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2015 Big Ten power rankings: Week 10

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Power Rankings_header

And then there were two.

The Big Ten watched one-third of its three-headed monster fall Saturday night leaving just one undefeated team in each division. But despite that loss, the conference saw six teams ranked in Tuesday night’s College Football Playoff rankings, more than any other conference.

It’s looking like the Big Ten might be the best conference in the country this season. Here’s a look at how the divisions stack up through Week 10.

East Division
1. Ohio State (9-0, 5-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Minnesota 28-14 This Week: Sat at Illinois (5-4, 2-3), 12pm, ABC

Another week, another Ohio State victory. The defending champs remained undefeated without their starting quarterback Saturday, fending off a pesky Minnesota squad to improve to 9-0. Cardale Jones threw for 187 yards and a touchdown and Ezekiel Elliott rushed 26 times for 114 and a score to pace the offense. Minnesota controlled the pace and racked up more than 300 yards, but a late comeback effort ran out of gas in the 4th quarter. OSU held steady at No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings Tuesday after being jumped by Alabama, which lost to an unranked team at home but somehow hasn’t been penalized for it. If the Buckeyes knock off a pair of really good teams from the state of Michigan, they should vault right back up to No. 1

2. Michigan (7-2, 4-1) – Up 2
Last Week: Beat Rutgers 49-16 This Week: Sat at Indiana (4-5, 0-5), 3:30pm, ABC

Just one week after falling to a season-worst fourth in these rankings, Michigan is up into the No. 2 spot for just the second time. Michigan took care of business against Rutgers, cruising past the Scarlett Knights 49-16. The offensive outburst was paced by quarterback Jake Rudock, who threw for a season-best 337 yards More importantly, the Wolverines have new life in the Big Ten East race with a pair of tricky road games on the horizon. A shaky secondary faces a huge test Saturday in Indiana, which is bound to finish off one of these upset bids eventually. Michigan moved up three spots to No. 14 in the playoff rankings.

3. Michigan State (8-1, 4-1) – Down 1
Last Week: Lost to Nebraska 38-39 This Week: Sat vs Maryland (2-7, 0-5), 12pm, ESPN2

If you play with fire long enough, you’re bound to get burned. Michigan State flirted with defeat almost every week en route to an otherwise impressive 8-0 start, but it couldn’t hold onto a 12-point lead with under four minutes to play Saturday night and fell to Nebraska, 39-38. The Spartans underperformed against Rutgers, Purdue, even the directional schools, to an extent. And no, MSU didn’t lose to Nebraska because of an out-of-bounds call at the end of the game. Mark Dantonio’s team had no business cutting it so close against a team that lost to Purdue by double digits, so that defense has nobody to blame but itself. Luckily for the Spartans, they’re still ranked No. 13 in the playoff rankings with a cupcake at home to get back on track this weekend.

4. Penn State (7-3, 4-2) – Down 1
Last Week: Lost to #21 NW 21-23 This Week: Bye (11/21 vs Michigan)

The Nittany Lions were already a long shot to win the Big Ten East, but any remaining aspirations were officially put to rest Saturday afternoon.  Penn State had a chance to pick up its first good win of the season in Evanston, but allowed a field goal with under 10 seconds left to surrender a one-point lead. Christian Hackenberg struggled, completing just 21 of 40 pass attempts for 205 yards and an interception. The defense was shaky, allowing nearly 400 yards, but Hackenberg has to be much better for this team to do some damage down the stretch.

5. Indiana (4-5, 0-5) – Up 1
Last Week: Lost to #9 Iowa 27-35 This Week: Sat vs #14 Michigan (7-2, 4-1), 3:30pm, ABC

Another week, another near Indiana upset. The Hoosiers hung around just long enough to give the undefeated Hawkeyes a scare in Bloomington, but ultimately fell eight points short of the win. They’ll get back at it Saturday as the hopeful Wolverines come to town.

6. Rutgers (3-6, 1-5) – Down 1
Last Week: Lost to #17 Michigan 16-49 This Week: Sat vs Nebraska (4-6, 2-4), 3:30pm, BTN

Rutgers players who ticked off Jim Harbaugh despite trailing by 19 points heading into halftime on Saturday have to be feeling pretty stupid now. Harbaugh went for a two-point conversion despite holding a 25-point lead in the 3rd quarter to send the Scarlett Knights back to the sideline with their tails between their legs.

7. Maryland (2-7, 0-5) – Even
Last Week: Lost to Wisconsin 24-31 This Week: Sat at #13 MSU (8-1, 4-1), 12pm, ESPN2

Hey, Maryland actually kept it pretty close Saturday against Wisconsin, falling by just a touchdown to the streaking Badgers. Unfortunately, this weekend brings a trip to East Lansing against an angry Michigan State squad.

B1G East Week 10


West Division
1. Iowa (9-0, 5-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Indiana 35-27 This Week: Sat vs Minnesota (4-5, 1-4), 8pm, BTN

Breathe easy, Iowa fans! The soon-to-be West champs got out of upset-happy Indianapolis with a slim victory and jumped up to No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings. That means this team is a lock for the playoff if it finishes the season with four more victories.

2. Northwestern (7-2, 3-2) – Even
Last Week: Beat Penn State 23-21 This Week: Sat vs Purdue (2-7, 1-4), 12pm, BTN

Pat Fitzgerald’s team added another excellent win to its resume Saturday, knocking off Penn State with a late field goal from a kicker who’d missed three times on the day. Now the Wildcats have cracked the top 20 of the College Football Playoff poll and have a chance to keep on rolling this weekend against a punchless Purdue team.

