First and Big Ten

Game Previews Archives

Debating The Big Ten Title: Ohio State and Iowa Collide... Blogger Style

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Kristofer Green

With the Big Ten game of the year right around the corner, two die hard fans got together to debate the merits of their two teams.

Bret Feddern, a self-admitted Hawkeye Nerd on IowaHawkeyes.net and Bleacher Report Iowa Featured Columnist, will argue for the Hawkeyes. Following Bret's tweets during an Iowa game is fun... give it a shot.

I will be arguing for the Buckeyes (as if they need the help.)

The Hawkeyes and Buckeyes take the field on Saturday and the winner will be off to the Rose Bowl.

We can't match that drama here, but we'll give it a shot.

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Penn State Secondary Will Get First True Test with Minnesota's Decker

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Kevin Paul

Entering the 2009 season, one of the biggest question marks for Penn State was the team's secondary, which entering the season lost significant experience from the 2008 roster, with players such as Anthony Scirrotto, Tony Davis and Lydell Sargeant all moving on.

Left was a talented, yet inexperienced bunch, featuring only a handful of returning starts, all from two players in senior A.J. Wallace and sophomore free safety Drew Astorino.

Midway through the season, this group of Lions has held its own, but it goes without saying that the Penn State secondary has barely been tested to date.

Until this weekend, that is, when a more consistent Minnesota offense comes to town, led by the Big Ten's receiving leader Eric Decker (46 receptions for 689 yards and 5 TD's).

Ignore the fact that Minnesota is ranked 75th in passing (205.2 yds/game) and Penn State is 25th in pass defense.  These numbers don't reflect the truth.
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Big Ten Previews and Predictions (Week Six): Buckeyes and Hawkeyes on Upset Alert?

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Kristofer Green

Big Ten conference play continued last week offering a slew of exciting match-ups.

The Spartans won bragging rights over in-state rival Michigan for the second consecutive year, Minnesota battled to the end but failed to take Paul Bunyan's Axe from Wisconsin for the sixth consecutive year, Northwestern spotted Purdue 18 points who then gave the game away for their fourth consecutive loss, and Ohio State extended its conference road game win streak to 16 while beating the Hoosiers for the 15th consecutive time.

I went 5-1 for the week. I did predict the Spartans would upset the Wolverines in the annual slugfest for state bragging rights, but underestimated the mighty Badgers who took it to rival Minnesota (in a game that wasn't as close as the score might indicate) to keep Paul Bunyan's Axe in Madison for the sixth straight year.

Big Ten conference play continues this week with most teams facing conference foes.

Two key games to the conference title race take place this week. Wisconsin will travel to Columbus to battle the Buckeyes and Michigan goes on the road again to take on Iowa.

In other conference action, Purdue visits "The Bank" to take on the angry Gophers and Michigan State will try to extend its win streak to two against the hapless Illini who have benched star quarterback Juice Williams.

As for the Nittany Lions, Wildcats, and Hoosiers... Penn State will once again feast on a cupcake when they welcome former Iowa quarterback Jake Christensen and Eastern Illinois to Happy Valley, Northwestern is at home against the winless Miami Redhawks, and Indiana goes on the road to face the Cavaliers of Virginia.

On to this weeks previews and picks...
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Big Ten Previews and Predictions: Week Five

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Kristofer Green

The Big Ten began conference play last week. Iowa got a huge win in State College, the Buckeyes got their second consecutive shut-out against a supposed high powered offense, Wisconsin looked solid in victory, and Michigan outpaced the Hoosiers in a shoot-out in the Big House.

I went 3-3 for the week. I did predict the Hawkeyes would "upset" the Nittany Lions, but missed on Northwestern, who forgot how to tackle in a loss to Minnesota, Michigan State's continuing fall and loss to Wisconsin, and the Boilermakers defeat in the final seconds to Notre Dame.

Big Ten conference play continues this week with every team but Iowa facing conference foes.

Two very big rivalry games take place this week in conference action. Wisconsin will travel to Minneapolis to battle the Gophers for Paul Bunyan's Axe and the annual contest for bragging rights in the state of Michigan takes place in East Lansing this season.

In other conference action, Purdue begins league play when Northwestern travels to West Lafayette and Indiana will try to break a 14-game losing streak to Ohio State when the Buckeyes and Hoosiers meet under the lights for the firs conference game in newly renovated Memorial Stadium.

As for the Hawkeyes... they play host to Arkansas State, a team from the Sun Belt conference. Sort of a let-down from the hype that surrounded Iowa in the days leading up to last weeks media circus.

On to this weeks previews and picks...
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Big Ten Previews and Predictions: Week Four

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Kristofer Green

Last week, the Big Ten posted a 7-3 record including a marquee win for Iowa, who knocked off former Hawkeye Mike Stoops and the Arizona Wildcats.

