Top Ten B1G Non-Conference Games of 2015
Bowl season is the next big chance for the conference to succeed against other teams. With that said, now's as good a time as any to see what will be waiting for us after the summer of 2015.
10. Rutgers vs. Washington State, High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway
Mike Leach will be entering his fourth year of tenure still searching for the kind of success he had at Texas Tech. It's very possible the Cougars will be a much improved team by the beginning of the '15 season, but at the moment Leach stands at 12-23 with his new team and 7-18 in-conference.
9. Michigan vs. Utah, Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City
Michigan and Utah was a downright terrible game this year, and now it's headed to Salt Lake City. With that said, the Utes are a fundamentally sound team with a good head coach. The Wolverines have an interesting schedule, welcoming Oregon State and BYU to the Big House.
8. Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech, Lane Stadium, Blacksburg
Ohio State will be out for revenge, and Virginia Tech might not be ready for it. But a close game could be an instant classic.
7. Northwestern vs. Duke, Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham
Sitting at 8-1 and 1st in the Coastal Division, the Blue Devils are no longer a basketball school only. This will be one of two stiff tests for the Wildcats, but this one may be alleviated by some key departures. Duke will have to find a new quarterback, with Anthony Boone graduating, and some more firepower. Jamison Crowder is one of the better wide receivers in the country, but he too will be gone.
6. Rutgers vs. Army, Yankee Stadium, Bronx
This gets a bump for the great history involved. The Rose Bowl is the Big Ten's paradise to the west, but Yankee Stadium is at least a minor historic venue to the East. The second college football game ever played there, in 1927, Penn State tied West Virginia 13-13, and the Nittany Lions were a fixture in Yankee Stadium for many years. Purdue won a game in Yankee Stadium in 1932 en route to an undefeated season. In 1945 and 1950, Michigan went into Yankee Stadium and lost a pair of games to Army. Rutgers also has a long history there, losing its first seven games by a combined 239-20 before eventually tying NYU, 6-6, in 1933.
5. Northwestern vs. Stanford, Ryan Field, Evanston
This starts a long series between two academic powerhouses, and ensures that the Big Ten will get to see Stanford up close on a regular basis. Scheduling matchups with successful teams not only benefits the program in the immediate sense, that the team is challenged, and perhaps exposed and forced to cauterize, but it also keeps the conference connected to what is happening around the country.
4. Nebraska vs. Miami (FL), Sun Life Stadium, Miami
This historic pair will duel again, this time with a more experienced quarterback for Miami. In this year's 41-31 win for Nebraska, true freshman Brad Kaaya threw for 359 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 picks, in his best performance of the season. Nebraska will have some new faces without Ameer Abdullah and presumably Randy Gregory.
3. Minnesota vs. Texas Christian, TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
If TCU doesn't trip against Kansas, Texas, or ISU, they very well may end up in the College Playoff. If Minnesota controls the line of scrimmage against Nebraska and Wisconsin, then this game will be between a reigning division winner and an inaugural top-four team. There's a long way to go for that to happen, but it's a possibility.
2. Wisconsin vs. Alabama, AT&T Stadium, Arlington
It's not Michigan-Florida, but Big Ten representation is still a great opportunity. That said, the Big Ten will have to start winning these if it wants to talk trash.
1. Michigan State vs. Oregon, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing
As Michigan State found out this weekend, a crippling victory is often felt later on, waiting in a cold shadow as revenge. Michigan State will get their chance again against the Ducks.
H.T.L Wants Another Shot at Bright Lights
Jack Conkin said this after: "It's hard. It's something that's new for us. We've been winning and winning." Ohio State's loss to Virginia Tech galvanized them, and they've been on a mission while MSU was waiting, with a target on its back.
"They put you in run-pass conflicts, like I said, where a (linebacker) is coming into the box to stop the run, but then he has to help underneath from a pass coverage standpoint as well," Mark Dantonio said. "So good playing by them. We need to be improving our plan, and we'll go back to work on it."
This had plenty of interesting nuggets, as well.
Still crying over that game that felt like a loss, but this is good for a laugh or two.
This was a great highlight.
These are valuable as a list of the best NFL prospects, and SI sees the #1 talent coming out of the Big Ten.
Magnus talks about an improved offensive line and an amazing stat about our defensive tackles.
Nebraska-Wisconsin will playing for the Bronze Rotten Apple.
Minnesota's Maxx Williams is on pace for almost exactly as many yards as last year (which wasn't much), but his few highlights are worth the wait. The 25-yard catch that's linked in the article was unbelievable.
Quarterback gets an 'F,' and Nick Baumgardner also thinks Michigan should start exploring its options outside of Devin Funchess.
I absolutely love the enthusiasm, but how do people not get injured when that thing falls down?
Oklahoma's backs ran 19 times for 132 yards (6.95 ypc), while Trevor Knight went 12/27. On defense, Oklahoma just might be feeling some effects of their switch to a 3-4. The reason some head coaches won't drastically alter their philosophy is because when they're not experts in, say, air raid offense, or 3-4 defense, it becomes harder to foresee some eventual pitfalls with the roster or opposing coaches' schemes.
Stat of the week: Michigan has four receivers with 5 catches on the year and 8.5 yards per catch. Ohio State has ten such receivers. Michigan's best regular receiver at yards per catch has been Amara Darboh, with 13.4. Ohio State has three receivers with more - Thomas, Smith, and Wilson - and their combined average is 18.9. Those three players have caught 18 touchdowns. Michigan has only 8 passing touchdowns total.