Recap of the Big Ten Conference Championship

For those of you who didn’t listen to my podcast I posted last week predicting the outcome of the Big Ten Conference Championship Game, thank goodness.  For those of you who did listen to it, I deeply apologize for my embarrassing prediction.  Remember when I said confidently Wisconsin would beat Ohio State 34-24?  Well, Ohio State must have listened to my podcast before the game, as they went on to dominate Wisconsin 59-0 in a game that was never close.  In my defense, nobody thought it would be that big of a blowout.  In case you missed the game here are the highlights below.

I made a bold prediction that Melvin Gordon would run for 175 yards and 3 touchdowns. Well, if I subtracted 100 yards and 3 touchdowns from that prediction I would have been spot on.  That’s right, Gordon rushed for 75 yards and 0 touchdowns.  I also thought Cardale Jones would struggle in his first career start, but instead he only threw for 257 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The only accurate statement I made throughout my entire podcast was stating Ezekiel Elliot would have to have a big game for Ohio State to win.  He had more than a big game as he rushed for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Ohio State played like a team trying to make a statement.  That statement was clear to the College Football Playoff Committee; clear enough that the committee pushed Ohio State into the top four of the College Football Playoff Rankings.  They earned a spot in the playoffs where they’ll meet the top ranked team, the Alabama Crimson Tide.  Can I bet against Ohio State again after their performance against Wisconsin?  We’ll have wait and see.

Before I close out this post, I’ll leave you with a hype-up video for each team who made the college football playoff.  Man, do I love bowl season.  Enjoy!

Alabama

Oregon

Florida State

Ohio State

Big Ten Conference Championship Preview Podcast

It’s that time of year, championship weekend.  This Saturday, conference foes will line up to battle for their respective conference championship.  Wisconsin and Ohio State square off at 8:00 PM ET, battling for the right to claim themselves Big Ten Conference Champions.  Listen in to my podcast below as I preview the two teams and share my prediction on the outcome of the game.

In case you aren’t familiar with either the Ohio State Buckeyes or the Wisconsin Badgers, I included these pump-up videos from each program to help catch you up. Enjoy!

Interview with Dickinson Red Devil Anthony Survilla

As most of you know, here at Dickinson College I am a member of the Red Devil football team.  Dickinson College athletics are Division 3, which differs quite drastically from Division 1 athletics in the Big Ten Conference.  Today I sit down with one of my teammates Anthony Survilla, a rising senior tight end, to discuss some of these differences and give you an idea of what Division 3 football is like.

Anthony Survilla #43

Anthony Survilla #43

Jack: So let’s start from the beginning, when do you typically report to football camp to begin the season, and how is that different than Division 1 programs?

Anthony:  We typically report to camp around the middle of August.  This year we happened to report on August 15th, with our first official practice starting on the 16th.  As for Division 1 programs, most teams report about two weeks earlier, at the end of July or beginning of August.

JackWhat is your daily schedule like during camp?

Anthony:  We’ll wake up around 6:30 am, then report to the Kline Center pool for our morning swim.  It’s not really a swim though, more like a morning run in the pool.  From there we go to the cafeteria for breakfast.  Then at about 8:30 AM we have meetings with our individual position coaches to install plays or watch film from the day before.  At around 9:30 AM we take the field for practice which usually lasts about two hours.  After practice we’ll eat lunch at the caf, then we have about 2 hours of free time.  Around 3:00 PM we either have a walk-through or our second practice of the day.  If we have a walk-through, it’s typically followed by a light lift to maintain strength.  Then we have dinner, followed by team meetings that typically run until 9:00 PM.  After our meetings we are done for the day, typically going to bed around 10:00 PM.

Jack: Do you think it’s much different for a D1 program?

Anthony: I don’t think it would differ much because if you look at our daily schedule, we don’t have much down time at all.  Maybe only two hours a day.  So I don’t think that D1 programs would be able to fit anything more into a day during their camp.

