Michigan coach Brady Hoke is in his fourth season, but the Wolverines find themselves starting just one senior on offense and feature a variety of players yet to solidify their starting roles.

Hoke has said this is a young team and attributes that fact to some of the woes on the field.

While youth can be a factor in some cases, one Big Ten assistant says it shouldn’t be an excuse for why a team isn’t performing, or why players aren’t developing.

“I’m not sure anyone can use the excuse of a young team,” the coach said. “It’s the coaches’ job to get players ready to play. If they don’t have experience, then you have to minimize what you ask [the players] to do.”

To understand Michigan’s situation, we take a look at the past recruiting classes, how the players have developed and how the results compare to their biggest rival.

Class of 2011

Hoke was hired in January 2011, so he and his staff only had a month to add any pieces to the 2011 class before national signing day. Hoke and his assistants added several prospects to this class, and these players are currently either seniors or redshirt juniors.

[+] EnlargeBlake Countess
AP Photo/Tony DingBlake Countess is one of just five players from Michigan's 2011 recruiting class who have blossomed into solid contributors.
Total commits: 19
ESPN 300 commits: 0

Solid contributors (5): Brennen Beyer, Blake Countess, Frank Clark, Desmond Morgan, Raymon Taylor

Players who left early (7): Thomas Rawls, Chris Barnett, Tony Posada, Chris Rock, Antonio Poole, Greg Brown, Tamani Carter

Outcome: With seven players leaving before graduating, that was a huge blow to depth and the current roster. Only having five of 19 commitments develop to their potential didn’t help, either.

Class of 2012

This was Hoke’s first full class, and those players are now either juniors or redshirt sophomores. These prospects have had three years in Hoke’s system and ideally should be the big contributors for the program.

Total commits: 25
ESPN 300 commits: 4

Solid contributors (5): Devin Funchess, Jehu Chesson, Willie Henry, Joe Bolden, Jarrod Wilson.

Jury is still out (4): Amara Darboh, Dennis Norfleet, Chris Wormley, James Ross.

Comparison: Ohio State’s 2012 class had 25 commits as well, and eight of those prospects turned into solid, consistent contributors. Urban Meyer was hired in November 2011, so this was partially his first class.

Outcome: You could make the argument that there is still time left for these players to develop. Time is running out, though, and having only five of 25 playing up to their expected potential from this class is not good for the roster.

Class of 2013

This was Hoke’s second recruiting class at Michigan and it was loaded with talent. This class is now redshirt freshmen and sophomores, so it’s hard to fully judge these prospects as they still have plenty of football ahead of them.

Total commits: 27
ESPN 300 commits: 15

Solid contributors (5): Derrick Green, Jake Butt, Jourdan Lewis, Delano Hill, Taco Charlton.

Jury’s out (5): David Dawson, Patrick Kugler, Chris Fox, Mike McCray, Ben Gedeon.

Comparison: Ohio State’s 2013 class was Meyer’s first full class and 11 of the 24 commitments are already solid, consistent contributors. This is impressive, as these players are still relatively young. Having that many young contributors has helped accelerate Meyer’s plan for the Buckeyes and turned them into Big Ten title and College Football Playoff contenders.

Outcome: Michigan’s recruiting classes have improved as time has gone on, but it might be too late. The 2011 and 2012 classes were where the Wolverines needed the most help with Hoke’s transition, and whether it was lack of development or some other reason, those players haven’t provided much production. Prospects from the 2013 and 2014 classes have started to take over as the majority of the impact players for the Wolverines.

Class of 2014

This was Hoke’s best class yet, with a five-star commit and 10 prospects ranked as four-stars. Injuries have hampered a few prospects from making a real impact, but it is clear that the younger players are already pushing for time on the field.

Total commits: 16
ESPN 300 commits: 9

Solid contributors: Mason Cole, Bryan Mone.

Comparison: Ohio State had 23 commitments in its 2014 class with 11 ESPN 300 prospects. The Buckeyes are seeing results from Curtis Samuel, Raekwon McMillan, Sean Nuernberger and Erick Smith. The Buckeyes have five true freshmen in the two-deep, so they are again getting production from the younger players.

