Big 10 Report: Week 9


Overview:

 Leave it the Big 10 to remind us how important special teams play is.  Two games were impacted by two gutsy special teams’ plays.  Michigan State was able to pull off another trick play that was a major factor to them remaining undefeated.  Wisconsin used a fake punt to thrust them ahead of Iowa.  The results of both of these games had a major impact on the Big 10 standings so it is just another reminder that special teams are exactly that special.  Ohio State rebounded from their loss last week and put a pounding on Purdue but the Buckeyes need help if they want to regain their Big 10 Crown.  It was a tough loss for Northwestern but I am still counting on them for at least 1 big win this year so keep an eye on the Wildcats.

IOWA CITY, IA - OCTOBER 23- Quarterback Scott Tolzien  of the Wisconsin Badgers throws under pressure from Defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn  of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes as offensive lineman Gabe Carimi  defends during the first half of play at Kinnick Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Iowa City, Iowa. Wisconsin won 31-30 over Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

Standout Players:  

If you want to watch a player giving 110% on every play look no further than Dan Persa of Northwestern.  This guy plays with a lot of guts and almost led his team to an upset victory over Michigan State.  While watching that game I was shocked that he kept getting up after every big hit.  This kid is a gamer and deserves a lot of respect for his play on the field.  This weekend had good performances from several quarterbacks but I was really impressed by the play of Ricky Stanzi.  Stanzi has a reputation of making poor decisions, but he was on point against Wisconsin.  He ended the game throwing 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.  Even though Iowa lost I think Stanzi proved that he is still a force in the Big 10. Not to be out done Kirk Cousins had an impressive game too.  Michigan State had to lean on their Junior quarterback more than usual as they found themselves down early.  Cousins completed 67% of his passes going 29-43 with 331 yards.  His play had a lot to do with the Spartans staying undefeated.

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 23: Kirk Cousins  of the Michigan State Spartans throws a pass under pressure from Corbin Bryant  of the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 23, 2010 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Looking Ahead:

Another College Football weekend and another great Big 10 match-up.  This weekend could be the last major test for Michigan State as they take on the Iowa Hawkeyes in Kinnick Stadium.  I like Michigan State in this game but it is really difficult to win in Iowa City.  Another game that promises to be exciting is the Michigan @ Penn State game.  Penn State is looking to get their season back on track and a win against Michigan would do the trick.  Michigan looks to answer the questions surrounding the team, as to whether they can win games in the Big 10.

Written by Jon Dove.  Follow him on Twitter @NFLMocks.

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Big 10 Report: Week 8


Overview

 Two big things were lost this weekend; Ohio State’s #1 ranking and Tim Brewster’s job.  You cannot talk about this past weekend’s games without mentioning the big win by the Wisconsin Badgers as they upset the #1 Buckeyes.  Wisconsin played their game and won because they were able to establish a running game.  John Clay and James White were a great 1-2 punch as they put up 184 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.  The loss by the Buckeyes put a serious dent in their National Title hopes, now they must keep winning and hope that other teams lose.  Terrelle Pryor regressed as a passer and threw more than a handful of balls in the ground.  Not all is lost for Ohio State so they need to regain focus and play well.  Lost in upset talk was the nice performance by the unbeaten Michigan State Spartans.  I felt that this could possibly be a trap game for the Spartans but they came out and played their game.  They have a few tough games coming up including at Iowa and at Penn State.

Iowa also took care of business this weekend knocking off the Michigan Wolverines.  It appears that the Big 10 has as many as 4 teams battling for the title; those teams include Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 25: Michigan Head Coach Rich Rodriguez reacts to a play during the second quarter of the game against Bowling Green on September 25, 2010 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan defeated Bowling Green 65-21. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

You have to think this might be the start of the slide for Michigan as they have not lost 2 games in a row.  It is obvious that Michigan is struggling with the bigger stronger teams of the Big 10, compared to the different style teams they played early in the season.

