"You have a bad taste in your mouth. This should have never happened, but it did, so we've got to rebound and we've got to work. That's all there is to it."
This might have been said by a number of Big Ten players in recent years, as the conference has suffered a string of high-profile losses since Ohio State's ugly demise in the '06 championship game. But it was actually spoken this year, by Missouri linebacker Michael Scherer after Missouri's loss to Indiana.
The conference might enter bowl season as a top-to-bottom underdog, but that isn't necessarily a bad starting point, as long as the teams pull out a page from many of the opponents they're facing - or those Hoosiers. But most of the Big Ten's opponents have some high-profile games under their belt already.
Illinois is facing a Louisiana Tech team that lost its Conference-USA championship game (to Marshall) by three points. Penn State is facing a Boston College squad that beat USC. Rutgers' foe, North Carolina, beat Georgia Tech and Duke. Iowa is facing a Tennessee team that couldn't close the deal against Missouri (lost, 29-21), Georgia (lost, 35-32), and Florida (lost, 10-9), but still beat Kentucky 50-16.
Of course, there's always going to be a good team in the way. Say what you will about the small perks that come with reputation, but reputation is earned on the field and it's gutted the same way. The Big Ten will have to start swinging upward and sideways to make a good mark, and it's blessed to have the chances to do just that. It won't really, ever, get easier.
Hitting the Links Goes to West Virginia
He is the 24th commit for Ohio State.
The coaching search has gone well for Wisconsin, but as always this will be judged by how Chryst does on the field. To be honest, I wouldn't bet against him or Alvarez, and this might energize Wisconsin's passing game.
We wish Michael the very, very best at West Virginia, and hope his career is successful.
One of Dave Brandon's top hires is headed out of Ann Arbor.
Once again, it bears repeating that good bosses and a good atmosphere matter more for some coaches than blue blood status. Pelini gets to spend a little more time with family, and a premier job is always his when he wants it. He's also still getting paid like a premier coach, so that helps too.
The skill positions, cornerback and to a lesser extent linebacker were consistent throughout, but there was plenty of diversity on the line of scrimmage. On defense, Joey Bosa, Michael Bennett, Vic Beasley, UT's Malcom Brown, Washington's Danny Shelton, Florida State's Eddie Goldman, Utah's Nate Orchard, Missouri's Shane Ray, and USC's Leonard Williams all made various first teams.
FSU's Tre Jackson and UA's Arie Kouandjio got the most honors at guard, but Wisconsin's Kyle Costigan, Duke's Laken Tomlinson, and South Carolina's A.J. Cann also pulled first team honors. At tackle, Brandon Scherff was the most decorated, but shared the limelight with Baylor's Spencer Drango, Stanford's Andrus Peat, and Texas A&M's Cedric Ogbuehi. Oregon's Hroniss Grasu stole one first team honor at center from Auburn's Reese Dismukes. All told, that's eleven players granted first team status across the four sites.
The 18-year old Purdue linebacker started on the outside but took over the reins of the whole defense by the end of the season. A former mid-three-star prospect, Bentley is a bright spot for Purdue next year and a sign that Hazell might have a knack for development.
Connor Cook already announced his return in 2015, but this would be another big return.
A little long and a little verbose, this is still an excellent, in-depth diagnosis of Iowa football.
Rivalry aside, Herman seems like an interesting and great guy. Urban Meyer focuses on getting great assistants in a way that other Big Ten teams just don't, and he'll have to find a good replacement somewhere.