Jack: Now getting into the regular season, what would you say is the biggest difference between a typical day for a D3 player versus a D1 player?

Anthony:  I would imagine the biggest difference  between the two players would be the amount of time they spend on academics versus the amount of time they spend on football.  For me I spend about 3-4 hours on football, including practice, film sessions, and meetings.  Then the rest of my day is focused on academics, whether it’s going to class, doing homework, or studying.  As for a D1 football player, I’m not exactly sure how much of their day is spent focusing on football but I would guess it’s anywhere from 6-8 hours, with the rest of their day spent on academics.

Jack:  So are you suggesting that these D1 players have an easer academic course load than D3 players?

Anthony:  Not necessarily.  I know there are D1 football programs at top academic schools like Northwestern and Stanford where the players take tough academic courses at a prestigious university.  I’m sure they too spend a great amount of their day focusing on academics as well as football.  But I do know that many D1 programs aid their athletes with tutors to help them with their academics.  Unfortunately, some programs are taking advantage of these tutors and having them do the work for the athlete instead of assisting or guiding the athlete in completing the assignments.  Although this isn’t as common in football, it is prevalent with college basketball, specifically the  University of North Carolina scandal.

Jack:  Well, I don’t want to keep you much longer, but as you know this blog is focused on Big Ten football, so I have to ask you, what’s your favorite Big Ten team?

Anthony:  Penn State.  Since I can remember watching college football with my dad as a young kid, I have always been a Penn State fan.  Raised in northeastern Pennsylvania, I really didn’t have any other option.  Witnessing a whiteout game at Beaver Stadium is an unreal experience.  108,000 fans dressed in nothing but white going wild the entire game, it’s an atmosphere unlike any other.

Jack:  Alright Anthony, I appreciate you taking the time to sit down with me and answer a few questions.

Anthony:  It’s been a pleasure.

There are some big differences between Division 1 and Division 3 football, like size and athleticism.  There are even slight differences between our daily schedules.  But at the end of the day, we are both student-athletes who are focused on continuing our education while playing the game we love.

(I added the video below just to show you a little bit of Anthony’s ability on the field, turn down your volume though because it pretty loud.  Anthony’s hit is the first clip.)

Coach Jerry Kill Celebrates Minnesota Win in Odd Fashion

This past Saturday the Minnesota Golden Gophers played their in-conference rivals, the Iowa Hawkeyes, for the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy.  From the start of the game, the Golden Gophers showed dominance over the visiting Hawkeyes, riding a 35-7 lead into halftime.  Offensively, the Golden Gophers were scoring at will, running up and down the field behind redshirt sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner, who finished the game 10/13 with 138 yards passing and 4 touchdowns.  Of the 4 touchdowns, 3 were caught by the redshirt sophomore tight end Maxx Williams.  The Golden Gophers would continue the slaughter through the second half, winning the game by a final score of 51-14.  The Gophers would regain possession of the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy.

The Floyd of Rosedale Trophy

The Floyd of Rosedale Trophy

What happened in the  Golden Gopher locker room after the game was wild.  Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill was as fired up as his players after the big win, so what better way to celebrate it than to dance with the team.  That’s right, watch out Dancing with the StarsAfter watching these dance moves you may want to consider Coach Kill as a candidate for your show.

But this isn’t the first time that Coach Kill has got down after a big win.  Here is a throwback to last season when the Golden Gophers beat Penn State 24-10.

Watch out Coach Dantonio, you’ve got some competition for best dancing coach in the Big Ten.

Who do you think has the better dance moves? Coach Kill or Coach Dantonio?

Top 3 Big Ten Heisman Trophy Candidates

Since 2000, the Big Ten has only produced one Heisman Trophy winner, which was Troy Smith out of Ohio State in 2006, largely because the conference does not have the same flashy athletes to compete with the SEC and other big conferences.  But times are changing and the Big Ten is starting to recruit further south, stealing recruits from SEC territory. That’s why this year there are three players in the Big Ten conference who have a legitimate chance of holding up the Heisman trophy in New York this December.

