Big Ten: Johnny Adams

The Big Ten championship, like most games, likely will be decided at the line of scrimmage. But do yourself a favor and sneak a few glances at the perimeter.

There you'll find two of the nation's best cornerbacks in Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard and Ohio State's Bradley Roby. Both are native Georgians (Dennard grew up in Dry Branch; Roby is from Suwanee), both love press coverage and run support, and both could be the first members of their respective teams selected in April's NFL draft.

[+] EnlargeDarqueze Dennard
AP Photo/Al GoldisCB Darqueze Dennard has become a leader for Michigan State's defense.
They are different personalities who have taken different paths, but both faced growth opportunities and seem to be peaking as their college careers wind down.

Dennard on Monday was named the Big Ten's Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year, the latest honor for a player already named a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (nation's top defensive back) and the Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back). The 5-foot-11, 197-pound senior has 56 tackles, four interceptions, a forced fumble and five quarterback hurries for the nation's No. 1 defense. All-America honors are undoubtedly forthcoming.

He's also a captain for No. 10 Michigan State, an unlikely ending for the skinny, soft-spoken kid who arrived on campus in the summer of 2010.

"You really can't see a transformation much more defining than what 'Queze went through," Spartans linebacker Max Bullough said. "The success he's had on the field in being a captain and being a very influential person, this team is sitting at 11-1, and he's a big part of that."

Roby is a big part of Ohio State's 12-0 mark, but his season has been anything but smooth. He enjoyed many of the accolades Dennard is now receiving back in 2012, when he earned second-team All-America honors and was a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award after leading the nation in passes defended (1.73 per game).

This season has brought a suspension (following a July arrest), an ejection (for targeting against Iowa) and a humbling performance (against Wisconsin's All-Big Ten receiver Jared Abbrederis on Sept. 28). But the ever-confident Roby didn't let his lows linger and has elevated his play for most of the Big Ten season.

"This year was fundamental," Roby told ESPN.com. "When I made the decision to come back, I felt like this was going to happen. I was like, 'Man, it's too easy, two years and I can already go to the [NFL].' But it's not like that. If I really want to be what I want to be in the long term, I have to go through some things and learn and mature.

"The things that happened, I'm not saying I tied it to those situations on purpose just to get in trouble, but everything that's happened has been serious but also[to] the point where I haven't lost everything."

Roby, who switched his commitment from Vanderbilt to Ohio State weeks before signing day in 2010, arrived in Columbus with a clear plan: redshirt one year, play two and then bolt for the NFL.

But in January, he opted to return for his fourth season, saying he had unfinished business as the Buckeyes emerged from NCAA sanctions. After the first few games, however, Roby was thinking more about the NFL than the BCS.

"I was in a mind-set of, 'Yeah, I'm good enough to play in the NFL,'" he said. "When you start thinking like that, you stop doing the things you used to do, when you were hungry, when nobody knew who you were. It was kind of, 'Oh, I don't have to do this drill today. I don't have to watch film as much.'

"You kind of fall off."

The turning point came after Abbrederis recorded 10 receptions for 207 yards at Ohio Stadium. Although Roby thinks he only had a few bad plays, he admits Abbrederis got the best of him. It forced him to narrow his focus.

The following week at Northwestern, he blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown. Special teams are a trademark for Roby, who has three career punt blocks and two touchdown recoveries. Another is never giving up on plays.

"He's my ace on kickoff coverage," coach Urban Meyer said. "He's a very valuable member of this team."

While Roby's growth took place this season, Dennard's began much earlier. He had no scholarship offers as a high school senior when Spartans assistant Dave Warner accidentally stumbled upon him while recruiting southern Georgia.

Dennard came to Michigan State at "165 pounds, soaking wet."

"Man, he was little," Bullough said.

"My body just matured after I got here," Dennard said.

Thanks to strength coach Ken Mannie and others, Dennard added 20 pounds as a freshman, when he appeared in six games, starting two. He recorded three interceptions in 2011, including two in Michigan State's Outback Bowl win against Georgia, yet was overshadowed by fellow corner Johnny Adams.

Dennard finally got his due last season, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors. He thrives in an aggressive scheme that isolates cornerbacks on the edges but doesn't ask them to back off.

"Darqueze has had an outstanding year," coach Mark Dantonio said. "Shutdown corner, great tackler. He's got great skills."

Dennard complements his physical skills with leadership.

"When I first got to campus, I really was a shy guy, didn't talk that much," Dennard said. "Once I got to know these guys ... I started talking more. These past two years, I've really started [to become vocal]."

Roby doesn't know Dennard well -- he wasn't aware they're both from Georgia -- but he has watched Dennard, especially in press coverage, which Roby loves even though Ohio State doesn't employ it as much. Roby is well aware of the praise Dennard and his fellow MSU defenders receive and uses it as motivation this week.

"I came back this year for this reason, to be in this position," Roby said. "I've gone through a lot of things on and off the field, but at the end of the day, I'm still in position to get everything I want and everything I’ve been dreaming of.

"It's all on the line this Saturday."
Michigan State's incentives this week range from the macro (winning the Legends division) to the micro (beating Nebraska for the first time) to the personal.

For Spartans cornerback Darqueze Dennard, it's definitely personal.

Dennard knows the text message or phone call is coming. He's not sure when, but it'll be before kickoff. His cousin, former Nebraska star cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, won't let the week pass without reminding Darqueze of what happened the last two times the Spartans and Huskers played.

[+] EnlargeMark Dantonio
AP Photo/Al GoldisMark Dantonio said his team and Nebraska both have risen from the ashes of September.
"It's my last time playing [Nebraska], so I'm very excited to try and get some braggin' rights over my cousin to let him be quiet," Darqueze Dennard told ESPN.com. "I'm going to send my little text message to him to tell him what we're going to do.

"I'm going to tell him, 'Watch the Spartan Dawgs put on a show.'"

It will be tough for the Spartan Dawgs, also known as the Michigan State defense, to top the show they presented Nov. 2 against archrival Michigan. They held Michigan to minus-48 net rush yards, the lowest total in Michigan history, and recorded seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss.

