Posts Tagged ‘Big Ten’

Ferentz shoots down rumors

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Bearing in mind that you are reading this on the Internet, I feel compelled to say this: Don’t read everything you read on the Internet.

At least not on the various college football message boards and chatrooms that are out there on the cyber-landscape. If you had read Iowa Hawkeyes message boards in the past few days, you would have seen that:

– Defensive coordinator Norm Parker was retiring.

– Freshman A.J. Derby was being moved from quarterback to linebacker.

– Running back Brandon Wegher was academically ineligible.

There may be slivers of truth in there somewhere, but Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz pretty much swatted down all three of those ideas at Monday’s Big Ten football media day.

He said he doesn’t know that Parker ever has contemplated retirement although old Norm will be coaching from the pressbox because of his well-documented health issues this season. Ferentz said Derby is still a quarterback although he is athletically gifted enough that he could help the Hawkeyes on special teams right now and may someday end up at another spot. And Ferentz said to his knowledge, everyone on his roster is in the clear academically.

Maybe Ferentz was just lying through his teeth? Not likely. More likely, someone out there without journalistic credibility or ethics heard a small bit of rumor and blew it up into something big. You can do that on message boards because almost everything is flung out there anonymously.

Gearing up again

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

It’s been a long, relatively quiet summer – for everyone except maybe Broderick Binns, Jewel Hampton and Jordan Bernstine – but things are about to start gearing up again. The Big Ten will hold its football media day this week, the Iowa resumes practice later in the week and the Hawkeyes will hold their own media day on Friday.

The Big Ten media day always brings little bits of information, mixed with lots of posturing and happy talk from the coaches. Each coach will have 15 minutes in a massive group interview with the media on Monday, then reporters have a chance to speak to the coaches and three players from each team in a one-on-one setting on Tuesday morning. Iowa’s three players in attendance will be Ricky Stanzi, Adrian Clayborn and Karl Klug.

The big topic of discussion Monday figures to be the expansion of the Big Ten – commissioner Jim Delany also will get 15 minutes at the podium – and I would think Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz will have some information on what sort of punishments will be levied against Binns, Hampton and Bernstine, all of whom had brushes with the law during the summer.

We will have coverage of Monday’s activities in a live blog at and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will have updates throughout the week from both the Big Ten and Hawkeyes media days.

True East-West split is way to go

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

I continue to be amazed at the lack of research and knowledge of people writing about how the Big Ten should be broken down into divisions now that Nebraska is a member of the league.

Some of us have proposed a true East-West split that would put Iowa in a Western Division with Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern and Illinois. This not only works geographically but also in terms of competitive balance and it keeps together most of the league’s traditional rival-ries. Michigan and Minnesota would not be able to play one another for the Little Brown Jug every year and Illinois and Ohio State would have years when they wouldn’t meet for the Illibuck Tro-phy, but that’s about it.

However, we continue to hear people say you can’t put Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State to-gether in one division because it creates a competitive imbalance. It’s baloney. That’s purely per-ception. The numbers indicate that if anything, the West might be a little stronger than the East in such a set-up.

The teams we have in the West have gone 94-61 over the past two years while the East teams, with those three alleged powerhouses, were 82-68.

Want to go back a little further? OK, take the past 10 years. Ohio State has far away more wins (102) in 10 years than anyone else. But No. 2 is Wisconsin (86), No. 3 is Nebraska (84) and No. 5 is Iowa (80). Michigan (81) is No. 4 with only one more win over that 10-year span than the Hawkeyes. Penn State (77) is No. 6.

Add up total victories by the two divisions in 10 years, and it’s 426 for the East and 418 for the West. That’s a difference of less than one victory per season. How much more even did you want to get it?

People argue that if you go back to the 1970s, ’80 and ‘90s, the East teams would be stronger. Maybe. I haven’t crunched all those numbers. But that’s pretty much ancient history anyway. It’s pretty irrelevant to what is happening today. Look at these programs in their current states (and most likely their future states) and this is about as even a split as you can get.

This most likely is a moot point anyway. The Big Ten probably is going to bring in more teams in the near future and mess up the nice symmetry it created by adding Nebraska.

Total number of victories by Big Ten football teams in the past 10 seasons:

Possible East Division
Ohio State    102
Michigan    81
Penn State    77
Purdue    67
Michigan St.    60
Indiana    39

Possible West Division
Wisconsin    86
Nebraska    84
Iowa        80
Minnesota    62
Northwestern    61
Illinois    45

Wisconsin win is a good omen

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Iowa fans who are wondering how their team will match up with Georgia Tech next Tuesday night in the FedEx Orange Bowl should take heart from what happened in the Champs Sports Bowl last night.

