Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by Brogowicz, Jul 17, 2011.
The Big 10 welcomes Nebraska and a new era in 2011. Most people that follow the Big 10 thought that Notre Dame would some day join the Big 10, but few ever saw the Cornhuskers doing so. The move, however, was a perfect fit for the Big 10, which now sports two divisions. While the addition of Nebraska was seen as a huge win for the tradition-rich conference, the names chosen for the divisions were largely thought disastrous.
This new era in Big Ten football begins at the start of another new era in college football - the era of NCAA sanctions. The NCAA took a lot away from USC for the actions of (primarily) two athletes. In a sequence of events I can't quite comprehend, Auburn's would-be Heisman trophy winning QB Cam Newton was allowed to play after it was made known that his father was soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars for his transfer signature. When the news broke about a possible scandal in Columbus, the story seemed insignificant. As it unfolded, we saw a terrible display of judgement by the NCAA to allow the Ohio State athletes to play in their bowl game and take their punishment in the following season. This was followed by an unraveling of a college football icon - the Vest. Recent findings have shown that coach was at the heart of some significant compliance issues and what once seemed insignificant now looks to be something to overshadow the punishment received by USC. Even worse for Ohio State fans, this is all happening during one of the richest recruiting crops the state of Ohio has seen in decades.
Past all the media and all the side stories, the Big 10 has some great football to be played in 2011. The race to Indianapolis is wide-open.
In the Leaders division, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin seem to be in the hunt. The Legends division is more uncertain with Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State in the mix. In this segment, we'll take a look at schedules of a handful of those teams:
Game 3: at Miami
Game 5: vs Michigan State
Game 6: at Nebraska
Game 8: vs Wisconsin
Game 11: vs Penn State
Game 12: at Michigan
With key games spread out through the season, the Buckeyes will have time to adjust. While this team has some new faces in significant roles, they remain one of the most prestigious programs in the NCAA and they are sitting on years of successful recruiting classes.
Hopes and risks: While hopes in Columbus are always for a title shot, the Buckeyes, should they stumble, seem to be in without much risk of losing any of their prestige (except in real life in the event that they get hammered by the NCAA).
Game 5: vs Nebraska
Game 7: at Michigan State
Game 8: at Ohio State
Game 12: vs Penn State
Wisconsin should cruise through an easy non-conference schedule, but things change in October when the Big 10 schedule starts. Three of the four games will be challenging for the Badgers including back-to-back road games against MSU and OSU. The schedule is manageable from there until the final game against Penn State. Wisconsin doesn't play Michigan this year and rumors are circulating that a last-minute scheduling change could match them up with an SEC opponent in the early part of their schedule.
Hopes and risks: Wisconsin is in the hunt for another Big 10 title and looking to join the elite club of programs at the top of pyramid. A top-5 finish could put Bucky in that group. It would take a pretty rough season for Wisconsin to move backwards from their current position.
Game 2: vs Notre Dame
Game 4: vs San Diego State (not so interesting in the fake world, but great story in the real one)
Game 7: at Michigan State
Game 9: at Iowa
Game 11: vs Nebraska
Game 12: vs Ohio State
Brady Hoke takes over while seemingly turning around the Michigan program overnight. Gone are the days of the worst Michigan defense any of us had ever seen as Greg Mattison (see Baltimore Ravens defense for credentials) takes over as DC. And the recruits can't seem to commit fast enough as Michigan has already secured 19 commitments. The Wolverines look to take back the state of Michigan from "little brother", but will have to win on the road in Spartan Stadium to avoid losing their 4th straight to MSU. Speaking of losing streaks, we've lost count of the number of consecutive losses to Ohio State. No one in Ann Arbor is going to miss Jim Tressel (or Rich Rodriquez). Without Wisconsin on the schedule, look for Michigan to pick up a game against the SEC or the Pac 12 in their non-conference schedule.
Hopes and risks: The damage of the Rich-Rod era has taken it's toll on Michigan football. The new staff is looking to resurrect Michigan as an elite program. A top-5 finish would do just that and the Wolverines have the offensive weapons to make it happen. The question is how will those weapons be used within this new staff and how quickly can that defense come together.
