Post Spring Game Shuffle: Quarterback and Running Backs

As we all inch closer toward the Regular Season, all the excitement and buzz surrounds the annual Scarlet Vs. Gray Spring Game.  This is normally the time of the year where the entire roster receives a chance to “control their destiny”.  This is the time for the relative unknowns to display their talent to a raucous crowd within the confines of The Shoe.  It is a time for the young Buckeyes to show their coaches what they can bring to the table, whether it is as a starter, part-time starter or a rotation player, the time is now for them to put on a show for all to enjoy.  Whether you are a die-hard Buckeye fan or a fan of another team, this will be a spectacle to enjoy and see.  The future should be as bright as the sun and for the non-Buckeye fans, prepare to get scorched and pan-seared because this years team, albeit young and replacing a bevy of starters, should be their normally dangerous selves by the time the fall rolls around.  Here is an in-depth look at our future Buckeye Football Team.

The Return of J.T. Barrett:

It has been a poorly kept secret, but…  Although we had endured through a mass exodus at the Quarterback position, we still managed to retain one of the previous “Big Three”.  That is a huge plus as the Buckeyes look to move forward with the heir apparent to the Buckeyes’ Quarterback Throne.  J.T. Barrett or better known as Just Touchdowns Barrett chose to stay for at least one more season to lead the Buckeyes this fall through the grueling 2017 College Football Schedule, with road games at Oklahoma, at Wisconsin, at Penn State, at Maryland and at Michigan State.  His experience on the road and as a starter would help ease the transition with this years offensive line, skill players and playmakers.

Barrett possesses big game experience and that is a major plus for the team.  Barrett’s poise under pressure and familiarization with the offensive scheme will be the determining factor.  After getting the starting nod from Coach Meyer after week 8 due to the sloppy play from former starter Cardale Jones.  Let’s just say that the offense started humming and thoroughly destroyed the hapless Rutgers team at Piscataway.  The team responded and huddled around J.T. Barrett and delivered their most resounding and prettiest win in recent memory.  I expect this years offense to do the same, although it may take some time to adjust to the new personnel.

Barrett had somewhat of a hard time this spring with all of the more experienced players on the mend due to injuries suffered last season.  Noah Brown (Broken Leg), Corey Brown (Broken Leg) and Curtis Samuel (Broken Foot) all chose to rest their bodies this time around, but don’t think that they won’t be huge factors for the Buckeyes this fall.  They will be leaned on heavily for their experience during key moments and stretches of the season.  Barrett finished the spring game 13 of 22 for no touchdowns and two interceptions.  No need to push that worry button through, this is by no means any indication of what is in store for us this fall.  He will revert back to the form and player that we all know and love.

Battle for #2:

Joey Burrow and Stephen Collier have been dueling for the designation as the backup quarterback at Ohio State.  The spring game was used as a platform to audition for that role on the team.  Burrow had the slight edge over Collier throughout the spring workouts and scrimmages.  Now after the spring game, he extended his lead and he might have secured the starting role.  Burrow led the Scarlett team over Barrett and Collier’s Grey team to a 28-17 victory.  Burrow finished 14 of 23 for 196 yards and 3 touchdowns and a single interception to a leaping Jerome Baker.  Burrow showed the poise and precision and even touch on his throws and Coach Meyer and company couldn’t be any happier.  Collier finished 4 of 9 for 154 yards and an interception.  Although the numbers were decent for Collier, it wasn’t as productive as Burrows day and for that Burrow secured the backup spot, for now.  We all know that the Buckeyes are deep at just about every position and with the pending arrival of Dwayne Haskins, you can never count any Buckeye out.  An opportunity will arise and whoever is in line will take full advantage of the opportunity.

Conclusion:

So to conclude, the future at Quarterback is in good hands and is very bright.  Once J.T. Barrett moves on, Burrow and Collier will surely step up and keep the tradition going.  With Haskins from the 2016 Class and Clark from 2017 and potentially other Quarterback targets such as current Texas A & M commit Tate Martell (Arizona) and current Baylor commit Kellen Mond (Florida) constantly coming up inside of recruiting circles close to the Buckeyes, I think we will be set and that we are in good hands for years to come.

