Category Archives: Big 10
Man, look. The B1G West took it out of me, just like I said it would.
I abhor Big Ten football. I liked Michigan fine in the Charles Woodson era, and now I want them to go 3-9 due to Jim Harbaugh’s obnoxiousness at a name program and not a novelty. I liked Michigan State last year because they beat Ohio State, but they’re just a B1G team better than the mediocrity spread throughout the B1G. I’ve always hated Ohio State. And Penn State covered up the rape of children for the better part of 30 years.
I mean, good God, y’all. Every national publication insists this is the second best conference in the nation. Truth is, I am watching Sun Belt on the CW before another Minnesota/Rutgers slog. If its not lightning-storm-in-a-desert Indiana, its not entertaining football. Ohio State plays an aesthetically-pleasing style, but they kill everyone. And, you know, Urban Meyer. This year’s iterations of Michigan and Michigan State will be fine football teams, but they’ll play the sit-on-you-at-arms-length style that the B1G’s middle class plays to 16-13 thrillers.
Maryland may actually be the most entertaining team in this conference this year. Maryland. (Based on potential hilarity/young, untested coaching staff/Under Armour’s experimental plaything.)
I suddenly only have five weekends to tell you what’s going to be fun in college football this year, so let’s get this over with so I can talk about the immensely entertaining Pac-12, the absurd Big 12, our regional friend the ACC, and the all-important SEC.
7) Rutgers. Look, I don’t know. They return a strong defensive line, but that’s by Rutgers Standards. They’ll probably beat Illinois at home, but their home/road splits make it hard to see another win.
6) Maryland. Randy Edsall went 6-18 as a coach in the ACC, and was quoted saying the following:
I’m glad to be moving to a conference that values football. It should be more fun to compete with more like-minded programs.
A few problems here. 1) The only reason Maryland left the ACC was because Kay Yow bankrupted their athletic department (and they just cut the ACC a $31 million check for the privilege of moving). 2) Edsall actually went 4-4 in his first year in a ‘football’ conference. 3) Edsall got canned last year, and the Terps went 3-9 (1-8).
Enter D.J. Durkin. He’s probably a year or two too green for a head coaching position, but I love the hire. He’s consistently put together OUTSTANDING defenses (Florida under Muschamp, Michigan under Harbaugh) but…he was coaching insane talent. He put together a GREAT coaching staff (Young OC Walt Bell was a recruiting stud at UNC before running the offense at Arkansas State) and former head coaches Mike London and whomever left doing a decent job at Ball State to be a position coach at Maryland.
Its the Justin Fuente approach of delegating his weaknesses out and bringing on guys with HC experience. That’s a good start. They’ll be intriguing at best, entertaining at worst.
5) Penn State. I wanted to drop them further, but James Franklin won 18 games over two years at Vanderbilt. The bowl game vs. Georgia makes me think they can’t not be awful, but…whatever. Their offensive line can’t be worse, or will at least put not Christian Hackenberg’s statue behind it, and I assume they have talent? They draw Minnesota/at Purdue/Iowa from the West, and those are three winnable games.
4) Indiana. They should’ve been 10-3 last year with wins over Ohio State and Michigan. In a middle tier full of the ‘three yards and a cloud of dust’ of yesteryear, Indiana is the meth addict with a heart of gold who comes to the strip mall with an AR-15. In other words, they may appear docile, but you’re not coming within a quarter mile of them. You don’t know what you’ll get from Indiana, and that makes them dangerous.
3) Michigan. Their schedule sets up for the easiest 10 wins in the history of football. They play 8 home games against Hawaii, UCF, Colorado, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Maryland, and Indiana. They return their whole offensive line, and get a lot of injured D-lineman back. They have a DE named Taco. Jim Harbaugh made a Jake Rudock passing game top-10 in the nation in efficiency.
I just think the hype is a year premature. They blew out Florida in the Citrus Bowl, and Jim Harbaugh was THE ENTIRE NEWS CYCLE for the offseason. Of course people are picking them for the playoff. They pay visits to the other two competent B1G teams, and that’s enough for me to NOT pick them.