Michigan State certainly wants to atone for its defensive issues in last year's 28-24 loss to Nebraska at Spartan Stadium. Nebraska erased a 24-14 fourth-quarter deficit and drove 80 yards in the final 80 seconds, scoring the game-winning touchdown with six ticks to play.

The Huskers comeback might never have been completed if Dennard's 96-yard interception return for a touchdown hadn't been called back on a questionable personal foul penalty against Johnny Adams. Another call went against Dennard on Nebraska's final drive, as a pass interference penalty on third-and-10 gave Nebraska a first-and-goal at the Spartans' 5-yard line. Dennard can't remember how many times he has been asked about the game.

"Getting the interception called back, which was a legal block, and the pass-interference call that was questionable, it was hard," Dennard said. "I just remember everybody was excited, the crowd was going crazy, and when they called it back, the whole stadium went back down, and our energy level went back down, too.

"We still had opportunities to stop them."

If the Spartans can stop Nebraska on its home field on Saturday they'll claim at least a share of the Legends division title and a two-game lead on both Nebraska and Minnesota with two weeks to play. Michigan State then could punch its ticket to Indianapolis the following week if it beats Northwestern, or Minnesota loses to Wisconsin.

A loss Saturday would move control of the division to Nebraska, which has revived its season since the Hail Mary game-winner Nov. 2 against Northwestern.

"It's about trying to earn that opportunity to go to the championship game," Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. "The road goes through Lincoln for Michigan State. We can't really bring up the past. We've got to learn from the past."

Michigan State's past with Nebraska reveals some tough lessons for the guys in green. Nebraska is 7-0 all-time against the Spartans, including 2-0 as a member of the Big Ten.

Of the many accomplishments Michigan State has in the Dantonio area, two items remain on the to-do list: Beat Nebraska and win an outright Big Ten championship. Fittingly, the Spartans must check off the first to get to the second.

"It would be a great thing for me, knowing that I've beat every team in the Big Ten in my career," Dennard said. "A lot of people don't have the chance to say that."

Dennard and his fellow Spartan defenders won't have to deal with Taylor Martinez on Saturday. The Nebraska quarterback, likely out of the season with a foot injury, gashed MSU for 365 yards (205 rush, 160 pass) and four touchdowns in last year's game.

Although Huskers signal-callers Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Ron Kellogg III both have their strengths, Nebraska could "run anything," with Martinez in the game, Dennard said. Despite a more limited play selection, Nebraska is 5-0 when Armstrong starts and has seen its young defense mature in recent weeks.

"They're much like us," Dantonio said. "People in September weren't saying too many kind things about the Spartans. We've sort of risen from the ashes. You can make that parallel comparison with Nebraska.

"Both of us are playing good football right now."

Michigan State played great football in its last outing, and while an open week could stem momentum, Dennard saw his teammates lock in on their chief goal.

"Knowing it's right here, we all get motivated," he said. "We all have the same vision."

Lincoln is in the Spartans' viewfinder this week. If they get out with a win, their next stop should be Indianapolis.
Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard made his 29th career start last Saturday against Youngstown State. Safety Isaiah Lewis missed the game with injury but still has 30 starts under his belt, tied for the most of any Spartan.

But when it comes to The Bus, Dennard and Lewis are glorified special teamers, barely hanging onto roster spots. See, The Bus doesn't care about career starts. All of its regular riders have those. You need to bring something more: All-Big Ten honors, All-America honors, a national award or two. Helping your team to a Big Ten championship -- and possibly more -- moves you up a few rows.

What is this magic bus? Let's let Pete Townshend, er, Mark Dantonio explain.

[+] EnlargeDarqueze Dennard
Mike Carter/USA TODAY SportsCB Darqueze Dennard, like many other MSU players, wasn't considered an elite prospect coming out of high school but has developed into a top performer.
"I tell them I've been a secondary coach all my life, for 30 years," Dantonio told ESPN.com in August. "I kid them that we only travel 10 on my bus, on the All-Coach Dantonio secondary team. And Isaiah and Queze, they're both on the bus.

"So they're traveling, they're playing on special teams, but they've got to become a starter this year."

It won't be easy, looking at the group sitting at the front of The Bus.

There's Mike Doss, the former Ohio State safety who Dantonio coached in Columbus, a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and a unanimous consensus All-American in 2002, when the Buckeyes won the national title. Next to Doss is former Buckeyes teammate Chris Gamble, a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2002 who also contributed on special teams and offense before becoming a first-round NFL draft pick. Other D-Bus starters include Kwamie Lassiter, who Dantonio coached at Kansas; and safeties Aric Morris and Renaldo Hill, who Dantonio mentored at Michigan State during his first go-round as an assistant for Nick Saban.

"It's very humbling," Dennard said. "Me and Isaiah, we both think we are very blessed to be mentioned with those guys. Those are great players he always mentions on his bus. It’s a great thing to even be talked about at the same time. We have to have a mindset how it is, we have to be the top of the top of the top of the bus."

It's a lofty goal, but one that Dennard could reach as a senior. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the league's coaches last year after recording 52 tackles, three interceptions and seven pass breakups for one of the nation's best defenses. More impressive, he played most of the season with a sports hernia, likely suffered in September. Dennard underwent surgery after the season.

"He could have had his intestines hanging out, and he wouldn't have done anything about it," defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said. "The kid's that tough."

Dennard entered the fall on the watch lists for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back, as well as the Bednarik and Nagurski awards, which go to the top defensive player. The 5-11, 197-pound senior should push Ohio State's Bradley Roby for the Big Ten's Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year award.

He's also a potential high pick in next April's NFL draft.

"He's probably the best corner we've coached," Narduzzi said this spring. "And he's a fun kid to coach."

[+] EnlargeIsaiah Lewis
Mike Carter/USA TODAY SportsIsaiah Lewis ties up South Florida running back Marcus Shaw.
Lewis also is on the Thorpe Award watch list after earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors as a junior. He has recorded 154 tackles, six interceptions and nine pass breakups the past two seasons as Michigan State has blossomed as a top 10 defense.

Dantonio doesn't bring up names like Doss and Gamble with his current players, but he lets them know where they stand.

"For Coach Dantonio to tell you you're one of the best guys he has ever seen play this position, one of the best guys he has ever coached at this position, it means a lot, man," Lewis said. "You want to be the best and want to do better."

