Archive for August, 2013

NCAA Top 10 College Football Poll

Posted on August 15, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2013 College Football pre-season TOP 10

August 15, 2013

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Seven months removed from the National Championship, and well, it’s that time again… who will win it all?

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1.Bama-helmet

 

2. ohiostate-helmet

3. oregeon-helmet

4. stanford-helmet

5. georgia-helmet

6. texasAM

7. SoCarolina-helmet

8. clemson-helmet

9. louisville-helmet

10. florida-helmet

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Look out for… Notre Dame, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma State, Texas, Michigan, Nebraska

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B1G Ten Football Predictions

Posted on August 15, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Breaking down

As college football teams get started, we’re taking a quick look into the BIG Ten.

This is a snapshot of how the BIG Ten looks at this point in time, not knowing all the personnel/coaching changes that will be in place for next season. As a reminder, these can and will change during the next eight months. Ohio State is on top, and quite frankly, the Buckeyes are head and shoulders above the rest of the league. Other teams such as Northwestern, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan certainly belong in the league’s lead pack, while Michigan State and Penn State both have talent as well as question marks. We don’t see a whole lot separating Nos. 2-6.

There aren’t many BCS Championship contenders in the Big Ten, but here’s what stands in the way for the conference’s elite.

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Here we go …

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1. Ohio State: The Buckeyes made the most of their sanctioned season, running the table to post just the sixth unbeaten, untied season in team history. Urban Meyer’s crew now takes aim at a Big Ten title and perhaps even a national title, its first since 2002. Junior quarterback, Braxton Miller, leads a potentially explosive offense, but Ohio State needs its young defenders to grow up in a hurry as there are depth and experience questions on that side of the ball.

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2. Northwestern: The Wildcats won 10 games in 2012 with a young team most projected to win no more than seven. Northwestern returns a very strong nucleus, led by running back Venric Mark and quarterback Kain Colter, and loses only a few key seniors. Most of the Wildcats’ talent can be found in their younger classes. The schedule gets tougher in 2013 — Northwestern opens Big Ten play with Ohio State and Wisconsin — but the Wildcats should be a major factor in the Legends Division if they can shore up their offensive line and continue to make strides on defense.

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3. Nebraska: There’s no doubt Nebraska will have one of the nation’s top offenses in 2013. Fourth-year starter Taylor Martinez returns at quarterback and has the Big Ten’s largest arsenal of weapons at his disposal. The big concerns are on defense after Nebraska hemorrhaged points and yards in its four losses this past season and loses a group of seniors. Bo Pelini needs to get his defense back on track and hope the offense can limit turnovers, a huge problem throughout this season.

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4. Wisconsin: Gary Andersen hardly inherits a bare cupboard in Madison. His predecessor, Bret Bielema, actually pointed to the 2013 team as potentially his best with the Badgers. The coaching transition could create some speed bumps, but Wisconsin returns two dynamic running backs in James White and Melvin Gordon, multiple quarterbacks with experience and a good defensive front seven led by Chris Borland. There are concerns in the secondary (three starters gone) and at wide receiver (not enough playmakers), but Wisconsin should push Ohio State in the Leaders Division.

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5. Michigan: The Denard Robinson era is over and Michigan needs offensive playmakers to replace its record-setting quarterback and surround new signal-caller Devin Gardner. A bigger concern, though, is an offensive line that struggled at times in 2012 and must replace most of its starting lineup. Coach Brady Hoke should see some of his strong early recruiting efforts pay off in Year 3, although Michigan might not have the depth to challenge for a league title until 2014. Linebacker Jake Ryan leads a defense that has improved the past two seasons but must measure up to elite competition.

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6. Michigan State

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7. Penn State

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8. Minnesota

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9. Indiana

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10. Purdue

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11. Iowa

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12. Illinois

Fun Facts about the 2013 BIG Ten season… ~click here!

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BIG Ten insight…

Posted on August 15, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Who will win it all? Who’s the contender? Who’s the pretender?

August 15, 2013

ohiostate-helmet

Ohio State:

A road trip to California may trip up the Buckeyes if they sleepwalk their way through the nonconference schedule as badly as they did in 2012, but it’s wholly reasonable to think Ohio State will be 11-0 when it travels to Ann Arbor to face Michigan.