Wisconsin handled Miami (Fla.), giving us one more piece of evidence that Atlantic Coast Conference football isn’t very strong this year. The final score was only 20-14, but it really wasn’t that close a game. The Badgers dominated, outgaining Miami 430-249 and holding the Hurricanes scoreless for more than 58 minutes in the middle of the game.

The ACC is now 1-3 in bowl games with the only victory being a fairly unimpressive 21-13 win by Clemson over a so-so Kentucky team. Clemson gave ACC champion Georgia Tech all it could handle in two meetings between the two teams this season. Tech also lost to Miami while Iowa defeated Wisconsin.

You can’t put too much stock in comparative scores, but it does seem to confirm what a lot of us gave been saying: That the Big Ten isn’t all that bad and the ACC isn’t all that good.

The Big Ten will get five more bowl tests over the next few days and I wouldn’t be shocked to see the league win three of those games although none of them are against ACC opponents. It’s already shaping up better than last year when the Big Ten was 1-6 in its post-season endeavors.

Big Ten shut out on Camp All-American team

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

The first of many All-American teams is out and if this is any indication, the Big Ten is not very highly thought of nationwide.

There is not a single Big Ten player on the 25-player first team of the Walter Camp Foundation team. None. Zero. My guess is that might be a first. I certainly don’t recall it happening before. Heck, this might be the first time in a long time there isn’t at least one Ohio State player in there.

There are five Big Ten guys on the second team, including Iowa’s Pat Angerer and Bryan Bulaga, but it’s clear that the people who select these teams don’t think there are any really elite players in the league.
The question: Is that an accurate depiction or just perception?

I’d say it’s perception. Other than offensive skill position players, where there are concrete stats that can be used for comparative purposes, there’s a lot of guesswork that goes into these selec-tions. There are 10 Camp first-teamers from the SEC (Alabama and Florida accounted for seven of those) and seven from the Big 12, and while those leagues are better than the Big Ten right now, they’re not that much better.

For what’s worth, the Big East also got shut out and there was only one ACC player on the first team.

Besides Angerer and Bulaga, other Big Ten players on the second were team were Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones and two Michigan players – defensive end Brandon Graham and punter Zoltan Mesko. No one from either Ohio State or Penn State.

All-Big Ten teams had some surprises

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

There were only a few surprises on the All-Big Ten teams that were announced Monday night. One of the surprises was that Iowa was as well-represented as it was.

I figured the Hawkeyes might get as many as five first-team selections, but they had a league-high seven first-team players on the team chosen by the BigTen coaches, only four on the media team.
The five I thought were deserving: Linebacker Pat Angerer, strong safety Tyler Sash, defensive end Adrian Clayborn, offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga and cornerback Amari Spievey. All of those players made the coaches team and all but Spievey were honored by the media.

The coaches also put Dace Richardson and Tony Moeaki on the first team even though Richardson missed the last 4 ½ games of the conference season and Moeaki was more or less missing in action over that same span.

Other thoughts:

– The offensive line, which never really got its act together, had four players selected. In addition to Bulaga and Richardson, Rafael Eubanks and Kyle Calloway made the second team.

– Although 19 Iowa players received some sort of mention, there was at least one more that merited at least honorable mention. Receiver Marvin McNutt scored six touchdowns in a span of four Big Ten games, including some of the clutch plays of the season.

– Iowa’s defense received the recognition it deserved. The only two starters who didn’t get some sort of mention were Jeremiha Hunter and Shaun Prater.

– Although everyone knew Wisconsin’s John Clay and Penn State’s Evan Royster would be the first team running backs, I thought Adam Robinson had a chance to make the second team. He ended up being honorable mention on both teams with Purdue’s Ralph Bolden and Ohio State’s Brandon Saine making the second team.

– There was widespread disagreement on the first team wide receivers. The coaches picked Minnesota’s Eric Decker and Michigan State’s Blair White. The media went with Indiana’s Tandon Doss and Purdue’s Keith Smith. I would have voted for White and Smith.

– It was interesting that Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick was the coaches’ defensive player of the year, but he wasn’t even first team on the media squad. There’s no way he had a better season than Wisconsin’s O’Brien Schofield, Michigan State’s Greg Jones (the media pick) and Angerer.

– You can’t help but wonder how the coach of the year voting might have gone if the voting hadn’t been done with a week to go in the season. Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz won the award, but Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern club finished very strong, beating Wisconsin in the final game to finish 8-4. Fitz might have gotten a few more votes if the voting was done later.