Big Ten: Nate Kaeding
- Members of the 2010 Wisconsin offense have made their mark in the NFL.
- Early enrollees like Purdue's Danny Etling reached a new high this season.
- Penn State and UCF could play the 2014 season opener in Ireland. Bill O'Brien is surprised by his team's recruiting success despite sanctions. The Lions landed a cornerback recruit for 2014.
- Some offensive spring standouts for Ohio State. The Buckeyes are on the lookout for their next quarterback.
- Illinois' planned invasion of Evanston hit a roadblock. What experts are saying about the Illini's top draftee, Akeem Spence.
- Will Nebraska offer a pair of star in-state defensive linemen?
- A closer look at Michigan State tight end recruit Ryan Izzo, who has the perfect last name for the Spartans. Ron Burton is helping energize the MSU defensive line.
- Like Braxton Miller, Michigan's Devin Gardner is doing offseason work with quarterback guru George Whitfield. Can the Wolverines land top recruit Jabrill Peppers?
- Minnesota is pursuing a Florida defensive lineman.
- Greg Davis wants Iowa to play up tempo. Former Hawkeyes kicker Nate Kaeding is retiring from the NFL.
- Cody Latimer won a dunk contest involving the Indiana football team.
- BTN's Tom Dienhart offers 25 things he learned this spring.
- Barry Alvarez is intrigued by a proposal for Wisconsin to play a game at Lambeau Field. By not trying to do too much, linebacker Chris Borland is doing more. David Gilbert's yapping cost him the start at Nebraska.
- Size has not been a problem for 5-foot-11, 155-pound Nebraska cornerback Josh Mitchell. A Rose Bowl is one of the few things missing on Tom Osborne's résumé -- for now.
- Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins on how he plans to stop Le'Veon Bell: "I'm going to try to rip his head off." Braxton Miller is a little hazy on the details of last year's loss to the Spartans.
- How Bell slipped through the recruiting cracks. Mark Dantonio and Urban Meyer are not exactly best buds.
- Former walk-on Matt Tobin is a success story at Iowa. Ex-Hawkeyes kicker Nate Kaeding writes about how Kirk Ferentz handles a crisis. An Iowa professor recalls meeting the namesake of the Floyd of Rosedale trophy: "He just looked like a pig to me."
- Minnesota quarterback Max Shortell has excelled at reading defenses fast.
- Attendance problems are still dogging Illinois.
- Northwestern's Tyris Jones has learned to pick his battles after doing some brawling on the scout team.
- Purdue will have to counter Marshall's "hyper-speed" tempo on offense.
- Penn State's young defensive ends are providing a spark with some starters injured. Could NCAA sanctions help rekindle the Penn State-Pitt rivalry?
- Michigan's Fitz Toussaint says he would do better with more than the 12 carries per game he's been averaging so far. Urban Meyer on the Wolverines: "I hope they're last in everything."
- Indiana students believe the Hoosiers are no longer a Big Ten pushover.
- BTN's Dave Revsine has his weekly numbers column to get you primed for the weekend.
I'll be off most of Friday and Monday, so you'll be in the capable hands of Brian Bennett. He can't wait to hear from you.
Derek from Happy Valley, Pa., writes: For what it's worth Adam, as a Penn State fan and student, I don't understand why Penn State would choose to play Pitt. There are Pitt shirts on campus from WPIAL kids and nobody cares. It's not a rivalry to any Penn State fan under the age of 50, and it's only a rivalry to about half of them.Pitt will get to sell out their stadium (for what I assume Penn State will white-out), but Penn State already does that.And as a fan, I would rather go to more places like Tuscaloosa like we did last year. I could go to Pittsburgh, albeit a nice city, whenever I want. Penn State should spend it's main OOC game on teams like Oregon, LSU, Florida, Texas, and other top teams from top conferences.I know you don't really care about my opinion, but if you are trying to gauge hoe PSU fans are taking this 2 game series, you have at least one of our thoughts.
Adam Rittenberg: Derek, thanks for sharing this perspective. The Penn State-Pitt hiatus has prevented the rivalry from resonating with younger fans and students such as yourself. It's a shame because, while I'm aging rapidly but hardly ancient, I remember several Penn State-Pitt games and the excitement around the rivalry. The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News Jared Shanker recently wrote a good piece from a younger person's perspective, asking folks to educate him on the rivalry. While I certainly understand your desire to see more games like Penn State-Alabama in the future, I'd give the Pitt series a chance.
Tim from Toledo, Ohio, writes: Hey Adam,Great job with the blog! In past postings you've mentioned that you thought OSU would NOT get hammered for the infamous "lack of institutional control"? Do you still think that, in light of OTL's recent report about Pryor and Talbott? In your opinon, how hard will the NCAA come down on my Buckeyes?
