that makes one of us
Just curious on a slow news day on your general thoughts on the top 7-8 Big 10 teams aside from UM, MSU, and OSU which we discuss a lot. Reading through some previews on each team there are a lot of holes out there and with OSU potentially being a 3(4?!) loss type of team this year the calls of the "Big 10 sucks" might really ring loud this year in the bowl season - again. If we had even an average OL right now I'd consider UM with a very high chance for 2nd best team in the conference when I see what has been lost on other squads... even though other teams have more favorable schedules.
A quick glance at the "bowl type" teams - along with UM, MSU and OSU this would give us a top 7:
- Wiscy - they play LSU early on a neutral field. I am not sure how good LSU is in a general sense but they should be solid and Wisconsin lost 9 defensive starters including stud Borland. Anderson is supposed to be a defensive whiz but...9 starters. LSU is favored by 7 but if LSU blows out Wiscy it puts another nail in the Big 10 perception. This will be a team that relies on offense, and running game (4 OL and Gordon return) as usual but I see a lot of people penciling them in as favorites because...Wisconsin. That is a lot of experience to replace. Stave does not inspire. On the positive side, another easy schedule - outside of LSU, @Iowa seems to be their 2nd most difficult game with Neb at home.
- Iowa - maybe the easiest schedule in America among BCS schools; they avoid almost everyone and play Wisconsin/Neb at home late. Might be the least inspiring 9-3 type team in the country. Their strength last year were their 3 LBs, all 3 graduated. They had a 1st team Big 10 CB, he graduated. It will be a team that relies on offense it appears. And their QB is not all that. They play Iowa State and @Pitt as their 2 "tough" games - a trip up against either would prove this team to be a mirage.
- Neb - took some key injuries here these past few weeks on defense. They bring in a sorta meh Miami program (YTM) as their premier non conf game. They have upset potential for a road game @ Fresno State. Fresno is not all that (lost to USC by 20+ in a bowl) but its a west coast game for a conference that usually sh**s the bed in the PST time zone. Vegas only has Nebraska as a 4 pt fav here. Neb has a schedule like us where the toughest opponents are all on the road - @MSU, @WIscy, @Iowa. They bring back a premier RB, premier WR (Bell) and a premier DE. Armstrong should improve at QB with a year under hise belt. Defense only brings back 3 players - similar situation as Wiscy. Nebraska actually reminds me a lot of UM in that it could be a better team than 2013's version but faced with a tougher schedule so the W-L doesn't change much.
- PSU - yes Hackenberg but... this team doesn't wow when you look closely. UCF lost its QB but was a pretty damn good team last year and potential exists for an upset early if the volcano allows the game to be played. PSU is a small favorite in Vegas (2.5ish). Looking at their depth chart they seem to return only 1 OL - that's not cool for them. Allen Robinson is gone. The RBs should be very good but you need an OL to open holes. Defense took a hit with DaQuan Jones but should be decent. Schedule is favorable - they bring in OSU and MSU, only tough road game really is @UM. @Indiana, @Illinois, @Rutgers are their 3 other conf road games - manageable. So schedule is favorable so it could be a team like Iowa that benefits more from schedule than being world beaters.
I will leave it at those 4 teams - we could throw Minnesota or Northwestern in there but at this point those would be the 8th/9th place teams in the conf unless they move ahead of the 7 above and generally your conference will be viewed on how the teams above do in non conf/bowls versus what Minnesota does. Quick thoughts though - NW has crossovers with Michigan/PSU but gets Wiscy/Neb at "home" (I assume Ryan Field gets overrun with Badgers and Cornhuskers). Minnesota has an easy non conf highlighted by a 4-8 TCU team - but ends on a run of Iowa, OSU, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Good luck with that.
TL;DR - the Big 10 does not inspire me this year. Worried about some bad non conf outcomes that make the conference look bad yet again in national perception.
However you view the sophomoric humor, the drawings are usually brilliant.
Up for a skewering (the artist is a Longhorns fan and the content leans heavily on the Big 12 and SEC) are Will Muschamp, Lou Holtz, the Oregon Uniiformz and Kenny Hill who is apparently the new A&M QB and was recently photographed and arrested for passing out in a planter on campus. Also the Jameis Winston drawing you might have to think about.
WARNING: "R" rated drawings and language. Don't shoot the messenger.
A lengthy video discussing UM's upcoming season and whether UM is hurting BIG because they have not been that good in the last few years. The talking heads think that UM will be much better team this year, but the record may not be a whole lot better because of the schedule.
For those with NFL network and bored enough to watch preseaon Thursday night football, David Molk is getting some playing time tonight for the Eagles. Always happy to cheer for former Michigan players on the Eagles and glad to see he is once again teammates with BG.