Standout Players:  

Over at NFLMocks.com we looked at the performance of Gabe Carimi and I think he is worth mentioning here as a stand out player.  He had a tough match-up against Cameron Heyward but he held his own in pass protection and also opened up several big holes for the running backs.  I was really impressed with the way he got to the second level.  You also have to mention another Wisconsin player in JJ Watt as he was all over the field.  He was constantly in the backfield putting pressure on Pryor while holding strong against the run.  Finally, I want to point out the game by Iowa’s Adam Robinson who carried the ball 34 times for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Robinson is going to be one of the most important pieces to Iowa’s Big 10 championship hopes.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 05: Adam Robinson #32 of the Iowa Hawkeyes runs the ball against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the FedEx Orange Bowl at Land Shark Stadium on January 5, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Looking Ahead:

There is really only one game that will get a lot of attention and that is the match-up of Wisconsin @ Iowa.  This game could very well knock the loser out of title contention.  The key to the game is on the front lines as the Wisconsin offensive line looks to get a push against the impressive Iowa defensive front.  A nice head to head match-up to keep an eye on is Gabe Carimi vs Adrian Clayborn.

Written by Jon Dove.  Follow him on Twitter @NFLMocks.

Big 10 Report: Week 7


Overview:

Over the weekend we got a good gauge on who the contenders are going to be for the Big 10 title. As I see it right now I would say that Ohio State, Michigan State, and Iowa have the best shot of coming home with the Big 10 crown. However, this weekend’s matchup of Ohio State vs Wisconsin could change a lot if Wisconsin could manage an upset.

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) passes to a receiver during their NCAA football game against Indiana in Columbus, Ohio, October 9, 2010.  REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Michigan State avoided their first loss last week by containing the extremely dangerous Denard Robinson. They have proven that they have all the parts necessary to end the season at the top of the Big 10. Their running attack is 2nd to none in the conference and they will continue to count on it heavily.

Two teams had devastating losses and they would be Penn State and Northwestern. Both teams didn’t have a legitimate shot at finishing atop the conference but these loss have a lot of questions swirling round each team. Penn State was expected to have a down year but nobody expected them to lose to Illinois at home. And while it’s not a major upset many expected Northwestern to handle a struggling Purdue team.

Lastly, is this the fall of the Wolverines? They started last season off very similar to this season and they ended the season very poorly. The Michigan State defense exposed the blue print to slow down Denard Robinson, and I am sure the rest of the Big 10 took notice.

Standout Players:

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 26: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Michigan State Spartans looks to pass the ball against the Wisconsin Badgers on September 26, 2009 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

To me the standout players come from 1 team in particular and that is Michigan State. Edwin Baker may very well be the top running back in the Big 10 and he continues to help this Michigan State team claim victories. Kirk Cousins has been a rock at the quarterback position, he is a very clutch player and is capable of leading his team when it matter most. I really couldn’t pinpoint just one player so I think you have to recognize the entire Illinois team for their dominating performance against Penn State in Happy Valley, not many teams are able to win in Beaver Stadium.

Looking Ahead:

The top game is Ohio State vs Wisconsin and we should know a lot more about both teams after Saturday’s game. In one hand a victory for Ohio State brings them a lot closer to playing for a National Title and Wisconsin is trying to get back into the Big 10 Championship discussion. Another game that I will be keeping a close watch on is the Illinois vs Michigan State game where the Spartans look to avoid a letdown after their big in vs Michigan. I also wouldn’t sleep on the Iowa vs Michigan game because the Wolverines will be thrusty for revenge as they attempt to get back on the winning track.

Written by Jon Dove.  Follow him on Twitter @NFLMocks.

PGWU Power Poll: Week 7


Last week brought us some shake ups in the week 7 Power Poll.  Here is a look at how the Pregame Warm-Up Crew ranks the Top 15 this week.

