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The Sports Diva Nation: 2009 Big Ten Preview

July 22, 2009

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Hello Football Fiends!

My friend Cherie from The Sports Diva Nation is one kick ass sports fan. The only downside? She’s an Ohio State fan. But hey, we can’t all be perfect, right?

Gridiron Goddess has partnered with The Sports Diva Nation to bring you the 2009 Big Ten Preview.

2009 Big Ten Preview

The Big Ten has gone through a bit of a rough patch in recent years. It has garnered nicknames like Slow 10 and Little 11. The last time they were able to hold their heads up high was on November 18, 2006. That was when Ohio State and Michigan entered THE GAME ranked #1 and #2. All was right with the world. But then it began. Michigan was embarrassed by USC in the Rose Bowl and Ohio State was “just too slow” for Florida in the national championship game. It did not help matters when #5 Michigan lost their home opener that next season to FCS (or DIV 1-AA) opponent Appalachian State. Then Ohio State backed their way into the national championship to lose to yet another SEC opponent LSU. And in the 2008-2009 season the Big Ten went 1-6 in bowl games. It hasn’t been pretty. There were some games that brought a little smile to Big Ten fans like Michigan over Florida (2008 Capital One Bowl), Penn State over Tennessee (Outback Bowl 2007), Wisconsin over Arkansas (Capital One Bowl 2007) and Iowa over South Carolina (Outback Bowl 2009). But that wasn’t enough.

And this upcoming season isn’t going to be any easier. If you look at the non-conference schedules of the teams in the Big Ten you may want to laugh. There are only a few games that can be called tough. The SEC may be able to get away with not scheduling tough because of how strong their conference is but the Big Ten can’t. Not right now. Until they can get back to being the mighty Big Ten they should look to schedule tougher teams than Montana State and Wofford. So how good is the Big Ten this year? Who knows. The state of the league rest on the shoulders of Ohio State when they face off against USC on September 12th. A win will help the Big Ten tremendously. A loss will just be deja vu. Now I’m sure you may be sick of the Big Ten so we will go through my preseason rankings quickly. Road games are very important when I look at how a team might fair in the upcoming season.

Preseason Rankings:
1.  Ohio State because I’m a Buckeye fan (I know that’s what you’re thinking). But seriously it is true when they say that Ohio State doesn’t rebuild, they reload. Most of their tough games are at home but that game on November 7th at Penn State is key. And we can’t forget about Michigan on November 21st. Michigan is still Michigan.
Games to Watch. Non-Conference: USC Conference: @ Penn State

2.  Penn State because they will be good. Maybe great? If they do get past their not so cupcake road games (Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, Michigan State) and tough home games against Iowa and Ohio State they could end up in the national championship. Of course they may have to hope for a Buckeye victory on September 12th for that to happen. No one outside of the Big Ten wants to see a remake of the 06-07 & 07-08 national championship games. Even if they are with a different team in the conference.
Games to Watch. Non-Conference: Syracuse Conference: Ohio State

3.  Michigan State because Dantonio may have something here. If Michigan State wants to turn things around they need to have back to back 9 or more win seasons. They get their rivals Michigan and Penn State at home but have to travel to Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue.
Games to Watch. Non-Conference: @ Notre Dame Conference: Penn State

4.  Illinois because Ron Zook can recruit. He has the athletes now all he has to do is coach. Tough road games at Ohio State and Minnesota (their new stadium opens this year. Can’t hide in the dome anymore) won’t be easy.
Games to Watch. Non-Conference: Missouri Conference: @ Ohio State

5.  Iowa because their road games are not going to be easy. Road games against Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State. The only team that won a bowl game last season probably deserves to be higher but their road schedule is just too tough.
Games to Watch. Non-Conference: Arizona Conference: @ Penn State

6.  Wisconsin because I’m not a fan of their coach. The Badgers have declined year after year after year. Their coach is on the hot seat. Road games against Minnesota, Ohio State, Indiana and Northwestern. Penn State is off the schedule but they have tough home games against Michigan State and Iowa. If they win Coach Bielema’s seat gets cooler. If their season is worse than last years, will he be run out of town?
Games to Watch. Non-Conference:@ Hawaii Conference: @ Minnesota