3.  Tevin Coleman – Junior RB from Indiana

Although Tevin Coleman is considered a dark horse to win the Heisman Trophy, you can’t quite eliminate him from the watch list.  Coleman is having a fantastic season for a struggling Indiana team.  Coleman leads the conference is rushing yards (1060) and yards per carry (8.8).  All season, Coleman has been working his way up Heisman Watch lists as he slashes through every defense he faces.  If Coleman runs for a big game against Michigan State, one of the top defenses in the nation, this weekend, look for him to jump even higher in the Heisman rankings.

2.  Ameer Abdullah – Senior RB from Nebraska

Coming into this season, Abdullah was expected to be one of the top running backs in the nation, but nobody expected him to put up the numbers he has this season.  Behind a strong offensive line, Abdullah has rushed for 878 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Rushing for over 200 yards three times this season already, Abdullah has made a strong case to be named the Heisman Trophy winner.  His only slip-up this season came against Michigan State last week where he only ran for 45 yards, but still managed to score two touchdowns.  Look for Abdullah to rebound this week and put up big numbers against Northwestern.

1.  Melvin Gordon – Junior RB from Wisconsin

Wisconsin has had some great running backs the past few years with Montee Ball and James White, but Melvin Gordon seems to be in a league of his own.  Gordon has been virtually unstoppable this year for the Badgers, rushing for 1046 yards and a Big Ten conference best 13 touchdowns.  Gordon is considered to be the most productive back in the nation, largely due to his 175 yard and 4 touchdown performance this past weekend against Illinois.  He also posted a 200+ yard performance to go along with a monstrous 5 touchdowns earlier in the season against Bowling Green.  If Gordon continues posting astounding statistics like this throughout the rest of the season, he will find himself with an invitation to New York for the 2014 Heisman Trophy Presentation this winter, possibly even bringing it back to Madison, Wisconsin with him.

Big Ten Game of the Week

Game Details:

This week’s Big Ten Game of the Week is Penn State vs. Michigan at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The game is on ESPN 2 on Saturday, October 11th at 7:00 PM.

Penn State:

The Nittany Lions come into this game with a 4-1 record, 1-1 in the Big Ten Conference.  The Lions are looking to bounce back from a devastating loss to Northwestern at Beaver Stadium two weeks ago.  Coming off a bye week, the offense is determined to find success in the run game as they are rushing for just over a 100 yards per game.  In the air, Christian Hackenberg is leading Penn State’s offense with 295 yards per game passing.  Penn State’s defense continues to be stellar, only allowing 60.2 yards per game on the ground, which is good for second in the nation.

Michigan:

The Wolverines come into this game riding a three game losing streak.  Michigan’s offense has been struggling to find a rhythm this season behind quarterbacks Devin Gardner and Shane Morris.  With Morris concussed, Gardner will get the start on Saturday.  Earlier this week it was also announced that leading rusher Derrick Green will miss the rest of the season with a broken clavicle.  With all the struggles on the offensive side of the ball, the silver lining for the program has been the defensive play.  The Wolverine’s defense is only allowing 315.5 total yards per game, which ranks 19th in the nation.

Prediction:

The Big House provides a tremendous home field advantage for the Wolverines, but will that be a deciding factor in the game?  With Michigan’s offense struggling and the tremendous loss of Derrick Green,  Penn State should have a field day on the defensive side of the ball.  Look for Penn State linebacker Mike Hull flying around making tackles all over the field.  Christian Hackenberg is putting up stellar numbers this season in the air, and if Penn State finally finds their running game after this bye week, it may prove to be too much for this Wolverine defense.  With all that being said, my prediction is as follows:

Penn State beats Michigan by a score of 20-17

If this game is anything like last year’s showdown between Penn State and Michigan, we’ll be in for a good show.  Below are some highlights of the 4 OT thriller from last year at Beaver Stadium.  This should help get you hyped up!