Posted on: September 1, 2010 10:11 pm
 

Big Ten division winners and losers

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The new Big Ten alignment doesn't come into effect until 2011, but who comes out the best and worst among conference members?

Winners: Most of the conference, actually. Michigan and Ohio State keep their end-of-season rivalry, and they're each the marquee members of their own divisions. If they're not to meet for the title, then effectively nothing has changed about their tradition; if they do, then so much the better, as far as the Big Ten's coffers go. Penn State and Nebraska are the second in command in their respective divisions, and they get to start a protected rivalry with each other that's sure to move needles for television rating. Northwestern and Illinois have an annual game guaranteed, plus their own divisions in which to play spoiler--and Wildcats fans must be especially pleased that they've now got an annual divisional game against the Hawkeyes in what's rapidly becoming a contentious showdown. Minnesota gets to be in a very geographically friendly division, and they get to play for every one of their trophies every year.

We'll call it a draw: Iowa and Purdue have no reason to be protected rivals, and Delany's explanation that "both teams have won conference titles recently" is at best a non sequitur. But Iowa was rewarded with a season-ending game against Nebraska, to the delight of both fanbases, and Purdue has all the protected games they could have asked for. Likewise, Michigan State-Indiana is a total head-scratcher, but at the very least, each team stays in the same division as their in-state rivals.  

Losers: Holy hell, must Wisconsin be upset about this new alignment. Consider A) that the Badgers were the only team in the Big Ten without a season-ending rivalry game up until Nebraska showed up, and B) the amount of work Barry Alvarez has done as the de facto mouthpiece of the conference during realignment talk. Surely the Big Ten would reward the Badgers, yes? Au contraire, bonjour: Wisconsin's request to get a rivalry game with Nebraska was flat-out denied, and the Badgers don't even share a division or protected rivalry with historical rivals Iowa anymore. Oh, also, they're in a league with Ohio State and Penn State, a top twosome that seems much tougher than Michigan or Nebraska do for the near future. Nobody's got more beef than the Badgers about this lineup.

Posted on: September 1, 2010 9:28 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 9:35 pm
 

PSU: Paterno tabs true frosh Robert Bolden at QB

Posted by Adam Jacobi

For the first time in his history as the coach of Penn State, Joe Paterno has named a true freshman his starting quarterback to start a football season. According to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Robert Bolden beat out sophomores Kevin Newsome and Matt McGloin for the Nittany Lions' feature role:

Penn State just confirmed what The Patriot-News reported first earlier in the day: true freshman Robert Bolden will start at quarterback Saturday against Youngstown State at Beaver Stadium.

Shortly after Wednesday's practice, Joe Paterno made it official in a statement issued on gopsusports.com:

"Based on what we have seen to this point, Bolden has a slight edge right now, but we are confident all three quarterbacks are ready to go and hope to give them an opportunity to play until we settle on the one that gives us the best chance to win," Paterno said.

For Penn State fans, this shouldn't necessarily be construed as a failure on the part of Newsome, who certainly seemed like the presumptive starter at this time even three months ago. If anything, considering the praise that has been leveled at Bolden out of summer practice, it's a remarkable accomplishment on Bolden's part, and would seem to indicate that Penn State is better off than if Newsome had just taken the reins straight away.

Of course, regardless of how skilled a passer and runner Bolden is, Nick Saban must be salivating at the prospect of unleashing his vaunted pass defense on a true freshman making his first road start in week 2. Sure, Saban's replacing most of the starters from his title-winning team from last season, but he's doing it with guys who have been learning and practicing his defense for years. Will Bolden have the maturity and wisdom to find any room in that defense?

Posted on: September 1, 2010 7:53 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 8:25 pm
 

BYU and Notre Dame hook up; what do we call it?

Posted by Adam Jacobi and Chip Patterson
 
In totally unsurprising news, BYU has made its first scheduling announcement of its independent era by securing a six-game series with Notre Dame through 2020. This was a pretty obviously necessary move for BYU, who needed a high-profile opponent with the flexibility of an independent schedule, and Notre Dame is singularly equipped to fill that need.

Of course, BYU and Notre Dame also have a little bit in common; they're both independent universities, traditional football powers, and iconic academic representatives of their respective religious denomination. They were practically made to be rivals. And if they must be rivals, well, every rivalry deserves a nickname. Here are our suggestions:
  • Holy War
  • This One's For All The God Marbles
  • Sects And Violence
  • The Granddaddy Of Us All
  • The Indie 100
Posted on: September 1, 2010 7:26 pm
 

Big Ten confirms new divisions

Posted by Adam Jacobi


On a scheduled special broadcast on the Big Ten Network tonight, Jim Delany announced his conference's plans for two new divisions. They are as follows:


A: Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana

B: Michigan, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern, Michigan State


Each team is guaranteed a crossover rivalry with the team opposite in the list: OSU-Michigan, Penn State-Nebraska, etc.