1. Oregon Ducks 112 points (five 1st place)

2. Ohio State Buckeyes 108 points (one 1st place)

3. Boise State Broncos 106 points (one 1st place)

4. Nebraska Cornhuskers 93 points (one 1st place)

5. TCU Horned Frogs 90 points

6. Alabama Crimson Tide 71 points

7. Auburn Tigers 69 points

8. South Carolina Gamecocks 63 points

9. Oklahoma Sooners 61 points

10. LSU Tigers 57 points

11. Utah Utes 36 points

12. Michigan State Spartans 34 points

13. Arkansas Razorbacks 14 points

14. Iowa Hawkeyes 11 points

15. Stanford Cardinal 10 points

Others Receiving Points:   Florida State Seminoles 8 points, Missouri Tigers 6 points, Arizona Wildcats 5 points, Nevada Wolfpack 5 points, Michigan Wolverines 2 points

PGWU Heisman Watch: Week 7


Welcome to week 7 in the college football season. This weekend we get our first BCS standings and quite a few big games, but we are here this week to talk about the Heisman Trophy candidates. Terrelle Pryor is back on the map this week, as is Taylor Martinez. Did Denard Robinson hurt his chances with last week’s performance? Check it out.

5th Kellen Moore QB Boise State   He has 14 TD to 1 INT this season, and is averaging 9.9 yards per completion.  These stats are great considering he hasn’t played much in the 2nd half of the last few games.

4th Taylor Martinez QB Nebraska Wow!  That is all I can say about his performance last Thursday against KSU.  He made the Wildcat defense look silly with his blazing speed.  Martinez leads all FBS schools with 10.8 yards per rush and 12 rushing TD.

3rd Terrelle Pryor QB Ohio State  Slowly, but surely Pryor is beginning to quiet his critics.  He is throwing the ball better this season than he ever has, coming off a great performance against Indiana.  He was 24-30 for 334 yards and 3 TD.  For the season he has 15 TD to 3 INT and is completing nearly 70% of his passes.

2nd LaMichael James RB Oregon  Had an impressive game last week with 223 total yards and 3 scores.  He has been an extremely consistant performer so far this season and that is what it takes to win the Heisman Trophy.

1st Cameron Newton QB Auburn  He continues to put the Tigers on his shoulders and they continue to win.  He had 4 rushing TD last week, adding to his impressive total TD mark of 21.  If the Tigers keep winning, he will stay atop this list.

PGWU Power Poll: Week 6


Every week the writers at Pregame Warm-Up will get together for our top 15 schools, or as we like to call it, the “Power Poll”. Each individual writer gives their top 15, then we assign the 1st place team 15 points all the way down to the 15th place team with 1 point. The points are combined and here is how week 6 ended up:

  1. 1. Alabama Crimson Tide- 88 points (five 1st place votes)
  2. 2. Oregon Ducks- 84 points (one 1st place vote)
  3. 3. Boise State Broncos- 67 points
  4. 3. Ohio State Buckeyes- 67 points
  5. 5. Nebraska Cornhuskers- 65 points
  6. 6. TCU Horned Frogs- 63 points
  7. 7. Oklahoma Sooners- 50 points
  8. 8. Auburn Tigers- 46 points
  9. 9. Utah Utes- 31 points
  10. 10. South Carolina Gamecocks- 26 points
  11. 11. Arizona Wildcats- 25 points
  12. 12. Arkansas Razorbacks- 21 points
  13. 12. LSU Tigers- 21 points
  14. 14. Michigan Wolverines- 20 points
  15. 15. Michigan State Spartans- 12 points

Others Receiving Points:      Iowa 8 points, Miami 6 points, Stanford 5 points, Missouri 4 points, Nevada 2 points, UCLA 1 point

GameDay


After a very long week of sub-par football games, College Football Saturday is finally here!! This week is mainly focused on some big time match ups in some of the big time conferences, but a couple key out of conference games are still on the schedule. Check us out every Saturday morning for our primer to GameDay!

The Big 10 boasts a couple games to keep an eye on this week. Indiana brings its high powered offense to The Ohio State University and the Buckeyes stingy defense. Depending on the health of Terrelle Pryor, this could be a tight game. The game of the week in the Big 10 would have to be Michigan State at Michigan. This rivalry got a whole lot more interesting with the emergence of Denard Robinson facing the very talented Spartan defense, led by Greg Jones.

