Big Ten: Jack Tatum
Michigan 43, Massachusetts 14: Denard Robinson does his thing for two and a half quarters before the real drama begins. Does Devin Gardner get the first call after Shoelace, or will it be Tate Forcier? Both reserve quarterbacks end up playing well as Michigan improves to 3-0.
Ohio State 41, Ohio 6: The Buckeyes receive an efficient performance from Terrelle Pryor, and receiver DeVier Posey beats his big brother Julian for two touchdowns. No special teams meltdowns this week, and the defense keeps the Bobcats out of the end zone.
Penn State 35, Kent State 10: After two quiet weeks, Evan Royster arrives in a big way against Kent State. The senior running back goes for 140 yards and three touchdowns against a good run defense, and quarterback Rob Bolden bounces back nicely from the Alabama loss.
Illinois 26, Northern Illinois 14: I'm buying into Illinois' defensive improvement under Vic Koenning, and the Illini receive another solid performance from Ian Thomas, Tavon Wilson and crew. Northern Illinois seems to be struggling to put it all together, and the Illini need this game more.
Purdue 34, Ball State 17: Receivers Justin Siller and Antavian Edison emerge as Purdue begins life without star wideout Keith Smith. The Boilers start slowly for the second consecutive week but get it going in the second quarter, as Dan Dierking eclipses 100 rushing yards for the second consecutive week.
USC 35, Minnesota 23: I've got a strange feeling about this one. Minnesota isn't as bad as it looked against South Dakota, and USC seems to be just skating by on its talent right now. I can't pick the Gophers to win, not with their issues on defense, but they'll come out energized after the Dakota Debacle. Minnesota takes an early lead, but Matt Barkley and his receivers prove to be too much in the second half.
Wisconsin 30, Arizona State 20: This is my Pick of the Week. Check the blog later as I'll have a video explaining my prediction in greater detail.
Indiana 45, Western Kentucky 21: The Hoosiers' offense shows no rust from the 16-day layoff, as Ben Chappell, Darius Willis and Tandon Doss all have big days against a woeful Western Kentucky defense. Indiana's defense struggles against Bobby Rainey, raising some concerns as Big Ten play beckons.
Northwestern 27, Rice 21: Another tricky road game for Pat Fitzgerald's crew against a Rice team that did some good things against Texas in the opener. The Owls jump ahead early and former Michigan running back Sam McGuffie reaches the end zone, but the Wildcats control play in the second half behind quarterback Dan Persa and receiver Jeremy Ebert.
Michigan State 33, Notre Dame 31: A very tough call here. Expect an entertaining shootout in East Lansing, as both offenses find their groove. I'm not sold on the Spartans' defense, and Notre Dame takes advantage as Michael Floyd has a big night. But Michigan State's balanced attack also steps up as Kirk Cousins rallies the team in the fourth quarter and Dan Conroy kicks a 42-yard field goal as time expires.
Iowa 26, Arizona 21: Arizona feeds off an electric atmosphere and jumps ahead behind Nic Grigsby, but Iowa duplicates what it did all last year and rallies on the road behind quarterback Ricky Stanzi. The senior signal caller overcomes an early interception and leads the game-winning touchdown drive, hitting Derrell Johnson-Koulianos for the decisive touchdown.
Last week: 9-1
Season record: 20-1 (.952)
- As the Big Ten ponders a football championship game, it can learn a lot from what has happened in the Big 12, Lee Barfknecht writes in the Omaha World-Herald.
- Ron Zook isn't concerned with his job security entering the season, ESPNChicago.com's Scott Powers writes. Illinois' latest recruit has a great name: Fritz Rock.
- Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor is the Big Ten's only leading Heisman Trophy candidate, AOL FanHouse's John Walters writes.
- Running back recruit Justice Hayes will announce his college choice Friday, and four Big Ten teams as well as Notre Dame are in the mix, Sam Webb writes in The Detroit News.
- The Altoona Mirror's Cory Giger breaks down Penn State's depth chart entering preseason camp.
- In case you missed it from earlier this week, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel continues to support troubled former running back Maurice Clarett, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch. Jack Tatum was known as "The Assassin," but he had a different rep at Ohio State, Bill Livingston writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- Michigan's must-win games this fall are Connecticut and Michigan State, annarbor.com's Dave Birkett writes.