Game 3: at Notre Dame
Game 5: at Ohio State
Game 6: vs Michigan
Game 7: vs Wisconsin
Game 8: at Nebraska
Game 10: at Iowa
The Spartans enter the season in an unusual position - one with high expectations. After playing at Notre Dame (during an otherwise terrible non-conference schedule), the Spartans have to run the gauntlet in October with games at Ohio State, vs Michigan and Wisconsin, finishing at Nebraska. With that cluster of key games, the fans in East Lansing should know where they stand by the end of game 7.
Hopes and risks: The Spartans are trying to buy what coach Dantonio is selling, but the critics (and some fans) are skeptical. The Spartans stand little chance of losing any of the luster that has recently been restored to the program, but have a great opportunity to add to it. A top-15 finish should be enough to elevate the Spartans to the status of fellow Big 10 teams Michigan and Wisconsin, but Sparty is hoping for hardware on top of that.
Buckeye Bombshell - New Coach Cleans House
July 20, 2011 - Columbus, Ohio.
At what was supposed to be a rather ordinary meet and greet with local sports reporters, new Buckeye coach Tony Griffin surprised his audience with something far from ordinary. In an unprecedented move, coach Griffin addressed recent transgressions at Ohio State by cutting four of his best returning players. The "Buckeye Five" as local reporters call them, are quarterback Terrelle Pryor (who left to enter the NFL draft), running back Daniel "Boom" Herron (92), wide receiver Devier Posey (93), Offensive Guard Mike Adams (89), and defensive end Solomon Thomas (82). Here's what coach had to say about the cuts:
Questions came from every angle, and Coach stayed and answered them all. The final question drew a particularly interesting answer.
Wow - bold move in Columbus. That has to put a considerable dent in your depth chart.
if i could like it twice i would
Wearing the sweater vest may have been the bolder move!
The Spartans start the season out with a win over hoops Rival Duke. The Blue Devils started strong, marching down the field and breaking tackles without breaking a sweat. MSU marched on the ensuing drive, but failed to convert a 4th and inches from the Blue Devil 36. The MSU defense tighten up from there (but continued to struggle with broken tackles) while the MSU running game came to life. After a series of scores and interceptions, the Spartans found themselves with a comfortable lead.
Edwin Baker started the year off strong with 150-some yards rushing and 4 scores. Backup LaVeon Bell put up 160-some with most of that coming in the 2nd half.
Michigan State has FAU in week 2 before travelling to South Bend in to face rival Notre Dame in week 3.
Michigan started off with a bang, with a new coaching staff and revitalized defense, demolishing the visiting Tar Heels 35-3.
Denard Robinson was knocked out of the game with a mild concussion and RB Vincent Smith tore his abdomen and will miss 9 weeks.
Devin Gardner had his redshirt pulled due to losing Robinson, and connected with Roy Roundtree for 5 receptions for 150 yards and 2 TDs.
Defensively, DC Greg Mattison's pressure packages proved too much for UNC, sacking the opposing QB 6 times.
Next up will be Notre Dame in the first night game in Michigan Stadium history.
Ouch. That's a costly win for Big Blue.
Shouldn't be that bad... Michael Shaw is more than capable, and this will allow for some playing time for big Stephen Hopkins.
On a rainy Saturday in Columbus, the Buckeyes took the field for their annual in-state MAC bashing, this time hosting the Akron Zips. Akron actually led in this one, making a field goal on their first drive, but soon after, it was all Scarlet and Gray.
It was a day of surprising performances and bitter losses, as the outstanding play of tight end Jake Stoneburner (2 TD receptions) and defensive tackle John Simon (4.5 sacks) were forgotten when Sophomore tailback Jamaal Berry went down with a dislocated elbow - an injury expected to sideline him for up to eight weeks. After dismissing senior Daniel "Boom" Herron a short time ago, the Buckeyes are now without their top two ball carriers. Could this be junior Jordan Hall's big chance to shine?
With the exception of a few minor miscues, the defense played a solid game, giving up only six points and completely stuffing Akron's running game. It was exactly what the people expected, but how long they can keep it up is anyone's guess. Guys might be playing both ways by the time this season is over.
on the bright side, freshman quarterback Braxton Miller made the most of his playing time. He took a series in the second quarter, handing the ball to Jordan Hall for a 41 yard TD run, and then ran one in himself in the fourth - and from 61 yards out, no less. Toss in a 15 yard middle screen to James Louis for a score, and what you've got is a pretty impressive debut for a true freshman, perhaps the best we've seen in quite a long time.
