"I lean toward the McMurphy side here, as I think Ohio State and Michigan State represent the league's best chances for not only the playoff but a spot in one of the other prestigious games."
-Brian Bennett, ESPN Big Ten Blog
The venerable Brett McMurphy and Mark Schlabach did the nigh-impossible task of predicting the bowl season a full seven months before bowl games begin (how anyone predicts Colorado State's bowl game is beyond me).
McMurphy gives more love to Ohio State than Schlabach, who instead has Michigan State and Wisconsin in the upper tier of playoff/bowl games. Brian Bennett and Adam Rittenberg offer their own commentary in the ESPN Big Ten Blog, and both had some valuable insight. I agree with Bennett that Wisconsin and Michigan are overvalued by Schlabach, while Rittenberg brings the lol's: "I'm a bit surprised to see both place a Big Ten team in the playoff, especially my pal Schlabach. It must have taken all the willpower in his being to avoid placing four SEC teams in the Sugar and Rose bowls."
We are going to hear about MSU for most of the offseason, but at least we'll get a sense for how good the Spartans are when they tip off against the Ducks on September 6.
"June 9: Ed O'Bannon v. the NCAA trial start date. Now is your chance to put all that Law & Order knowledge you've been accumulating for the better part of three decades to good use"
-Martin Rickman, Sports Illustrated Campus Union
Right when you can't read yet-another "way too early"-style post, Rickman comes out with a guide to surviving the offseason. Maybe the most valuable part was his extensive Summer Reading List (which is honestly enough material for an Advanced College Football Fandom course). If you haven't read Smart Football or Study Hall, get on it. Protip, though: the only cure for the offseason is actually news from summer football practices.
As you can tell from the quote above, the O'Bannon trial is right around the corner, so get ready for a slew of law articles from all of the lawyers in the college football blogosphere.
"And (Shazier) called me and I said, 'I don't think I'm going.' And he said, 'No, you've got to go.' And I'll never miss it now. It was incredible, you melt like butter to see Ryan Shazier's mom have that moment, that we're a part of."
-Urban Meyer, via Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com
Meyer and Fickell attended the NFL Draft for the first time ever, but it sounds like it won't be his last. At Shazier's insistence, Urban was around to see both Shazier and Roby be selected in the first round.
Maybe the best part of the article is Meyer's final quote: "How many dreams do you get to be part of with other people? That's pretty cool. What's the saying? It's not how many breaths you take, it's how many moments that take your breath away. That was one of them."
"This fall, the offense could lack for play-makers, and the offensive line could struggle with inexperience (while protecting a quarterback who is still only a true sophomore himself). And while the overall defense should be solid (or better than solid), we don't yet know how much better the pass defense is going to be."
-Bill Connelly, SBNation.com
Bill is steadily making his way through his 128-team advanced stat preview, and the Big Ten is on the docket. While there are a few days left until he previews Ohio State, today's update on the inaugural Franklin edition of the Nittany Lions is worth your time.
While most ESPN guys (see: above) are higher on Wisconsin, Michigan State, and even Iowa, Penn State is on the up-and-up, particularly in recruiting. They've got Hackenberg, an exciting new staff, and a stable and solid defense for 2014, which is better than most of the Big Ten. While the Buckeyes piled it on Penn State last season, I'd be surprised if Franklin lets that happen entirely this year.
I think Bill is right to be wary of the running game, offensive line, and secondary, but you can expect the Nittany Lions to be able to pass juuuuuust fine, especially with that group of four four-star wide receivers coming to town.
STICK TO SPORTS
- Get out your mustache wax, folks. The first ever Beard and Mustache Competition is coming to the Ohio State Fair at the end of July.
- Got kids? Give 'em books.
- How did we get so busy and stressed even with modern technology and wealth? Researchers are trying to figure that one out.
- Rejected: Ohio doesn't just accept every vanity plate.
- Sounds like that weird ending from Mass Effect to me.