3. Wisconsin (8-2, 5-1) – Even
Last Week: Beat Maryland 31-24 This Week: Bye (11/21 vs Northwestern)

It took five straight wins over inferior Big Ten opponents, but Wisconsin is finally back in the rankings after sliding into the No. 25 spot on Tuesday night. Now the Badgers will take a much-needed bye week to prepare for a Northwestern team that’s playing as well as any team in the conference this month.

4. Nebraska (4-6, 2-4) – Up 3
Last Week: Beat #7 MSU 39-38 This Week: Sat at Rutgers (3-6, 1-5), 3:30pm, BTN

Saturday night’s game between Nebraska and Michigan State demonstrated why college football is such a strange sport. Nebraska did nothing but find ways to lose close games in its first nine games, while Michigan State always found a way to barely survive. But the tables turned this weekend when Tommy Armstrong led a four-play, 91-yard drive with under a minute left in the game to keep the distant bowl dreams alive for first-year Cornhusker Mike Riley.

5. Illinois (5-4, 2-3) – Even
Last Week: Beat Purdue 48-14 This Week: Sat vs #3 Ohio State (9-0, 5-0), 12pm, ABC

Illinois continued to stay just above the lower-tier of Big Ten teams Saturday, hitting the road and smashing Purdue, 48-14. As specifics about former head coach Tim Beckman create a negative vibe around this Fighting Illini team, its got a chance to really shake things up this weekend in the battle for Illibuck with Ohio State.

6. Minnesota (4-5, 1-4) – Down 2
Last Week: Lost to #3 OSU 14-28 This Week: Sat at #5 Iowa (9-0, 5-0), 8pm, BTN

For the second straight week, Minnesota stayed within striking distance of a top 20 team deep into the 4th quarter but couldn’t quite pull off the upset. The Golden Gophers need two more wins to gain bowl eligibility, but unfortunately two of their last three games come against Iowa and Wisconsin.

7. Purdue (2-7, 1-4) – Down 1
Last Week: Lost to Illinois 14-48 This Week: Sat at #18 NW (7-2, 3-2), 12pm, BTN

The high point of Purdue’s season came last weekend when it crushed Nebraska by 10 points. After a 34-point home drubbing to Illinois, this is close to the lowest low.

B1G West Week 10

2015 Big Ten power rankings: Week 1

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Power Rankings_header

You see the excitement everywhere you go. Fans are sporting their favorite schools on their chests, talking about fantasy drafts and predictions and looking forward to Saturday tailgates and kickoffs. Rece Davis has taken over as host of College Gameday. Recruits are taking to Twitter to support their final schools. Jim Harbaugh is back in Ann Arbor to face off with Urban Meyer and Dark Dantonio. Finally, football is back.

Now maybe somebody should tell the Big Ten.

It was a terrible opening weekend for the conference, which won only eight of 14 games over the extended weekend. There were losses on the national stage with the whole country watching, losses to schools that have no business beating Big Ten teams and even a loss to a backup quarterback on a final-play Hail Mary.

Here’s how the conference shapes up after Week 1:

East Division
1. Ohio State (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Virginia Tech 42-24 This Week: Sat vs Hawaii (1-0), 3:30pm, BTN

After being crowned the first unanimous No. 1 team to open a season in college football history, Ohio State kicked the year off with a comfortable drubbing of Virginia Tech on the road. Cardale Jones won the highly-anticipated starting quarterback job and underwhelmed, completing just 50 percent of his passes for 186 yards. But Ezekiel Elliott gained 122 yards on just 11 carries and Braxton Miller gained a total of 140 yards in his first game as H back. The Buckeyes are loaded with playmakers and will likely cruise through the next nine games with ease.

2. Michigan State (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Western Michigan 37-24 This Week: Sat vs #7 Oregon (1-0), 7pm, ABC

Michigan State did not impress during a 37-24 win over Western Michigan on Friday, allowing Zach Terrell to tear apart the Spartan secondary for 365 yards passing. Connor Cook completed just 48 percent of his passes, a disappointing start for the senior. So why did Michigan State land at No. 2? The defense held Western to 0.8 yards per carry and the offense gained 452 total yards. If the Spartans can beat Oregon at home this weekend, they’ll be home free until October.

3. Michigan (0-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to Utah 17-24 This Week: Sat vs Oregon State (1-0), 12pm, ABC

How can Michigan be No. 3 after a loss to open the Harbaugh era? The Wolverines held Devontae Booker, one of the nation’s best running backs, to just 3.1 yards per carry, showed a pulse in the passing game with Amara Darboh and Jake Butt combining for 194 receiving yards and stuck with a top 25 team on the road. Jake Rudock had a disastrous debut for Michigan, tossing three interceptions and overthrowing two wide open receivers in the end zone. But the senior has a long track record of taking care of the ball, so his performance in one game isn’t likely to throw his entire season off the rails. The more pressing concern is Michigan’s running game, which picked up just 2.6 yards per carry with a long of seven yards. If the Wolverines want to compete, even in an average Big Ten, they have to be more effective in the ground game.

4. Maryland (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Richmond 50-21 This Week: Sat vs Bowling Green (0-1), 12pm, BTN

Maryland opened the season against an FCS opponent and took care of business, beating Richmond 50-21. Senior Brandon Ross stole the show, rushing for 150 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. As a team, Maryland gained 341 yards on the ground and just 138 yards through the air. We won’t know much about the Terps until Sept. 26, when they travel to Morgantown to clash with West Virginia. Once Big Ten season rolls around, Maryland will find it much tougher to average 7.6 yards per carry.