Dennard knows firsthand how preseason praise, whether it stems from his coaches or the outside, means nothing unless he can back it up on the field. Last year, he played opposite cornerback Johnny Adams, who entered the season projected as a potential first-round pick -- Mel Kiper had Adams at No. 14 on his initial Big Board -- but didn't take his game to the next level. Adams earned All-Big Ten honors but missed Michigan State's bowl game with an injury, wasn't drafted and twice was waived by NFL teams last month before making the Buffalo Bills' roster.

"Knowing all the things he did throughout his career here, it kind of gets you down," Dennard said. "But at the same time, I too much don’t think about it. … It's definitely motivation. Just going in every day, from my standpoint you can't be complacent with everything. Preseason is preseason."

Lewis is expected to join Dennard this week when Michigan State faces its first major test of the season on the road against No. 23 Notre Dame. Although the Spartans finally looked like a functional offense last Saturday against Youngstown State, they'll lean on their defense against an Irish team averaging 236 pass yards a game and deep threats T.J. Jones, DaVaris Daniels and Chris Brown.

Big plays have been a theme early this season for the "Spartan Dawgs," who already have eight takeaways, tied for sixth most nationally and nearly half of their total (20) from all of 2012. Dennard and Lewis look to continue to trend in South Bend.

"We have to make more plays," Dennard said. "We have to make more interceptions for touchdowns and have to do more exciting things, like forcing fumbles or scoring touchdowns or doing whatever, big hits or whatever to make Coach D happy."

If they do, they'll earn permanent spots on the bus, seated toward the front.

" After this year, are they going to belong with the likes of Mike Doss, Chris Gamble, Kwamie Lassiter, Aric Morris, Renaldo Hill?" Dantonio said. "Those guys who are starting in front of them right now, guys that we've coached, they're very, very good players. [Denard and Lewis] are making their way onto the field, onto that team."

Michigan State season preview

August, 16, 2013
8/16/13
10:30
AM ET
If the old adage “defense wins championships” always held true, then Michigan State would be a top team in most preseason polls. But they'll still have to play offense, and it might not be a good thing that the Spartans' success this season will hinge on how the unit moves the ball.

MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

Coach Mark Dantonio (69-45 overall, 51-28 at Michigan State)

2012 record: 7-6 overall, 3-5 Big Ten

Key losses: DE William Gholston, RB Le’Veon Bell, RB Larry Caper, TE Dion Sims, DB Johnny Adams, LB Chris Norman, K Dan Conroy

[+] EnlargeMichigan State's Andrew Maxwell
Andrew Weber/US PresswireWill Andrew Maxwell be able to hold off Connor Cook and lead the Spartans?
Key returnees: QB Andrew Maxwell, WR Keith Mumphery, WR Bennie Fowler, WR Tony Lippett, WR Aaron Burbridge, RB Riley Bullough, OL Travis Jackson, CB Darqueze Dennard, LB Max Bullough, LB Denicos Allen

Newcomer to watch: Running back Riley Bullough. The redshirt freshman converted linebacker can be considered a true newcomer because this is his first season at the position. The Spartans are looking for someone to step into the big shoes Bell left, and Bullough has seemed to rise to the occasion throughout fall camp.

Biggest games in 2013: at Notre Dame (Sept. 21), at Iowa (Oct. 5), vs. Michigan (Nov. 2), at Nebraska (Nov. 16), at Northwestern (Nov. 23)

Biggest question mark heading into 2013: Will the offense really be able to get it going? Maxwell remains the biggest question mark. Dantonio pulled Maxwell during the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl last season and put in Connor Cook. The same could happen this season as the two battle it out trying to find consistency in the offense and chemistry with wide receivers. Bullough should help, but neither he nor junior Nick Hill has ever been a featured back in an offense. Running back by committee could be the Spartans’ best bet.

Forecast: The Spartan defense will be stout, even without Gholston. It returns most starters and Max Bullough is ready to lead. It’s the offense that will struggle to find its identity, which happens to most teams when they don’t have a starting quarterback who has consistently proven himself. This season, Michigan State might head into the fall with that part still unanswered. The Spartans return multiple wide receiver threats, so Maxwell should have some kind of chemistry there, but how long his leash will be remains to be seen, and Cook could be thrown into the fire relatively quickly.

The schedule does set up the Spartans to play their best football later in the season. The front half of their conference schedule isn’t too bad. The Spartans should be better than the Hawkeyes, but playing at Iowa is never easy. Indiana and Purdue at home, as well as a road game against Illinois, should provide ample confidence building as the Spartans face a tougher three-game stretch in November. They’ll host in-state rival Michigan before hitting the road for Nebraska and Northwestern, which could be a true contest this season, unlike in most. Minnesota at home should be a fine way to close out, especially considering that will be the week that fellow Legends team Michigan faces a tough competitor in Ohio State, possibly with both teams vying for a spot in the Big Ten championship game the following weekend.

Big Ten Thursday mailbag

May, 23, 2013
5/23/13
5:00
PM ET
Good job filling up the mailbag during a slow time in college football. Let's do the question-and-answer session.

Andy from Lincoln, Neb., writes: Do you think the Big Ten's weak crossover schedule in 2014 could potentially prevent a one-loss team, such as Michigan, Wisconsin, or Nebraska, from being a part of the four-team College Football Playoff? I could see Michigan losing to Ohio State in 2014, not making the Big Ten championship and being left out of the CFP. Another possible scenario is an undefeated Wisconsin or Nebraska team losing in the Big Ten championship and being out of the CFP. Thoughts?

Brian Bennett: The crossover schedule won't help, but the biggest hindrance to a one-loss, non-Big Ten champion making the playoff next year is the perception that the league is not that strong. The Big Ten will need to perform well this year and win some big nonconference games in 2014 to have any chance of putting two teams in the four-team playoff, which still seems like a long shot. Some 2014 out-of-league games like Michigan-Notre Dame, Ohio State-Virginia Tech and Nebraska-Miami could bolster the league's case. Wisconsin's 2014 non-league slate -- highlighted by Washington State and USF -- will leave the Badgers little room for error.