7.  Michigan because you can’t do worse than 3-9, right? Rich-Rod SHOULD fair better in his second year at The Big House. The goal for this team should be to get back to a bowl game. That’s not the standards at Michigan but neither is going 3-9. Their road games are against Michigan State, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Games to Watch. Non-Conference: Notre Dame Conference: Ohio State

8.  Minnesota because it takes time. Coach Brewster went from 1-11 to 7-6. A nice turn around but a bit disappointing. They lost their last 5 games. We will have to wait and see what Brewster will be able to do with this team in their new outdoor stadium.
Games to Watch. Non-Conference: California Conference: Wisconsin

9.  Northwestern because I’ll have to see it to believe it. The Wildcats went 9-4 and 5-3 in the Big Ten last season. Although they don’t meet Ohio State or Michigan this season they do have tough road games against Michigan State, Iowa and Illinois.
Games to Watch. Non-Conference: @ Syracuse Conference: Michigan State

10.  Purdue because they are rebuilding. New coach. Inexperienced QB and wide receivers. They don’t play Penn State and Iowa this year but home games against Ohio State and Michigan State won’t be simple.
Games to Watch. Non-Conference: @ Oregon Conference: Northwestern

11.  Indiana because bye bye Kellen Lewis. Kellen Lewis moved from QB to wide receiver to off the team roster. He could have known as their best player. We will have to see how the offense fairs without him. They have a tough schedule with road games against Michigan, Iowa and Penn State.
Games to Watch. Non-Conference: @ Akron Conference: Purdue

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CFB Picks Week 10: One Unbeaten BCS Team Will Fall

November 7, 2008

Hey Football Fiends!

Mark my words: One of the Unbeaten BCS teams will go down this weekend. It’s not Utah, they’ve already won. Will it be Texas Tech in a hangover from last week’s last minute victory over Texas? Will it be the Crimson Tide when they go on down to Baton Rouge? Or will Penn State’s Nittany Lions get surprised by that team from Iowa?

To tell you the truth–I am not sure. I think Texas Tech will lose either this week or next week against Oklahoma. Bama and LSU–damn. I’m not impressed with LSU this season in the same way that many are not impressed with USC. Yes LSU is a good team. But they just aren’t firing on all the cylinders they need to be to win the SEC.  The two games the Tigers have lost (Georgia and Florida) they’ve lost big. And Bama has already beat the Bulldogs.

But who am I underestimating? The Red Raiders? The Cowboys? The Tigers? The Crimson Tide? Or is it the Nittany Lions who will finally prove fallible?

God I love College Football!

Any Given Saturday. That’s what I keep telling myself. So without further editorializing, my CFB Picks for Week 10.

UTAH over TCU 13-10

USC over CAL

Wisconsin over Indiana

Ohio State over Northwestern 45-10

Florida over Vanderbilt 42-14

Georgia over Kentucky 42-38

Oregon State over UCLA

Arizona over WA State

Texas over Baylor 45-21

Minnesota over Michigan

Nebraska over  Kansas

Mizzou over K State 41-24

Michigan State over Purdue 21-7

And the 3 Unbeaten Teams left:

Oklahoma State over Texas Tech

Bama over LSU

Penn State over Iowa 24-23

-Your Gridiron Goddess

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College Game Day Starts on Thursday this week here at Gridiron Goddess.net

October 25, 2007

Hi Football Fiends!  UPDATE 10-8

In honor of the BC @ Va Tech game tonight I am issuing my college picks early. It is too tempting with the curse of the #2 teams this season so far to pass up getting this game on my weekend roster.

I am either going to be GENIUS with these picks or crash and burn in a spectacular fashion as I am going for a number of high profile upsets.

And, I really really really don’t want to pick the USC-Oregon game.

18 games. 36 teams. 18 winners and 18 losers.

Virginia Tech over #2 Boston College 14-10 Is it just me or have there been more last minute nail biting decisions this season than usual? BC scores with :11 left to win it, thus escaping, at least this week, the curse of #2 IMO, Matt Ryan just cemented his Heisman front runner (with Tebow) status. Ryan had something like 350 yards. 🙂

WVU over Rutgers 31-3

Wisconsin over Indiana 33-3

Texas over Nebraska 28-25

USC over Oregon – I feel like it is bad luck to NOT pick this game. lol Obviously, when it comes to USC games, make your own decisions. Oddly, I am not upset. USC stayed in the game and was competitive. It was an uncomfortably great game to watch.