5. Rutgers (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Norfolk State 63-13 This Week: Sat vs Washington State (0-1), 3:30pm, ESPNU

The largest victory of the weekend went to Rutgers, which stomped a bad FCS team by 50 points. Quarterbacks Hayden Rettig and Chris Laviano scorched the Norfolk State secondary for 248 passing yards on just 15 total attempts for an average of 16.5 yards per attempt. On the ground, three running backs earned 10 or more carries and combined to gain 269 yards. Leonte Carroo enjoyed the second three-score game of his career, catching three passes (all touchdowns) for 129 yards. On defense, Rutgers held Norfolk State to an astounding minus 3 rushing yards on 23 attempts. The Scarlett Knights outgained the Spartans 539-196.

6. Indiana (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Southern Illinois 48-47 This Week: Sat vs FIU (1-0), 8pm, BTN

It looks like another long season is on tap for Indiana after a 48-47 home win over an FCS team that went just 6-6 in the Missouri Valley Conference last season. Jordan Howard stepped into Tevin Coleman’s shoes and ran for 145 and three touchdowns on 20 carries to lead the Hoosiers. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld contributed 398 total yards of his own to lead Indiana’s 595-yard offensive attack. But the defense, which allowed 32.8 points per game last season, surrendered 659 yards to the Salukis, including 517 to quarterback Mark Iannotti (411 passing, 106 rushing). Indiana came within a two-point conversion attempt of losing the home opener to Southern Illinois, which doesn’t forecast a strong 2015 season.

7. Penn State (0-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to Temple 10-27 This Week: Sat vs Buffalo (1-0), 12pm, ESPN2

Remember Christian Hackenberg’s freshman season, when he completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions? Well, all of those numbers worsened during his sophomore season, and this year he’s off to a terrible start following his performance on Saturday. The former No. 1 recruit completed just 11 of 25 passes for 103 yards and an interception against Temple, good for a quarterback rating of 3.2. Penn State couldn’t get its running game going, either, averaging just 2.9 yards on 28 carries. The defense, which allowed the eighth fewest points per game (17.7 – fewest in Big Ten) in the country last season, let Jahad Thomas run for 135 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Temple also completed 76 percent of its passes and outgained the Nittany Lions 313-183. A 17-point loss to Temple in the season opener makes next week’s matchup with Buffalo look much less like a sure blowout win.

West Division
1. Northwestern (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Stanford 16-6 This Week: Sat vs N. Illinois (0-1), 3:30pm, ESPNN

Okay, obviously Northwestern isn’t the best team in the West, nor do I expect them to finish ahead of Nebraska or Wisconsin — both Week 1 losers — this season, but after a week one upset of No. 21 Stanford, the Wildcats earned the top spot. The game certainly wasn’t pretty, but nail-biters in Evanston rarely are (see Michigan vs. Northwestern, 2014). The Wildcats absolutely stifled the Stanford offense, allowing just a pair of field goals. Stanford’s vaunted rushing attack gained just 85 yards and Senior Kevin Hogan was held to 155 through the air. Northwestern was led by redshirt freshman quarterback Clayton Thorson, who threw for 105 yards and ran for 68 yards. Though he completed just half his passes, Thorson’s 42-yard touchdown run was the only non-field goal score of the game and ultimately led the Wildcats to their 10th opening week win in 11 seasons (lost to Cal, 31-24, in 2014). Northwestern has another tough matchup in Week 3 at Duke and will enter Big Ten play as one of the more battle-tested teams from its nonconference schedule.

2. Wisconsin (0-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to Alabama 17-35 This Week: Sat vs Miami OH (1-0), 12pm, ESPNU

After Northwestern, the West didn’t have many inspiring efforts in the opening weekend. Wisconsin got pounded on the national stage by an incredibly talented Alabama team, looking nothing like the Wisconsin teams of the past decade. The team that sent running backs to the NFL each of the last three seasons (Montee Ball, James White, Melvin Gordon) was nowhere to be found against the Crimson Tide, running for just 40 yards on 21 carries. They were led by wide receiver Alex Erickson, who picked up 25 yards on just one carry. Joel Stave had a solid game to kick off his senior season, completing 26 of 39 passes for 228 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The story of the game with Derrick Henry, who ran all over the Badger defense for 147 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries. Wisconsin should roll through the rest of its nonconference schedule, but it missed its only regular-season chance for a statement win.

3. Minnesota (0-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to TCU 17-23 This Week: Sat at Colorado State (1-0), 3:30pm, CBSSN

Northwestern pulled off the biggest upset in the country on Saturday, but Minnesota came within a score of one-upping them on Thursday night. With the No. 2 team in the country visiting, the Golden Gophers fell a touchdown short of a win as TCU escaped by a score of 23-17. Minnesota’s defense wasn’t great, allowing 449 yards and 25 first downs. But it played well in its own territory and forced the Horned Frogs to kick three field goals, which kept the Gophers in the game. Mitch Leidner couldn’t get anything going in the passing game, throwing for just 197 yards 19 of 35 passing. Minnesota’s best weapon was Rodney Smith, who picked up 88 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Jerry Kill’s squad is coming off of back-to-back 8-5 seasons and could surpass that total thanks to a reasonable schedule.