I did slightly better picking, going 8-2 missing the Northwestern's gut wrenching loss to Syracuse and Michigan State's heartbreaking defeat to the Irish.

Big Ten conference play begins this week with every team but Purdue facing conference foes.

Illinois will try to make it eight wins in 11 tries at Ohio Stadium, Iowa is looking for their seventh win in eight tries against the Nittany Lions, Michigan will try to continue their early season success against an ever improving Indiana squad, a desperate Michigan State visits Wisconsin for a must win and Minnesota will travel to Evanston to take on the Wildcats with revenge in mind.

As for the Boilermakers... they play host to Notre Dame in primetime under the lights at Ross-Ade Stadium. FBT's own Tim Cary will be in West Lafayette to document the "Blackout" madness from the press box.

On to this week's previews and picks...
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Big Ten Previews and Predictions: Week 3

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Kristofer Green

Last week, the Big Ten posted a 8-3 record including a marquee win for then unranked Michigan, who knocked off No. 18 Notre Dame in thrilling fashion in the Big House.

I did slightly worse picking, going 7-4 missing the Buckeyes heartbreaking loss to USC,  Michigan State's meltdown against Central Michigan, Minnesota's come from behind victory over Air Force, and Indiana's win over Western Michigan.

This week the Big Ten once again has a few marquee games on tap. Minnesota will host No. 8 Cal, the Spartans travel to South Bend to take on the Irish and Iowa will host Pac-10 foe Arizona for a "Black-Out" at Kinnick.

On to this weeks previews and picks...

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Week Two Game Previews: Part Two, The Marquee Match-ups

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Kristofer Green

The Big Ten faces the Pac-10, Big XII, WAC, Big East and Notre Dame this weekend. All are chances for the conference to gain a bit of national respect back.

Can they get it done?

As promised, the best has been saved for last. So without further ado...

Week Two Game Previews: Part Two, The Marquee Match-ups


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Week Two Game Previews: Part One, The Clunkers

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Kristofer Green

Week two features some exciting match-ups, as well as what should be some real clunkers.

Big Ten teams will face three directional MAC schools from the state of Michigan, a scrappy team from the WAC, and an FCS team that is getting a giant paycheck for the opportunity to be beaten.

Fun stuff, right?

We here at FBT will always save the best for last, therefore and without further ado...

Week Two Previews and Predictions: Part One, The Clunkers
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Ten by Ten: Can You Top Our Trio?

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Kevin Paul

College football is here and if you haven't heard already, the boys at First and Big Ten are celebrating by having a little contest on Big Ten football.

It's not too late to play - deadline for the first week is Saturday at 7am.  But since the season starts tonight with Indiana taking the field against Eastern Kentucky, we are going to post our picks now.

Here's a recap of the 10 questions for Week 1, plus our predictions:

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Rodriguez's Hell Week Could Continue with Broncos

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Kevin Paul

Quite a week long stretch for Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez , isn't it?

Just in case you're living in a bubble, let's recap some of Rich Rod's recent adventures...


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A Six-Pack of Trap Games Facing Big Ten Teams in 2009

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Kevin Paul

Coaches preach to the high heavens that a team never, ever looks ahead to a big game, but instead focuses on the current opponent.

Right, and Brutus the Buckeye has a tiny head.

For every hyped up "game of the year" such as Trojans vs. Buckeyes or Ohio State and Penn State, there's a trap game lying in the weeds, ready to up and pounce on the college football world, sending shock waves far and wide.  Take the following six-pack of examples, which could serve as trap games in the Big Ten for 2009...
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Yes, Ohio State Can Beat USC

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Kevin Paul

One of the most hyped up games of the upcoming college football season is now just less than a month away.

Yes, football fans, grab those foam fingers, wash that jersey, and fill that fridge with cold ones, because Ohio State and USC are meeting at "The 'Shoe" on September 12th.

While many prognosticators see the Trojans rolling through Columbus with reckless abandon, this writer sees it a little differently - and there are a few reasons why Ohio State knocking off the Trojans isn't such a far-fetched idea...

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Five Big Ten Games No Real Fan Will Miss

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Kristofer Green

The 2009 Big Ten season looks to be at least as competitive as last season's down to the wire finish.

Ohio State and Penn State appear to be the top dogs in the conference again this season. Iowa, Michigan State, Illinois, and Minnesota could challenge and Northwestern, Michigan, and Wisconsin could be major obstacles.

Most Big Ten teams have scheduled a major test in non-conference play. Notable matchups include: Illinois vs. Missouri (at St. Louis), Notre Dame at Michigan, USC at Ohio State, Purdue at Oregon, Cal at Minnesota, Arizona at Iowa, Michigan State at Notre Dame, Indiana at Virginia, and Cincinnati at Illinois.

But the real excitement begins with conference play and the chase for the championship. There will be many interesting, important, and pivotal games this season, but here are five you just can't miss.

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