Outcome: Jabrill Peppers, Drake Harris and a few other prospects have dealt with injuries, preventing them from consistently contributing. By all accounts, Peppers should be on the field when healthy and this class already has one starter in Cole along the offensive line. It’s too early to tell how these prospects will pan out, but it is looking as though there will be some good players from this class.
You hate to see players go down with a physical ailment, although in most cases, there's a point where they can return to the field.

[+] EnlargeJoel Stave
Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY SportsWisconsin QB Joel Stave says he's starting to feel good again about throwing the football and preparing to play in a game.
The toughest thing about Joel Stave's situation at Wisconsin was that we didn't know if or when he would return to full participation. After starting 19 games at quarterback the past two seasons for the Badgers, Stave suddenly couldn't execute basic throws in practice or warmups. Physically, he was fine. Mentally, he was a mess. He had come down with what many in the sports world know as the yips, a sudden inability to perform basic athletic tasks one has done for years.

When Stave would emerge from the fog was anybody's guess. Fortunately, he seems to be improving.

Stave told reporters Tuesday in Madison that he's now symptom free and getting closer to a return. He acknowledged that, as many had suspected, the issues began after Wisconsin named Tanner McEvoy as its starting quarterback around Aug. 20. Stave had performed well in the preseason, and many thought he would retain the top job ahead of McEvoy.

From FoxSportsWisconsin.com:
"I tried to tell myself, 'Just stay positive, don't worry about it,'" Stave said. "But you get in your own head a little bit. And when you get in your own head a little bit, it's kind of tough. But it was a new thing for me. I had to work through it, and I feel a lot better coming out of it because you've had those days where you start to throw the ball bad and your practice will just go into the toilet.

"I feel like now that I've gone through something like this, I won't necessarily let that happen again. I have a bad throw and it's just a throw. You're going to get the next one. That's kind of my mindset."

Stave couldn't make basic throws during warmups before Wisconsin's opener against LSU, raising some suspicion. Two days later, coach Gary Andersen issued a statement that Stave would be shut down because of lingering issues with his throwing shoulder, which he injured during the 2014 Capital One Bowl.

Andersen actually was trying to protect Stave, but after Stave spent the day telling concerned friends that his shoulder was, in fact, OK, he then met the media and revealed the mental issue. It added up to a bizarre 72 hours in Badgerland.

Stave said he has grown from the experience. He started feeling normal again during warmups before a Sept. 20 game against Bowling Green. Although McEvoy remains Wisconsin's starter, Stave is ready when needed.
"If things start to go bad or Tanner gets hurt, through this whole thing I've prepared mentally like I always would," Stave said. "I've watched film, taken notes and done what I need to do to feel like I have a good enough feel for the defense. So just continue to do that. If my number is called, then I'll be ready to go."

Great to hear.

Big Ten morning links

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
It's already October, and some teams will reach the halfway point of their schedules by the end of the weekend. Time flies when you're having fun or protesting to oust your athletic director.

  • Michigan remains on the front page, rather than the sports page, for the way it handled quarterback Shane Morris' concussion and the hit's aftermath. Students and alumni marched to the university president's house to ask that athletic director Dave Brandon be removed from his post. The biggest authority figures on campus doled out written statements Tuesday, leaving head coach Brady Hoke and his players to answer all the questions that follow. A member of Congress got involved, but the Big Ten said it won't penalize Michigan for failing to follow the conference's head injury protocol. This is growing into a problem that doesn't appear will wash away with the next news cycle.
  • [+] EnlargeAmeer Abdullah
    Eric Francis/Getty ImagesNebraska's Ameer Abdullah is getting plenty of Heisman Trophy consideration already.
    Ameer Abdullah sprinted forward in the Heisman Trophy chase this week after churning out another 200-yard performance Saturday against Illinois. The Alabama native is now behind only Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Georgia running back Todd Gurley, according to the oddsmakers in Vegas. Abdullah jumped from a 25-1 candidate to a 9-1 candidate in a week. He could launch himself into the frontrunner spot with another standout performance and a victory over Michigan State in East Lansing this Saturday.
  • It's been a good start to the week for second-string quarterbacks around the Big Ten. Iowa announced its former backup, C.J. Beathard, will split time with Jake Rudock in a platoon system moving forward. Maryland's Caleb Rowe received a big vote of confidence from his head coach while challenging C.J. Brown for playing time. And lastly, Wisconsin veteran Joel Stave, who began the season with 19 career starts, has battled through the mental block that kept him on the sideline during September.