4. Iowa (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Illinois State 31-14 This Week: Sat at Iowa State (1-0), 4:45pm, FOX

For the second straight year, Iowa opened the season against a Missouri Valley opponent in Iowa City. This time things went much smoother for the Hawkeyes. Iowa controlled the entire game, scoring midway through the fourth quarter to take a 31-0 lead and surrendering just a pair of garbage time touchdowns. Illinois State gained just 106 yards before those final two drives as Iowa’s defense held the Redbirds to 1.2 yards per rush. Ruduck’s replacement, C.J. Beathard, threw for 211 yards and a touchdown while LeShun Daniels carried 26 times for 123 yards. Iowa’s defense looked dominant coming off a season of allowing 24 points per game. The Hawkeyes will look to avenge last year’s home loss with a trip to Iowa State in Week 2.

5. Illinois (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Kent State 52-3 This Week: Sat vs W. Illinois (1-0), 12pm, BTN

If a team opens the season against a reigning 2-9 MAC opponent, it’d better end in a blowout victory. Luckily for Illinois, that’s just what happened Saturday against Kent State. The game was postponed Friday due to lightning, but that didn’t help the Flashes’ offense the following day. Illinois held Kent State to 245 yards and forced four turnovers in the 52-3 thrashing. Quarterback Colin Reardon had a miserable day, completing just 15 of 34 passes for 156 yards and three picks. The rushing game was no better, as Miles Hibbler led the team with 15 yards on eight carries. The Fighting Illini weren’t flashy on offense, either. Wes Lunt completed 11 of 19 passes for 162 yards and four touchdowns. The ground game picked up just 3.7 yards per carry, but five receiving scores were more than enough to bury Kent State. Next week’s matchup with Western Illinois should yield similar results.

6. Nebraska (0-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to BYU 28-33 This Week: Sat vs South Alabama (1-0), 8pm, BTN

The Cornhuskers’ last-second, Hail Mary defeat was both painful and untimely, but they definitely deserved it. Mike Riley’s team was sloppy in his first game under the helm at Nebraska, committing 12 penalties for 90 yards, turning the ball over twice and allowing BYU to gain 511 total yards. It looked like Big Red would come away with a win after knocking electric duel-threat quarterback Taysom Hill out of the game in the 4th quarter. But backup Tanner Magnum came into the game and scored 10 points in three drives to complete the come-from-behind win. His 42-yard Hail Mary to Mitch Mathews was poorly defended by Nebraska as the clock expired, and in the end, it was BYU receivers hugging the refs after a 33-28 win. Like Wisconsin, Nebraska struggled to run the ball after losing a starting running back to the NFL Draft. With Ameer Abdullah suiting up for the Detroit Lions, Riley couldn’t find a consistent rusher against a solid BYU front. Terrell Newby led the team with 10 carries and 43 yards, but the team’s 3.4 yards per carry wasn’t enough to erase a horde of penalties and miscues. Jordan Westerkamp was a rare bright spot in the loss, catching seven passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. He’ll have to be a consistent playmaker for the Cornhuskers if the running game continues to struggle.

7. Purdue (0-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to Marshall 31-41 This Week: Sat vs Indiana State (1-0), 12pm, ESPNN

Coming off a winless second half to end the 2014 season, Purdue stretched its losing streak to seven games Sunday with a 41-31 loss to Marshall. Starting quarterback Austin Appleby showed flashes of brilliance early in the contest, but a pick six on the team’s first offensive play of the season would ultimately prove prophetic. Appleby threw four interceptions in the opener despite completing 31 of 48 passes for 270 yards. D.J. Knox and Markell Jones were a great one-two punch out of the backfield, combining for 174 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries. The Boilermakers outgained Marshall 454-397, but the four turnovers were too much to overcome. Purdue will finish the nonconference season with three straight home games.

Big Ten Media Day transcript: Jim Harbaugh

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Harbaugh media day(USA Today)

Q. I think it’s always interesting how Ohio State and Michigan refer to one another. Brady used to call Ohio State “Ohio” and Urban calls them “the team up north” or “the rival.” Do you have a special adjective for your opponent, your rival?

COACH HARBAUGH: No. Ohio State in particular? Just Ohio State. But great to see everybody this morning. Glad everybody could be here. Wonderful turnout.

Q. How much have you learned from Paul Chryst and Mike Riley over the years?

COACH HARBAUGH: So much. That’s one of the exciting things about coaching in the Big Ten and knowing so many of the coaches. As you mentioned, Mike Riley, head coach at the Chargers when I was there, also Paul Chryst was a coach there and the staff. And some other connections.

Jerry Kill who a lot of competition with my dad. My dad has always said that Jerry Kill is one of the best coaches that he’s ever coached against.

Pat Fitzgerald, had a chance to spend some good time with him in Ann Arbor this summer. Really appreciated. Came over and was keynote speaker at our football camp. So a lot of friends in the Big Ten Conference.

Q. I wanted to obviously focus, there’s been a huge impact on your life in the days of Schembechler. Will you kind of incorporate those things that you will definitely keep in your system and maybe some of those aspects no way, I’m not going to do it the way that Bo Schembechler did it?

COACH HARBAUGH: Pretty much if we could do it the way Bo did it that would be something to aspire to. Not a day goes by really where I don’t think about Coach Schembechler from the time I leave my house to go to the office I live about five houses away from where Bo lived. And no matter which way I take to work, whether it’s Devonshire or Geddes or Stadium, I’ll often think well Bo probably took this right on to Washtenaw or took this left onto Hill. I know he took this left onto State Street and parked my car and walked by his statue.

Daily. I go to my office. I’ve got a picture of Bo there’s a picture of Bo and myself when we were at the Rose Bowl in ’87. And, yeah, so it’s to have his work ethic, to run the program like he ran it, yeah, those are things to aspire to.