Never ceases to make me happy.
2) Michigan State. Look, Connor Cook wasn’t great last year. Hell, new QB Tyler O’Connor was awful and still won at Ohio State. The pass D took a major step back due to attrition and the loss of Pat Narduzzi, and they still won the league.
In Malik McDowell and Riley Bullough, they bring back a STOUT middle. I just don’t bet against Sparty any more.
one) Ohio State. They may get slapped around at Oklahoma on Sept. 17. They just had the best NFL Draft since 2001-2003 Miami, so they’ll be inexperienced. But…they still have a freaking stable of talent back. J.T. Barrett, former Heisman finalist? Back. Too many skill guys to name? Back. Top recruits at every single position who will be experienced by their Nov 19 & 26 matchups against the Michigans? Present.
Ohio State is gonna win this division again.
Five Games Worth Watchin’
GUESS WHAT? They all involve the big three. I tried hard to avoid them when writing about the West.
- Michigan at Michigan St., Oct. 29. Its number 1 because its the first shakedown game. None of these teams should lose to anyone else in the conference. Also, see above GIF.
- Ohio State at Michigan State, Nov. 19. Second shakedown game.
- Michigan at Ohio State, Nov. 26. Let’s be honest, Ohio State’s gonna steamroll them again, and it’ll be funny.
- Ohio State at Oklahoma, Sept. 17. Hate to say it, but an Ohio State upset means we’re back to cheering for everyone to beat them.
- Indiana at Michigan, Nov. 19. While Michigan is scoreboard watching the OSU/MSU game, Indiana is planting kilos of cocaine in the Michigan locker room. My dream scenario is that a 10-0 Michigan team goes up in flames to a tempo team and eliminates the B1G from the playoff.
Players Worth Knowing
THERE ARE PLENTY!
Jabrill Peppers, LB/S Michigan: He could play corner more than competently, but he’s playing Will behind a stout D-line. Imagine a smaller Kam Chancellor with more speed and better instincts.
Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State: He was a key piece to the 2014 championship team as a true freshman. Georgia let him out of its backyard. He had 119 tackles last year. Ugh.
J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State: Simply has the weapons and the system to be a backdoor Heisman like another Ohio State quarterback.
Demetrious Cox, S, Michigan State: Dude makes plays and rocks headshots.
SaQuon Barkley, RB, Penn State: The junior class of RBs is insane. Fournette, Cook, Chubb, McAffrey, Perine, Hood, whomever Alabama chooses, Michel…its amazing. Barkley is a sophomore, and hit 5.9 yards per carry as a true freshman. He’ll get ridiculous Doak/Heisman hype next year based on his exploits this year.
Divine Redding, RB, Indiana: Our local Falcons fans know Tevin Coleman (over 2000 yards in 2014). Jordan Howard missed four games last year and still put up 1200. Redding ran for 1000 yards as a backup last year, and threw up a casual 227 in the bowl loss to Duke. Guarantee you he’ll run for 1800+ if he stays healthy.
Will Likely, CB/PR, Maryland: Crap, this dude’s a senior already? He’s the dude that you straight up don’t punt to. I have NO idea how you average 17 yards per punt return on more than like, 3 attempts, but Likely did it over 23 and is a two-time first team B1Ger.
There’s actually fun, dominant, watchable talent across this division. I came up with two such players in the B1G West.
B1G EAST FOOTBALL, Y’ALL! Only three teams can actually win it, but there are at least two heterogeneous teams (Indiana and Maryland) making the noon ESPN2’s palatable.
I just read a season preview about Northwestern.
Did you know they won 10 games last year?
I’ve been avoiding starting conference previews because I don’t want to write about the B1G West. I’d rather get a haircut from a boat rudder than watch a single possession of that division, the Beth Mowins noon ESPN2 special, but I’m here to serve.
Last year, my respective division winners were: Florida State/any of six teams (technically UNC) for the ACC, Arizona State (lol) and Stanford (HEY!) in the Pac-12, Ohio State and Nebraska in the B1G, Baylor in the XII, and Georgia/Bama in the SEC. Nothing egregious
besides Arizona State and only Stanford in the ‘sage call’ category.
