We’re finally done, here is the second part of the Big Ten Preview… enjoy. If you missed the first part, here you go.
Michigan State Spartans
What Happened Last Year – (Johnny Brown, brother of Hubie, has decided to write this for us… Johnny take it away). Okay, you’re 4-0. You’ve got a win over Notre Dame in South Bend under your belt. You just beat Illinois by a LOT of points. You’re team is hot, people are giving you praise. You’re Michigan State and feeling good about yourself. You’re playing your FEARIST rival in Michigan and at home and you’re favored for the first time since 1968. Its half time, and you’re down 24-21, but you tie it going into the 4th. Michigan goes down and scores. Then you catch a HUGE break to tie the game. This is your game to win. Go to 5-0 and ruin Michigan’s season. But you blow it. So how do you respond? You go 1-5 after the game and some how miss out on a bowl. It just wasn’t good.
Returning Starters – 6 on offense and 7 on defense
The Good – Drew Stanton is legit. They’re offense should be fun to watch and put up points. They don’t have to play the Badgers or Hawkeyes.
The Bad – This is Michigan State… they’re going to underachieve.
Heisman Hopeful? – Drew Stanton is that man. He probably won’t be going to New York though.
A Typical Saturday… - Rowdy fans who get a thumbs up from us here at VFLOAB for throwing beer bottles at Notre Dame fans after the ND/MSU game in 1998. That’s a true story. Oh yeah, and this looks like fun… not.
If They Were A Real World Season… - The Real World: Miami… trashy, rowdy, and not nearly as good as you think it’d be, Michigan State and RW: Miami are sort of like that. Just stay away if you can.
Bowling For… - The Alamo Bowl would be better than nothing.
Final Random Thoughts – While I like the green unis and stuff, Michigan State is year in and year out the most uninspiring and overrated team in the Big Ten, which is saying something since Michigan is in the Big Ten… Rule of thumb, if you’re coach goes by only the single letter of his middle name; he’s probably not a good coach… It is always fun to watch Michigan State find ways to lose games… This team should be better than whatever their final record is going to be… when does basketball season start?... I really have nothing too interesting to say about them besides that I hope the beat the crap out of Notre Dame.
Rose Bowl Chances – 75 to 1
Last Rose Bowl Trip – 1925 (Yes I realize Notre Dame isn’t technically in the Big Ten, but let’s face it, the Big Ten is waiting for ND to join the league. Who knows if it will ever happen, but that’s the deal. Plus ND plays four Big Ten teams this year. FOUR!)
What Happened Last Year – (9-2) After giving Ty Willingham an unjustified boot, they got their fourth choice coach in Charlie Weis. Domers were worried, but quicker than you can say Chicago Cubs, they were calling Charlie the Greatest Coach of All Time (while Lou Holtz watched in anger from the set of GameDay). An upset over Michigan in Ann Arbor really got the buzz going, but a tough loss to Michigan State brought them back down to Earth. After easy wins over bad Washington and Purdue teams the faithful began to think they could beat USC. And while they gave USC a run for their money, they came up *just* short. ND would go on to win five in a row over some pretty bad football teams to gain a BCS birth. Sent to Arizona to face Ohio State, the Buckeyes destroyed them to the tune of over 600 yards in the game (the 34-20 score makes the game seem sort of close).
Returning Starters – 7 on offense and 9 on defense
The Good – They’re going to put up points… Brady Quinn looks like the real deal and he’s got weapons at the receiver position… Darius Walker may be “patient, but slow” but you could do far worse in Div-IA football…almost all their tough games are at home…Their defense can’t be nearly as bad right?...even though he signed with the Cubs, Samardzija rocks because he is a Sox fan.
The Bad – They have a defense that won’t win championships… that secondary stinks and needs a true frosh to step up and play out of his mind… they’re schedule is much tougher this year… they’re going to struggle against teams with speed.
Heisman Hopeful? – Brady Quinn is the Heisman favorite as we speak (but we like Adrian Peterson at Okalahoma to win it)
A Typical Saturday… - As thousands of alums and wantabe alums from Chicago drive into South Bend, the student body gets pumped by watching “Rudy” and hitting on some of the worst looking co-eds. Eventually everyone makes their way to the stadium, talks about all the National Titles their fathers weren’t even alive for, 75,000 people sit on their hands while the 5,000 students and come up with lame (but they call them “clever!”) cheers and do push ups and random times. Oh, and there is this before hand (caution my fellow Caucasians, you will be embarrassed… watch at your own risk).
If They Were A Real World Season… - The Real World: New York… The first and the best according to “people who know these things” both are so important that you just don’t understand how lame you are for not being in New York or a Domer. Seriously. Why would you even live if you didn’t go to ND or live in NYC?
Bowling For… - The Title Game (whatever it’s called), but a BCS birth is much more likely. Watch them lose 49-35 in the Orange Bowl to Florida or something.