Read about all those quarterback happenings and more, in this morning's edition of the links:

East Division
West Division

  • A Cornhuskers offensive line that has steadily improved this season faces its toughest test to date against the Spartans.
  • The Illini offense has been more explosive this season, but it’s also imploding just as frequently.
  • Iowa plans to move to a two-quarterback system with C.J. Beathard and Jake Rudock for the rest of the season.
  • Minnesota fans can get a closer look at the Little Brown Jug now that it’s back in the Gophers possession for the first time since 2005.
  • Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave has put his September case of the yips behind him this week.
  • Rob Ennis, a running back prospect committed to Purdue, faces aggravated assault charges after punching a female classmate in the nose during a school beauty pageant.
  • Northwestern’s win over Penn State on Saturday gave its players a rare chance to celebrate this season.

Buckeyes marching band mocks Michigan

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1

The Ohio State marching band performed a tribute to the "Wizard of Oz" on the classic film’s 75th anniversary. The Buckeyes turn the Wicked Witch of the West into their rival, Michigan.

Rally, petition target Michigan AD

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Students and fans flooded the front lawn of University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel's on-campus house Tuesday night, demanding the school get rid of athletic director Dave Brandon.

A few hundred protesters gathered at the school's nearby Diag -- a popular outdoor meeting place on campus -- at 6 p.m. and marched the short distance to the president's house a half-hour later. Craig Kaplan, an undergraduate senior, stood on the home's front steps and led chants with a bullhorn as the rally wound down shortly before 7 p.m.

"Michigan has a special place in my heart," said Kaplan, who played a role in organizing the protest. "The fact that it's been mismanaged like this hurts me deeply as a student, as a fan, just as a person that cares about this university. It makes me upset how students have been handled and how the culture at Michigan has changed."

To continue reading this story, click here.

Iowa plans to go with two QBs

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
Iowa is off this week, so there's no need to make a decision on a starting quarterback just yet. But when the Hawkeyes return to action on Oct. 11 against Indiana, they plan on playing more than one guy under center.

C.J. Beathard replaced an injured Jake Rudock (hip) two weeks ago at Pitt and sparked the team to a comeback win. Beathard wasn't quite as sharp last week at Purdue when Rudock was available only in an emergency, but the Hawkeyes still won. On Tuesday, Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis said Rudock is about 80 percent healthy and hopefully will be ready to go along with Beathard against the Hoosiers.

"We feel like we have two good quarterbacks, and we’ll look at it in these next 11 days and then we’ll go from there," Davis said. "What you can expect is that we’ll probably play two with no set series, numbers or whatever. But we do feel like we have two guys that have earned the right to play and have played pretty well. So that’s the way we’ll approach it as we get closer."

Davis said there won't be set packages or straight split between the quarterbacks.

"Part of it will be a feel," he said, adding that Iowa would likely go with the hot hand in a particular game.

A lot depends on how Rudock bounces back from his injury. He started every game last year for the Hawkeyes and has thrown for 798 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 66.9 percent of his throws this season. Beathard has completed 54.2 percent of his passes for 363 yards with one touchdown and an interception in three games. Iowa's downfield throwing game seemed to improve with Beathard in, while Rudock is a steady hand with good wheels.

We'll have to see how this plays out and whether Iowa can turn the situation into an advantage or finds itself dealing with a full-blown quarterback controversy.

Nebraska-MSU a B1G title game preview?

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30

Two of the top offenses in the nation square off Saturday night when No. 19 Nebraska visits No. 10 Michigan State in what could be a preview of the Big Ten championship game.

Conference call: Best of the Big Ten

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
Brady Hoke's call was a focus this week, as he spoke for the first time since the 12:52 a.m. Tuesday news release regarding student-athlete welfare. We offered a brief overview there but, as always, we included highlights throughout the conference.

By the way, if you’re not following us, what are you waiting for? Follow along at @ESPNRittenberg, @BennettESPN, @ESPNJoshMoyer, @DanMurphyESPN, @MitchSherman and @AWardESPN.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The physical difference is plain to see.

The height is the same, but Ezekiel Elliott is about 20 pounds lighter than the guy who came before him.

The unique mentality requires a bit more of an explanation.