Saying Goodbye to a Legend:

After the stunning loss to Michigan State last season, Ezekiel Elliot let the coaching staff and the world that he wanted more carries to lead his team to victory.  That did not happen and after the game he stated that there was no way that he would be coming back for another season in the Scarlet and Gray.  Although disappointing, I feel that everything happens for a reason and Elliot got what he wanted and consistently ran down opposing defenses throats to cap his final season off as a Buckeye.  Although he would be sorely missed, I feel that the current crop of Running Backs at Ohio State have the talent to carry the tradition of the bruising Running Back.  Let’s look over the many options that the Buckeyes hope to unleash this season.

Baby ‘Los Running Wild:

Saying goodbye to Zeke was tough, but what better way to replace a legend with a Running Back who has the same body type and play style like another former Buckeye great, Carlos Hyde.  Baby ‘Los or Mike Weber is better known for nearly flipping to TTUN in what was simply a misunderstanding between both parties as a former coach bolted for the NFL.  That is done and over with and now we have this young and hungry Running Back who shined during the spring game.  Weber finished with 38 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns inside of the red zone.  He was quick, ran with determination and he ran with the power that we had grown accustomed to with Carlos Hyde.  He currently is in a battle for the starting gig with upperclassman and our next player.

Five Star Redemption:

The stress of being a highly touted recruit, a Five Star Recruit as a matter of fact can be very difficult.  Brionte’ Dunn was a player similar to previous players like Curtis Grant who never could live up to the hype.  That is not by any means a slight to Dunn.  He was slotted to be the lead back after Warren Ball transferred out.  Dunn can be a solid back as previously seen during mop-up duty.  He runs with authority, runs with power and is determined to reach pay dirt.  The problem?  He played behind Running Backs like Daniel “Boom” Herron, Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliot.  That is some tough sledding for a player who was so highly regarded in high school, but he stayed because he bought in and he will most like be in the rotation throughout the year.  Whether it’s on spot duty or when games are out of hand look for him to follow the same path as fellow Five Star Curtis Grant.  Although he suffered an injury to his ankle during spring practice, he was unable to suit up for the spring game.  Regardless if he played or not, I feel that he will earn some snaps and opportunities.

Early Enrollee Turning Heads:

Being able to participate in the spring game not only gives you a head up on the competition, it gives you a chance to learn the playbook and earn a few snaps.  It also gives you valuable face time with your peers and your coaches.  Antonio Williams flipped his Wisconsin commitment and signed on with the Buckeyes late into the 2016 recruiting cycle.  I couldn’t find any stats but I don’t think he did too bad.  He is a true freshman and it will come with time.  But in the classroom he is doing it the way it is supposed to be. Although he didn’t burst into the scene, he has made a positive impression on the coaching staff.  I think Williams will earn some snaps sporadically throughout the season.  He just has to be patient and trust the coaches and the process.

Conclusion:

I think Weber will earn the starting nod.  He showed that he is game ready and capable.  Dunn will be the second Running Back and Williams will work until he earns the playing time he craves.  It is no slight to the player.  I wish there were enough carries to go around but none of these Running Backs will back down.

1st Round of the NFL 2016 Draft: Buckeye Bonanza

With the recent success with Coach Urban Meyer and his fine coaching staff on the College Gridiron, you almost would be foolish to claim that the Ohio State Buckeyes are one of the more highly regarded College Football Programs in the nation.   Without a shadow of a doubt, the Buckeyes have lived up to the tradition and the expectation of excellence and success that many college programs aspire or strive to be.  Coach Meyer, the program building architect and his band of excellent coaches have amassed an astounding 50-4 record during their tenure within the Buckeye program.  They have effectively restored Ohio State to the powerhouse that the nation and solidifies their place among the other top programs in the nation.  With consistent success with recruiting the Buckeyes stay competitive and stay loaded with talent year in and year out, without any drop-off in talent or production.  This is only the start of what could be an annual occurrence.