Adam Rittenberg: Tim, it's hard to predict NCAA charges in advance, but if more of these allegations are proven true, lack of institutional control might be in play. I think "failure to monitor" might be a bigger concern for Ohio State because of the questions about the compliance department -- what it knew, what it didn't know, what it did to monitor players, etc. Failure to monitor is considered a small step down from lack of institutional control in terms of severity, but both charges are significant.
Matthew from East Lansing, Mich., writes: Adam I noticed that you had the Wisky running back tandem as possible Heisman candidates ahead of either Kirk Cousins or Edwin Baker. I was wondering if this was you looking ahead and thinking that the Badgers will have a better record (thus be in more national spot light) than the Spartans. Nothing against the Wisconsin running backs. They are great athletes and will rack up a lot of yardage, but I have to think that either Cousins or Baker will have a huge year (depending on if the line can gel for a run offense in Bakers case). I was just wondering on the reasoning.
Adam Rittenberg: Good question, Matthew. The two offensive lines certainly have something to do with it. Wisconsin once again should have one of the Big Ten's best lines, while Michigan State's front is a major question mark. It's never easy to replace both starting tackles and the starting center. The other element is the hype factor around Wisconsin and the fact that James White and Montee Ball are players people know nationally at a position where the Badgers are famous for producing stars. I'm not saying Kirk Cousins or Edwin Baker can't enter the Heisman mix, but both men have something to prove nationally because the default perception of them/Michigan State is the Capital One Bowl disaster against Alabama.
Kevin from Orlando, Fla., writes: Adam, always look forward to reading your view points on current Big Ten topics...great job! My question is, do you see Michigan eventually playing more 8pm prime time games in the Big House, depending on the success (based on ratings and performace, as attendance wont be an issue) of the Sept. 10th game agaisnt ND?
Adam Rittenberg: Thanks, Kevin. I'd be stunned if Michigan doesn't schedule more primetime home games in the coming years. Athletic director Dave Brandon is a progressive guy who recognizes the popularity of night college football. Tradition is nice, but noon ET kickoffs simply don't generate the same type of hype and excitement as games under the lights. Honestly, noon kickoffs just aren't cool at all. Michigan will never become LSU and play most of its home games at night, but Brandon will identify showcase opportunities where playing in prime time works, and he'll capitalize.
Tyler from Durham, N.C., writes: In a recent blog about Michigan's throwback unis for the Notre Dame game, you said that the numbers on the helmets were a nice touch because "Alabama's helmets are classic; it's good to see Michigan go this route." Huh? Are you saying the famed winged helmets designed by Frits Chrysler, which have been time and again confirmed as the best looking (and most classic) in college football, aren't as "classic" as Alabama's? Please, Adam, don't embarrass yourself like this. Retract the Alabama statement and you can put this all behind you as if you never said a thing. I'm just looking out for you, buddy.
Adam Rittenberg: A little oversensitive, are we? Michigan's helmets are great. They're the best helmets in the Big Ten. I've mentioned that on multiple occasions. The numbers are simply a nice one-time feature, and they reminded me of Alabama's headgear. Both helmets are iconic, and in no way was I knocking Michigan.
Eric from Collins, Ohio, writes: Adam, why do you have to come up with insane blog topics meant only to incite comments? These "Who has the better tradition" posts are meant simply to fire people up and put down schools that perhaps don't value their football program the way most schools in the Big Ten do. Honestly, when is your retirement? I can't wait.
Adam Rittenberg: Eric, the traditions posts were simply done to have a little fun in conjunction with EA Sports and SportsNation. All the bloggers did them, as per our instructions from the folks in Bristol. As usual, several of you took them way too seriously. And this is a blog, so "firing people up" is sort of the point, especially during a slow period time like mid-June. As for my retirement, sorry to disappoint you. I'm not going anywhere for a while.
Bryan from Kansas City, Mo., writes: I'm wondering if you have any thoughts about how Nebraska will fare this year without their secret offensive MVP of the past few years, kicker Alex Henery. With the offensive struggles in the past two years, Henery was always hitting clutch field goals and putting points on the board. Plain and simple - the Huskers wouldn't have won all the games they did in the past few years without him. I want to hear your take on how this could impact them this season, and if you have any insights on Alex's replacement.