[+] EnlargeEzekiel Elliott
Greg Bartram/USA TODAY SportsEzekiel Elliott has proven to be a worthy heir to Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde.
Ohio State's current starting running back is the first to admit he'd prefer to make tacklers miss and get to the perimeter, while his predecessor thrived on contact and seemed to go out of his way to bowl over defenders.

The offensive system isn't even exactly the same now, either, with the Buckeyes dialing up the tempo to unprecedented levels and rotating through their personnel at the skill positions instead of largely relying on two main guys to carry the load.

But for all the ways he might not fit the mold Carlos Hyde left behind, it looks clear that the two share at least one key trait after Elliott tallied 112 yards after contact last week in a performance that would have made his old mentor proud.

"Well, yeah, I'm not as big of a back as Carlos," Elliott said. "I can't take as many hits as him. He's more of a bruiser-type back, and I have a little more finesse to me.

"But just being a running back, you've got to be tough. You have to have some bruise to you."

Elliott might not pack quite the same punch, but Cincinnati certainly left Ohio Stadium black and blue last weekend after the sophomore relentlessly pounded away at its defense. He unofficially announced himself as a worthy heir to Hyde in the backfield.

He also showed the same ability to handle a healthy workload while appearing to gain strength as a game goes on. Elliott wore down the Bearcats with his 28 carries for 182 yards while adding 51 more on 5 catches. The record-setting outing with 45 first downs and 710 yards was sparked largely by Elliott and the rushing attack, a throwback to last season ago when Braxton Miller was teaming with Hyde and posting eye-popping statistics at nearly every turn.

That explosive dynamic was notably absent during the Week 2 loss to Virginia Tech, with redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett and Elliott struggling to make an impact. The defeat put Ohio State's playoff candidacy on the ropes quickly. Elliott finished with just 32 yards on 8 carries against the Hokies, and there certainly wasn't much happening after contact in that game.

But like seemingly everybody else on an inexperienced offense, the improvement every week has been pretty evident as Elliott grows more comfortable with his role and responsibilities. The Buckeyes figure to only grow more dangerous as a result.

"On Saturday, he did the job you would want a Carlos Hyde to do," co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. "But he's a different runner than Carlos. He's playing with very low pad level, he plays with great energy, he's explosive and he finishes runs with great pad level. He doesn't want to make direct contact. He wants to edge defenders, which always allows you to finish runs and come out the other end.

"He's developed, and here we go starting to show that on the field."

Against the Bearcats, Elliot left a lot of defenders having to pick themselves back up while he kept moving down the field.

That's been a familiar sight for Ohio State opponents over the last few seasons. While the guy doing it now has a different method, it's already shaping up to be just as effective.

"That's definitely one of our core values in the running back room," Elliott said. "Get those yards after contact, fight with that extra effort.

"You can't just be all outside, you know? You've got to have a downhill aspect to you."

After a bit of a slow start, Elliott has the ball rolling that way now and Ohio State is building momentum again in the process.

Commitment to Braxton Miller no surprise

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
There’ll be no quarterback controversy in Columbus next season.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer addressed reporters Monday and expressed his commitment to Braxton Miller, who still plans to return for a final season. So, no matter how well J.T. Barrett performs, Miller is the clear starter in 2015.

Is that a surprise? Not at all. It’s a no-brainer. Miller was on pace for an unprecedented third Big Ten offensive-player-of-the-year award. And, while Barrett has shown flashes this season, he still has a long way to go before fans start forgetting about the quarterback who twice finished within the top-10 of the Heisman voting.

If anything, it’s a smart move by Meyer to get out ahead of any foreseeable controversy. Barrett is progressing every week, and this pre-emptive statement should put to rest any future murmurs on the subject. The fact is, even at Barrett’s best, he’s still no Braxton Miller. And even he knows that.

“I’m not Braxton,” Barrett said matter-of-factly back in August. “I’m J.T.”

That being said, the redshirt freshman is still on pace for a solid season. He’s thrown for 1,087 yards -- along with 13 TDs to five INTs -- and only Illinois’ Wes Lunt and Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg have passed for more yards per game. Sure, he’s padded his stats against some suspect defenses like Kent State. But he’s only going to get better.

As long as Miller remains a part of the Buckeyes, this will always will be his team. Meyer’s statement just reinforced that. Miller was always expected to be the starter next season. But, on the bright side, Barrett has shown he’ll make for one capable backup in 2015.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
Nebraska and Ohio State had outstanding weekends both on the field and with their recruiting efforts. The Big Ten saw a few commitments, offers and some turmoil over the weekend, so here is the conference recap to get you caught up.