Q. Michigan’s fan base has and will continue to be a perennial powerhouse in college football. It’s kind of one of the advantages of Michigan football. However, over the last couple of years, a little bit the attendance because of on and off the field problems, what is the team and the University doing to make sure that what is arguably the best fan section in sports, what are they doing to make sure that stays at 100%?

COACH HARBAUGH: Well, I don’t know how many things you can really do. If people don’t want to come to a game, you can’t make them come. So but doesn’t seem like we’ve had that problem at the University of Michigan as far as I can tell. So the spirit, the energy has been tremendous, I think everybody involved in Michigan and Michigan football is hungry for the 2015 season including the fan base.

Q. All of us who have good dads learned from them how to be a man. But what did you learn most from your father about coaching?

COACH HARBAUGH: My dad. I think of things like who had the most influence on me in my life, my dad, Bo Schembechler, Mike Ditka, Al Davis. With my dad, it was just he it was always my dad. He played catch with me, took me to games. And most of all, he just always believed in me. When it comes to advice whether it’s personally or professionally, he is the one I go to. Sarah and my dad and there’s others. But those two pretty much on every decision.

Q. Your return to Michigan has really reenergized people at Michigan, but it also created a buzz throughout the Big Ten. Did you expect that? And what do you think that means for the league overall and for Michigan?

COACH HARBAUGH: Well, I don’t know. I don’t know. Not striving to be creating any buzz. Just striving to coach the football team. Not trying to be popular or anything. Anyone who is popular is bound to be disliked. So just coaching football.

Q. What is John Baxter going to bring to the special teams aspect of the game? And how much time do you expect to be able to devote to that facet of the game in fall camp?

COACH HARBAUGH: He brings so much to the game. He’s been coaching 30, 40 years right here from Chicago. Great Chicago guy. You talk about the city of broad shoulders and charismatic, knowledgeable football coach at the highest level.

How much time we’re going to devote? I’ve gone through this practice schedule meticulously over the last months. And a lot. We’re going to devote a lot of time to special teams. It’s an area we feel like we can improve and that needs to be improved. And starting with Coach Baxter, feel very confident that we will. He’s just a heck of a guy to be around. Have you been around him? He’s awesome.

Q. I have to follow up on the Ditka comment since you mentioned him. What are some things you took from that experience?

COACH HARBAUGH: So many things. It’s your coach. It’s your coach. When you’re a player, your coach is it’s like family. There is your family. There is sometimes there’s a favorite teacher that you had growing up, grade school or high school. There’s sometimes a neighbor that you were very close to. Maybe somebody in the church or the clergy and your coach. And it’s so close to your family that I had a chance to spend the evening with Coach last night at his restaurant. And Diana was there and Sarah was there and it was just really, really special to be with my coach. So, in fact, I picked up a Ditka jersey from the restaurant.

Q. Did you get it autographed?

COACH HARBAUGH: No, no, he didn’t autograph it. But I’ll be proud to wear that.

Q. Coach, it seems like you have a lot of options right now at running back. Is there a particular name right now that’s especially impressed you so far?

COACH HARBAUGH: You know, that’s I’m hoping that happens. We’re at the start of camp here. And there will be plenty of license and plenty of opportunity for one, two, three of our running backs to assert themselves, come to the fore and be counted on. That we’ll be watching very closely and hoping that occurs early here in camp.

Q. When you got to Michigan in the last several months, what is the what did you definitely figure out you had to change culture wise or whatever?

COACH HARBAUGH: I really don’t have that list in front of me right now. But just how long have you been at “The Columbus Dispatch”? ’77. So I was thinking about this. Remember were you around when the Big Ten had the press caravan and go from on the bus, right? You go from that was the ’70s. You never did it?

Has anybody here ever done that, or is everybody too young? You can see why the game has gotten must have gotten a lot more popular since then. You could never get everybody here on a bus.

My favorite story. Were you there when I remember reading this. The caravan went to Columbus and reporters got out of the bus, and they have chairs and sandwiches set up on the sideline for all the reporters. And if things are weren’t going well in practice, Coach Hayes got upset and kicked everybody out of the practice. Threw a couple chairs. And all the reporters got on to their next destination a little bit earlier. I read about that. I would have loved to have been there.

Q. (Question off microphone.)

COACH HARBAUGH: Big, very big, as they all are. I don’t compare really one game to the next but it’s big. And you know, the biggest one right now is Utah. As Coach Kill talked about earlier. I mean, that’s we’ve got the same type of opponent first game on our schedule. Great team. Did not fare well against them last year. We go out this year to play them first game in college football. I believe it’s going to be the first game on September 3rd.

We’re preparing for it. We know it’s coming. And that’s where our focus is, you know, winning that game.

Q. What’s your general take of the talent level that you have to work with there? You just need to get everybody going in the right direction and things should be just fine?

COACH HARBAUGH: Well, I mean it’s like every year that your team changes, no matter what football team you’re on. And it’s a work in progress, every single season, every single year. And that’s what we’re enjoying doing. And it’s coming along.

And then you go through the winter conditioning and then the spring ball, and then the summer conditioning. And now it starts. This is the beginning, the training camp. And the rebirth of football, the rebirth of the season. And then you watch and you watch and you observe. And you can learn you can observe a lot by just watching. And I feel like I’ve been doing that. And I feel like our team is getting better every day. I really do.

Q. I saw a couple weeks ago you posted something from Paris on social media. That was you, right?


Q. What made you go there in July? Were you able to stop being a football coach? Did you take anything away from that?

COACH HARBAUGH: Yes. The most important thing, Sarah and I, we figured this out that it’s been eight years since we’ve spent more than a day just her and I and not all the kids and or some football function or some work related thing. Eight years since her and I had just spent time alone, so we decided to go there and that’s where she wanted to go. And I really enjoyed it. And yeah. Hopefully she enjoyed it.