Rob NitLion from Morristown, N.J. writes: You "asked" (rhetorically) the wrong question in your recent blog post. The question is NOT "what do the Detroit Lions know about college football/bowl games" but "What is the draw for B1G fans to want to travel to Detroit in the winter...or in any season for that matter?" Is this really a destination that B1G fan bases want to travel to to see two mediocre teams face off in the post season? If my Nittany Lions finish 6-6 and make a bowl game (not for the next couple of years), do you really think I want to see them face a 6-6 ACC team (alright maybe Pitt) in any place other than a warm, sunny distination with other attractions to see as well as a football game? Can anyone say Detroit is a "winter destination" unless it's the SuperBowl?

Brian Bennett: First off, Rob, let's get the joke right. I asked, what do the Lions know about postseason football, a little jab at that organization's utter lack of playoff success. As for Detroit, well, there are casinos right by Ford Field, some nice Greek restaurants and, um, yeah. Let's be honest, that city is no one's idea of a great winter holiday spot. But the bowl is also likely to take 6-6 type teams, and when you finish with that kind of record, deep in the Big Ten standings, you don't really get to be choosy. The best thing about Detroit is that it's very close for most Big Ten fan bases, and if the bowl replaces the MAC with the ACC as the other tie-in, that has the potential to create some interesting games. And as I wrote, Big Ten fans are often complaining about how they play virtual road games during bowl season. Here's your Midwest bowl. Embrace it.




Mochila from Grand Rapids, Mich., writes: A fellow reader indicated that MSU's secondary will not be very good this year due to their spring game performance and past dependence on Johnny Adams to operate on an island. I think the secondary has the potential to be improved considering MSU returns two All-Big Ten performers in Darqueze Dennard and Isaiah Lewis, Kurtis Drummond at the other safety position, who played very well last year, and a young Trae Waynes at the other CB position who started and performed very well in the bowl game. Do you think MSU's secondary will improve, regress, or stay roughly the same?

Brian Bennett: Adams was the Spartans' second-best corner last year, as Dennard outplayed him the entire season. Michigan State's secondary played well in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl without Adams, who was injured. I really like the potential of Waynes, and I think the Spartans will be just as good if not better in the defensive backfield.




Vince from Phoenix, writes: Which game on Michigan's 2013 schedule do they have to win to (finally) win the Legends Division?

Brian Bennett: Winning all of them would be nice. The one that obviously sticks out is the Nov. 9 game at home against Nebraska, but it's probably more the three-game stretch that includes a road game at Michigan State the previous weekend and a trip to Northwestern on Nov. 16 that will make or break the Wolverines in the Legends race. Remember that road losses to the eventual division champions (at Michigan State in 2011 and at Nebraska last year) were what doomed Michigan the past two seasons. Brady Hoke's teams have been really good at home but are going to have to win away from the Big House to bring home a division championship.




K. Norris from Detroit writes: Hello! Not that I disagree with the overall intent of Mr. Ted Miller's post earlier this week, but I will come rushing to the support of my 2 favorite Big Ten bloggers. Regarding the following quote: "Not to be outdone in prognosticative tomfoolery, the Big Ten blog picked Michigan State to win the conference. What were those guys thinking?" I would educate Mr. Miller that the 2012 Spartans did lose 4 games by a combined total of 10 points. It was the difference between 6-6 & 10-2 season. The team in the national championship game (Notre Dame) did only win by 17 against MSU. Yes, the Spartans were unable to find the extra gear when it was necessary to earn the 'W' at the end of games last year. That being said, it really was not a bad pick even from a national perspective. (Yes, green "Kool-Aid" tastes horrible.)

Brian Bennett: I'm pretty sure this is the first time in about eight months that anyone has told us our Michigan State title pick was not bad. In all seriousness, we clearly underestimated the inexperience of the Spartans passing game and gave too much credit to their offensive line. But 2012 was a weird year, considering that a team that finished 7-5 in the regular season (Wisconsin) went to the Rose Bowl -- and lost at home to Michigan State, I might add.




@sammyj108 from Twitter writes: Could the Hoosiers really play 3 quarterbacks? Or a two-quarterback system? Or just pick a starter based on matchups week to week?

Brian Bennett: Indiana coach Kevin Wilson wanted to see someone among Nate Sudfeld, Cameron Coffman and Tre Roberson really stand out this spring, but they all played pretty equally. Ideally, he'd like to redshirt either Sudfeld or Coffman this year and have one main quarterback play. The problem is that Roberson is clearly the best runner but needs to improve as a passer, while Sudfeld and Coffman are both good passers but not great runners. I asked Wilson this spring whether he'd be comfortable playing a two-quarterback system, as he did last year after Roberson got hurt. "I don't know if you want one in, one out," he said. "I'd love to see one guy totally separate ... but if not, we can play more than one. I want to keep them all happy, and I want to keep them all here. But more than anything, we've got to win."





Jay from Cincinnati writes: I am a little worried about Ohio State's recruiting class this year so far. I know it's early but seems like to would be better at this point.

Brian Bennett: Is Urban Meyer still the head coach? Then I'm not worried at all. He's one of the best closers in the game. If you're worried about the Buckeyes' recruiting in late May, take a deep breath.




Jay from Arlington writes: Title drought? Who cares. It is not like most of the SEC's titles during their so-called streak are legit anyway. And honestly, it is a lot easier to get to the BCS title game when you only have to beat one or two good teams a year, which is all that is required of SEC teams due, in no small part, to media bias. Don't sell the Big Ten short. Penn State has every right to claim a share of the 2005 title having lost one game directly due to officiating. While Penn State lost a game a lot closer than the score, the 2009 Rose Bowl between Penn State and USC matched the top two teams in the country while the Fiesta Bowl matched the third and fourth best team in Texas and Ohio State. Conversely the title game set up the sixth best team (Florida) versus the eighth in Oklahoma.

Brian Bennett: I enjoy your theories and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. Revisionist history aside, however, the records are what they are. Seven straight titles trumps every argument.




John from Iowa writes: In response you your Hope springs article: You have some misinformation posted when you talk about how many teams from each conference have made a BCS title game. The SEC has sent 4 teams not 5. They are: Tennessee, LSU, Florida, and Alabama. Also when you talk about the Big 12 sending 3 teams to the Big 10's only 1 team. One of those teams was Nebraska so you're essentially using the traditional power of one of our own teams to make your point about the Big Ten not being traditionally good.

