By Paul M. Banks (Bold) & David K. (Italics)
Now the spread-option comes to Michigan under new head coach Rich Rodriguez, but their off-season has had more drama than a DVD boxed set of â€œFriday Night Lights,â€ the Wolverines cannot compete for the title this year, right?
Michigan will have a rare re-building type season.Â They will likely start a red-shirt QB with Chad Henne graduated and last yearâ€™s back-up Ryan Mallett transferred to Arkansas.Â They also lose offensive weapons RB Michael Hart and WR Mario Manningham, as well as four of their five offensive linemen including Jake Long, the first overall pick in the NFL Draft.Â Maybe they can convince Smash Williams to come to Ann Arbor?
If the Wolverines are to be a dangerous team, they will have to count on their defense, which returns seven starters.Â But when you have a new coach, new system, and several new players on offense, the re-tooling process is in full force.
Quarterback Jason Street would have been a great recruit tooâ€¦until he got seriously injured. Maybe I’m biased because I live close to the campus now (not to mention they are coached by a man from our native SICA in Pat Fitzgerald) but I see Northwestern as this year’s Illinois, a sleeper pick to be the Big 10’s 2nd BCS team at best, or an 8-4 team at worst. Am I nuts? Remember, injuries took a toll on them slipping back to 6-6 last season, their schedule is a cakewalk and we’re likely to see all the school career passing and rushing school records fall due to QB C.J. Bacher and RB Tyrell Sutton. In the case of the latter, it’s quite impressive because the Wildcats have a decent tailback tradition including NFLers Jason Wright, Damien Anderson, Noah Herron and Darnell Autry.
No, you are not crazy, but the Stanford of the Midwest getting the Big Tenâ€™s 2nd BCS bid might be going too big.Â The Wildcats return 19 starters which should be a big advantage, but their defense needs to get their act together.Â They allowed 35 points or more in five games and did not hold a Big Ten team to less than 28 points.Â Their offense obviously has the firepower to get into shoot-outs with opposing teams, but their defense needs to stiffen if we are going to start putting Northwestern and BCS in the same sentence without being laughed out of the building.
I say BCS because Illinois got to the Rose Bowl at 9-3 last season and I think a 6-2 conference record could do the trick for them. I agree that they MUST find someone to plug up the middle. Last yearâ€™s leading defender, LB Adam Kadela is gone and Iâ€™m not sold on the idea of Malcolm Arrington or any of their other starters continuing in the line of Napoleon Harris, Barry Gardner, Kevin Bentley and Tim McGarigle. Yes, Iâ€™ll give props to another former Sandburg high school alum in Kustok. His finest moment, the 54-51 triumph over Michigan to win the 2000 Big Ten title, the â€œinstant classicâ€ game was on Big 10 Network today. It was weird the see David Terrell and Anthony Thomas put on a clinic (although the A-Train fumbled that game away late) because they were so GOD AWFUL as members of the Chicago Bears. Purdue is set to make Joe Tiller it’s winningest all-time coach with 83 career (that’s it?! 83 wins? Getâ€™s you #1 in Boilermaker history, seriously?) victories during his last season in control, your thoughts?
Sad, just because he is a great sound bite.Â Other than that, could care less.
I really bought into what second year Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster was selling on media day.Â He seems like he knows what he is doing and could build the Gophers into a Big Ten contender in the very near future.Â With them getting a new outdoor stadium, that should help recruiting and we could see a Ron Zook-type effect at Minnesotaâ€¦ minus the whole buying recruits thing.
Hey man, I warned you once about that! This isnâ€™t Colorado under Gary Barnett. And Brewster is solid, he was a finalist for the Illini job and probably has them a year or two away. Iâ€™m glad we have the workaholic Zook though.
By the way, hereâ€™s a video thatâ€™s been viewed over 10,000 times and gives people a reason to truly hate Web 2.0â€¦and love Big 10 football!