Week 6 playoff implications

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
Claim your spot on the couch now. Reserve your table at your favorite sports bar. Buy another TV. Do whatever you gotta do to make sure you don't miss a snap Saturday because this is going to be a good one.

College football has been a well-kept secret so far, as it has been hiding the true identities of teams. Not this week. It's time to play or go home. There are six games between ranked teams. Of the 17 undefeated teams remaining, eight play against each other this week. It's the most relevant weekend the sport has had in regard to the new College Football Playoff.

Here are the games you can't miss, ranked from least to most likely to affect the playoff:

No. 14 Stanford at No. 9 Notre Dame -- Stanford already has one loss, and this is the second straight road trip for the Cardinal. If Stanford loses again, its playoff hopes will be in serious jeopardy but not over, given that it could still win the conference. This game should reveal more about Notre Dame's place in the playoff, as it will be the first ranked opponent for the Irish.

No. 4 Oklahoma at No. 25 TCU -- ESPN's Football Power Index gives Oklahoma a 64 percent chance to win and predicts this to be Oklahoma's hardest remaining game -- slightly more difficult than Nov. 8 against Baylor. If the Sooners can't handle TCU, they'll be on the outside looking in.

No. 15 LSU at No. 5 Auburn -- LSU gave Auburn its only regular-season loss the past year, but LSU has already lost to Mississippi State, which put the Tigers behind in the SEC West race. Considering the rest of LSU's schedule -- and the hole it's already in -- this is a must-win. For Auburn, this is a chance to erase some doubts and make a push from the bubble into the top four.

No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 12 Mississippi State -- Two terrific quarterbacks will be on display in the Aggies' Kenny Hill and the Bulldogs' Dak Prescott, who both rank in the top 10 in total QBR. A&M's stock dropped a bit this past week after it needed overtime to beat Arkansas, but it could be a top-four team if it can survive the state of Mississippi the next two weeks.

No. 3 Alabama at No. 11 Ole Miss -- This is the most interesting matchup of the day. Alabama ranks third in offensive efficiency, and Ole Miss ranks second in defensive efficiency. Neither team has played a ranked opponent, so there is still some margin for error, but the Tide have a chance to separate from the crowded West.

No. 19 Nebraska at No. 10 Michigan State -- Surprise. The game with the biggest playoff implications is not in the SEC West. This Big Ten matchup could knock Sparty out of the playoff entirely. It's one thing to lose to Oregon; it's another to try to make the four-team playoff with two losses and your best win coming over Nebraska in the Big Ten title game. Conversely, a win in East Lansing could vault the Huskers into the playoff conversation. They're the only undefeated team left in the Big Ten, and the toughest game left on their schedule is against No. 17 Wisconsin. If Nebraska pulls off the upset, it's time to take it seriously as a playoff team.

Planning for success: Nebraska

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
LINCOLN, Neb. – The context on Monday included no mention of Michigan State, as Nebraska coach Bo Pelini referenced a quote by John Wooden on the fine line between winning and losing.

Said the famous former UCLA basketball coach:

The close games are usually lost, rather than won. What I mean by that is most games are won because of the opponent making mistakes during crucial moments."
[+] EnlargeMichigan State
AP Photo/Nati HarnikMichigan State was clearly better than Nebraska last season, but the Cornhuskers' five turnovers definitely were a contributing factor in their loss.
Imply as you wish.

Last November in Lincoln, Michigan State beat the Cornhuskers 41-28 as the Pelini’s team committed five turnovers, all in Nebraska territory, including three that were essentially unforced. The Spartans beat Nebraska for the first time in eight tries en route to a Big Ten title and Rose Bowl victory.

“What happened, happened,” Pelini said. “You can look at it two ways. You can look at it and say we gave it to them. (Or) you can look at it from their standpoint that they took it.”

Pelini chooses the latter. To suggest otherwise, he said, is “kind of a cop out to a certain extent.”

“That’s not giving Michigan State credit," he said. "They won the football game and we lost, no matter how it happened.”

Turnovers stung Nebraska throughout the 2013 season. It committed 29 in 13 games and finished minus-11 for the season, No. 119 nationally. Things are better this season. The Huskers are plus-1 through five games, all victories; they’ve lost the football six times and taken it away seven times.

