Random Thoughts on 2011 Big Ten Season

Submitted by RationalMSUfan on January 21st, 2011 at 11:04 AM

1. Stock Down - Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois.  I was a bit surprised to see Wiscy so high in the way to early 2011 pre-season polls.  In my opinion, their defense was not very good this year, but their deficiencies were masked by their powerful offense.  That same defense loses their best player in Watt.  On offense they lose dominating OL Carimi and Moffett. I know Wiscy will have viable replacements, but Carimi is a likely top 10 pick.  They also lose Tolzien/Clay.  I have found that when you have a new QB, you always lose a game or two based on that lack of experience.

Iowa loses a ton on Defense (Clayborn and Sash) as well as Stanzi.  Like Wiscy, they will be breaking in a new QB.

Illinois had a nice comeback season and promptly lost their 3 best players (all Juniors) to the NFL in Leguet, Wilson and Lasheure (forgive in spelling errors).

2.  Stock Up - Not really sure who to put here.  I think Michigan will be improved mainly because their defense can't be any worse.  Getting Woolfolk and Floyd back and switching to a pro-style offense will no doubt help the defense.  Any other team projected to improve?

3.  Steady - My spartans.  I think they will probably be worse record wise with OSU and Nebraska jumping on the schedule (both away games) but I think the team could actually be better if that makes any sense.  Spartans lose 3 OLineman, but all 3 were mid level (that is being polite since they were 2 starts) talents . The younger replacements were all higher regarded as prospects. We return Cousins and Baker in the backfield and a quartet of Recievers (Cunningham, Martin, Nichol, Fowler) with experience. Defense loses LB duo of Jones and Gordon and will be largest question mark.

4. OSU - Will the NCAA reduce the supsensions of the tattoo ring?

5. How good will Nebraska be? Early in the year, they looked very very scary. A very good defense and a potent offense led by an exciting young QB.  By the end of the year, their offense looked downright awful.   Their B10 schedule is pretty brutal.




January 21st, 2011 at 11:14 AM ^

They lose a freaking beast of an RB in Leshoure and do-everything defenders in Martez Wilson and Corey Liuget.  I'll admit I don't know if they have any decent players waiting in the wings, but even if they have several decent players I doubt it'll trump the loss of their two best defensive players (especially Liuget).

Scheelhaase is going to be a good one, though.  Made a ton of strides from the start of the season through the bowl game, and will only be a RS soph.


January 21st, 2011 at 11:10 AM ^

Clarify the title - add "...on the Big Ten" or something. EDIT: Perfect. Thanks.

Nebraska is going to be a tough challenge for the whole conference.  I still see them losing two or three in-conference, but they're going to be a good game for most teams as we see how they line up in the B1G.


January 21st, 2011 at 4:52 PM ^

Martinez couldn't throw well in 2010 (as a true freshman), but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll never get it down.  The experience of watching Denard should have demonstrated this to us. 

Don Keypunch

January 21st, 2011 at 11:20 AM ^

I am expecting too much. I just like actual facts used to backup why a team will suck since in most sports forums people always say that a team sucks with no explanation of why. I feel like mgobolg is a much better place with a higher quality of discussion.

Don Keypunch

January 21st, 2011 at 1:04 PM ^

I just expect better than that from those who post here. A comment as vague as "______ sucks!" is usually the kind of crap seen on mlive.com, or espn.com and not here. I've only been posting for a little bit but I already can see that the posters on mgblog usually have the best insight. Didnt realize I would take such a beating over this, my apologies to all.


January 21st, 2011 at 6:38 PM ^

I see what you're saying, but take this Minnesota thing as a joke.  It's an exception not the rule.  You'll get more analysis (and really neat stuff) on the Diaries section.  You'll learn a lot, just take these types of posts with a grain of salt, it's all 80% opinion, 15% snarky comments, and 5 % kittens.

The Denarding

January 21st, 2011 at 12:34 PM ^

Is a very, very good coach.  Underestimate them at your own peril.  They have some very real talent.

Their biggest problem is that the lose Webber at QB and he was a very good QB.  He will be tough to replace.

If you look at the coaches in this conference, it just got a lot harder...


January 21st, 2011 at 11:21 AM ^

I disagree. MarQueis Gray will probably be the best new full-time starting QB in the conference and is a serious dual threat. The team returns all its WRs, TEs and RBs, including two three year starting RBs in Bennett and Eskridge. They got a medical redshirt for highly touted RB Donnell Kirkwood. Also, they preserved the redshirts of all five true freshmen O-linemen, including 4 star OT Jimmy Gjere.

On the defense, all starters return except for safety Kyle Theret who was a disciplinary issue.

Jerry Kill led Northern Illinois to a 10-win regular season last year behind solid fundamental play and a strong rushing attack (both QB Harnish and RB Spann). Minnesota's schedule is slightly daunting (At USC, home to Iowa, Wiscy and Nebraska in a 5 week period), but the team has enough talent to go 6-6 or 7-5, no question Jim.


January 21st, 2011 at 11:15 AM ^

Northwestern should probably be in the stock up.  They get Persa back and Fitz has done a good job of improving every year.  I would put MSU in stock down, mainly because I see no possible way they have a better season than last year.  Their defensive losses are going to effect them more than anything else IMO. 

Hardware Sushi

January 21st, 2011 at 12:08 PM ^

I am in "wait and see" mode with NW until Persa gets back into game action. Lucky for him, the injury occurred almost a year before the 2011 season starts so he'll have a decent amount of time to let it heal and regain some strength.

That said, my friend tore his achilles' tendon in high school playing tennis and he never got back to 100% playing ability. He can walk and run just fine, but lost a decent amount of his hop and explosiveness.

Persa was NW's saving grace last season. They had a decent team but I don't think they hit .500 without him. It will be interesting to see how he returns. He's a great talent and I like the way he plays, so I'm rooting for him. That's why I'm keeping my expectations at wait and see for NW.


January 21st, 2011 at 11:23 AM ^

As far as conference standings would go, I don't see how MSU can be "steady". While they may be "steady" in terms of overall play, I think, as you said, that the schedule will not be kind. Also, I would compare MSU's season this past year to Iowa's the year prior. Last year MSU had a lot of "lucky" wins, if you wan't to call them that. Games against Notre Dame, Purdue, and NW, just off the top of my head, could have easily been losses, I don't see that luck transferring over to next year like we saw this past season for Iowa coming off of their Orange Bowl(?) victory over Georgia Tech in '09/'10. Overall though, the conference will be relatively as good as last year with fewer "elite" teams at the top while gaining strength in the middle of the pack, this will probably lead to BCS bowl loss(es), but strong performances in the lower tiered bowls.

Son of Tacopants

January 21st, 2011 at 11:19 AM ^

Penn State should be significantly better next year, they were a young team with loads of injuries and ? marks at QB this year.  The QB situation is still a potential mess but whoever they go with will have more experience than this past year.


January 21st, 2011 at 11:25 AM ^

These thoughts are not random. They are deliberate and intentional.

I have yet to see someone design a random thought generator. There's way too much bias in the human brain.