Auburn over Ole Miss 17-3

Maryland over Clemson 30-17

South Florida over UConn 22-15

Mizzou over Iowa State 42-38

Florida over Georgia 42-30

Michigan over Minnesota 34-10

UVA over NCSU 29-24

Wazzou over UCLA 27-7

Tennessee over South Carolina 27-24

Penn State over Ohio State – yes I did. 37-17

ASU over Cal – I have a hard time believing Cal would lose 3 games in a row. But I have an equally hard time believing ASU is not going to capitalize on Cal’s mistakes and keep their undefeated record. 31-20

Kansas over Texas A&M 19-11

Purdue over Northwestern 35-17

-Your Gridiron Goddess

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Harem of the Goddess: Marcus on Conferences, Cupcakes & Kent States

September 21, 2007

I’m a Pac-10 dude, but this conference comparison post is not to hype the Pac vs. SEC – the two are neck-and-neck the best, period. Neither can make a superiority argument, and the two are in a league of their own, so to speak, far above all other confs. Football is cyclical, but as out-of-conference play winds down, we’ve got to note the horrendous state of football in the Big Ten. Evidenced by its elite teams’ much-discussed foibles – Michigan’s infamous humiliations, Ohio State crushed by Florida, Citadel (Citadel!) scoring 31 at Wisconsin – the Big Ten is playing old school football and  it’s not working against faster, more dynamic offenses and defenses. Writers at ESPN, SI, Fox, CBS, etc. have the conference ranked 5th of 6 major confs, below even the very off-year ACC. The conference’s standard of recruiting and coaching is obviously not happening. Writers at ESPN, SI, Fox, CBS, etc. have the conference ranked 5th.

 

Could the Big Ten’s embarrassing, now-routine cupcake scheduling have anything to do with that standard?

Over the past few years the Big Ten has stooped to such heavy non-conf patsy scheduling Commish Jim DelaneyAppy St., or Minnesota against Florida AtlanticBowling Green, Northwestern against Duke (Duke!). I mean, Ohio State racked a whole 20 at home against… Akron. ought to be humiliated… almost as much as Michigan was against and

The Buckeyes’ other non-conf before Washington? Youngstown State. Penn State dared host Buffalo and Florida International, whatever that is, when not hosting nouveau cupcake Notre Dame.

Look at the Big Ten’s recent “real” games: Ohio State was clueless against Florida in the title game, Michigan was humbled four consecutive times before “rebounding” against the Pacifist Irish, Wisconsin survived a squeaker at UNLVCitadel. then hosted – hey, wow! –

 

The conference web site boasts, “The Big Ten is one of only two conferences with six undefeated teams through three weeks of action… with 26 non-conference victories.” The Big Ten somehow neglects to mention that 17 of those wins came against Division I-AA or bottom tier teams, and zero of them came against ranked teams.

 

It gets better in the weeks to come: The new Big Ten Network will have us glued to our tubes for Eastern Michigan at Michigan, Kent State at Ohio St., Northwestern at Eastern Michigan, Ball St. at Illinois … and how ‘bout that October barnburner, North Dakota State at Minnesota?

Maybe weak scheduling is part of the Big Ten’s problem: Ya think if you schedule so many teams so far below the elite level, you might not play at the elite level? And for fans, how do 100-something thousand cram into Michigan Stadium or the Horseshoe or Penn State for showdowns with Appy St., Kent St. and Buffalo?

When USC plays at Nebraska, LSU hosts Va Tech and Oklahoma takes on Miami… the Big Ten’s slide into cupcake addiction seems a mockery of big time football. But hey, at least the conference now has its own TV network. Them and Notre Dame. Fans can watch Big Ten teams take on cupcakes for the rest of the season… now that they start playing each other.

 

Harem Member Marcus.

Your Gridiron Goddess says: Thanks Marcus and good job of tempering our tendency towards Homerism. Once again, I could not agree with you more. See you Monday!