Class of 2013:

The Buckeyes recruiting class of 2013 was by far Coach Meyer’s best and most productive class to date. From top to bottom, the 2013 class became the defining class to Coach Meyer’s legacy, to his legacy as a coach for the Scarlet and Gray.  With key players and playmakers moving on in this years draft, they all share memories together and an unbreakable bond with each other.  They have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  They won Big Ten titles together and the Inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship and most recently the Fiesta Bowl against a competitive Notre Dame squad.

Joey Bosa:

The Buckeyes first round dominance was started by the San Diego Chargers and Buckeye Defensive End Joey Bosa at #3 Overall.  Many draft pundits were predicting a steep fall down the mid to lower part of the first round, but as we all know, the draft can be filled with twists and turns and pleasant surprises.  And this definitely qualifies as a surprise.  No one expected the Chargers to pull the trigger on Bosa due to the needs on the Offensive Line, but there was his moment and he would be the first Buckeye taken in the first round.  Bosa brings a relentless motor and pass rushing ability as well as the knack for blowing up plays and disrupting timing and wreaking havoc in the backfield.  Definitely not a huge need, but it can’t hurt to bring pressure to the opposing Quarterbacks of the AFC West.

Ezekiel Elliot:

At #4 overall, Zeke was removed from the Big Board after Bosa was taken a pick prior.  Wow!  This was a headscratcher from a needs standpoint.  The Dallas defense was in need of an impact player and they passed on Jalen Ramsey of Florida State.  The Cowboys signed Alfred Morris to a contract during free agency and the Cowboys still have Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar on deck and many fans were left scratching their heads collectively.  There is no doubt that Elliot would be the best out of the bunch and it isn’t even close.  Sure Morris has the edge on experience, but I feel that Elliot is far more superior in all aspects of the game.  He can run it down defenses throats, he has the speed to pull away in the open field, he can shimmy through the smallest of holes and he can block.  He is the full package and he will become an integral part of the Cowboys offense to lessen the burden on Tony Romo.  Behind the wall of humanity that he will soon call his Offensive Line, he is a can’t miss prospect because he will be running behind something similar to what he had at Ohio State.  The sky is the limit with his potential.

Eli Apple:

At #10, to the New York Giants, Eli Apple will be locking down Wideouts within his division and will see former teammate, Ezekiel Elliot twice a year for the duration of their rookie contracts.  It sounds enticing and I am looking forward to the matchup when it comes around.  Apple was one half of the Defensive Back Alcatraz, starting alongside Gareon Conley.  Never shying away from contact, Apple with wreak havoc and have an opportunity to shut down opposing Wideouts for the next couple of years.  Apple can mirror the opposing Wideout, preventing him from breaking away and more times than not, he wins that battle.  In the NFC East, a division that has Dez Bryant, Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, he will be sorely needed to make stops early and often.  I feel that he will fit perfectly into the system alongside DRC and newly signed DB Janoris Jenkins, Apple would be tasked to play the slot man, if he was needed to play right away. Regardless, with time being available he will blossom into a starter as he gets more experience in the NFL.

Taylor Decker:

The Detroit Lions took Decker #16 Overall in the First Round.  The Lions will most likely plug him in as a starter with the lack of depth at that position.  Decker can play both the pass and the run which makes him valuable.  He is not only durable, he is also dependable and he never gives up easily.  The Ohio State offense would occasionally lean on him and depend on him to protect the Quarterbacks blindside and he succeeded more often than he had failed.  The former Buckeye Team Captain shows the grit and the determination to finish blocks and although he doesn’t have the nasty streak that most people would like to see, he gets the job done.  He will lift and reshape an Offensive Line that has struggled for years.  Although, he will be playing up north, he will pave the way for Abdullah and company for years and years.

Darron Lee:

With the #20 Overall Pick, the New York Jets took a chance on Lee, a former High School Quarterback and “skinny, pencil necked” Athlete.  Ohio State develops players, whether you are highly sought after or an afterthought in recruiting circles.  It panned out for Lee and the Buckeyes.  The Silver Bullet or the Defensive Missile usually wreaked havoc to opposing offenses throughout his Buckeye career.  It will translate easily for Lee in the NFL.  He will be called upon to make plays when his teammates are being doubled my offensive lines.  With David Harris as the Defensive Quarterback and with Revis Island on one side and a bevy of defensive behemoths throughout the Defensive Line.  I think that it is safe to say that Lee has the most ideal scenario to become the most productive out of the five Buckeyes that have been drafted.

