So I was recently welcomed into the secret society of the “Big Ten Bloggers.” However, it did come at a rather costly price as I was put through a brutal hazing process that included attending a lemon party.
No matter though, I’ve been initiated and thanks to fellow Northwestern blogger Lake The Posts, I was recently asked to play Nostradamus along with the rest of the Big Ten bloggers regarding the upcoming football season.
Below, are my answers to the following questions: If you want to know the consensus picks amongst the rest of the Big Ten blogging community, LTP has them for you right here
> *Coach of the Year: Tim Brewster, Minnesota. This should especially be the case if the Gophers miraculously go from 1-11 last year to making a bowl game.
> *Most Likely To Strike Heisman Pose: Beanie Wells, OSU. Last year was his breakout season and this year he’s back for what’s likely his final go-round before the NFL; look for him to establish himself as one of the Heisman frontrunners from opening weekend.
> *Last Year’s Illini Will Be This Year’s ???? (most improved): Minnesota. Phil Steele made a good point in his most recent college football preview magazine, the Gophers were a missed FG by Miami (OH) away from a winless season last year. In my humble opinion, that’s about low as it can get for Tim Brewster’s crew, he’s got 15 starters back (including 8 on offense) and had one hell of a recruiting season, just like Ron Zook did a couple years ago after a very dismal first year at Illinois.
Look for Minny to be like Illinois was a couple years ago, they’ll be a pesky bunch of Caddyshack Gophers that will make some of the more talented teams look like Carl Spackler (i.e. give stronger teams a run for their money, before coming up just short). I see them doing as well as 6-6 and being bowl eligible.
Don’t be taking those Gophers lightly this year…
> *Upset game of the year (include non-conference): Michigan State over Cal – I was impressed with head coach Mark Dantonio’s ability to squeeze out 7 wins and go bowling with a team that looked like it was still a year or two away from doing so. The dude is a throwback to Big Ten coaches of old, emphasizing a bruising “three yards and a cloud of dust” run-oriented offense along with “good ol’ fashioned defense” that has long been the Big Ten’s staple. In this day and age where spread offenses and gimmick defenses seem to rule, people like Dantonio are a breath of fresh air to those who favor traditional smashmouth football.
It’s safe to say that given last year’s miraculous bowl berth for Sparty, Dantonio is the “MacGyver” of the current Big Ten coaching fraternity. Look for him to unleash his nuclear bomb made out of a pen, a paper clip, and a piece of chewing gum when the Spartans shock the “Godless Killer” Bears in Berkeley come August 30th…You read it here first.
What Mark Dantonio watches during his “film sessions”
> *Name You’ll Know In December That No One Knows In June: WARNING: HOMER PICK AHEAD – Stephfon Green, RB PSU. He made for quality message board fodder last year when during practice he broke a 60-yard TD run after taking a routine pitch, pressing the “spin button” and dashing all the way to the end zone. He only helped to crank up the secret hype machine this past spring when he exploded for a 67-yard TD run on his first carry of the Blue-White game. If he can play that well against legitimate opponents, no doubt the rest of the Big Ten will know his name come November.
> *Most Likely To John McLaren (aka lose it in postgame rant): Rich Rodriguez, after he gets asked for the 50th time in 2 hours what it feels like to have snapped Michigan’s gi-normous win streak against PSU in just his first year as head coach…I hope there’s nothing highly flammable in the press conference room when that happens.
> *Highest NFL Draft Pick in 2009: * Really, it’s difficult to say, it all depends on what the needs are for the teams that bomb in the NFL this upcoming year. If it’s tailbacks they’re looking for then Beanie Wells is it. Otherwise, I’m thinking either fellow Buckeye teammate James Laurinaitis or PSU’s Maurice (Mo) Evans.
> *The Must See Game of the Year that is not Ohio State – Michigan: Illinois-Penn State On paper, this is the most compelling matchup: It’s a Big Ten opener, an 8 PM kickoff on ABC/ESPN, not to mention that the last couple of games have been absolute nail-biters in this series. PSU will be bloodthirsty for revenge after last year’s debacle in Champaign while the Illini will be trying to show that last year was no fluke and that they can beat PSU more than once in a blue moon.