A couple of the out of conference games to at the very least keep an eye on would be Arkansas and Texas A&M in Dallas at Jerry’s Palace and Utah at Iowa State. The Arky/TAMU game should be an offensive explosion, and it features a handful of NFL Draft prospects. Utah at Iowa State should be a close game in my opinion, I just think ISU is playing with a confidence right now.

LAWRENCE, KS - OCTOBER 10:  Quarterback Austen Arnaud #4 of the Iowa State Cyclones passes during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks on October 10, 2009 at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The ACC is having somewhat of a down year, but could have a couple interesting games this week. Clemson travels to UNC to face the Tar Heels in a game that features two underacheiving teams, the Tar Heels are getting their core players back every week though. The game to watch is FSU at Miami. This match-up will be centered around 2 big time QB prospects in FSU’s Christian Ponder and Miami’s Jacory Harris. The QB that has the best game will lead his team to a win.

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback Jacory Harris  of the Miami Hurricanes passes the ball against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Finally we get to the SEC. Possibly the 2 biggest games of the week are held here, I could probably write that every week. Alabama travels to South Carolina, if the GameCocks can stop the Bama rushing attack they have a very good chance. Ingram rushed for close to 250 yards last year in a 20-6 Tide victory. LSU heads to Gainesville, FL to face the Gators. This game should be a very close low scoring battle because both teams have speed to burn on defense and very shaky offenses.

The PGWU crew will be in and out all day today, so use this as an open thread for any college football discussions you would like to have. No matter what game you are watching, there is always a Draft prospect to keep an eye on!

Written by Jason Madson. Follow on Twitter @isbnJMAD

Week 4 Power Poll


Every week the writers at Pregame Warm-Up will get together for our top 15 schools, or as we like to call it, the “Power Poll”.  Each individual writer gives their top 15, then we assign the 1st place team 15 points all the way down to the 15th place team with 1 point.  The points are combined and here is how week 4 ended up:

1. Alabama 74 points(4 1st place)   same as last week

2. Ohio State 70 points(1 first place)    same as last week

3. Oregon 65 points   one spot from last week

4. Boise State 61 points   one spot from last week

5. TCU 54 points   one spot from last week

6. Nebraska 46 points   ↑  four spots from last week

7. Oklahoma 45 points   ↓ two spots from last week

8. Arkansas 40 points   ↑  five spots from last week

9. Texas 38 points   ↓  one spot from last week

10. South Carolina 31 points   ↓   one spot from last week

11. Florida 17 points   ↔   same as last week

12. Utah 15 points   ↑   two spots from last week

13. LSU 10 points   ♦  New to the Power Poll

14t. Arizona 9 points   ♦   New to the Power Poll

14t. Wisconsin 9 points  ↓   two spots from last week

Others Receiving Points: Michigan 7 points, Stanford 6 points, Auburn 2 points, West Virginia 1 point

Big 10 News & Notes


 

Overview: I don’t know how you don’t start your Big 10 conversation this week without mentioning Michigan State.  The Spartans pulled off a big win against Notre Dame with a fake field goal in overtime.  This win has the makings of a pace setter that could propel a team to several more wins.  Michigan State did what they did best by running the ball.  I was also pretty impressed with the defense who were expected to lose the game for the Spartans.  Of course not all things were good for Michigan State as their Head Coach Mark Dantonio suffered a mild heart attack and will be out for awhile.

The other big news in the Big 10 this weekend was Iowa suffering an upset to upstart Arizona.  Iowa was taken out of their game early when they went down by 14 points.  They were never able to rebound as they were forced to throw the ball.  They mounted a late comeback only to fall short.  For most this eliminates the Hawkeyes from National Title contention and exposes some of their weaknesses. 

Michigan and Wisconsin both struggled to put away teams they were suppose to handle easily as UMass and Arizona State hung around and made things interesting.  Michigan and Wisconsin fans are happy with the win but should feel a little uneasy about their team’s performance.  There are a few more games before the teams open up Big 10 play and thing will need to be tightened up before then.

