Big Ten: Barack Obama
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Penn State and Ohio State will be without All-Big Ten players Saturday, but for very different reasons. And while Beanie Wells' health beyond this week is a concern, the bigger problems are in Happy Valley.
Week 2 is just around the corner, and here's what's happening around the league.
- The sky-is-falling attitude around Michigan and Beanie's right foot injury are among the overreactions in college football this week, CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd writes.
- News-Gazette columnist Loren Tate provides his all-time Illinois team, many of whom will be on hand this weekend at the renovated Memorial Stadium. I did catch a bit of "The Journey," the Big Ten Network's show documenting Illinois' season. It might as well be called "The Brit Miller Show," as the senior linebacker provides most of the entertainment value, Bob Asmussen writes in News-Gazette.
- Indiana defensive end Jammie Kirlew spent his summer campaigning for Barack Obama, Terry Hutchens writes in The Indianapolis Star.
- Quarterback Ricky Stanzi didn't arrive at Iowa with much buzz, but the sophomore has elevated his play to push Jake Christensen for the Hawkeyes' starting job, Pat Harty writes in the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
- Michigan fans should be patient with Rich Rodriguez, Bob Wojnowski writes in The Detroit News. But there's no need to wait for big things from Wolverines linebacker Obi Ezeh, Mark Snyder writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones wants to see more toughness from his fellow defenders this week, Eric Lacy writes in The Detroit News.
- Expect to see more of Troy Stoudermire and several other changes Saturday when Minnesota faces a potent Bowling Green team, The Minnesota Daily reports.
- Duke expects an inspired Northwestern team Saturday after last year's loss kept the Wildcats out of a bowl game, David Ungvary writes in The Duke Chronicle.
- There will be a Wells starting at running back for Ohio State on Saturday, just not Beanie, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch. Get ready for the DeVier Posey experience at Ohio State, Doug Lesmerises writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- In case you missed it, two Penn State starters and a reserve have been suspended for Saturday's game after police found pot in their apartment earlier this week, Jeff McLane writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Maybe those guys should be more like defensive end Josh Gaines, a solid citizen who has been a role model in his own family, Cory Giger writes in The Altoona Mirror.
- Some high praise for retiring Purdue coach Joe Tiller from his Iowa counterpart Kirk Ferentz, who doesn't understand the criticism for Tiller, Tom Kubat writes in The Journal and Courier.
- Wisconsin's wideouts aren't behemoths, but they need to do a better job blocking for the team's talented stable of running backs, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Here are a few items I found while waiting for player interviews to start at Indiana.
- Xavier Fulton turned around his career at Illinois by hopping across the line, Terry Bannon writes.
- Iowa's young linebackers are ready to take on greater roles this fall. The Quad City Times' Eric Page takes a look at Iowa's pivotal position group, the offensive line.
- Cornerback Morgan Trent is no longer the weak link in Michigan's secondary, Jim Carty writes in The Ann Arbor News. Rich Rodriguez pulled a fast one on his players, Angelique Chengelis writes in The Detroit News.
- Michigan State's camp is winding down, and coach Mark Dantonio has Cal in his thoughts, Eric Lacy writes in The Detroit News. Also, standout linebacker Greg Jones could play either in the middle or outside.
- Minnesota's freshmen wide receivers are generating plenty of buzz, but don't forget about returnees like Ralph Spry and Ben Kuznia, Kent Youngblood writes.
- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald sounds off about how the spread offense has changed the Big Ten since his playing days in the mid-1990s, Jon Spencer writes.
- Linebacker is only a temporary home for many Ohio State players, and cornerback Malcolm Jenkins might stay on the field in nickel packages, Ken Gordon writes. Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel is quoting Barack Obama, Doug Lesmerises writes. Does that mean Obama will carry Ohio in November?
- If you didn't know already, Penn State's defensive line is stacked. Jerome Hayes looks forward to rejoining the mix after a knee injury, Joe Miegoc writes.
- Purdue running back Jaycen Taylor is trying to stay positive following his season-ending knee injury, Tom Kubat writes.
- With Jonathan Casillas nursing an ankle injury, Wisconsin's Blake Sorensen could play a greater role at multiple linebacker spots this fall, Jeff Potrykus writes.