- Recruiting analysts weigh in on Michigan State's latest verbal commitments, Matt Dorsey writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- Minnesota negotiated with Texas "for months" before a home-and-home series fell through, Phil Miller writes in the Star Tribune.
- Former heralded recruit Tyler Westphal leaves Wisconsin for North Dakota State.
- Iowa State isn't too happy with Adrian Clayborn's recent comment, Randy Peterson writes in the Des Moines Register. Who is Iowa's toughest opponent this fall? Mike Hlas' answer likely will surprise you.
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Here are four of the top players Iowa will face this fall.
Former IU coach John Pont was honored on Tuesday morning at the Indiana Football Hall of Fame.
Former Ohio State safety Jack Tatum died of a heart attack on Tuesday and was remembered by his former teammates in this piece.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
There's enough hero worship in college football these days. Let's talk about the villains.
Which player, coach or opponent haunts your favorite Big Ten team like none other? Some Penn State fans might still have Richard Nixon dartboards in their homes. Jim Tressel has become a modern-day villain for Michigan fans, but who holds the all-time title?
Here are my picks for Big Ten villains, current and all-time. But as always, I want to hear from you as well. Send me your top villains, current and all-time, and I'll have a post Tuesday with the responses.
ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
Current villain: Iowa. Until last year, the Hawkeyes had won five straight against the Illini, and even though Iowa is off the schedule until 2011, Illinois star wideout Arrelious Benn still hates the black and gold.
All-time villain: Missouri. The rivalry might be bigger in hoops, but Missouri accounted for Illinois' only regular-season loss in 1983. Illinois began its 2007 Rose Bowl run with a loss to Mizzou and has dropped 10 of the last 13 meetings.
Current villain: Purdue. The hate for the Boilers always runs deep, and Indiana still seethes from the 62-10 loss at Ross-Ade Stadium that ended the 2008 season and the coaching career of Purdue's Joe Tiller, who went 10-2 against IU.
All-time villain: Basketball. The sport is king in the state and especially in Bloomington, thanks to Bob Knight. Football always will play second fiddle to hoops, which makes things tough to compete in the Big Ten.
Current villain: Bret Bielema. The former Iowa defensive lineman now coaches at rival Wisconsin, despite still having a Hawkeye logo tattooed on his leg. Bielema has won two of his first three games against his alma mater.
All-time villain: Eric Ball. The UCLA freshman rushed for 227 yards and four touchdowns against Iowa in the 1986 Rose Bowl, leading the Bruins to a 45-28 victory and preventing Iowa from a No. 2 finish behind Oklahoma.
Current villain: Jim Tressel. The Vest has dominated Michigan since his arrival as Ohio State coach, going 7-1 and claiming the last five games.
All-time villain: Woody Hayes. The legendary Ohio State coach stoked the rivalry against "That school up North" whenever he could and dominated the series with Michigan in the 1960s, going 7-3.
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
Current villain: Mike Hart. Hart no longer plays for Michigan, but his "little brother" reference after the Wolverines' 2007 win at Michigan State still angers Spartans fans, who point to head coach Mark Dantonio's comeback: "Pride comes before the fall."
All-time villain: Ara Parseghian. The Notre Dame coach went for the tie in the 1966 "Game of the Century," and the Fighting Irish finished ahead of Michigan State in the final polls (the schools shared the national title).
MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
Current villain: The Little Brown Jug. Minnesota should implode this thing after losing 39 of its last 42 games against Michigan.
All-time villain: The Metrodome. A former national powerhouse, Minnesota became largely irrelevant after moving inside the dome in 1982. The Gophers won more than eight games just once in 27 years indoors, endured 15 losing seasons, never beat Michigan at the dome and ended things with a 55-0 loss to archrival Iowa.
Current villain: Ohio State. Northwestern has beaten the Buckeyes just once since 1971 and dropped its last four meetings by a combined score of 205-34. Ouch.
All-time villain: The streak. Northwestern's NCAA-record 34-game losing streak still haunts the program as it strives for national respect.
OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Current villain: The SEC. Whether it's Urban Meyer, Les Miles or Albert E. Gator, the Buckeyes can't stand anyone or anything associated with the SEC, which handed Ohio State losses in consecutive national title games.