Standout Players: Michigan State RB Le’Veon Bell put up another good performance as he builds his resume for Big 10 freshman of the year.  He had 114 yards on 17 carries and 1 touchdown.  Denard Robinson continues to be an all purpose yard machine combining for 345 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Robinson continues to gain momentum as we head towards Big 10 play.  Two Wisconsin players made headlines with big games and they were John Clay and Lance Kendricks.  Clay rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown as Kendricks hauled in 7 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown.  Both players were instrumental in Wisconsin’s tight victory.

Looking Ahead: The biggest game on this week’s schedule is Temple at Penn State in what is sure to be a good match-up.  Temple comes into the game undefeated coming off an impressive win against UConn but to this point hasn’t played a team as talented as Penn State.  The Nittany Lions need to stay focused and not look ahead to their big match-up against Iowa in a few weeks.  This is a potential trap game for Penn State as they will be expected to win but can easily be upset.  Temple possesses a good defense and a solid running game, with some experience at the quarterback position.  Temple Coach Al Golden has heard his name in connection to the Penn State coaching job once Joe Paterno steps down, this will be his audition.

The rest of the Big 10 slate is filled with lesser opponents where I don’t expect any upsets.  The only other game to keep an eye on is Northern Illinois @ Minnesota.

Written by Jon Dove @NFLMocks on Twitter

PGWU Heisman Watch


Every Monday we will be giving out the top 5 Heisman candidates based on their performance so far in the season.  Last weekend gave us some strong showings, from some of the top candidates.  Michigan Wolverines QB Denard Robinson continues to impress the voters.  Terrelle Pryor has put up some tremendous stats, so has Kellen Moore from Boise State.  Here are the top 5 Heisman candidates after week 3.  They are ranked in reverse order.

5th Taylor Martinez QB Nebraska Cornhuskers

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Taylor Martinez  of the Nebraska Cornhuskers rushes against Nate Williams  of the Washington Huskies on September 18, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Cornhuskers defeated the Huskies 56-21. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
He has led the Cornhuskers to a 3-0 record, and done so in a convincing manor.  He has rushed 40 times for 421 yards and 8 TD averaging 10.5 per rush.  In what isn’t a strong part of his game, he has thrown the ball for a 65% completion percentage and  392 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.  He runs the Nebraska offense extremely well, and if they keep winning he will keep climbing on this list.
 
4th Andrew Luck QB Stanford Cardinal
PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Andrew Luck  of the Stanford Cardinal in action against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Stanford Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Palo Alto, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Luck has played flawlessly so far this season.  He has led Stanford to a 3-0 record with a TD-INT ration of 10-0.  He has thrown for 674 yards this season and has a completion percentage of 64%.  He is no slouch on the ground either.  He averages 10.8 yards per carry and has another score on the ground.
 
3rd Patrick Peterson CB LSU Tigers
ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 04: Patrick Peterson  of the LSU Tigers breaks up a touchdown reception to Joshua Adams  of the North Carolina Tar Heels in the final seconds of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Georgia Dome on September 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Peterson has played his role perfectly as a shutdown corner, he already has 2 INT.  He is also an incredible return man for the Tigers.  He is averaging 31.7 yards per kick return and 23.9 per punt return.  He is as good as they come for what he does.
 
2nd Ryan Mallett QB Arkansas Razorbacks
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Texas A&M Aggies at Cowboys Stadium on October 3, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Mallet has done an incredible job leading the Razorback offense this season.  The Hogs have a huge game this weekend with number 1 ranked Alabama.  If Arkansas and Mallett come out of this game with a W, I could see a magical season for Mallett and his team.

1st Denard Robinson QB Michigan Wolverines

 

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Denard Robinson  of the Michigan Wolverines pushes off a tackle attempt by Manti Te
This kid has been a huge surprise this season.  Very few had any idea about him before he exploded against UCONN.  I figured it would slow down after that game, but he has continued to impress.  He has a 69% completion percentage, has thrown for 671 yards, 4 TD and 1 INT.  That is impressive, but here is where it gets ridiculous, his running stats are that much better.  He leads the nation in rushing with 559 yards and a 7.6 average yards per carry.  Add in another 4 TD on the ground and you can tell why Michigan has played so well this season.
Written by Jason Madson @isbnJMAD on Twitter