Ok, f*** it, let’s get this over with.
Big Ten West
7) Purdue. In the Wake Forest/Kansas/Colorado category of “holy hell we need relegation systems in college football”. The only thing Georgia fans need to know about Purdue: OC Jim Chaney was Drew Brees’ OC at Purdue. THERE’S YOUR HOOK.
6) Minnesota. Man, they were close to being decent under Jerry Kill. Then Jerry Kill retired, and instead of playing the coaching carousel, they named interim Tracy Claeys the successor for no reason. Claeys went 1-4 down the stretch, including the most epic clock management failure in football history. Three shifts with the clock running on 1st and goal from the 1, down 3. Go Gophers!
5) Illinois. I got to the end of this and realized I was a team short. Oops. I feel like karma is now going to bite my Tar Heels…beat Georgia, lose to Illinois. Damnit. (they get both Michigans from the East, FYI.)
4) Northwestern. Wanted to pick them as my darkhorse disclaimer: the whole B1G West is a darkhorse but I can’t do it because they draw road games with Michigan St. and Ohio St. on the other (read: decent) side.
3) Iowa. They outperformed every single metric in the established college football universe en route to the 12-2 season last year. I grew to loathe them, because their most impressive win was a 10-6 shootout over Wisconsin. Stanford styled on them, and all was right in the universe. When I say styled, Iowa fans COMPLAINED TO THE FCC because the Stanford band incorporated cows into their halftime show.
F*** Iowa. I wanted to pick them last.
2) Wisconsin. Victims of the schedule, plain and simple. They get all three contenders from the East, LSU, and the mighty Georgia State Panthers.
- Nebraska. I have no idea why the formatting changed. I can’t fix it. Help. Nebraska was my pick last year, they were one of three 5-7 teams to win a bowl game, and…Christ were they the inverse Iowa. They opened with a Hail Mary loss to BYU. Then an OT loss to Miami. One-point loss to Illinois, then by two to Wisconsin. Then two to Northwestern.
Then holy shit they lost to Purdue.After reversing karma against Michigan St., they lost to Iowa by 8. Five Big Ten losses by 23 combined points. Tommy Armstrong, Neil Armstrong’s brother, is still there. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. YAY CORN!
Five Games Worth Watchin’
Still having formatting issues. I think we’re going indented from here on out.
- Nebraska at Iowa, Nov. 25: Its a tryptophan (spellcheck doesn’t have the turkey ingredient handy) hangover game, so this is fine to watch.
- Wisconsin at Michigan State, Sept. 24: One logically assumes Wisconsin is the most talented team in this division, and they’re going to get POUNDED by LSU in Week 1. But if they show a pulse in East Lansing, maybe they can get back to their rightful place atop the West.
- Purdue at Indiana, Nov. 26: Look, this won’t be on TV. But three of the last five matchups have featured AT LEAST 90 combined points.
- Nebraska at Wisconsin, Oct. 29: IDK. The only two name programs in this shitshow of a division.
- Iowa St. at Iowa, Sept. 10: EL ASSICO!!!! Early enough in the season that it’ll probably be a 3:30 ABC game.
Players worth knowing
Jesus, you’re going to make me do this.
Desmond King, Iowa: Should’ve gone pro. 13 passes broken up, 8 picks, and now gonna get his colleague on the other side of the field exposed.
Corey Clement, Wisky: Remember him? He’s averaging 7 yards per carry for his career, but 2015 was a lost season as he got hurt in a Week 1 loss against Alabama.
Other names I recognize: C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa; Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern. I’m sure there are other dudes that play there.
Honestly, early onset writer’s block set in this morning. Thank you, Jim and your trolly ways, for giving me some material.
Jim Harbaugh LOVES poking the SEC bear. He has gone out of his way to troll (by my count) Nick Saban, Butch Jones, Bret Bieliema, and Kirby Smart…and Jim McIlwain famously dodged him, saying satellite camps were fine.