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Michigan:

Notre Dame comes to town in what might be the most highly anticipated nonconference game of the Big Ten season (more on that later), and despite some heavy losses, the Irish will still have a level of talent to give Michigan all it can handle. Also, the Legends Division is basically one roadblock after another.

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Nebraska:

The Huskers should be happy to see UCLA come to town this year after the Bruins shellacked the Nebraska defense early on in 2012, but that’s still going to be the same UCLA offense with the same quarterback—and Brett Hundley’s only going to be more dangerous than last year, his freshman campaign.

TOUGHEST SCHEDULE

Iowa fans hoping for a quick return to the bowl season may be in for a rude surprise in 2013, as the Hawkeyes schedule looks to be a major hurdle on their road back to success. The nonconference schedule is manageable enough, though the trip to Iowa State usually means a loss for Kirk Ferentz. It’s what happens in the Big Ten that should doom Iowa, however.

The Legends Division should once again be one of the toughest divisions top-to-bottom in all of college football, and Iowa gets no favors from the scheduling gods when it comes to interdivisional play. Here, Iowa is saddled with games against Ohio State, Wisconsin and perennial “rival” Purdue.

All told, Iowa faces all seven Big Ten bowl teams from 2012—and the eighth game is the worst of them all, a trip to Ohio State.

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EASIEST SCHEDULE

Ohio State sort of has a built-in advantage when it comes to scheduling since it’s the only school in its division that never has to play Ohio State. Nonetheless, the Buckeyes’ last schedule before the resume-conscious 2014 slate hits is an exercise in cupcakery (new word alert).

The offseason schedule is a joke, as a trip to slumping California is the only thing that could conceivably challenge the Buckeyes. Divisional rivals Wisconsin and Penn State both come to Columbus, and the only major test on the docket is a trip to Michigan to close out the regular season—at which point Urban Meyer could easily be 23-0 as Ohio State’s head coach.

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B1G AVOIDANCE….

The Big Ten’s six-team divisions mean each team gets five divisional games a year and three interdivisional games, including one annual protected rivalry. Here are the three teams each Big Ten school gets to miss in 2013.

In the Leaders Division, Illinois avoids Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota. Indiana also won’t play Iowa; the Hoosiers also miss Nebraska and Northwestern.

Ohio State won’t play Michigan State, Minnesota or Nebraska, while Penn State gets the luxury of avoiding Iowa, Michigan State and Northwestern. Purdue won’t see Michigan, Minnesota or Northwestern, and Wisconsin is avoiding Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska.

Over in the Legends Division, Iowa won’t face Illinois, Indiana or Penn State. Michigan also misses Illinois; also missing from the Wolverines’ docket are Purdue and Wisconsin. Michigan State avoids Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.

To finish it all off, Nebraska is missing Indiana, Ohio State and Wisconsin, while Northwestern won’t face Indiana, Penn State or Purdue.

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BEST NON-CONFERENCE Matchups

Missouri at Indiana: Missouri struggled through its first season in the SEC, but the Tigers are dangerous enough to hang points on anyone—especially the porous Hoosier defense. Don’t you dare count Kevin Wilson out of a fireworks show, though.

Notre Dame at Michigan:

The Wolverines want revenge for a 13-6 loss that wasn’t nearly that close, and getting the Irish in Ann Arbor may be the opportunity they need to jump-start a special season in 2013.

Michigan State at Notre Dame:

Notre Dame was miles ahead of the Spartans in 2012, but both programs will be in rebuilding mode, and MSU could steal an enormous road win here.

UCLA at Nebraska:

The Huskers will want to avenge last year’s 36-30 loss at UCLA, and the “Blackshirt” defense will be particularly in pursuit of restoring some pride after the Bruins hung 643 yards of offense on the Huskers last year.

Wisconsin at Arizona State:

Nobody’s going to mistake Todd Graham’s Sun Devils for the elite of the Pac-12, but their demolition of Navy in the Fight Hunger Bowl and eight-win season served notice that you go to Tempe at your own peril. Wisconsin should be in for a 60-minute fight here.

BYU at Wisconsin:

The Badgers are the only two-time member of this list, which should give some indication as to how weak the Big Ten’s nonconference slate is in 2013. At any rate, this rare October non-con game should go a long way in determining bowl destinations for both schools.