Lost Denard again... Lost Vincent Smith again (why is he back already????)...
Lost to Notre Dame and the dumbass no huddle.... Too frustrated for words....
There is a glitch where injuries aren't reporting during advance
I haven'tseen a person yet use Michigan and have Denard make it through a whole game.
I got Jamaal Berry back also. Strange.
Beat Toledo 52-6, but my system froze up while the highlights were uploading. No fancy screen shots.
Shit... I'd take a half at this point...
Spartans Rally in South Bend
It started out rough for the Spartans, who threw an ill-advised pass to the HB on 3rd down and the ND defender stepped in front for 6. MSU reset and tried again. The running game was working, but the first attempt to pass resulted in a sack, which cut the drive short as MSU settled for the FG. Notre Dame seemed to run cold after that and the Spartan passing game came to life. Three 2nd quarter TDs for MSU would put them ahead by three scores heading into the half.
Notre Dame got the ball in the 2nd half and started featuring Michael Floyd. Floyd caught fire and would play a key role in the Irish comeback. ND scored three straight to regain the lead as MSU's offense struggled to run effectively. MSU jumped back in front at the end of the 3rd on Edwin Baker's first TD of the day. ND tied the game at 31 with an early 4th quarter FG. On the ensuing drive, MSU converted several key 3rd downs and marched down field to the Notre Dame 5 yard. On third and 5, Edwin Baker got loose for his 2nd TD of the day. Notre Dame would get the ball back with 1:20 to play, but they turned the ball over on downs at
the MSU 30. MSU wins 38-31.
What once looked like a blowout quickly turned into a track race. MSU was good enough to come out on top, but will need to play better two weeks from now to win in Columbus.
You can't dig yourself into a 24-0 hole and expect to win. Russell Wilson threw 2 pick 6's. And it was all uphill from the beginning. Coach Goose had this to say, "I really proud of the way my guys didn't give up after being down big early, but we never should have been in that position. Wilson didn't really play well all day. Our whole team started out bad, but the fought had to get back into the game. But you take away our big play offense and we didn't really do anything all day. We had way too many big plays for my taste. Our offense really hasn't found it's identity yet this season. I think we're all still to new with each other right now. Hopefully we all gell before Big 10 play."
Michigan received the gift of a full game with Denard Robinson, as Michigan easily handled Eastern Michigan 29-0.
Roy Roundtree had another fantastic afternoon, with 4 receptions for 106 yards and 2 TD's.
This game was never really close, as Eastern Michigan's offense just couldn't get moving...
Next up is San Diego State.
Miami, Florida - In one of the more impressive comebacks in recent memory, the Buckeyes staged a 14 point turnaround in the fourth quarter ... on the road ... against a team that most believe is better than them at almost every position. "This one was all about heart," said Coach griffin after the game. "They had us down, but never out. I'm really proud of how these kids fought back."
The game was characterized by sloppy play at the quarterback position, and by a number of simply stellar plays on defense. Senior Buckeye quarterback Joe Bauserman, after throwing an early TD to give the Bucks a 7-0 lead, later threw two costly picks, both in the red zone and one just outside the goal line. Coach was visibly unhappy, to put it lightly. The assessment from Buckeye insiders is that freshman Braxton Miller might get a few extra snaps in the game against Colorado next week, though none think he'll get the start.
Nice win coach. Things are shaping up nicely for a top-ten Big Ten opener in Columbus in week 6.
It's going to be epic. My team is now a B+ across the board, so I was outrated in this one, and on the road as well. It was a tough one, but some late heroics got it done. Gotta tighten up that run D for the MSU game, though. You're putting up some big numbers.
An Epic Battle Indeed
On a rainy day in Columbus, MSU loses the toss and gets the ball. On 3rd and short, Kirk Cousins breaks free for the slow-motion run of his life. Cousins kept the ball on the option and several Ohio State guys take terrible angles to allow the 70-something speed Cousins to run for 70 yards and the score. On the ensuing drive, Ohio State pieces together the drive of the century and scores to even it up. I'm not certain on the numbers, but it looked like an 18-play, 7+ minute drive. And then a bomb went off in the 'Shoe and life ceased to exist for all (also known as a disconnect).
