, Big Ten teams have played other juggernaut schools in non-conference play, but not with much success. This year may be different, it may not be. But we’re going to take a look at my top ten non-conference matchups for Big Ten teams this season. Read More

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