Big Ten: Michael Jackson
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Chris from Minneapolis writes: Hi Adam. Great work on the blog! I feel confident the upgrade in talent and addition of Coach [Tim] Davis will make this year's Gopher OL a vast improvement over last years. Plus Gray or Webber have a solid number 2 this year with Carpenter. Assuming Jedd Fisch's system clicks with the players right away, do you think Minnesota will have a chance to become one of the top two or three offenses in the Big Ten this year?
Adam Rittenberg: Thanks, Chris. There are a lot of new things to digest, not only Fisch's system but a dramatically different approach on the offensive line. I think that group is the key to Minnesota's season. Adam Weber is a very smart player and will pick up the system, and MarQueis Gray really hasn't played in any other scheme. The receivers will be solid, but it all comes down to that offensive line. If that group comes together, Minnesota could definitely be among the league's top offenses.
Tom from Charlotte, N.C., writes: Very sad news about the death of Michael Jackson. To commemorate his legacy, which Michael Jackson song best describes each team in the Big Ten? I think "Man in the Mirror" is appropriate for Indiana. Considering the recent Hawkeye arrests, maybe "Smooth Criminal" applies to Iowa?
Adam Rittenberg: Wow, I'm guessing you're not planning any trips to the state of Iowa any time soon. Hawkeye fans won't appreciate that one. But to honor the King of Pop, a few suggestions.
- "Beat It" for Ohio State, since no one has consistently matched the Buckeyes in the Big Ten this decade.
- "Remember The Time" for Michigan, which is trying to restore some glory after the worst season in team history.
- "You Are Not Alone" for Penn State, a former Division I independent now welcomed into the Big Ten.
- "Thriller" for Northwestern, which has been involved in several of the Big Ten's most exciting games since 1995.
- "Come Together" for Illinois, which needs to have better team chemistry in 2009 than 2008.
- "They Don't Care About Us" for Indiana, which needs more support for its football program (and is finally getting some).
- "Fly Away" for the Iowa Hawkeyes (get it? get it?)
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Penn State 26 UCF 24 Final Youngstown State 17 Illinois 28 Final Indiana State 10 Indiana 28 Final Northern Iowa 23 Iowa 31 Final Appalachian State 14 Michigan 52 Final 5 Ohio State 34 Navy 17 Final Western Michigan 34 Purdue 43 Final Florida Atlantic 7 22 Nebraska 55 Final California 31 Northwestern 24 Final James Madison 7 Maryland 52 Final 14 Wisconsin 24 13 LSU 28
Final Eastern Illinois 20 Minnesota 42 Final Rutgers 41 Washington State 38