Harbaugh has adopted the prison mentality: find the biggest guy in the room on the first day, and punch him square in the face. Has it worked? Maybe. Does it show who the biggest guy in the room is? Absolutely.
Jim Harbaugh wears Braves jersey to Atlanta camp https://t.co/3wAw5KqHnk
— DawgNation (@dawgnation) June 2, 2016
Hank Aaron, former mayor/civil rights leader Andrew Young and Jim Harbaugh talking to campers pic.twitter.com/F5Q6U6YLCG
— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) June 2, 2016
Jim Harbaugh’s local attire for today’s Atlanta camp: Braves’ jersey of Hank Aaron. While sitting next to Hank Aaron pic.twitter.com/IeRfdesrLl
— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) June 2, 2016
The Hank Aaron jersey …while sitting next to Hank Aaron. Y’all, this man is a LEGEND. And he’s proving our point.
100 days back, y’all! If you weren’t aware, today marks the start of the 100-day countdown to September 3rd. We’re only 98 days away from South Carolina’s annual Thursday opener, when they host Vanderbilt in a deal from 2009 that ESPN is somehow STILL paying off. Said another way, Will Muschamp hadn’t even started failing AT FLORIDA yet.
The preview magazines (well, the lame ones) are starting to trickle out. People are starting to do bona fide previews of the 2016 season. It’s time, y’all.
Today, this list ranks the top-25 nonconference matchups of the season. There are some incredible ones this year. Even though there’s no SEC representative in marquee matchups such as Ohio State/Oklahoma and Notre Dame/Stanford, there are PLENTY of chances for the SEC to flex its muscle to the college football world without beating up on poor Vanderbilt.
9 of the top 15 games have SEC ties.
UCLA at Texas A&M, 9/3: Headline aside, let’s get started with one the SEC might NOT win! A&M is a complete wild card this year (things I’ve said each of the past 3 years), and UCLA should ride strong behind Josh Rosen and a nice defense. A&M opens -1, but I don’t trust it.
Arkansas at TCU, 9/10: Both offenses lose a ton. Arkansas should still be able to play bully ball, but their slow Septembers give me a little pause.
LSU ‘at’ Wisconsin, 9/3: Wisconsin’s offense was awful last year, but they should return Corey Clement, who was lost for the season in their opener against Alabama. This feels like a Leonard Fournette September Heisman game to me.
Clemson at Auburn, 9/3: Go Tigers (the ones that occasionally wear purple). My ACC side doesn’t need my league’s favorite losing to the SEC’s new cellar dweller. Clemson is -8, which sounds about right.
Florida at Florida State, 11/26: FSU should still be in the playoff hunt. Florida is my darkhorse to (again) win the SEC East. This game always has some kind of schadenfreude value. Most recently, Florida’s final score of two (2) points in last year’s game.
Georgia vs. North Carolina, 9/3: Plenty of talk about this one to come. Georgia is favored by 4.5, which…well…I can see a lot of outcomes for this game.
Alabama vs. USC, 9/3: This is gonna be a shitshow in Alabama’s second home, JerryWorld. Tide by…26?
Florida State vs. Ole Miss, 9/5: Seeing as this is ON Labor Day, I had to swallow my pride and give props to ESPN for giving us a chance to watch ALL of the awesome week 1 football. This is beautiful.
Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech, 9/10: My very first post on DYC proposed that these two fanbases, separated at birth, should meet at a NASCAR venue. It was announced like a month after my post. I’m taking credit for this, and hope the grass in Bristol is kinder to Tennessee than the grass in Knoxville is to Georgia.
I’ll say the league wins 6 of these and is wearing the “no shit we’re the best” crown before the Braves lose their 100th game.
Georgia returns to Jacksonville, the scene of many untold horrors, for the TaxSlayer Bowl against Penn State on Saturday. It is widely joked about as the most boring bowl game imaginable, and on the surface…that’s no real joke. Penn State has disgraced-former-mock-draft-legend QB Christian Hackenberg, and an offensive line made of balsa wood. Georgia has the incurable stench of Brian Schottenheimer still stuck in the air vents, as an offense that averaged 17.2 regulation points in its final five wins looks to show out on film for Kirby Smart and staff.