*Quotes provided by Caption Northwest, Inc.

Michigan hoops preview: Nebraska

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Michigan (12-8, 5-3) vs Nebraska (12-7, 4-3)
Tuesday, Jan. 27 | Ann Arbor, Mich. | 7:00 p.m. EST | ESPN
64.8 Points/gm 65.3
(448-1,087) 41.2 Field Goal % 43.4 (420-967)
(163-461) 35.4 3-pt FG % 30.5 (104-341)
(238-321) 74.1 Free Throw % 71.8 (296-412)
11.9 FT Made/gm 15.6
31.9 Reb/gm 33.8
12.2 Assists/gm 10.1
9.9 Turnovers/gm 13.2
62.0 Points/gm 61.4
(459-1,050) 43.7 Field Goal % 38.0 (396-1,041)
(132-383) 34.5 3-pt FG % 30.0 (121-404)
33.8 Opp. Reb/gm 35.8
5.9 Steals/gm 6.3
1.9 Blocks/gm 3.3
Individual Leaders
Caris LeVert (14.9)*, Zak Irvin (13.6) Points/gm Terran Petteway (19.6), Shavon Shields (16.7)
Caris LeVert (4.9)*, Derrick Walton Jr (4.7) Reb/gm Shavon Shields (6.7), Terran Petteway (5.1)
*Out for season


Michigan took sixth-ranked Wisconsin to overtime on Saturday night couldn’t pull off the upset. Now, with just two days rest, the battered and bruised Wolverines host Nebraska, which is just coming off a win over Michigan State. Let’s take a look at the Huskers.

The Starters
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Terran Petteway (G) 34.7 19.6 43.6 34.9 65.5 5.1 2.5 3.5 1.1 1.2
Shavon Shields (F) 36.2 16.7 46.6 22.0 84.7 6.7 2.2 2.9 0.1 1.2
Walter Pitchford (F) 27.6 6.2 37.9 31.3 43.5 4.9 0.5 1.3 0.6 0.4
Benny Parker (G) 30.4 5.5 38.5 35.7 72.9 2.1 2.0 1.4 0.1 1.6
David Rivers (F) 28.1 4.9 49.3 00.0 75.0 4.9 0.8 0.6 0.2 0.6
The Others
Minutes Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast TO Blk Stl
Tai Webster (G) 17.2 4.3 35.8 20.6 73.3 2.0 1.0 1.4 0.2 0.7
Tarin Smith (G) 16.5 4.1 45.2 25.0 64.3 1.4 0.6 0.8 0.4 0.5
Leslie Smith (F) 12.8 3.2 46.2 00.0 66.7 2.8 0.8 0.0 0.2 0.6
Moses Abraham (C) 13.2 2.3 54.5 00.0 66.7 4.3 0.1 0.8 0.7 0.3
Nick Fuller (F) 6.1 1.7 55.6 33.3 80.0 1.0 0.3 0.3 0.1 0.0
The Schedule
Date Opponent Score
Nov. 16 Northern Kentucky W 80-61
Nov. 18 Central Arkansas W 82-56
Nov. 22 at Rhode Island L 62-66 OT
Nov. 25 Omaha W 80-67
Nov. 28 Tennessee-Martin W 75-64
Dec. 1 at Florida State^ W 70-65
Dec. 7 Creighton L 55-65
Dec. 10 Incarnate Word L 73-74
Dec. 13 Cincinnati W 56-55 2OT
Dec. 22 at Hawaii* L 58-66
Dec. 23 Loyola Marymount* W 50-42 OT
Dec. 25 Ohio* W 71-58
Dec. 31 Indiana L 65-70
Jan. 5 at Iowa L 59-70
Jan. 8 Rutgers W 65-49
Jan. 11 Illinois W 53-43
Jan. 15 at #7 Wisconsin L 55-70
Jan. 20 Minnesota W 52-49
Jan. 24 Michigan State W 79-77
Jan. 27 at Michigan
Jan. 31 at Minnesota
Feb. 3 Northwestern
Feb. 7 at Penn State
Feb. 10 #5 Wisconsin
Feb. 15 at Purdue
Feb. 19 at #16 Maryland
Feb. 22 Iowa
Feb. 26 at Ohio State
Mar. 4 at Illinois
Mar. 8 #16 Maryland
*Diamond Head Classic, ^ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Like Michigan, Nebraska has an embarrassing loss this season. The ‘Huskers lost to Incarnate Word, 74-73, on Dec. 10. But they entered Big Ten play with back-to-back wins in the Diamond Head Classic and carry a winning conference record into the Crisler Center.

The Series

Michigan holds a 10-2 lead in the all-time series with Nebraska and has won the last six meetings. Michigan has won all four meetings since Nebraska joined the Big Ten and has won the last five meetings in Ann Arbor. Last season, Michigan pulled off a 71-70 victory in Lincoln — the only Big Ten team to do so — and then won 79-50 in the return trip.


• Nebraska ranks 11th in the Big Ten in scoring (65.3 points per game) and second in scoring defense (61.4).

• Nebraska ranks 10th in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (43.4) and 13th in three-poitn percentage (30.5). However, the ‘Huskers rank first in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (38.0) and three-point shooting defense (30.0)

• Nebraska ranks last in the Big Ten in rebounding margin (minus-2.1), assists per game (10.1), and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.8)

• Terran Petteway is the Big Ten’s second-leading scorer, averaging 19.6 points per game

• Shavon Shields is the Big Ten’s fifth-leading scorer, averaging 16.7 points per game

Merry Christmas from M&GB!