So with Round One in the books, I can see a similar outcome during day two of the NFL Draft.  With many Buckeye playmakers still waiting to hear their names called, I feel that this would only solidify the Buckeyes both in the College ranks, with recruiting and in the NFL by having so many former players drafted in the draft.  It is a perfect storm with exposure and it will only help strengthen the Buckeyes case for years and years.  This is always the case with Coach Meyer.  You lose the players that you would like to keep, but there are always players that have stayed the path and patiently awaited for their time to shine. They will not waste their opportunity to fill the vacant spaces as they hope to follow the path of the 2103 Buckeyes class.  Rounds Two and Three will be an interesting one and more Buckeyes are going to hear their names tonight.  Go Bucks!!!

Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast Bosa Is Not Top 8 Draft Pick

This week Ryan Rosko an editor for factoryofsadness.co joins us to discuss the Ohio State
Buckeyes in the draft along with the Cleveland Browns.

We discuss that Ryan doesn’t feel Joey Bosa is a Top 8 draft
pick. The reasons why the Cleveland Browns need to stay away from
Cardale Jones. Can the Buckeyes get 6 players drafted in the first
round of the NFL Draft to tie Miami who set the record in
2004. There was also talk about Eli Apple to the Steelers.

Chip gave us his wish list of the Browns picking Michael Thomas
and Nick Vannett along with giving Chase Farris a shot. Shannon
gives his dream scenario of the Browns drafting Joey Bosa, Michael
Thomas and Cardale Jones. Ryan wishes the Browns don’t trade out of
the 8th spot and taking Ezekiel Elliott.

Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast Clair Crawford Tells Us Her Spring Game Experiences

Clair Crawford joins us to help dissect the Ohio State Spring Game. We discuss the players that stood out to us along with if there should be any worry about J.T. Barrett.

What all did we learn if anything from the Scarlet and Gray game. We also dove into the record size crowd of 100,189 and some of the festivities. 

I included the Urban Meyer Spring Game press conference for our fans to enjoy.

We want to thank Clair for joining us and please give her a follow on twitter at @buckeyeclair and don’t forget to listen to her and Joe Dexter on Script Ohio on buckeyesportsradio it really is a great show and Clair and Joe really knock it’s out of the park every Monday through Friday.

Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast with Stanley Jackson

Chip Minnich and I had the privilege of getting with Big Ten Network analyst and former Buckeye quarterback Stanley Jackson to talk some Buckeye football. We discussed the upcoming Spring Game, NCAA ban on satellite camps, Cardale Jones ripping the NCAA.

We played a tribute for former Buckeye and New Orleans Saint great Will Smith. Tyler Bishop (@tyler123B1) put together a great youtube video honoring the former defensive lineman that was tragically taken away recently. Stanley gave us his thoughts on the tragedy as well.

It was great discussing with Stanley what the Buckeyes key areas to watch are, what its like as a player to get ready for the Spring Game, we also kind of talked about who at this time (which is early) might be a front-runner for the Big Ten.

You can follow Stanley Jackson on twitter @jacksonville8. We want to thank him again for taking the time out and joining us. We also want to thank our listeners.


Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast Spring Ball

Spring is in the air and Ohio State football is back, well sort of. Being cooped up for months in a mild winter we finally get to start talking about our favorite football team.

I get with my co-host Chip Minnich and our special guest Chuck Strawn of thebuckeyebattlecry.com fame to discuss Buckeye football.

We discuss the Harbaugh khaki pants in a bunch issue that recently happened along with the who and the what we are looking forward to for the upcoming Spring Game. Six practices in and we finally get to discuss what we feel will be the group or groups to keep an eye on for Spring Game. We also discuss our picks for possible impact true freshman for the upcoming season. 

As always its a fun time to get to talk Buckeye football with Chip and throw a little Chuck in there and major knowledge dropped with lots of humor.