So that’s one theme. Not the only one, mind you, but all of them add up to bowl season’s second-lowest Vegas over-under of 43.5 points. Obviously, Georgia’s failure to find a quarterback and offensive anemia post-Nick Chubb cost Mark Richt and his staff their jobs. But for those of us (should be all of us) who don’t follow the B1G, James Franklin let his OC John Donovan go immediately following the season. Given the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ nature of both offenses, this game is a difficult one to nail down. Which staff goes conservative? Which goes #CFI mode?
Get to know Penn State
There was nothing at all overwhelming about Penn State this season. Good defense, at times laughable offense. James Franklin is still the coach, and he likely still lives and breathes to brag about beating Georgia that one time.
State’s best win was…Jesus. San Diego State ended up winning the Mountain West and their bowl game. Indiana finished 6-7 but played Michigan and tOSU close. They haven’t beaten a team of Georgia’s ilk, and come in riding a 3-game losing streak.
I saw way too much of Penn State’s loss to Michigan on November 21. My breakdown of their offense would be: in good positions, they threw desperate heaves down the sideline hoping for a big play or pass interference. If they were behind the sticks or backed up deep, their playcalling was akin to a turtle facing a hammer. Here’s hoping that continues.
When Georgia has the ball
Penn State’s defense is legitimately pretty good, so the ‘throw <insert RB here> into brick wall 45x’ offense that Schotty made famous is doomed to fail. Given the lack of a coaching staff, I would love to see them throw Brice Ramsey in and just chuck and duck.
PSU is led up front by DE Carl Nassib, who had 19.5 TFL and 15,5 (!!!) sacks on the year. That, my friends, will be a problem. Overall, PSU gave up 21.7 points per game (17th in the nation) and ranked 19th in overall defensive S&P.
A good gameplan for Georgia (or anyone in an SEC vs. B1G matchup) is to get the ball to athletes in space. Isaiah McKenzie, Terry Godwin, Malcolm Mitchell, and Sony Michel fit the bill. As I said above, please don’t limit what they can do by sticking to 1985 NFL principles and reap the benefits.
When Penn State has the ball
This is the game where Christian Hackenberg’s application for health insurance officially gets denied for ALL of the preexisting post-traumatic medical conditions. Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins are playing for draft position, and the defense should be extremely motivated to get one more good impression on film for the new staff. Hackenberg’s sack rate (per dropback) of 9.9% is staggering. If I were him, I’d seriously explore graduating early and finding a place with a pro-style offense and a line.
Holy shit, Christian Hackenberg would be PERFECT for 2016 Georgia.
The guy who most strikes fear into me on the PSU side is freshman RB Sequon Barkley, who averaged over 6 YPC and looked like a star in the making in flashes against some of the Nittany’s best competition. Let’s go back to that 6 YPC for a second though– Penn State played an offense (by necessity and ineptitude) that kept the ball within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage. For Barkley to hit that number is quite good by any objective measure, let alone on this team.
If PSU is going to exploit Georgia’s depleted secondary, they must first stop the pass rush. But sophomores Chris Godwin and DaeSean Hamilton are decent threats if they get their hands on the ball– and Hackenberg will target them at an alarming rate. Godwin was thrown to 106 times, Hamilton 81…the next highest player 30.
What to expect
With all of the intangibles that are impossible to account for, including motivation, coaching staff (or lack thereof), and disappointing seasons for both programs, this is the type of game that can range from low-scoring Georgia win to Penn State blowout.
I have seen lame duck coaching staffs’ efforts in bowl games before. I love Bryan McLendon and crew, and hope some of the guys stick around for 2016. But its hard to get a team up for an exhibition in this spot.
In a game that has absolutely ZERO impact on the future of the Georgia program, give me Penn State 20, Georgia 13 in a desperate slog that we can’t wait to forget about. .