And by contrary….

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WORST NON-CONFERENCE MATCHUPS

We could go 20-deep on this list. For your sake we won’t.

Wyoming at Nebraska:

We’re perversely hoping the announcers refer to this game as a “border war,” as if there’s anyone living within 100 miles of the Wyoming-Nebraska border.

Indiana State at Indiana:

In-state rivalries like this are why Indiana is a basketball state.

UNLV at Minnesota:

For the second straight year, the Rebels and Gophers kick off the season a couple days early, and for the second straight year, it will be one of the most insanely idiotic games we have ever watched. At no point in the rambling, incoherent contest will they be close to anything considered quality football. Everyone in that stadium and watching on television will be dumber for having watched it.

Illinois vs. Washington at Chicago:

They’re not seriously putting in a game’s worth of foot traffic on the notoriously dodgy Soldier Field grass for an Illinois football game, are they?

Florida A&M at Ohio State:

Braxton Miller might get in a quarter of work before his day is done. Yawn.

Tennessee Tech at Wisconsin:

The Golden Eagles weren’t even good by FCS standards; they went 3-8 in a weak Ohio Valley Conference in 2012.

Be sure to READ our story on Breaking down the BIG 10 Football with our predictions ~click here

 

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BIG Ten Goes East and West

Posted on August 13, 2013. Filed under: NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

No more Legends and Leaders… 

PARK RIDGE, Ill. (AP) — No more “Legends.” And no more “Leaders.”

The Big Ten is giving them the boot and following a more conventional route for its division names.

The conference is going with “East” and “West” instead and switching to a nine-game scheduling format after presidents and chancellors approved the moves on Sunday.

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The new division alignments will begin in 2014 when Rutgers and Maryland join the conference, meaning “Legends” and “Leaders” will be a thing of the past. That will probably come as good news for fans who have criticized those names ever since the league unveiled them in 2010. To many, they were confusing and didn’t help identify where teams play, but that won’t be an issue any more.

Besides the new division alignment, teams will go from playing eight conference games to nine in 2016.

“Big Ten directors of athletics concluded four months of study and deliberation with unanimous approval of a future football structure that preserved rivalries and created divisions based on their primary principle of East/West geography,” commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement. “The directors of athletics also relied on the results of a fan survey commissioned by BTN last December to arrive at their recommendation, which is consistent with the public sentiment expressed in the poll.”

Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers will be in the East division. The West will consist of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin.

Schools will play six division games plus two against teams from the other division in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, they’ll play three cross-division games.

Indiana and Purdue will meet on an annual basis. But Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said each school had to make compromises.

“Fourteen athletic directors came to the table with different objectives and our goal was to compromise to the point that we could move together with one plan,” he said. “Each of us had things that were extremely important and things on our wish list. I wanted us to play Michigan State and Ohio State every year and for the Michigan-Ohio State game to be the last one ever year. I’m pleased we’re going to be able to do those three things.

“But it’s not a perfect setup because no school got everything they wanted.”

East division teams will host five conference games during even-numbered years starting in 2016, with West teams hosting five in odd-numbered seasons. Under that format, teams will be guaranteed to play each other at least once every four years, and in a statement, Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman called that “an important feature.”

He also praised the changes, saying they are “the best option” and “will serve us well.”

Brandon said a 10-game format was “carefully considered to even out the home-and-away problem,” but that would have hindered nonconference scheduling.

“If you take away another nonconference game, it would have a detrimental impact financially for everybody in the conference, and we would’ve taken the biggest hit because we have the largest stadium,” he said.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini praised the division alignment and the nine-game format.

“Geography seems to be a logical way to determine the divisions, and it should allow for easier travel for our fans,” he said in a statement. “The nine-game conference schedule will help improve the strength of schedules across the board in the Big Ten, and I think everyone anticipates strength of schedule being a key component for choosing teams to participate in the new playoff system.”

Delany said athletic directors met in person or talked on conference calls six times from December to March to discuss the changes.

“The level of cooperation and collaboration was reflective of what we’ve come to expect from this group of administrators who have worked extremely well together on a number of complex matters over the past several years,” he said. “We are all looking forward to ushering in this new era of Big Ten football.”

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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