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Why is this news? Ezekiel Elliott's early battle for the Heisman; B1G tickets demanding a premium

Plus, Buckeye wrestler owns it at the Pan American Games, and who has the easiest schedule in the Big Ten.

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

"I just think of it as part of the vision, something you dream about when you’re a kid. I’ve worked for it, we’ve worked for it—my teammates are a big part of where I am right now."

-Ezekiel Elliott via Tim May, The Columbus Dispatch

As much as Cardale owned the air in Ohio State’s postseason run last year, Ezekiel Elliott dominated the ground for Ohio State. Elliott ran for 220 yards against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, 230 against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and 246 against Oregon in the College Football Playoff National Championship. In the last five games of the season, he gained 924 yards on 106 carries for 11 touchdowns against some of the staunchest defenses in college football (Wisconsin finished ranked No. 4 in total defense last year, with Alabama at No. 10). Elliott’s 1,878 total rushing yards is second only to Eddie George’s 1995 Heisman Trophy-winning 1,927 yard season.

Elliott was the favorite for the Heisman in January immediately following the Buckeyes’ post-season run, though TCU’s Trevon Boykin has moved up to the No. 1 spot since then. However, Elliott’s biggest competition for the trophy could come from his quarterback—whoever that may be when the season starts. The odds for each quarterback—Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones—have shifted throughout the summer with news of health and recovery and rumors of who may start come September. Elliott’s odds are currently set at 7-1, but many bettors are banking on one of the quarterbacks, and it may be for good reason. Since 2000, only one running back (Alabama’s Mark Ingram in 2009) has won the Heisman Trophy.

Of course, some, like Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Doug Lesmerises, are suggesting that Elliott could top 3,000 yards rushing this season if he continues at his post-season production. By comparison, Melvin Gordon led the NCAA in rushing with 2,587 yards last year, and the single-season rushing record still belongs to Barry Sanders at 2,628 yards in 1988 (including bowl games, that number jumps to 2,850 yards). If Elliott could put up 200 yard games for 15 games to reach the mark, the Heisman would likely be his to lose.

"There’s also the fact that Ohio State, unlike the majority of Big Ten teams, doesn’t have to play Ohio State."

-Mitch Sherman, ESPN

Who has the easiest schedule in the Big Ten? Mitch Sherman thinks that it is the Buckeyes, based on the fact that they do not have to play themselves. Ohio State’s biggest challenge could come in its opening week matchup against Virginia Tech, given a jumbled quarterback situation that may not have been entirely settled. As the season progresses, the Buckeyes will have their toughest conference matchups—Penn State, Minnesota and Michigan State—at home, culminating with a visit to Ann Arbor by which time Ohio State’s squads should be settled into their positions and operating at high efficiency.

Penn State is also a contender for easiest schedule, though they do play bot Ohio State and Michigan State away The Nittany Lion will stay in-state for their first six games of the season, and their other road battles are Northwestern and Maryland. Iowa, however, has an easy out of conference schedule, including three sub-0.500 teams, and also doesn’t have to play Ohio State or Michigan State in cross-division matchups. The Hawkeyes will have to go on the road to play both Nebraska and Wisconsin, bringing to mind that time at Wisconsin/Nebraska Gameday when someone had an "everybody here hates Iowa" sign.

Last month, ESPN columnists debated who has the toughest schedule, with Minnesota and Rutgers coming out the unlucky ones. Minnesota is scheduled to open its season at home with TCU—the No. 3 ranked team in the preseason. They also have to face Ohio State at Ohio Stadium in November. Rutgers, however, plays home against Ohio State, at Wisconsin, at Michigan and Nebraska at home in a brutal four-game stretch.

Ohio State redshirt wrestler Kyle Snyder added another victory to his undefeated, all-star summer with a gold medal win at the Pan American Games. Already this summer, Snyder has been named a U.S. Open Champion, with the honor of Most Outstanding Wrestler at the event, as well as a World Team Trials Champion. Snyder, who finished his true freshman season as the NCAA runner up in the 197 lb. weight class, is redshirting this next season in order to train to represent the U.S. in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. He is scheduled to continue that journey with the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas in September.

Snyder outscored his opponents 31-1 during his gold medal run Saturday, defeating Argentina’s Yuri Maier in the opening round 11-1; Jose Diaz from Venezuela 10-0 in the semifinals; and Canada’s Arjun Gill in the finals with another 10-0 shutout.

The Pan American Games are held every four years, with Toronto playing host this year. Athletes from North, Central and South America compete in 48 summer Olympic sports, as well as some non-Olympic sporting events. Many of the participating sports use this as an Olympic-qualifying event, since the games are conducted one year prior to the summer Olympics. Athletes at the games compete in men’s and women’s freestyle wrestling, as well as men’s Greco-Roman wrestling, with 16 Americans qualifying in wrestling events. The U.S. is ahead in the current medal count with 164 medals, including 61 gold, with the games scheduled to run through Sunday. Canada is in second place with 143 medals and 54 golds.

"Clearly, tradition sells. But so does success—and hope. And the Big Ten is enjoying the rewards of both as the 2015 season approaches."

-Mitch Sherman, ESPN

This time last year, who would have believed that the Big Ten, as a conference, would be where it is today? It isn’t just Ohio State’s national title run, either. The Big Ten went six-of-eleven in bowl games last season, despite being underdogs in every single matchup. Jim Harbaugh returned to Michigan. Teams like Minnesota are on the rise.

And that momentum is continuing off the field when it comes to ticket prices for the most in-demand college football matchups of 2015. Ticket reseller Vivid Seats rated 25 of the top matchups of the 2015 college football season by ticket price. Of the ranked games, four are Big Ten, in-conference matchups. Seven games in all involve Big Ten teams. Ohio State, with four matchups ranked, trails only Alabama (eight) and Notre Dame (six).The SEC leads the Power 5 conferences with stakes in 12 games, including seven conference matchups. The Big 12 is involved in two rated games, including one conference matchup. The ACC has stakes in four games, and the Pac-12 in two, but neither have a conference matchup on the list. Notre Dame is the big winner on the list, with six matchups rated, including the top two games. Texas’ opening day matchup at Notre Dame has a median ticket resale price of $800, with a "get in" price of $400. The No. 2 game, USC at Notre Dame in October, has a $520 median ticket price with a $265 get in price.

The top Big Ten matchup (No. 8 on the list) is Michigan State at Ohio State Nov. 21. The median resale price for the game is $325. Close behind at No. 10, Penn State at Ohio State has a median resale price of $312. Ohio State’s opening week match at Virginia Tech is ranked No. 13, and is demanding a $305 median resale price, Ohio State at Michigan is sitting at No. 16 with a median resale price of $292. You can see the full list here.

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