Ohio Stadium Upgrades Announced

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The House that Harley built will be turning 94 years young this year. Built in 1922 the Horseshoe was widely criticized for having 66,000 seats (thought it would never be filled up). Thankfully for Buckeye Nation the leaders went ahead with the $1.3 million project. The most unique and recognized facility in all of sports will be undergoing another upgrade.

Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith announced a $42 million project improving C and B-Decks. The C-deck needs the concrete restored and re-coated. The B-deck will have improved lighting, larger televisions and an improved sound system with better scoreboards, this will improve the experience of fans that have any obstructed views. The power distribution system will also be upgraded. Last but not least there will be added lodges and suites wich will remove 2,600 seats.

This upgrading project is proposed to run from 2017-2020. The proposed plan is subject to approval by the university Board of Trustees.


“We are committed to providing our fans, players and coaches with one of the best facilities in the nation,” said Smith. “We knew we had to get some of this done in order to avoid future degradation of the cement on C-deck. At the same time, we have fans requesting upgraded seating options. We see this as a great opportunity to accomplish both projects. It’s an important investment in the stadium that is beloved by so many.”

2017 Prospect Amir Riep – Interview

I recently had the chance to speak to four-star cornerback Amir Riep from Colerain HS out of Cincinnati, Ohio about his recruitment and where things currently stand.

Q: How does it feel to have exploded onto the scene lately with all of these big time offers?

Amir: It feels good to finally get the respect (offers) for the hard work I have been putting in.  Finally feels like it’s paying off.

Q: What are you looking for in a school?  Does closeness to home matter, or is it all about comfort and relationships?

Amir: Probably more comfort and relationships.  Distance is no problem.  Strength and conditioning coach plays a part and position coach will also.  They still need to coach me up so I can become the best athlete possible.

Q: Do you have a top 5 schools currently?  Do you have a decision date in mind?

Amir: No top 5 right now, just looking into all the interest at this time.  Decision will be made before the football season I think. That will give enough schools to show interest and give me time to look into them.

Q: Are you looking to enroll early when you pick a school or just normal enrollment in the summer?

Amir: I Will be enrolling early wherever I decide to attend and want to get it over with for me and the team so we can concentrate on state.

Q: Did you have a dream school growing up? Does living in Ohio bring any added pressure to attend Ohio State or Cincinnati?

Amir: I’m from Ohio so Ohio State has always been a school I cheered for along with Cincinnati.  Some pressure because they try to criticize Ohio State for not offering athletes in state, but sometimes when they do they leave, so pressure on that end.

Q: What coach is your main recruiter?

Amir: Coach Kerry Coombs

Q: Once you make a commitment will you still be visiting other schools or will your recruitment be shut down?

Amir: Once I commit, the recruitment is over and it will be all about that university and the program.  That is why I am taking my time now.

Q: Is there a pro or college athlete that you try and shape your game around?

Amir: Patrick Peterson

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of football?

Amir: Spending time with family and friends.

 

I want to thank Amir Riep for the interview and wish him the best in his recruitment going forward.  Give him a follow @Riep_Amir on Twitter.

Early 2016 Big Ten Predicitons

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We can finally take a small break from talking about recruiting since most schools had their commits signing their letters of intent yesterday and faxing them in. Michigan held a party for coming in second in Big Ten recruiting while everyone else was just “business as usual.” Ric Flair told everyone how he hates Ohio State and Michigan State. It’s okay, Ric, I would hate the teams my favorite team can’t beat either.

Speaking of beating teams, let’s look into the MotSaG crystal ball and look ahead to this fall with early predictions on how it very will fall out. Buckeyes are the odds-on favorite to win the Big Ten and here are my reasons why:

East Conference

Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio StateThe Ohio State Buckeyes fell short of their goals for the 2015 campaign. The reasons will be debated for generations but bottom line everyone as a team fell short. The Buckeyes will start this summer without a bunch of key pieces from one of the best senior classes in the history of college football (50-4) and nine underclassmen bolting for the NFL. There are also some coaching changes, like co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash going to Rutgers as their new head coach. Greg Schiano was brought on to replace him, Greg Studrawa taking over the offensive line coaching duties so co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner can be up in the box. (A place he proved the last two games last season he needs to be.)