All-time villain: Bo Schembechler. Buckeyes fans have no love lost for Bo, who worked for Hayes at Ohio State and earned his Master's degree in Columbus before coaching archrival Michigan. Schembechler's Wolverines upset Ohio State in 1969, and he held a 5-4-1 edge in the Ten-Year War.
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
Current villain: Terrelle Pryor. The nation's No. 1 recruit spurned his home-state school for Ohio State and didn't make many friends in State College by calling it "too country" for him. Penn State won Round 1 against Pryor last year and will face him at least two more times.
All-time villain: Richard Nixon. The president declared Texas the national champion in 1969 before the poll voters had cast their final ballots, depriving an undefeated Penn State team of the crown.
Current villain: The Top 25. Purdue simply can't get over the hump against ranked opponents, failing to beat a Top 25 team since Nov. 8, 2003. Longtime coach Joe Tiller went just 12-38 against ranked teams.
All-time villains: Ted Provost and Jack Tatum. The Ohio State defensive backs starred in a win against No. 1 Purdue in 1968, and the Buckeyes went on to the national title while Purdue didn't make a bowl game with one of its best teams ever.
Current villain: Michigan. Despite Wisconsin's renaissance since 1990, the Badgers have struggled against the Maize and Blue, dropping 31 of their last 36 meetings. Michigan handed Wisconsin its only loss in 2006 and started the Badgers' four-game losing streak last season with an upset in Ann Arbor.
All-time villain: John Coatta and Don Morton. The former Badgers coaches share the tag after combining to go 9-53-1 as Wisconsin became largely irrelevant from 1967, Coatta's first year, until program savior Barry Alvarez took over.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Much like Penn State, Ohio State's storied history makes it tough to identify only four faces of the program. The Buckeyes have produced eight three-time All-Americans, most recently linebacker James Laurinaitis. They boast six Heisman Trophy winners (seven trophies) and four Maxwell Award winners.
There are a few slam-dunk selections, but some tough calls as well. Here's my list for Ohio State's Rushmore.
- Woody Hayes -- The coaching icon will always be the face of Ohio State football. He won five national championships and 13 Big Ten titles in 28 years on the sidelines at Ohio State. The fiery Hayes went 205-61-10 as Buckeyes coach and led the team to four Rose Bowls.
- Archie Griffin -- He remains college football's only two-time Heisman Trophy winner and one of the game's all-time greats. The College Football Hall of Famer had 5,589 career rushing yards and 26 touchdowns at Ohio State. In his four years the Buckeyes went 40-5-1.
- Chris Spielman -- There's certainly some debate about Ohio State's greatest defensive player, but Spielman certainly is at or near the top of the list. Plus, there are few figures more revered in the state of Ohio than Spielman, a two-time All-America selection who won the Lombardi Award in 1987. Spielman embodies Ohio State football and holds the school record for solo tackles (283).
- Chic Harley -- Yes, Ohio State football did exist before Hayes arrived, and Harley symbolized the program's dominance during the 1910s. A halfback and a safety, Harley led Ohio State to its first Big Ten championship in 1916 and another title in 1917. Harley earned All-America honors in all three seasons he played and helped Ohio State to a 21-1-1 record, with his lone loss coming in his final game.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
|Matthew Emmons/US Presswire|
|Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis (33) is part of a senior class that never lost to Michigan, including a 42-7 win Saturday.|
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State's senior class always will be viewed through two different prisms.
Within Buckeye Nation, they will forever remain conquering heroes, a group that dominated the Big Ten Conference and archrival Michigan like none before. Ohio State won outright Big Ten titles (2006, 2007) or shared the championship (2005, 2008) in all four seasons that they played.
Ever since the fifth-year seniors set foot on campus back in 2004, Ohio State hasn't lost to Michigan. The Buckeyes' 42-7 victory against Michigan on Saturday ensured the seniors their own chapter in team history.
"I don't think we really realize it now," senior linebacker and co-captain James Laurinaitis said, "but as we get older, we'll look back on our career and stuff and realize to be a part of the first team to win five times in a row is something that is very special."
Backup quarterback and co-captain Todd Boeckman will always remember Ohio State's dominance of Michigan.
"When you get five pairs of gold pants, that's something you never forget," said Boeckman, referring to players' reward for beating Michigan.
Seen through the first prism, the Buckeyes shine through in all their Scarlet and Gray glory.
But there's another prism, one that takes a broader view of the Ohio State seniors from outside the Buckeye State.