Brian Bennett: Wow, Auburn fans must be steamed that John has already forgotten their 2011 national title. First Toomer's Oaks, and now this. I also find it funny that we get a lot of angry comments whenever we include Big-12 era Nebraska teams and coaches in our polls and lists, yet you want to include the Huskers when it might help out.




GOB Bluth from Gobias Industries, Calif., writes: Have you seen Franklin? I heard he's in Portugal. That's in South America, right?

Brian Bennett: Did you check the dryer? He has had some trouble down there. If you go looking south of the border, watch out for Hermanos. C'mon!
Only 22 Big Ten players heard their names called during the 2013 NFL draft, the league's lowest total in nearly two decades (it had 21 draftees in 1994).

But as soon as the draft ended Saturday, the free-agent signings began. And there were plenty around the Big Ten from all 12 squads.

Here's our first look list of free-agent signings or team tryouts from the conference. As a reminder, this is not a final list, and we'll have updates later on either here on the blog or on Twitter.

Here we go ...

ILLINOIS

C Graham Pocic, Houston Texans
DE Justin Staples, Cleveland Browns
DE Glenn Foster, New Orleans Saints

INDIANA

C Will Matte, Kansas City Chiefs (tryout)
DE Larry Black Jr., Cincinnati Bengals
DT Adam Replogle, Atlanta Falcons

IOWA

WR Keenan Davis, Cleveland Browns
OL Matt Tobin, Philadelphia Eagles
QB James Vandenberg, Minnesota Vikings

MICHIGAN

WR Roy Roundtree, Cincinnati Bengals
S Jordan Kovacs, Miami Dolphins
LB Kenny Demens, Arizona Cardinals
DE Craig Roh, Carolina Panthers
OL Elliott Mealer, New Orleans Saints
OL Patrick Omameh, San Francisco 49ers
OL Ricky Barnum, Washington Redskins
LB Brandin Hawthorne, St. Louis Rams
(WR Darryl Stonum, dismissed before the 2012 season, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs)

MICHIGAN STATE

CB Johnny Adams, Houston Texans
DT Anthony Rashad White, Pittsburgh Steelers
OL Chris McDonald, New England Patriots

MINNESOTA

CB Troy Stoudermire, Cincinnati Bengals
TE MarQueis Gray, San Francisco 49ers
CB Michael Carter, Minnesota Vikings

NEBRASKA

DE Eric Martin, New Orleans Saints
LB Will Compton, Washington Redskins
TE Ben Cotton, San Diego Chargers
TE/FB Kyler Reed, Jacksonville Jaguars
K Brett Maher, New York Jets
DE Cameron Meredith, Oakland Raiders

NORTHWESTERN

OL Patrick Ward, Miami Dolphins
DL Brian Arnfelt, Pittsburgh Steelers
LB David Nwabuisi, Carolina Panthers (tryout)
WR Demetrius Fields, Chicago Bears (tryout)

OHIO STATE

CB Travis Howard, Houston Texans
S Orhian Johnson, Houston Texans
FB Zach Boren, Houston Texans
TE Jake Stoneburner, Green Bay Packers
DE Nathan Williams, Minnesota Vikings
DL Garrett Goebel, St. Louis Rams
LB Etienne Sabino, New York Giants

PENN STATE

OL Mike Farrell, Pittsburgh Steelers
CB Stephon Morris, New England Patriots
OL Matt Stankiewitch, New England Patriots
FB Michael Zordich, Carolina Panthers

PURDUE

CB Josh Johnson, San Diego Chargers
QB Robert Marve, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
RB Akeem Shavers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

WISCONSIN

CB Marcus Cromartie, San Diego Chargers
CB Devin Smith, Dallas Cowboys
S Shelton Johnson, Oakland Raiders

Big Ten lunchtime links

April, 29, 2013
4/29/13
12:00
PM ET
So if the Big Ten East is the "Big Boy Division," does that make the West the "Andre 3000 Division?"
Travis FrederickMike McGinnis/Getty ImagesAs the 31st pick, Travis Frederick was the first Big Ten player to be drafted.
The gap between the Big Ten and the SEC not only is widening on the field, but on the NFL draft boards.

While the SEC produced a record 63 picks in the 2013 NFL draft -- eight more than any conference in any draft in the modern era and 32 more than the next-best conference (ACC) in this year's draft -- the Big Ten endured a mostly forgettable three days at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Before going any further, this post isn't meant to knock the Big Ten players who heard their names called Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They worked years for this moment and deserve to celebrate their accomplishments. Congrats to all.

But for the Big Ten as a whole, this draft was a total dud. Was it the league's worst draft ever? If it isn't, it's certainly in the conversation.

The Big Ten produced only 22 draft picks, its lowest total since 1994, when it had 21 (and 11 teams, not 12). In 1994, the Big Ten had the No. 1 overall pick (Ohio State DT Dan Wilkinson), four first-round selections and eight selections in the first three rounds.

You have to wonder how much the Big Ten's damaged national reputation is impacting its draft hopefuls. The SEC's rise has made that conference the first place NFL general managers and player personnel directors look for talent. Although Big Ten players might be comparable to their SEC counterparts in many ways, their competition level might be looked at as a drawback in the final evaluations.

This year, the Big Ten tied with the Big 12 for fourth among leagues in producing picks, but the Big Ten produced fewer selections in the first three rounds (7) than any of the power conferences. Last year, the Big Ten finished with 41 draft picks, just one behind the SEC for the top spot.