Offensively, the Buckeyes will only have two starters on the offensive line but have studs waiting in the wings. The offense lost RB Ezekiel Elliott, WR Michael Thomas, and Jalin Marshall to the riches of the NFL. J.T. Barrett will be under center and the final two games of the season showed that he will probably be back to the 2014 Heisman candidate numbers he had. Wide receivers Noah Brown and Corey Smith bring experience with them for Barrett. The question is will Curtis Samuel be the every down back or Mike Weber.

Defensively, the Scarlet and Gray take huge hits with the losses of DE Joey Bosa, CB Eli Apple, S Tyvis Powel and Vonn Bell, linebacker duo of Darron Lee and Joshua Perry (graduated). Let us not forget the coaching change. The key for Buckeyes besides players like LB Raekwon McMillan and CB Gareon Conley is they don’t reload they rebuild. Head coach Urban Meyer will have this team focused on the biggest of prizes again. Coming in with another Top 5 recruiting class.

Michigan Wolverines

michiganFolks in Ann Arbor are riding a high after failing to unseat the Buckeyes again. They signed 29 players to help bring some talent to the team falling short of even beating Ohio State on National Signing Day. The Michigan Wolverines are lead by a coach more know for his antics and pants than wins in big games. He has two Pioneer conference championships, a NFC Championship ring, along with an Orange and Citrus Bowl. Shows that with the his bowl wins I’m biased and sour on the fact folks think he’s better than a man who has three national championships, three Power 5 conference championships (does not include division titles) and a 9-2 bowl record.

Jim Harbaugh did do something right and a big thing with hiring Don Brown away from Boston College. The Eagles had one of the top defenses in the nation last season. The Wolverines have been know for their defense and this will strike fear in opposing offensive coordinators throughout the league. The main issue for them last season was injuries and running out of gas. With more talent on the way this defense will be the most feared after this next season assuming Harbaugh stays, but they are at least one more season away from being the “it” team like Ohio State or Michigan State.

Offensively the main question will be who is going to be the signal caller. The offensive line still needs an upgrade but the future looks bright. Harbaugh is patterning his style after Bo Schembechler another coach with zero national championships worshiped in Ann Arbor with a strong run game and former Buckeye commit Kareem Walker is hoping to see the field early.

Michigan State Spartans

msuMark Dantonio is going to have his Michigan State Spartans competing for another Big Ten Championship. You don’t have three consecutive years of finishing in the Top 5 to Top 10 of the nation and not continue to. Sparty had a great 2015 its only loss to Nebraska. They enjoyed their first trip to the playoffs, however, with an embarrassing loss to Alabama.

The Spartans will be taking a big loss with quarterback Connor Cook graduating along with the offensive line taking some hits. Who takes over for Cook? Tyler O’Connor and Damion Terry both will be competing and they both played against Ohio State in 2015 coming away with a win.

Their secondary and linebacker corp should be improved barring injuries that seem to have plagued them last year. Their defensive line has to replace three big pieces for the 2016 season. The Spartans are never a slouch on defense (unless they play on New Years Eve apparently) so next season will be interesting. Buckeyes visit East Lansing with the road team seeming to be the victorious one.

Penn State Nittany Lions

penn stateJames Franklin landed himself on the hot seat withPenn State fans and alum. 2016 looks like a rebuilding year from the outside. The offensive line has been offensive, they have to replace their quarterback with Sackenburg running to NFL for protection. Franklin lost his defensive coordinator to the SEC but have promoted from within so they know the system and players. PSU defense has been a top defense also but the problems on offense have been to big to ignore. They will be bringing in a better recruiting class by the current numbers than Sparty but Dantonio is a better coach than Franklin.

Indiana Hoosiers

indiana 2

The Indiana Hoosiers have signed Kevin Jones to a contract extension. They have some key pieces coming back offensively but that isn’t their biggest issue. Indiana can’t stop anyone on offense and until Jones learns how to it can be another six years of the same thing: wash, rinse and repeat.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

rutgers

Sure the Rutgers Scarlet Knights made a great hire in Chris Ash. There are too many problems to fix for this rabid fan base. Their time isn’t now, but hopefully Ash will build this team into something that Rutgers fans can be in their seats before the kickoff so they can get rid of that got aweful train whistle and stay for the whole game. “Shoot the cannon”

Maryland Terripeans

maryland

The Maryland Terripeans themselves made a great hire convincing D.J. Durkin to run the program. Having some Big Ten experience and having worked with Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh should be great for their future. The thing is their future isn’t this upcoming season, there was a reason the previous head coach was let go.