Clearly, then, doesn't ball security loom large in 19th-ranked Nebraska’s plan for success on Saturday night as it visits No. 10 MSU? Simply holding on to the football?

Or, as Wooden would have advised, don’t lose the game while trying to win it.

Offensive coordinator Tim Beck echoed such thoughts in talking to his players about Nebraska’s 45-14 win on Saturday over Illinois in the Big Ten opener for both teams. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. mentioned that the Huskers committed turnovers the only times they didn't score against the Fighting Illini.

That's not entirely accurate. The Huskers, in fact, punted three times in the second half. But you get the point.

“When we take care of the of the football,” Armstrong said, “we can do anything.”

Nebraska’s turnovers last season against Michigan State led to 24 Spartans points. All five were committed by freshmen handled the football -- including Armstrong, who fumbled a snap and threw an interception. That game remains as Nebraska’s only defeat in Armstrong's 13 career starts.

Expect the game plan for Saturday to include a heavy dose of senior I-back Ameer Abdullah, who leads the nation with 833 rushing yards. Armstrong is also more seasoned this time around. He leads the Big Ten and ranks sixth nationally in yards per completion, and his 420 rushing yards are fourth nationally among quarterbacks.

Nebraska can live with adversity on Saturday, as long as it’s not self-inflicted.

“If somebody makes a play on you, they make a play,” Pelini said. “You’ve got to make them earn it. That’s what you’ve got to constantly fight against, is being your own worst enemy.”

Big Ten morning links

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
It's Week 6 already, so we have some catching up to do. Here are some notes and observations before we get to the links:

1. Michigan recruiting backlash. With all the Brady Hoke talk and the loss to Minnesota, you knew it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. Michigan commit and ESPN 300 tight end Chris Clark tweeted Sunday -- since deleted -- that if Hoke is fired then “that changes everything.” He likely just said what other recruits are thinking, and it'd be na´ve to think opposing coaches aren't going to exacerbate the situation by trying to use Hoke's lack of job security against Michigan. Recruiting could wind up being an uphill battle the rest of the season, despite the Wolverines' No. 19 ranking. They currently have 11 commits, and Clark is the highest-rated one.

2. Offensive line woes. Penn State offensive line coach Herb Hand has taken up the practice this season of tweeting out highlights of his Nittany Lions on Sundays. He doesn't do it every week, but he does it most of the time. Needless to say, he skipped the exercise this weekend -- but it's difficult to blame him. There were few highlights Saturday against Northwestern, and the clip of his linemen that most stuck out involved one of his offensive guards inadvertently blocking a teammate. Hand is a good coach, but he doesn't have depth or experience to work with here. He took the blame for Saturday's disastrous performance, but it's clearly not his fault. This is a young offensive line and, quite frankly, it just doesn't have much talent right now.

3. David Cobb's importance cannot be understated. The Minnesota running back has accounted for slightly more than 47 percent of the Gophers' offense. Not just rushing offense, mind you -- entire offense. That means he's a bigger part of the offense than Ameer Abdullah at Nebraska, Melvin Gordon at Wisconsin and Tevin Coleman at Indiana. Cobb has 722 rushing yards (5.8 ypc) and four TDs so far this season. He's worth watching.

Now, on to the links:

East Division
West Division

Michigan AD Brandon: 'We have to learn'

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
The Michigan Wolverines football staff made mistakes due to a "serious lack of communication" while dealing with quarterback Shane Morris' head injury, athletic director Dave Brandon said.

Brandon released a statement shortly before 1 a.m. ET Tuesday morning outlining a two-day investigation he conducted into how Michigan's football medical personnel and its coaching staff handled a "probable mild concussion" for its sophomore quarterback.

"Unfortunately, this confusion created a circumstance that was not in the best interest of one of our student-athletes," Brandon said. "I sincerely apologize for the mistakes that were made. We have to learn from this situation, and moving forward, we will make important changes so we can fully live up to our shared goal of putting student-athlete safety first."

Morris remained on the field for one play of Saturday's 30-14 loss to Minnesota after displaying concussion symptoms in the fourth quarter. The sophomore stumbled and needed the help of his teammates to stay on his feet after a helmet-to-helmet hit knocked him to the ground.

To read the rest of this story, click here.