Other items of note (tip of the cap to ESPN Stats & Information and the Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises for several of these):

  • [+] EnlargeLe'Veon Bell
    Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesMichigan State's Le'Veon Bell was the second running back taken in the draft.
    Although the Big Ten's national reputation has been an issue for some time, it didn't dramatically impact the draft until this year. The Big Ten has produced at least 27 draft picks every year since the 21-player output in 1994.
  • The Big Ten's four biggest brand-name programs -- Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Nebraska -- combined to produce just two picks in the first three rounds (Ohio State DT Johnathan Hankins and Penn State DT Jordan Hill).
  • Nebraska endured its longest drought without a selection since 1970, as running back Rex Burkhead waited until the sixth round to hear Cincinnati call his name with the 190th overall pick. The Huskers didn't have a selection in the first four rounds for the third time in the past six seasons. With just two draftees -- Burkhead and safety Daimion Stafford, who went in the seventh round -- Nebraska had its weakest output since 1969.
  • Michigan went without a draftee in the first four rounds for the first time since 1968 and without one in the first three rounds for just the fifth time since 1970 (1976, 1989, 2006 and 2009 were the others). The Wolverines have had just five players drafted in the past two seasons.
  • Ohio State had just three players -- Hankins, defensive lineman John Simon and offensive tackle Reid Fragel -- drafted from a team that went 12-0 in 2012. Fragel's selection in the seventh round helped Ohio State avoid its smallest draft class since 1968.
  • An Illinois team that went 2-10 last season and 0-8 in Big Ten play led the league with four players drafted. It continues a mystifying trend for the Illini, who have had four players selected in each of the past four NFL drafts, even though the team has endured losing seasons in three of the past five years. Illinois has produced 10 players selected in the first three rounds since 2010, the most of any Big Ten team.
  • As expected, three Big Ten teams -- Northwestern, Minnesota and Indiana -- had no players drafted. Northwestern went 10-3 last season.

Perhaps the best draft news for the Big Ten is that future member Rutgers had seven players selected, tied for the sixth highest total.

(Read full post)

The spectacle known as the NFL draft kicks off tonight in New York with the first round. As Brian pointed out late last week, the Big Ten is in danger of going without a first-round selection for the first time since the NFL-AFL merger.

Mel Kiper Jr.'s final Big Board Insider doesn't include a Big Ten player, and both Kiper's Insider and Todd McShay's Insider final mock first rounds have no Big Ten players.

Lets look beyond the first round, as ESPN Scouts Inc. has put together a complete seven-round mock draft Insider.

How did the Big Ten contingent fare? If Scouts Inc., is correct, 42 selections will be made before a Big Ten player hears his name called. Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short is the first Big Ten player on the board at No. 43, going to Tampa Bay in the second round. Only one other Big Ten player, Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, is pegged as a second-round pick.

Here's the rest of the Scouts Inc. Big Ten forecast (in order of predicted selection)...

Round 3: Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell, Wisconsin C Travis Frederick, Ohio State DE John Simon, Ohio State DT Johnathan Hankins, Illinois DT Akeem Spence

Round 4: Michigan State DE William Gholston, Illinois DE Michael Buchanan, Illinois G Hugh Thornton, Ohio State T Reid Fragel

Round 5: Michigan State TE Dion Sims, Penn State DT Jordan Hill, Wisconsin T Ricky Wagner

Round 6: Michigan QB Denard Robinson (will play WR), Iowa CB Micah Hyde, Ohio State TE Jake Stoneburner, Penn State LB Gerald Hodges, Michigan State CB Johnny Adams, Purdue CB Josh Johnson

Round 7: Nebraska S Daimion Stafford, Illinois CB Terry Hawthorne, Penn State LB Michael Mauti, Ohio State DE Nathan Williams (listed at OLB)

Thoughts: Overall, it's a pretty gloomy draft forecast for the Big Ten. Denard Robinson in the sixth round? That's lower than many have predicted. Ohio State's Hankins, once considered a likely first-round selection, wouldn't be pleased to slip to No. 89 overall. The Scouts Inc. forecast also excludes Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead, plagued by knee injuries during his senior season. Other players not showing up include Minnesota QB MarQueis Gray (will play TE in the NFL), Iowa QB James Vandenberg, Penn State C Matt Stankiewitch, Wisconsin LB Mike Taylor and Michigan S Jordan Kovacs. Once again, Illinois is pegged to be one of the Big Ten's top NFL draft producers despite poor results on the field. Penn State's standout trio on defense will be waiting a while, although I wouldn't be surprised if a guy like Hill goes earlier than Round 5. Three Big Ten teams -- Indiana, Minnesota and Northwestern -- are pegged to be shut out of the draft. Future Big Ten member Rutgers is pegged to have six draft picks, led by defenders Khaseem Greene and Logan Ryan in the third round, while Maryland is pegged to have just one (TE Matt Furstenburg).

We'll have draft-related posts on the Big Ten both Friday morning and Monday after all the selections are made.
Unless you've been living in a world without ESPN, the Internet or sports talk radio, you're well aware that the NFL draft begins Thursday night.

What will the weekend hold for Big Ten products? Who will be the top pick from the league? Which players should be garnering more buzz? Big Ten bloggers Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett try to answer those questions and more in this blog debate:

Brian Bennett: Adam, another NFL draft is nearly upon us. What better way to spend 96 hours of a spring weekend than listening to analysts describe a player's upside? At least we won't have to read any more 2013 mock drafts after Thursday afternoon.

But let's get down to Big Ten business. According to our colleagues with the good hair -- Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay -- the league very well might not produce a first-round pick for the first time since the AFL-NFL merger. Last year, the first Big Ten player taken was all the way down at No. 23. What's going on here? Is there that big of a talent shortage in the conference, or is this just a blip? And do you think any Big Ten players hear their names called on Thursday night?

[+] EnlargeKawann Short
AP Photo/Michael ConroyKawann Short's versatility could make him too attractive for NFL teams to pass up in the draft's first round.
Adam Rittenberg: I think we can match them follicle for follicle, don't you? The Big Ten's draft downturn has been a trend for a number of years. First, the league was falling out of the top 10 consistently. Then, it started to only see selections in the final 10-12 picks. Now it might fall out of the first round entirely. So, yes, there is a talent shortage at the very highest levels and especially at certain positions. The three we've written about most often are quarterback (last first round pick: Kerry Collins), cornerback and wide receiver. I still think the Big Ten produces a wealth of great linemen on both sides of the ball, as well as its share of quality running backs. But the running back position isn't valued nearly as high in the first round as cornerback and quarterback.

I thought the Big Ten still would have a first-round pick even after Michigan LT Taylor Lewan announced he would return in 2012. But now I'm not so sure. Ohio State DT Johnathan Hankins and Purdue DT Kawann Short both could hear their names called, but it's far from a guarantee.

What do you think this year's draft says about the state of the Big Ten?