Final Random Thoughts – There are two people in life: those who love Notre Dame and those who hate Notre Dame… These tailgates really are lame… If you were to draw up a list of least intimidating student bodies, they’d rank some where in-between Princeton and University of Chicago… Domers, while usually great and well rounded people, at times are like the loud, fat, and obnoxious Americans that travels to Europe of the Catholic faith. It’s that bad… And then there is the brainwashing… Notre Dame is #1… Notre Dame is #1… I’d love to have a competition to find out who’s more conceded: Domers or Michigan alums…the Gratto is probably the most overrated thing in Indiana… Just join the Big Ten and get it over with.
Rose Bowl Chances – 250 to 1; Ummm, I think it’s impossible under the new system… but if there is only one BCS Big Ten team and they make the National Title game and USC doesn’t win the Pac-10 they’re might be a outside shot of ND playing in the Rose Bowl.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Last Rose Bowl Trip – 1997 (but they’ve won the Big Ten a few times since then)
What Happened Last Year – A early season loss to the Texas Longhorns in Columbus pretty much put any hopes for a national title to rest. They then lost to Penn State early in the Big Ten schedule. But then they got hot, winning six straight and beating pretty much everyone with some ease. A trip to the Fiesta Bowl was in order where they killed Notre Dame. Oh yeah, they beat Michigan, just another year in the life of the Buckeyes under Jim Tressel.
Returning Starters – 8 on Offense and only 2 on Defense
The Good – In terms of talent, this might be the most talented team in the nation… Tory Smith, Pittman, and Ted Ginn Jr. form probably the most potent attack in the nation… oh yeah, and they’ve got tons of depth at running back… They’ve got a very talented defense… A trip to Iowa is their toughest Big Ten game.
The Bad – Experience on defense… a trip down to Austin early in the year… high expectations could sink this team…if there is a Curse of Maurice Clarett, we’re going to learn about it this year.
Heisman Hopeful? – Hello Troy Smith! Ted Ginn Jr. may try and make a run.
A Typical Saturday… - Ohio State fans are pretty much insane. They’re the closest we’ve got to a SEC fan base in the Big Ten. Anyway, everyone goes to the Horseshoe, rocks out, and gets really crazy when they dot the I in Ohio…oh yeah and they love doing their O-H… I-O cheer… I gotta say this is funny in a Midwest way.
If They Were A Real World Season… - The Real World: Los Angeles… Probably the best Real World season when you cut to the chase, this was a well rounded and interesting season and the last one that was even remotely ‘normal’ (excluding
Bowling For… - Whatever they’re calling the National Title game. Anything less would be a bit of a disappointment for the Buckeyes.
Final Random Thoughts – This really is a stacked team and they’re going to be a lot of fun to watch… if they beat Texas they’re going to go into that Michigan game undefeated… then again that trip to Iowa isn’t going to be a cake walk… It’s weird, despite their success they aren’t hated like Michigan, don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a lot of love lost between Ohio State and most of the Big Ten, but the hate just ain’t the same… maybe it’s because Ohio State fans are more insane than snobs… I like their unis, but not enough to link ‘em… This teams has all the makings for a national title run it will be interesting to see if they can do it.
Rose Bowl Chances – 2 to 1; The only reason they don’t go to the Rose Bowl is because they’re in
Penn State Nittany Lions
Last Rose Bowl Trip – 1995, but they did win the Big Ten last year only the National Title Game kept them from playing in the Rose Bowl.
What Happened Last Year – Nearly everything that could go right went right. They had a studly defense combined with an offense that finally matured by throwing in a few freshman... they were 5-0 with Ohio State coming to State College. The victory announced that they were for real. If it wasn’t for a lucky, last second touchdown scored by Michigan a week later, Penn State would have run the table and made life hell for the BCS for the second straight year. No matter it was one of the most memorable seasons in Penn State history, and that’s saying something.
Returning Starters – 6 on offense and 5 on defense
The Good – They’ve got a lot of talent at the skill positions… Paul Posluszny is awesome and their linebackers might be the best in the country… last years feel good karma probably doesn’t have expectations too to high.
The Bad – Can that offensive line come together quickly?...They have to go to
Heisman Hopeful? – Paul Posluszny seems like the token defender that gets Heisman hype this year.
A Typical Saturday… - As Eastern and Western Pennsylvania flood into State College, they put aside their insane fandom for the Steelers or Eagles and cheer on JoePa and the Nittany Lions. Much beer is drank, tailgating occurs, and a good time is had by all… Don’t for get: WE ARE! PENN STATE!
If They Were A Real World Season… - Real World: Key West… The newest Real World and the newest kids on the block in the Big Ten., both have something to offer and show the ‘older’ guys, what and how much remains to be seen. But they’ve finally been fully accepted into the their respective clubs. [Weak I know]
Bowling For… - Anything other than a New Years day bowl would be a bit of a disappointment.
Final Random Thoughts – Yeah, yeah, they’ve got a new quarterback, but Anthony Morelli looks like he’s going to be fo’real… I like this team, I don’t think they can run with the Ohio State and Michigan’s of the world at the moment, but Penn State is back on the right track… their schedule really does them no favors this year, at least they miss Iowa, but ummm, only Minnesota has a tougher Big Ten schedule… Gosh their Unis are awesome, I love these things… I’ve finally come around to them being a Big Ten team, welcome Penn State, it’s good to have you on board.