Thursday, December 25th, 2014


Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013


Saturday, November 24th, 2012

That is all.

2012-13 Michigan basketball player preview: Glenn Robinson III

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

As we close out our individual previews on the incoming freshmen class, today we preview the highest-rated player and the first commit of the praised quintet, Glenn Robinson III.

#1 – Glenn Robinson III


6’6″, 210 pounds

Hometown: St. John, Ind.
High School: Lake Central High School
High School Stats (2011-12): 21.7 points, 7.5 reb, 4.1 assists, 2.1 steals per game
AAU: SYF Players
Projected Position(s): Small Forward, Power Forward (wing)
Committed: September 14, 2010
Major Suitors: Colorado, Valparaiso, Indiana State, Missouri State
Chances of Redshirt: 0 percent (barring injury)
Recruiting Rankings:
Rivals: 5-star – Overall: 11, position: 2
Scout: 4-star – Overall: 29, position: 8
ESPN: 5-star – Overall: 18, Grade: 97, position: 5, state: 2

Background: The similarities and differences between the recruiting roller coasters of eventual Michigan commits Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III are absolutely fascinating to recap, having intertwined at times and been polar opposites at other times. As we saw a couple days back, Mitch McGary started out as a virtual unknown big man in a small northern Indiana town that found its place on the map thanks in large part to Zack Novak. He quickly evolved and expanded his game to become one of the most coveted players in the country, garnering interest and offers from the who’s who of college basketball programs around the country. His commitment to Michigan was cause for great fanfare in Ann Arbor and for Michigan fans around the country. McGary’s last season of basketball on the high school level, however, saw him slip in the rankings from the consensus second-rated recruit to an average rank around 30th in his class – still exciting indeed, but perhaps not reason to throw a block party.

GRIII is already the best athlete on the team

Glenn “Tre” Robinson’s path was quite similar early on. He was regarded as a good high school player that would probably end up as an average contributor on a Missouri Valley Conference team. John Beilein saw something that no one else did, though, and offered Tre a scholarship at some point before his junior season began at Lake Forest. He committed shortly thereafter, probably for a combination of reasons that included him wanting to make a name for himself apart from his dad’s, a sense of belonging in Ann Arbor, and a chance to play on the Big Ten stage. Quite frankly, Michigan was by far Robinson’s most prestigious offer and he saw no reason to wait on pulling the trigger. At the time of his commitment, many questioned what Beilein was thinking, and I must even admit that I was on the wrong side of a debate with my roommate about whether or not offering Robinson was a smart move at the time.

Robinson’s sophomore season saw him average 16 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, good numbers undoubtedly, but certainly not the kind of numbers that blow you away when considering the competition level. He found himself generally regarded as a high 3-star, but he continued to grow and work on his game. As junior year rolled around and Robinson showed off his improved athleticism on his way to scoring 22 points and grabbing six rebounds per game, his stock started to climb. He grew a couple inches and measured in as one of the best athletes in his class at an offseason Under Armor event, showing off a 36-inch vertical.

Senior year arrived and Robinson continued to shoot up the boards, making it pretty easy to imagine what coaches at other big-time programs were thinking. “How did I miss this kid?” was certainly asked aloud many times while Beilein sat back watching his diamond in the rough flourish, leading his Lake Central team to its first-ever Indiana sectional title by noticeably improving all of his stats but scoring, which dropped less than half a point per game.

So while Mitch McGary turned heads on the AAU circuit playing alongside Tre under coach Wayne Brumm for SYF Players, it was Robinson who shone brightly in the last organized basketball of their high school careers, often throwing down highlight-reel dunks on unassuming opponents.

And even though Tre has now made a name for himself in high school, he still has gigantic shoes to fill in college. Many have already penciled him into the first round of next year’s NBA Draft, but Little Dog is certainly focused on setting himself apart in the Big Ten. Big Dog, Tre’s dad, was a phenomenal player at Purdue, where he averaged 30.3 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, leading the Big Ten in both categories, in his second and final season (as a junior) before being selected first overall in the 1994 Draft, the year Tre was born. He was awarded the Naismith and Wooden Awards and became the first Big Ten player to score 1,000 points in a season that year. The point is, Glenn Robinson was out of this world. And the truth is, Little Glenn is a completely different player.

In the end, Glenn Robinson III arrives at Michigan as the most heralded player since perhaps Lavell Blanchard moved across the street from Pioneer High School in 1999. He’s not his dad, but he’s out to prove that that doesn’t matter. Beilein saw something two years before anyone else did. This year, we all get the chance to see what he must have foreseen. The fanfare may have been delayed, but no more. Glenn Robinson III is a Michigan Wolverine.


What He Will Provide:

  1. 1. Athleticism: Tim Hardaway Jr., also the son of a former NBA All Star, is a good-to-very good athlete, but Glenn Robinson III will be the best athlete on this team without a doubt. The way he throws down power dunks with ease on his highlight videos is impressive to say the least, but I think his athleticism will cause the most excitement for John Beilein in the rebounding game. Robinson has been a good rebounder throughout his high school career and will be expected to be a Manny Harris-like wing who can grab a rebound above the rim and then lead the fast break. For the average fan though, Tre’s monster slams will be plenty enough.
  2. 2. Scoring: Sense a trend with this freshmen class and the scoring they can bring to the table? Tre will probably be the best of the high-powered bunch in the scoring column with his ability to drive, shoot, dunk, and get put-backs. You can also see in a couple highlights above a nice knack that Glenn has for playing the screen and reading the defender. When the defender goes over the screen and chases from behind, Robinson can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim to throw down, but when the defender goes under, he is also more than comfortable shooting the mid-range jumper off the dribble.

