Big Ten Saturday: It's game day
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Game day is here and not a moment too soon.
I'll grab my hard hat and head over to under-construction Michigan Stadium in a bit for Rich Rodriguez's Wolverines coaching debut against Utah. For the first time since 1985, Michigan will open the season ranked outside of the Top 25, but a win against a very strong Utes team could change things.
There was a pretty good buzz around AA last night. I spotted a decent amount of Utah fans, who received minimal ribbing from Wolverines backers. I'm a big fan of the "Rod Rules" T-shirt with MTV's "Road Rules" logo in the background. And there was a guy wearing an A.J. Hawk Ohio State jersey working the counter at a convenience story directly across from campus. Brave or extremely stupid? You tell me.
Let's look around the league, starting with the game I'll be seeing this afternoon.
- After an offseason of instability, Michigan starts a new era today, Shawn Windsor writes in the Detroit Free Press. If you're confused by the intricacies of the spread offense -- I know I am -- check out Jim Carty's guide to the spread in The Ann Arbor News. A good breakdown of the game and a similar prediction to my own from John Heuser of The Ann Arbor News.
- Both Illinois and Missouri have enjoyed success with different versions of the spread offense, Stu Durando writes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Check out the blog written by the Big Ten Network's Dave Revsine. This week Rev looks at some key numbers for today's games, such as Utah ranking No. 1 nationally in pass efficiency defense last season and returning most of its starting secondary. Yet another obstacle for Michigan's quarterbacks.
- Indiana quarterback Kellen Lewis had to learn the no-huddle offense in just four weeks after being suspended for spring ball. Will he have a passing grade today? The Indianapolis Star's Terry Hutchens takes a look.
- Kirk Ferentz begins his 10th season as Iowa's coach amid uncertainty. The Quad-City Times' Eric Page takes a look back at a decade under Ferentz. Iowa ended up selling out today's game, extending its sellout streak to 31.
- Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer has put his shortcomings behind him, Eric Lacy writes in The Detroit News. The Spartans face their toughest season opener since 1995, Joe Rexrode writes in the Lansing State Journal.
- Adam Weber has found the answers in his second season running Minnesota's Spread Coast offense, Kent Youngblood writes in the Star Tribune.
- Strong offensive line play and better decisions from C.J. Bacher are the keys for Northwestern today against Syracuse, Jim O'Donnell writes in the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Ohio State season openers used to have much more appeal, Bob Hunter writes in The Columbus Dispatch. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises breaks down Jim Tressel's raise.
- Was Penn State's quarterback competition fair? The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane breaks it down. Coastal Carolina doesn't have visions of becoming the next Appalachian State today, Ron Musselman writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill wants 13 -- as in games played -- to be his lucky number this fall, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Quarterback Allan Evridge and the other new faces are among the things to watch today against Akron.