Adam Rittenberg: Great question, Bryan. I loved watching Henery from afar, particularly in the Big 12 championship games. He was practically automatic and extremely clutch. Reminded me of Big Ten star kickers like Mike Nugent and Nate Kaeding. I agree that he played a huge role in several Nebraska wins. Nebraska's offense will have to reach the end zone a little more often this season. Junior Brett Maher will be the next man in. He hit three field goals in the spring game, including the game-winner. Mauro Bondi also is joining the team. Still, it'll be very tough to replace a guy like Henery.
- Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr says his conversation with Morgan Trent was misrepresented in a book, Angelique Chengelis writes in The Detroit News.
- Not surprisingly, Missouri officials are having internal discussions about joining the Big Ten, though no offer from the league has been made, Mike DeArmond writes in The Kansas City Star. The expansion story has turned into a game of Keno for overzealous reporters, CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd writes. Notre Dame will determine how massive expansion becomes in college sports, Jon Wilner writes in the San Jose Mercury News.
- Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz talks line play and how his team could have been 6-7 last fall, Dave Curtis writes in The Sporting News. Former Hawkeyes star kicker Nate Kaeding hopes to bounce back from a disastrous end to the 2009 season, Sean Keeler writes in the Des Moines Register.
- No. 3 Ohio State leads the Big Ten contingent in Dennis Dodd's post-spring Top 25.
- Justin Siller could soon be back with Purdue, giving the Boilers' offense another weapon, Mike Carmin writes in The (Lafayette) Journal and Courier.
- Penn State's spring game attendance ranks fifth nationally, Jared Shanker writes in The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News.
- Michigan State boasts a 74 percent graduation rate under head coach Mark Dantonio.
Two other Big Ten programs cracked the Top 25 but fell short of the bracket.
Michigan State comes in at No. 23 with 48 points, boasting nine first-team All-Pro selection, eight second-team All-Pro selections and 31 Pro Bowl appearances for players drafted between 1979-2009. The Spartans' top pros during the time span included kicker Morten Andersen, wide receiver Andre Rison, linebacker Julian Peterson and offensive tackle Flozell Adams.
Iowa is tied with Michigan State at No. 23 in the standings. The Hawkeyes produced 10 first-team All-Pros, 10 second-team All-Pros and 27 Pro Bowl appearances. Iowa's top players during the last three decades included linebacker Andre Tippett, safety Merton Hanks (love the funky chicken dance!), punter Reggie Roby, safety Bob Sanders, defensive end Aaron Kampman and kicker Nate Kaeding.
Purdue finished at No. 26 in the standings with 47 total points. The Boilers are led by former Defensive Player of the Year Rod Woodson and reigning Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees, along with former All-Pro fullback Mike Alstott.
Tell me how you really feel.
Kyle from Kingston, Ontario, writes: Adam, love your post dude! I have to make a comment though. How do you not give any love to Dallas Clark. 01 and 02 he made numerous plays to Iowa on the map. I am not saying he was a top 10 player, but to not even be considered?
Adam Rittenberg: That was an oversight on my part, Kyle. Clark should have been mentioned in the "also considered," a category I now regret even putting up there. But to be honest, he really wasn't close to making the top 10. Same goes for great kickers like Mike Nugent and Nate Kaeding. It's not to say they weren't great players, but they're not going to make a top 10 list for best in the decade.
K.J. from Arlington writes: Funny how you use the term infamous regarding the 2002 championship game but failed to use the term when Michigan was infamously given 2 free seconds which game football absolutely proved should not have been put on the clock by the oh so biased Ann Arbor crew in the 2005 game helping to give Michigan unearned wins in three of the previous five meetings with Penn State? Why is that? Oh wait, because you are an idiot and you hate Penn State, that's why.
Adam Rittenberg: There was some controversy in several of the games I listed, K.J., including Penn State-Michigan in 2005. The clock certainly played a role there in the end. And while I won't argue with you about the idiot part, the me hating Penn State argument is pretty lame and tired. Like I've said before, fans love me when their team is in the top 10 and think I'm a hater when they start to slip a bit. I have nothing against Penn State, which is featured prominently throughout the decade recap this week.
Justin from Plainfield, Ill., writes: Adam,Since you based it on players that generally had mulitple season, I understand (and in general agree) with your list of Big Ten players of the decade. I'd like to see your take on that same list without that caveat (of multiple seasons). To me, Michael Robinson would have to be on that list. You often hear "so and so led his team to victory" get thrown around. MRob truly led his team in 2005.Also, I was glad you gave Randal El some love. That dude was the only reason Indiana football even had a chance for those 4 years.
Adam Rittenberg: This is a good suggestion, Justin, and while I probably won't do a second post with one-year stars, here are a few who really stood out: Brad Banks, Michael Robinson, Larry Johnson, Devin Thomas, Shonn Greene, Chris Perry, Rashard Mendenhall, James Hardy.