An Epic Battle Indeed, Take 2
On a sunny day in Columbus, MSU loses the toss and gets the ball. On their second play, Cousins looks for his wideout on a comeback, but finds Buckeye T. Howard instead who takes it to the house. The crowd goes crazy as MSU settles in for a potentially long day in Columbus.
MSU drives down the field and sets up a 3rd and 2 at the OSU 3. MSU tries to run the bubble screen against man coverage and the Ohio State safety crushes Keshawn Martin for a 2-yard loss. MSU kicks to pull within 4 at 7-3.
Ohio State begins marching and finds themselves in MSU territory, but William Gholston found Bauserman in the backfield to setup 3rd and 20. Ohio State connects for 17 yards to 40(ish) to setup a 4th and 3, but coach Griffin doesn't think his kicker has that range. They throw the slant on 4th down, but can't connect.
After a quick 3 and out, MSU punts and Ohio State starts driving again. On a third and long, Bauserman connects with his favorite target (C Fields), who pull down the jump ball for a 39-yard gain. The MSU D holds and OSU is forced to kick and extend their lead to 10-3.
MSU drives and Cousins connects with BJ Cunningham for a 33-yard gain to the OSU 1-foot line. The OSU D holds strong with the goalline stand and MSU kicks another FG as time expires. The half ends with OSU ahead 10-6.
Ohio State receives the kick in the 2nd half and drives down to the MSU 30, but Bauserman is picked on third down to end the drive. MSU moves the chains twice to setup a first an ten from the OSU 47. MSU, who ran 90% of the time on 1st down, went to the play-action and found BJ Cunningham behind the Buckeye corner for the score. That put the Spartans ahead 13-10.
Ohio State took over trailing for the first time in the game. They continued to execute their offense of inside runs, draws and precision passing to setup a 3rd and 5 from the MSU 16. They turned to the draw again, but J Hall was tripped up just short of the first down and OSU kicked to tie the game at 13.
MSU got the ball back with a chance to regain the lead, but the OSU DE made an outstanding play to break up the pass to the TE who was heading for the flats all by himself. MSU had to punt and give that OSU offense another shot.
Ohio State moved the ball to their own 35 and setup (another) 1st and 10. They picked up 3 yards on 1st down and just shy of 7 on 2nd down to setup 3rd and inches. OSU went to the FB dive (which got them a first down earlier in the game), but MSU was looking for it this time and stopped the FB for a 4th and inches with 2 and change on the clock from the OSU 45. After much deliberation, coach Griffin elected to punt the ball back to MSU.
MSU took over on their own 20 and immediately made the OSU faithful question the new coach. Edwin Baker, who was held in check by a very stout OSU defensive line, took the ball inside and got behind the 2nd level and took it to the house. MSU quickly found themselves up 20-13 and the OSU crowd was shocked.
Down but not out, OSU took the field with 2 minutes left. After a healthy return, Bauserman took to the air on 1st down, but Mitchell White made the play of his career with a one-handed INT that he returned 36 yards for the score. Less than 30 seconds after that crucial call on 4th and inches, the Spartans put two scores on the board to all-but secure the win. OSU would go on to throw one more pick at the MSU 1 before MSU would end the game in victory formation.
While the final score may not show it, this game was an epic, back-and-forth battle.
The game stats tell the story of an even game where turnovers were significant. MSU threw the pick six early on, but protected the ball the rest of the game. Ohio State threw three INTs in the 2nd half - the last two in the final minutes. MSU ran the ball (roughly) 23 times for 80 yards before Baker broke lose for the winning score, which put them at 26-164 on the game. Cousins was 7-9 for 134 and a score after the opening INT. OSU ran 22 times for 45 yards, but regularly found them selves in favorable down and distance situations from 1st and 2nd down rushing yardage. OSU found most of their yardage through the air where Bauserman and Miller combined to go 12-20 for 169.
Coach Dantonio was brief with reporters after the game: "We got the job done today. It wasn't always pretty and we fell behind early, but we stuck with the game plan and found ourselves on the lucky end of some breaks late in the game."
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