Brian Bennett: I think you hit on several of the reasons, and I'd add in the population and demographic shifts as another. Of course, if Lewan came out as expected, he'd probably be a top-15 pick. And if the NFL were to do last year's draft over, I'm pretty sure Russell Wilson would go in the first round, right?

Still, the downturn in top-level NFL talent, at least from a draft perspective, has to trouble the conference and offers a possible explanation as to why the Big Ten has struggled on the big stage of late. I believe that the way Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke are recruiting will mean more elite players will be entering the pros in the near future, but we shall see.

Let's talk about this year's prospects. Who do you think will be the first Big Ten player selected this weekend? And which Big Ten product do you think should be the first one taken?

Adam Rittenberg: As much as I'd love to see Wisconsin RB Montee Ball work his way into the first round, I think the first pick will be either Short or Hankins. Both are potentially great NFL defensive linemen, but I think Short has a little more versatility to his game and can be an effective pass-rusher in addition to his run-stuffing duties. Short wasn't healthy for a chunk of last season, which led to some erratic play, but he has the ability to dominate inside. So does Hankins, but he's more of a space-eater than a difference-maker on the pass rush. I think Short should be the first Big Ten player taken, and I think he will be.

You mention Wilson, who was arguably the biggest steal of the 2012 draft. Which Big Ten player will fill that role this year? Who are the value picks out there from the league?

Brian Bennett: Wilson slipped in last year's draft because of concerns over his height. And I think there may be a similar thing going on with Ohio State's John Simon. He's viewed as a tweener because he's only 6-foot-1, but there's no questioning Simon's motor, heart or leadership. As long as he can stay healthy, he'll be a productive player for a long time in the NFL.

Penn State's Jordan Hill is another guy who's shorter than the prototype for a defensive lineman but who also makes up for it with his performance and drive. I also believe Nebraska's Rex Burkhead is being undervalued, though running backs aren't the commodities they once were at the next level. A knee injury hurt Burkhead's stock, but he showed at the combine what kind of athlete he is. And I think Michigan State cornerback Johnny Adams, who was looked at as a first-round draft pick not that long ago, could be had at a good price this weekend.

Which players do you think are being undervalued? And what do you see as the draft fate for Michigan's Denard Robinson?

[+] EnlargeBurkhead
Andrew Weber/US PresswireRex Burkhead showed during pre-draft workouts that he's recovered from a 2012 knee injury.
Adam Rittenberg: You bring up some really interesting names, BB, especially Burkhead, who, if healthy and in the right system, could be a very valuable NFL player. Simon is another guy who needs to be in the right system and must overcome measurables that aren't ideal for the NFL at defensive end or outside linebacker. I wouldn't forget the group of Illinois defensive linemen -- Michael Buchanan, Akeem Spence and Glenn Foster, who wowed the scouts during pro day in Champaign. It's easy to dismiss them because they played on a terrible team, but all three have been on the NFL radar for some time -- especially Spence and Buchanan -- and have the talent to succeed at the pro level.

Ohio State tackle Reid Fragel is another guy who could be a great value, although his stock seems to be rising quickly. He started his career as a tight end but really thrived last year at the tackle spot.

Robinson will be one of the weekend's top story lines. He's clearly a work in progress as a receiver, but you can't teach that speed and explosiveness. Robinson is a risk-reward guy, but I'd be surprised if he's still on the board midway through the third round.

The Big Ten sends a fairly small contingent of underclassmen to this year's draft. How do you think those players pan out?

Brian Bennett: Michigan State has three of 'em in Le'Veon Bell, Dion Sims and William Gholston. I think there's a chance that some team reaches for Bell in the first round, and he's got the body to be a very good NFL running back for a long time. Sims also presents an intriguing option for teams, especially with the increased use of tight ends in the pro passing game. Despite Gholston's impressive physical traits, he didn't test that well in Indianapolis and had a questionable motor in college. Teams could shy away from him.

You mentioned Spence from Illinois, a guy whose stock seemed to climb as he showed some great strength in workouts. Hankins will be a second-rounder at worst. Then there's Wisconsin center Travis Frederick, who posted a slow sprint time at the combine. But how many times do centers need to sprint? I still think he'll be a good player, and one who shouldn't fall past the second round.

This is getting to be as long as the draft itself, so we should probably start wrapping things up. Any final thoughts on the Big Ten's outlook this weekend?

Adam Rittenberg: The big story lines for me, other than whether the Big Ten has a player drafted in the first round, are where running backs like Ball, Bell and Burkhead land, the Denard Watch, how the underclassmen fare and where the potential sleepers we outlined above end up. This won't be a transformative draft for the Big Ten because it lacks elite prospects at the positions we mentioned earlier, especially cornerback and quarterback. But there are always a few surprises along the way. As a Chicago Bears fan, I'm always interested to see if a Big Ten player ends up at Halas Hall.

What Big Ten story lines intrigue you heading into the draft?

Brian Bennett: You mentioned most of the big ones. I'll also be interested to see if any team takes a chance on Penn State's Michael Mauti and whether Iowa's James Vandenberg gets drafted after a disappointing senior year. I predict the Big Ten keeps its first-round streak alive -- barely -- and that Robinson stays in Michigan when the Detroit Lions draft him in the fourth round.

And then we can all put the 2013 NFL draft to bed -- and start studying those 2014 mock drafts.

Big Ten lunchtime links

February, 27, 2013
2/27/13
12:00
PM ET
Phew, for a minute there I lost myself.

Big Ten combine results: DB

February, 27, 2013
2/27/13
10:10
AM ET
The 2013 NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis wrapped up Tuesday with the defensive backs. Five Big Ten defensive backs participated in some or all of the events and drills.