    Like McGary, GRIII already looks natural in the Maize and Blue

  3. 3. Versatility: This is another asset that this freshmen class should be able to provide Beilein with. Whenever a team adds five brand new players, those players should bring a variety of talents that lend their coach the ability to play in a couple different ways. This class meets the criteria, as Beilein could conceivably throw out all five at once and ably fill each position. Most of the freshmen, including Robinson, also have the ability to play a couple different positions. When Michigan wants to go smaller, Tre can play the four and stretch the defense, providing mismatches with his athleticism against bigger and slower players, but he should also be able to keep up on the defensive end with his cut 6’6”, 210-pound frame. When Beilein chooses to go big, Robinson can slide to the three and Hardaway to the two to create a lineup with four guys 6’6” or taller. Those are two vastly different looks that will both be used to exploit opponents in a multitude of ways.

What He Will Have to Work On:

  1. 1. Learning the Offense: I’m probably picking at straws here, because Robinson really does have an impressively complete game for being 18 years old, but he will have some learning to do. Everyone knows that Beilein’s offense is very complex, and even though Robinson will not be asked to handle the ball often and make the decisions that Trey Burke is tasked with, he will be asked to learn his position so that he can use his athleticism for the benefit of the team. If he struggles to learn the offense and finds himself in the wrong places, his scoring ability and athleticism will be largely wasted because Beilein’s offense relies so much on team work to succeed.
  2. 2. Handles: As I just pointed out, Tre (not to be confused with Trey I should add at some point) will not be the primary ball-handler on this team, but he will need to get his handles down so as not to get his pocket picked at the college level. We have seen Hardaway struggle at times in putting the ball on the floor, which sometimes forces him to become a one-dimensional shooter. Robinson would be wise to practice his ball-handling as often as possible so as to make himself as dynamic as possible on the offensive end of the floor.  
  3. 3. Gelling with the Vets: This is another aspect that each of the five freshmen, and to an extent all the players, will have to work on, but I think it might be most important for Robinson. Because he will be asked to probably be the third scorer on this team, he will have to mesh with Trey Burke and three other teammates on the offensive end of the court so he is getting the ball in the right places on the floor. On defense, Michigan will play mostly man, but Robinson will still need to communicate switches and helps. Right now he is the only freshman that is almost guaranteed to start from Day 1, so his chemistry with the rest of the team will be crucial to the team’s success.

Burning Question: How good is Glenn Robinson III’s shot and where will the majority of his points come from?

There is no question that Tre Robinson is a very highly-skilled player with a diverse skill set on offense. He’s going to score plenty of points, but how will those points come? He’s certainly a capable shooter, but no one is quite sure how good. We also know he can fill it up from mid-range and will be deadly around the rim, but I’ll be interested to see how his overall offensive game develops and where the majority of his shots come from.

Stat Predictions: 11.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals in 28 minutes per game.

Big Ten Champions!

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Yes, it’s a co-championship, shared with the two rivals, but it’s a championship. It means a banner in the rafters of the Crisler Center. It means a place in the Michigan and Big Ten record books. It means Novak, Douglass, Hardaway, Burke, and Morgan accomplished something Rose, Webber, Howard, King, and Jackson never did.

Not a player on this team was alive the last time Michigan won a Big Ten basketball title and John Beilein was at the helm of Division II LeMoyne College. Yet this gritty group of misfits and underdogs earned a piece of the regular season championship in the toughest conference in college basketball this season.

The Big Ten Tournament is on deck and the Big Dance will follow, but now is the time to celebrate. Congratulations to the 2011-12 Michigan basketball team. The Big Ten champions.

Michigan Man 5-Spot Week 1 Results

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Congratulations to umichfan1 for winning Week 1 of the Michigan Man 5-Spot Challenge! For his efforts, he will receive a commemorative Under the Light Game pint glass. See below for the full results. For future weeks, the leaderboard will not appear on the front page. We will announce the winner on the front page, but the weekly results will live here and overall leaderboard will live here throughout the season (over on the right sidebar).

Michigan Man 5-Spot Week 1 Results
User Name
Total Deviation Points Earned
umichfan1 129
Hazel Parker 173
the1tab 212
MaizeandGoBlue 236
Jim Mackiewicz 267
Skysdad 268
JBBond0077 268
myrick55 273
14 297
BringBack#1Jersey 303
BoMoHo 309
chris12qb 319
goblue897 319
collins1188 327 8
bluwolf77 350 7
TrueBlue88 350 7
mjwiersum 356 5
uniquenam 360 4
KevinWestMGoBlue 419 3
# 1 MICHIGAN 423 2
jnickp12 538 1

Umichfan1 was one of only three contestants to be within 100 of the correct result for each of the five questions. His largest deviation was 35 (total Michigan rushing yards – he guessed 225 and the actual result was 190).

Every single entrant overestimated Junior Hemingway’s output. Once again, umichfan1 was the closest at 21 away (he guessed 58 and the result was 37 yards). Everybody also overestimated Denard’s passing yards, but umichfan1 was only 28 away (guessed 126 and the result was 98 yards).

Users myrick55 and collins1188 were each just one away on the total number of points scored (they both guessed 45 and the result was 44).

Of course, the game was only two-and-a-half quarters long, which nobody could have predicted, so the actual results are lower than they would have been had it been a full game.

Check back on Monday for the Week 2 questions and another chance to win a great prize and build towards the grand prize at season’s end! Make sure to use the same username and email so your points will be counted together.