Moreover, Michigan-Ohio State will remain the regular season finale for both schools. Delany said that despite rumors, the only other destination discussed for The Game was a mid-November date instead--nothing as early as October. Whether that's any consolation to Michigan and Ohio State fans is something you'll have to ask them.


All in all, most teams have little if anything to complain about; the vast majority of rivalries are now protected, and as Delany noted, each conference member now has six protected games instead of two. Certainly, Iowa probably won't be pleased to see Purdue as a protected rival (and vice versa), and Indiana-Michigan State makes little more sense, but these aren't deal-breaking problems.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 5:16 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 5:19 pm
 

VIDEO: Iowa lineman sent flying in car crash

Posted by Adam Jacobi


On Monday, reports came out that Iowa offensive lineman Josh Koeppel was involved in a traffic accident in Iowa City, briefly hospitalizing the senior center. While that's harrowing in and of itself, a recap of the details isn't nearly as frightening as the video of the crash itself, in which Koeppel looks awfully lucky just to be alive and well.



The footage of the crash comes from a police cruiser that happened to be near the intersection, via the Cedar Rapids Gazette. And yes, the crash is amazing for several reasons:

1. All 270 pounds of Koeppel flipping through the air.
2. Koeppel's shoe reaching at least 20 feet in altitude.
3. Koeppel gets up almost immediately, because he is not human.

He has been ruled out of play this weekend for Iowa's season opener, but there are no apparent injuries other than basic road rash and soreness. We expect Kirk Ferentz to buy his entire defense a fleet of cars for these types of drills, at which point the NCAA will nail Iowa for improper benefits, sending the Hawkeyes into a death spiral of sanctions and forfeitures. Maybe. Okay, probably not.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 5:01 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 5:30 pm
 

How Nike's new Pro Combat uni's help recruiting

Posted by Chip Patterson

Sure.  There is ton about Nike's new Pro Combat gear that makes perfect sense for the elite athlete.  It's light weight, it's durable, and thanks to new technologies a Nike Pro Combat uniform soaking wet is supposedly still lighter than a normal dry uniform.  

On Wednesday, Nike revealed the newest line of Pro Combat uniforms in college football.  The line will begin with ten schools, with the motto: "Ten Storied Programs, Ten Game-Changing Uniforms."

The ten schools to debut the uniforms in 2010 will be TCU, Alabama, Miami, West Virginia, Boise State, Oregon State, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Florida, and Virginia Tech.

Nike Uniforms

But all the technology aside, let's get down to it: this is all about fashion, and fashion is just another tool in recruiting.

Face it, these jerseys are cool.  They look sleek, yet many of them (particularly Florida and Ohio State) have a throwback feel.  They utilize the "alternate colors" that have become so popular these days.  They are the kinds of jerseys that the players want to wear.

They are the kinds of jerseys that high school players want to wear too.  These are the programs that will be on nationally televised games, in front of millions of eyes.  Thousands of those eyes are the best high school football players in the nation, and those impressionable teenagers are absolutely going to think these new jerseys are cool.  

Which jersey is your favorite?  Let us know in the comments below.  Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing Virginia Tech bust out these new black uniforms on Monday against Boise State. (Photo Credits: Virginia Tech, Nike)

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Posted on: September 1, 2010 3:40 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 4:32 pm
 

UNC's Marvin Austin suspended indefinitely

Posted by Chip Patterson

marvinNorth Carolina star defensive tackle Marvin Austin was the first Tar Heel under fire when the NCAA began investigating the North Carolina program earlier this summer.  Now he is the first one to receive a punishment.

However, head coach Butch Davis says the suspension is not related to any of the allegations regarding agents or academic improprieties.  

"The decision is not a result of the ongoing NCAA review," Davis said.  "Marvin has violated team rules and neglected his responsibilities to the team."

No time table has been set for the suspension, but he will not play against LSU on Saturday in Atlanta.

We will update the story further as more details are revealed.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 3:39 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 3:42 pm
 

ESPN: Sources reveal Big Ten division members

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Remember the clues the Big Ten may have been dropping about their new conference alignment? Yeah, maybe not. ESPN is citing multiple conference sources in this report about the new Big Ten divisions:

• Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern and Minnesota.

• And Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and Illinois.


The new setup would also feature the protected "crossover" rivalries that have been expected--Michigan would play Ohio State every year, obviously, and ESPN's sources specifically predicted Wisconsin and Minnesota will have a protected rivalry. If true, that's bad news for Wisconsin brass, who had been lobbying for a protected end-of-year game with Nebraska.

If ESPN's reports are true, they're not terribly surprising; there's competitive balance all around, and where possible, the different tiers of teams are separated east and west (see Michigan and Nebraska staying west, and Penn State and Ohio State east). Expect this alignment (or, at the very least, something similar) to be announced by the Big Ten this evening.
 
 
 
 
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