East

Iowa Hawkeyes

iowa

The Iowa Hawkeyes are the Jekyll and Hyde of the Big Ten. Last season picked to win the conference by many fell way short. This season they surprised everyone by playing how they were suppose to. They have a lot of key pieces coming back offensively that is if they are found wandering around the Rose Bowl and returned home. Quarteback C.J. Beathard will be back to lead the Hawkeyes with corner Desmond King who looks like he can be one of the best in the nation.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

nebraska

What a crazy season for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. What started the season with wild crazy losses watched them turn around and finish 3-1 in the last month of the season. It appears the players are buying into Mike Riley’s system. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong is a huge piece coming back to Lincoln. They lose their top fullback and two offensive lineman. They will be a formidable foe but they need to figure out how to play defense. The land of the Black Shirts surely has proven they are far from that. Nebraska figures out how to stop opponents from scoring they can become dangerous.

Wisconsin Badgers

wisconsin

The Wisconsin Badgers have been know for big lineman and running the ball down your throat. Since they were destroyed 59-0 in the 2014 Big Ten championship game they lost a head coach, along with their way, it appears. The irony is they hired Paul Chryst who is extremely experienced with the way the program is suppose to run. Yes, injuries played a role, but years past there have been more than one running back to scare an opponent. Quarterback Joel Stave is finally gone so who replaces him? If Stave was your first and best choice, how good is the next one on the list? The loss of the defensive soul with Michael Caputo graduating is a major one to overcome. Can they recover in Madison having to play possibly the toughest schedule in the conference.

Northwestern Wildcats

northwestern
Northwestern Wildcats had a very successful season in 2015. Clayton Thorson returns under center with one of the leagues best running backs Justin Jackson. Thorson needs some targets to throw to becasue in this conference you cannot win being one sided. Defensively the Wildcats were pretty good last season but they have to replace both defensive ends and will have two holes in their secondary.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

minnesota

This Minnesota Gopher is officially Tracy Claeys team. He has basically been running the team on and off while working with Jerry Kills but since Kills had to step away it allowed Caeys the opportunity that the school recognized he deserved. Last season the biggest problem for the Gophers was an offensive offense. Quarterback Mitch Lidner returns but needs more weapons around him to flourish. He will have new assistant coaches around to help plus they will have a new coach calling the offensive plays. Claeys know he needs to focus on the defensive side for 2016 season. They will be basically replacing the secondary.

Illinois Fighting Illini

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Lets face it there are way too many issues going on in Champaign. Left from the fallout from last year’s mess, but they are still trying to sort out everything on the campus with new leadership.

Purdue Boilermakers

purdue

Darrell Hazell needs to get this Purdue team turned around. Being on the hot seat and not getting much of a recruiting class is the wrong direction he and the Boilermakers want to go.

Final Prediction

Ohio State over Iowa in Big Ten Championship

Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast National Signing Day Recap

The Ohio State Buckeyes came away from National Signing Day with another top recruiting class in the nation. Myself along with Chip discuss it along with our special guest from Script Ohio Joe Dexter. 

The three of us sit down to talk about our initial thoughts on the new class of Buckeyes that will be playing in Columbus. We picked a specific group that stood out to us. We tried to talk about what specific players we will be keeping our eyes on along with our sleeper picks for impact players for this next season.

We ask if we felt if there were any disappointments and well since this isn’t Ann Arbor we play in naturally we had positive things to say. We wrapped up the insanity with talk of the Browns and the State of Ohio trying to pull a fast one on Ohio taxpayers, Detroit Lions all while Joe was in the closet. Have to listen to understand what all went down.

Want to thank Joe Dexter who you can hear on Buckeye Sports Radio Monday through Friday with his awesome co-host Clair Crawford. You can check out Joe’s work over at thebuckeyebattlecry.com/