- Josh Moyer, ESPN Staff Writer
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Big Ten football kicks off in 26 hours. Let's get you ready with a mailbag:
@ESPNJoshMoyer upset alert week 1 in the big ten?
— Matt Finnigan (@Finnarious) August 26, 2014
Josh Moyer: Hmmm ... it's a bit tricky this week since only three of 14 games don't feature huge double-digit favorites (Rutgers-Washington State, UCF-Penn State, Wisconsin-LSU). Out of those three, though, I like Wisconsin the most as an upset pick. LSU has a new quarterback and running back and its run defense shows a few cracks. The Tigers ranked 94th in the nation last season in stopping ball carriers behind the line and were No. 35 in run defense. And you know what happens when Melvin Gordon finds room on the outside (hint: touchdown). Wisconsin has fared well against better run defenses, so they should be able to keep the ball moving Saturday. We'll see if that's enough.
— Michael Blount (@MichaelBlount1) August 27, 2014
Josh Moyer: After a sub-par freshman campaign, it sure looks as if Derrick Green is on pace to be Michigan's feature back. Brady Hoke named him the starter, although he added that De'Veon Smith will be "1A." But if you look at how Doug Nussmeier and Brady Hoke have approached running backs since 2010, the top guy has always received at least twice as many carries as the backup. (One exception: Alabama's Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon split carries in 2012 but combined for 66.5 percent of team carries.) Green had 27 percent body fat last year and naturally looked sluggish; he's at 9 percent right now. He'll be better. As for Jabrill Peppers, count me among the believers. Devin Gardner said recently that Peppers and Devin Funchess are the best athletes on the team. That's big praise. So sure, Peppers has generated a lot of hype -- but I think he'll live up to it.
@ESPNJoshMoyer why so down on the Gophers? 5-7 (2-6) seems low. Not saying they are winning 9+, but no bowl? Really?
— Darren Michael (@HaloKitty343) August 27, 2014
Josh Moyer: In our season predictions this morning, I was the only Big Ten reporter to pick Minnesota to win fewer than six games. Everyone else said six or seven. I'll admit I waffled slightly between choosing five and six wins, but the Minnesota passing game -- or lack thereof -- really concerns me. The Gophers ranked No. 105 in the nation last season in total offense and, without a playmaker like Ra'Shede Hageman on defense, I'm not yet sold on the defense being as good as last year. In some ways, last season's 8-5 record was a best-case scenario -- especially with surprising wins against Penn State and Nebraska, and close wins against Norhtwestern and Indiana. When I look at this season's schedule, I see seven losses: at TCU, at Michigan, Northwestern, Iowa, Ohio State, at Nebraska, and at Wisconsin. Northwestern was the toss-up for me but, as it stands, I see the Wildcats winning a close one.
@ESPNJoshMoyer How big of a concern is the Penn State O-line?
— Sean Banks (@seanbanks3) August 27, 2014
Josh Moyer: It's the biggest question mark on the team, and I think it's going to be the determining factor in whether Penn State finds success. I picked the Nittany Lions to win seven games and, honestly, I think that's even slightly optimistic with this line. (Two players who were defensive tackles in February are now starting inside as offensive guards, and absent is basically any quality depth.) This offense has for which to be excited: Christian Hackenberg, two terrific running backs, my pick for B1G tight end of the year and a plethora of talented young wideouts. The only thing that's missing is a solid O-line -- and all the talent in the world doesn't mean anything if Hackenberg and Co. can't find time. If last season's O-line returned, I might even pick Penn State to win 10 games. The potential is there, but the offensive line is going to act as the cap.
With incoming freshmen set to report to their respective B1G teams later this month, we thought now would be a perfect time to take a closer look at the 2014 class.
Looking for a stylish addition to your home? Consider this. A new home in the Ohio State football strength program helps a former ex-Buckeye wrestler overcome a devastating loss.
Quiet days of May... Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and the Pac-12’s Larry Scott discuss the NCAA’s autonomy model for five major conferences.
Busy time for a Wednesday in May. Keep up here with Adam Rittenberg's reports from the spring meeting of Big Ten athletic directors. From Rosemont, Ill.
The economy in most sectors these days has flattened out, at best. But it's good to be in the business of college sports.ESPN's Paula Lavigne took a look today at the booming revenues in college athletics and how money and profits are still pouring in despite rising coaches' salaries and travel expenses.
Hoops, hoops everywhere. Here's some football: Braxton Miller aims to get better in the meeting room. Fitz Toussaint and Thomas Gordon ran well at Michigan’s pro day.
National Signing Day is just five days away, so this is now in my head. Don't judge me. Illinois OL Corey Lewis knew something wasn't right with his left knee and, as it turns out, he might have played the entire season without an ACL.
National signing day is almost upon us and Big Ten teams have been feverishly adding prospects to their classes. Here is a look at the latest movement within the conference in the ESPN class rankings and trends from the past week.
There is only one weekend left for visits before signing day. Things are getting down to the wire, which means we are set to see a lot of activity in a short amount of time.
There have been commitments and decommitments across the board in the Big Ten, which means there has been movement among the class rankings.As signing day approaches, teams will be looking to fill the final spots in their class.
As usual there is a ton of action happening around signing day. The Big Ten has had commitments, decommitments, offers and everything in between.Here is a look at what took place within the conference on the recruiting trail this past week:Biggest commitment: Indiana picked up two commitments in linebacker Tegray Scales (Cincinnati/Colerain) and flipped Rutgers commit Waynedriko Smith (Orlando, Fla.
I need my football fix. Someone should consider resurrecting the XFL ... Urban Meyer and James Franklin are building the "SEC North" in the Big Ten, writes Fox Sports' Clay Travis.
Now that the dead period has ended, prospects will continue taking visits to schools before signing day. The Big Ten has several top targets traveling all over the country this weekend, so here is a look at some of the bigger visitors for the conference.
Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars? If and when James Franklin does become the new head coach at Penn State, that could spell big trouble for B1G newcomer Maryland.