Let's see how they did ...
  • Illinois CB Terry Hawthorne ran the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds, tying him for 13th best among all defensive backs. Other 40 times include Michigan State CB Johnny Adams (4.48), Iowa CB Micah Hyde (4.56), Purdue CB Josh Johnson (4.65) Nebraska S Daimion Stafford (4.69).
  • Stafford ranked sixth among defensive backs in bench press repetitions with 21. Adams and Johnson both had 16, Hawthorne had 13 and Hyde had 12.
  • No Big Ten defensive backs were among the top performers in vertical jump. Hawthorne led the Big Ten crew at 35.5 inches, followed by Johnson (35 inches), Hyde (33) and Stafford (30.5). Adams didn't participate in this event.
  • The Big Ten had no top performers in the broad jump, but Iowa's Hyde led the group at 121 inches.
  • Hyde tied for 12th among all defensive backs in the three-cone drill at 6.78 seconds. Johnson (6.99) and Stafford (7.06) also participated.
  • Hyde (4.2 seconds) and Johnson (4.25 seconds) were the only defensive backs to post times in the 20-yard shuttle.
  • Johnson tied for fourth among all defensive backs in the 60-yard shuttle (11.51 seconds).

In case you missed the results for the other Big Ten players at the combine, check them out here and here.

Big Ten lunch links

February, 26, 2013
2/26/13
12:00
PM ET
One day away from spring ball in the Big Ten. Link time.

Big Ten lunchtime links

February, 25, 2013
2/25/13
12:00
PM ET
And the Oscar goes to ... Linkin'

B1G postseason position rankings: DB

February, 21, 2013
2/21/13
1:00
PM ET
Our postseason position rankings are getting close to wrapping up, but first let's put a bow on the defensive side of the ball with a look at the defensive backs.

Star power matters, but depth is also important. The secondary wasn't a particularly standout group for the Big Ten in 2012, though there were some elite players in the back end of the league's defenses. You can see how we ranked the DB groups in the preseason here. And here's how we see it now:

1. Michigan State (Preseason ranking: 1): So maybe Johnny Adams didn't have quite the season we expected out of him, but he was still easily one of the best cornerbacks in the league. And Darqueze Dennard reached an elite level, arguably turning in a better year than Adams at the other cornerback spot. Isaiah Lewis remained one of the top safeties in the league. The Spartans finished third nationally in pass efficiency defense, and their secondary was also stout in run support and on the occasional blitz.

2. Ohio State (Preseason: 2): Teams could pass on the Buckeyes, especially early, as they ended up ranked just 11th in the league in passing yards allowed. But Bradley Roby had an All-American year at cornerback, and Travis Howard grabbed four interceptions while improving over the course of the fall. While Ohio State's safeties sometimes went for the big hit instead of making the safe play, this group had star power and played great when it mattered.

3. Nebraska (Preseason: 4): The numbers would suggest a higher ranking, as the Cornhuskers finished fourth nationally in passing yards allowed and ninth in pass efficiency defense. Yet we can't forget some of the secondary's problems in open-field tackling and helping against the run in big games, or how Aaron Murray and Georgia dissected it in the Capital One Bowl. Still, this group -- led by P.J. Smith, Daimion Stafford and Ciante Evans -- was deep and clearly comprised the strength of Nebraska's defense.

[+] EnlargeMichael Carter
Troy Taormina/USA TODAY SportsGophers defensive back Michael Carter had a breakout game in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, recording seven tackles and two INTs.
4. Minnesota (Preseason: 10): The biggest climber on our board, the Gophers made a major improvement in their secondary thanks to the breakout year by Michael Carter and the return of Troy Stoudermire at the other corner spot. Derrick Wells also made a major impact at safety as Minnesota went from having one of the worst pass defenses in the country in 2011 to the No. 23 pass efficiency defense in 2012.

5. Michigan (Preseason: 3): The Wolverines lost Blake Countess in the first half of the opener and didn't have anyone make first- or second-team All-Big Ten from its secondary. Still, this group had two sturdy seniors in safety Jordan Kovacs and cornerback J.T. Floyd and finished second in the league in pass defense. Those numbers may be a bit skewed by the fact that Michigan didn't face many high-powered passing teams, but this group held its own.

6. Wisconsin (Preseason: 7): The late-game breakdowns by the secondary in 2011 were a distant memory as the Badgers were solid all the way around at defensive back in 2012. They finished third in the league in pass efficiency defense. Getting Devin Smith back at corner really helped, as did the marked improvement of Marcus Cromartie. Safeties Dezmen Southward and Shelton Johnson also had good years. The bad news for Wisconsin is that only Southward returns from that veteran group.

7. Penn State (Preseason: 9): The defensive backfield was the big question mark on the Nittany Lions' defense heading into the season with four new starters. But despite a lack of experienced depth, the starting group of Stephon Morris, Adrian Amos, Malcolm Willis and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong prevented Penn State from experiencing a drop-off at DB, allowing just 15 touchdown passes in 12 games.

8. Purdue (Preseason: 5): A secondary with two cornerbacks as talented as Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson should not be ranked this low. But the Boilermakers simply got burned too much in big games to be ranked much higher than this. They did tie for the league lead with 14 interceptions, paced by Landon Feichter's four picks.

9. Northwestern (Preseason: 11): The Wildcats' secondary was much, much better when cornerback Nick VanHoose was healthy, and Ibraheim Campbell had a terrific year at safety. This group showed its potential early in the season and in the bowl win over Mississippi State. But the late-game breakdowns, particularly against Michigan (the Roy Roundtree catch) and Nebraska, prevent a higher ranking.

10. Iowa (Preseason: 8): Micah Hyde was named the Big Ten defensive back of the year. This really happened. I looked it up again to make sure. Not that Hyde had a bad season. He just didn't really stand out nearly as much as guys like Dennard, Carter or Roby. Hyde and fellow cornerback B.J. Lowery formed a good tandem, but safety play was shaky for the Hawkeyes and offenses torched them down the stretch. Iowa allowed opponents a league-worst 63.5 completion percentage.

11. Illinois (Preseason: 6): Terry Hawthorne remained an underrated cornerback who should hear his name called in the April NFL draft. Outside of that, it's hard to find many positives for the Illini secondary, as the team finished last in the Big Ten in pass efficiency defense and didn't have much else to hang its hat on.

12. Indiana (Preseason: 12): The Hoosiers had hopes of making strides in the secondary with returning starters Lawrence Barnett, Greg Heban and Mark Murphy. But Indiana gave up more touchdown passes (23) than any other league team while only intercepting seven passes. While not all of the pass defense problems can be blamed on the secondary, of course, it's clear this team still lacks high-impact players in the back end.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

BIG TEN SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12