Monday, August 16, 2010
Big Ten featured in 20 for '10
By ESPN.com staff
If you haven't done so already, check out the college football front page, where my colleagues have put together an excellent series entitled "20 for '10." They have put together all types of lists for the 2010 season -- hot and not, Heisman Trophy candidates, must-see games and more -- and the Big Ten is featured in most of them.
HOT AND NOT
- Expansion, Ohio State's Week 2 matchup against Miami, Penn State's Week 2 trip to Alabama, Michigan's Week 2 trip to Notre Dame, Purdue quarterback and Miami transfer Robert Marve, the Illinois-Northwestern game at Wrigley Field, Joe Paterno's improved vision and an expanded Michigan Stadium are listed among the "hot" items.
- Embattled Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, Penn State's opener against Youngstown State, Minnesota coach Tim Brewster, Illinois coach Ron Zook, Illinois' struggles since the 2008 Rose Bowl and the Michigan-Ohio State series appear in the "not" category.
- Big Ten fans will be pleased to also see Big Ten bashing listed in the "not" category. Colleague Mark Schlabach writes, "The conference everyone loved to beat up during the past five seasons stood its ground during 2009 bowl season." That's certainly true, but the league needs to do so again in 2010.
HEISMAN TROPHY CONTENDERS
- Miami at Ohio State, Sept. 11: Colleague Andrea Adelson writes, "This game is symbolic of so much -- the last time they met, Ohio State hung on to win the national title in a huge upset. That was the Buckeyes' last victory in the title game. For the Hurricanes, that game was the beginning of a downward slide."
- Ohio State at Iowa, Nov. 20
- Michigan at Notre Dame, Sept. 11: Adelson writes, "After the Wolverines' stunning come-from-behind win last season, this qualifies as must-see TV. Especially with Brian Kelly on the Irish sideline and beleaguered Rich Rodriguez on the other."
- Penn State at Alabama, Sept. 11
- Ohio State at Wisconsin, Oct. 16: Adelson writes, "Wisconsin has had trouble beating ranked Big Ten teams. Now the Badgers get the Buckeyes at home. They have beaten Ohio State only 17 times in 75 meetings."
- Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor: Colleague Ivan Maisel writes, "If the junior QB plays in the rest of 2010 the way that he played on Jan. 1 in the Rose Bowl, then he will attend the Heisman ceremony in December."
- Penn State RB Evan Royster: Maisel writes, "A veteran line and a young quarterback translate into a lot of responsibility -- and opportunity -- for this senior running back." Completely agree here.
- Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi: Maisel writes, "The senior QB produced one great fourth-quarter comeback after another last season. Now he must learn to play better in the first three quarters."
It's interesting to see Stanzi make the list ahead of Hawkeyes star defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn. And no John Clay? You kidding me? He's the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. I might need to have a little chat with Mr. Maisel.
BEST SHOT AT NATIONAL TITLE
TEAMS TO BE WARY OF (yes, I know my grammar stinks)
- Iowa (listed No. 1): Adelson writes, "The Hawkeyes get Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State at home. With 14 starters returning, that is quite a nice trifecta."
- Ohio State (listed No. 3): Adelson writes, "Though the Buckeyes have Terrelle Pryor and 15 other starters returning, the schedule is going to make their run to the title harder. They host Miami and have Big Ten games at Wisconsin and at Iowa."
- Wisconsin (listed at No. 10): Adelson writes, "They get Ohio State at home, and Penn State isn't on the schedule. The toughest road game is at Iowa on Oct. 23. But the knock on the Badgers has been their inability to win the big games against ranked teams in Big Ten play."
WHO WOULD YOU RATHER BE?
- Ohio State, when trailing in the fourth quarter: Schlabach writes, "Some fans might argue that Ohio State's Jim Tressel is too conservative in his playcalling, but the man knows how to hold a lead. Since Tressel took over before the 2001 season, the Buckeyes are 82-6 when leading at halftime."
- Iowa, when hardware is on the line: Schlabach writes, "Iowa's Kirk Ferentz has led his teams to nine straight victories in games in which a trophy was on the line."
- Wisconsin, when your defense is tired: Schlabach writes, "Wisconsin has long been known for its dominant running game, and the Badgers tied with Navy for the national lead in time of possession in 2009. Wisconsin held the ball for an average of 33 minutes, 55 seconds and had 16 five-minute drives in 13 games."
- Rich Rodriguez or Ron Zook: Adelson picks Zook but writes, "The chances that both men are still employed by their respective schools at the end of the season appear slim at this point."
- Joe Paterno or Bobby Bowden: Adelson picks Bowden, writing, "After the age of 80, life just seems better on the golf course."
- Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany or SEC commish Mike Slive: Adelson picks Slive.
- Michigan helmet or Notre Dame helmet: Adelson picks the winged headgear. Good call.
Schlabach also includes Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward and his late father, Craig, and Wisconsin receiver Nick Toon and his dad, Al, among college football's familiar surnames this season. Buck-I-Guy and other super fans from Michigan State, Purdue and Iowa appear on this top 20 list.
And, finally, Todd McShay lists Heyward, Clayborn and Wisconsin left tackle Gabe Carimi among his top 20 NFL prospects for the 2011 draft.
Safe to say, all this will keep you busy for a while.