Rose Bowl Chances – 20 to 1
Last Rose Bowl Trip - 2001
What Happened Last Year – Disaster. They were suppose to have a solid defense to go along with the always explosive Joe Tiller offense, instead everything when to s-h-i-t after a double overtime loss to the Gophers. The next week, Notre Dame came into West Lafayette and absolutely killed them. They ended up losing four more (six in a row) and their season was basically over. Though they did bounce back to win their last three and gave them something to build on over the spring.
Returning Starters – 7 on offense and 4 on defense
The Good – As always they should have a good offense and put points on the board… the defense can’t be any worse… and this year can’t go any worse than last year… they some how miss out on playing Ohio State and Michigan making a visit to Iowa their toughest game (or home against Penn State) in the Big Ten, you couldn’t ask for a better schedule…
The Bad - Too bad they don’t have enough talent to make something of that easy schedule… I’m not sold on Curtis Painter as of the moment… they never seem to have a very good defense… they’re Purdue.
Heisman Hopeful? – Curtis Painter… but he’s not a hopeful.
A Typical Saturday… - As someone once explained to me, “Purdue fans are like Luke Wilson’s (Frank Vitchard) News team in Anchorman.” Oh and fans have been known to wear t-shirts that read “Purdue’s Championship Season” which ended with a trip to the Alamo Bowl. I’m not making this up… that’s Purdue football BABY!
If They Were A Real World Season… - The Real World: San Diego… one of the most uneventful seasons looking back, but at the time it seemed like it was cool… but it wasn’t. Every year we hear about the ‘dark horse’ that is Purdue and every year they finish behind the Badgers (and Hawkeyes… and Buckeyes… and Wolverines…) and they usually end up playing in the Alamo Bowl. RW:SD was much the same, it seemed like a good season with it being in San Diego and a bunch of drunks, but ummm it wasn’t… and then there is that rape charge that we never heard about… whatever happened with that?
Bowling For… - Something… anything… they just want to go to a bowl!
Final Random Thoughts – Ugh, I’m sorry but I’m sick of Purdue and their offense… I do enjoy how the roomie calls Joe Tiller a ‘sausage maker, he looks like he makes sausages!’ which is pretty funny. Cus yeah, I imagine a sausage marker would look like this…
So yeah, that’s Purdue football… they score points and allow even more. And they’re in Indiana which is never good.
Rose Bowl Chances – 200 to 1
Last Rose Bowl Trip - 2000
What Happened Last Year - Barry Alvarez announced his retirement prior to the beginning of the season, Badger fans began to really worry. But a surprising win over Michigan got the Badgers to 4-0. A bad loss to Northwestern hurt, but the Badgers recovered to get to 8-1 and a trip to State College. Penn State handled the Badgers who turned around and lost to Iowa (again). But a surprising win over Auburn in the Capital One Bowl was a big positive for Wisconsin as it set off for life after Barry.
Returning Starters – 3 on offense and 8 on defense
The Good – They have a very solid defense and experience at the quarterback position… As always their offensive line should be great lead by All-American Joe Thomas… Bucky the Badger is beyond awesome… Madison… oh they always seem to have a stud running back in the pipeline… their schedule sets up really nicely to make a Rose Bowl run.
The Bad – There is no one to throw the ball to at the moment… the secondary might be a bit of a question… if John Stocco goes down, they’re in big trouble… New head coach Bret Bielema is more of a question mark than anything else at this point… odds are a red shirt freshman and true freshman are going to be their main options at running back, experience is a question.
Heisman Hopeful? – No one really stands out… Lance Smith who’s a freshman might have a shot a few years from now.
A Typical Saturday… - Wake up, start drinking various Miller products and eat at least three brats. Make your way over to Camp Randall Stadium where you’ll do various versions of the wave while cheering on the Badgers. Then at the end of the 3rd quarter, they play “Jump Around” and the entire place starts, well, jumping (2:47 mark if you wanta watch it)… after the game much more drinking and brat eatting occurs… pass out and wake up to watch the Packers and Brett throw interceptions (drinking and brat eating begins all over again).
If They Were A Real World Season… - The Real World: Austin… Easily one of the most bizarre and insane Real World seasons, it also gave us enough ‘memories’ to last a while (hell Danny was punched out on the first episode, things only got crazier). Like Austin, Madison is a college town with a state capital and great university, and it parties hard. And like this Real World season, Wisconsin has it moments, the Badgers aren’t at the level of a Ohio State or Michigan, but they aren’t as far behind as one might think. One slip up from the top tier Big Ten teams and Wisconsin is waiting to take advantage.
Bowling For… - Talent wise this is a New Years Day bowl team at best, but the schedule sets up that they could finish second in the Big Ten and get to go to the Rose Bowl because Ohio State is going to be playing for the National Title.
Final Random Thoughts – This might be the most balanced team in the Big Ten, never outstanding, but solid everywhere… When you say
Rose Bowl Chances – 15 to 1