Andy from Chicago writes: Adam - Love the blog and appreciate the Hawkeye pub during the season. I have a few follow-up questions/comments regarding your players of the decade list. 1. I know that Jake Long and Joe Thomas are better pros than Robert Gallery, but RG definitely should be on your list. He was the best OL in the conference two years in a row and paved the way for a B10 championship and undefeated conference season. Additionally, when he came out, Peter King said he was "the best lineman to enter the draft in years." Perhaps an oversight on your part, but wanted to get your opinion. 2. If this was about longevity in the league, then I understand your putting Mike Hart on the list. Otherwise, what Greene accomplished in one season is better than anything Hart did in four (or seemingly ten) seasons in Ann Arbor. 3. How many B10 players this decade went undefeated in conference, won a conference title, and finished second in the Heisman voting in the same season? One. Similar to Greene, Banks definitely should have made the cut. 4. Dallas Clark needs to at least make Honorable Mention. That is all. Thanks,
Adam Rittenberg: I really struggled with both Gallery and Long. Any top-10 list is going to leave off some deserving players, and you can certainly make a convincing case for those two. I really tried to identify the MVP for each program during the decade, and I think most Iowa fans would put Bob Sanders in that role. Wisconsin fans would say the same for Joe Thomas. Gallery was a tremendous player, as was Long, and trust me, they weren't far away from making the list. As for Shonn Greene and Brad Banks, lack of longevity was the main reason they didn't make it. The running back position was interesting because you had several one-year standouts in the Big Ten. I didn't want to have a top-10 list without a running back, and Hart really accomplished a lot in four years. As for Dallas Clark, see above.
Mike from Wausau, Wis., writes: Hi Adam:I enjoy your work. When might we expect to hear what the NCAA will do regarding the potential violations by RichRod? I thought a decision was expected by the end of 2009. To me, the lackof public notice to date indicates there is somethingon the way, and perhaps the U of M and the NCAA are "working-out" the terms of the penalty. Also, after two years, do you really think RichRod is the right person for the job? Thanks!
Adam Rittenberg: The Dec. 31 date wasn't a fixed deadline for a decision on the Michigan investigation, but I'd expect we'll hear something soon. The NCAA holds many of its meetings at this time of year, so that could be slowing the process a bit. I don't think the delay necessarily means huge penalties are coming. As for Rodriguez, I think he's still a heck of a coach, but he's operating in a very different environment than he did at West Virginia. If he can get the players he wants throughout the admissions office and have several young defenders emerge, Michigan should be decent in 2010. But I continue to be concerned with what's happening on defense in Ann Arbor.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Two out of three isn't bad.
Excerpts from the release:
Iowa RB Shonn Greene
Greene broke loose for a career-high 217 yards on 25 carries (8.7 avg.) and equaled a school record with four touchdowns to lead Iowa past Wisconsin. The junior running back's 217-yard effort is tied for the sixth-best single-game effort in program annals and marks the first 200-yard outing by a Hawkeyes player since 2005, when Albert Young collected 202 yards at Northwestern. He is the first Hawkeye to score four rushing touchdowns in a single game since Tavian Banks accomplished the feat against Iowa State in 1997. Greene also surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, becoming the second-fastest Iowa rusher to crack the mark behind Banks, who reached 1,000 yards in six games in 1997.
Iowa LB Pat Angerer
Angerer established a career high with 16 tackles and added two interceptions to lead an Iowa defense that held Wisconsin without a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter. The junior linebacker amassed 12 tackles in the first half alone, and his 16-tackle effort marks the most defensive stops in a single game by any Big Ten player this season. With the hosts holding a 28-9 lead heading into the fourth quarter, Angerer picked off passes to end back-to-back Badgers' drives to put the game away. He returned his first interception 14 yards to give Iowa the ball at Wisconsin 's 48-yard line, which the offense turned into a touchdown four plays later for a 35-9 advantage. The Iowa native picked off his second pass on the ensuing possession and returned it five yards to the Badgers' 37-yard line, setting up a field goal and a 38-9 lead.
Penn State K Kevin Kelly
Kelly connected on three field goals and all five of his extra points against Michigan to become the Big Ten's career leader in kicking points. The senior kicker's 14-point outing boosted his career total to 376 kicking points to pass Minnesota's Dan Nystrom (1999-2002) and Iowa's Nate Kaeding (2000-03), who shared the top spot with 367 points. Kelly connected on field goals of 42, 32 and 20 yards to give him 70 career field goals, which ranks third in conference annals behind Nystrom (71 field goals) and Ohio State's Mike Nugent (72).