"B1G" tag

If Ohio State’s Noah Spence Sues the Big Ten, How Will That Impact B1G’s Image?

When news first broke of Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Noah Spence’s suspension, something just didn’t add up. Now we know why. Noah Spence didn’t get a three-game suspension for a dietary supplement, like was first reported. Rather, he was suspended for testing positive for “a small amount of ecstasy” in a random drug test prior to the Big Ten Championship game, according to an interview with Spence’s father by WHTM-ABC27 in Harrisburg, Pa. That’s only half the story, though, as the report also indicates that Spence’s family is also considering suing the Big Ten over how it classifies ecstasy. Whether or not the lawsuit happens or has a chance to work is for another time. Today, the question is: Will the Big Ten stick to its guns on how it classifies the drug going forward? It may seem like a matter of semantics, but it is an important question because the answer may affect what seems to matter most in this day and age, its image. See, the Big Ten classifies it as a performance-enhancing drug, while the NCAA classifies it as a street drug. The latter carries with it a far less harsh penalty, while the violation of the Big Ten’s performance-enhancing drug policy carries an automatic one-year suspension. Spence’s family, backed by Ohio State, already won an appeal of the original one-year suspension, according to WHTM’s report. An apparent second appeal went nowhere fast, hence the consideration of a lawsuit to get the rest…

Ohio State Basketball: What Will Marc Loving’s Impact Be in B1G Play?

It’s fair to say that Ohio State is a next-man-up program. One season’s class of seniors or the occasional gifted junior moves on and another crop of talented underclassmen bubble to the surface. Sure, there have been the occasional anomalies like the 2006-07 freshman class of Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Daequan Cook, but most of the top Buckeyes manage to at least reach upperclassman status if they don’t fully graduate. Terence Dials begat David Lighty, who begat Evan Turner, who begat William Buford, who begat Deshaun Thomas, and the circle continues unbroken forever and ever, amen. Experience is a key at OSU, particularly in the Thad Matta era. This season’s Buckeyes are loaded with experience. Matta’s nine-man rotation features two seniors and five juniors, nearly all of whom have had at least one occasion of strapping the team to their backs and carrying it to a victory. All of this makes finding minutes very difficult for freshman forward Marc Loving. The 6’7″, 215-pound product of Saint John’s HS in Toledo, Ohio is a scorer with a lanky body that will fill out as he reaches his upperclass years. His description should sound familiar. Following a Tradition In 2010, a dominant scorer from Fort Wayne, Ind., arrived on the OSU campus and proceeded to establish himself as a dangerous scorer off Matta’s bench. Three years later, Deshaun Thomas was an NBA draft pick. The 2011 class brought in a talented transplant from Mississippi by way of New Jersey. His…

B1G bowl opponent primer: Clemson

This week, we’re taking a closer look at each of the Big Ten’s bowl opponents. Up next: the Clemson Tigers, who will face Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl. Let’s begin …

DISCOVER ORANGE BOWL

Clemson (10-2) vs. Ohio State (12-1)

Miami Gardens, Fla., 8:30 p.m. ET, Jan. 3, ESPN

Clemson Tigers

Coach: Dabo Swinney (sixth year, 50-23)

Combined opponents’ record: 81-65

Common opponents: None

Leading passer: Tajh Boyd, 252-for-373 for 3,473 yards, 29 TDs and 9 INTs

Leading rusher: Roderick McDowell, 177 carries for 956 yards and 5 TDs

Leading receiver: Sammy Watkins, 85 catches for 1,237 yards and 10 TDs

Leading tackler: Spencer Shuey, 89 tackles, 5.5 for a loss

What to know: Thanks to a successful run on the recruiting trail and a prolific offensive scheme, Clemson has built itself into a program that appears ready to contend annually for at least a conference title under Swinney. The Tigers haven’t yet climbed over the hump into position to play for a national title, but after overcoming a rough patch during his second full season that seemed to put Swinney on the hot seat, they certainly seem to be headed in the right direction.

Clemson has won at least 10 games three seasons in a row and will be making its second appearance in the Orange Bowl in three years. The first trip didn’t turn out well as West Virginia put up 70 points in a blowout victory over the Tigers after the 2011 season, again putting their defense under fire after failing to do much to support a high-flying offensive attack that typically has no problems carrying its share of the load.

This year, that defensive unit has been steady and solid, giving up just more than 21 points per game to rank No. 17 in the nation. That helps balance the scales with an offense that scores more than 40 points per game. The Tigers were gashed, though, in Top 25 matchups against Florida State and South Carolina, yielding 51 to the No. 1 Seminoles and 31 to the rival Gamecocks to close the regular season. Key matchup: Ohio State star cornerback Bradley Roby has one final audition on the college stage before heading to the NFL draft, and he’s going to have his hands full with another surefire future pro. Watkins is one of the most dangerous targets in the country, and few defensive backs have been able to handle him without much help thanks to his explosive athleticism and playmaking ability.

The Buckeyes are at their best when they can play man coverage in the secondary and create pressure in the front seven, particularly when they turn Ryan Shazier loose as a blitzer. But an aggressive approach in getting after the passer requires lockdown coverage on the receivers, and the winner in what figures to be a spirited battle between Watkins and Roby will go a long way toward determining the Orange Bowl title.

More bowl opponent primers:

B1G bowl opponent primer: Clemson

This week, we’re taking a closer look at each of the Big Ten’s bowl opponents. Up next: the Clemson Tigers, who will face Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl. Let’s begin …

DISCOVER ORANGE BOWL

Clemson (10-2) vs. Ohio State (12-1)

Miami Gardens, Fla., 8:30 p.m. ET, Jan. 3, ESPN

Clemson Tigers

Coach: Dabo Swinney (sixth year, 50-23)

Combined opponents’ record: 81-65

Common opponents: None

Leading passer: Tajh Boyd, 252-for-373 for 3,473 yards, 29 TDs and 9 INTs

Leading rusher: Roderick McDowell, 177 carries for 956 yards and 5 TDs

Leading receiver: Sammy Watkins, 85 catches for 1,237 yards and 10 TDs

Leading tackler: Spencer Shuey, 89 tackles, 5.5 for a loss

What to know: Thanks to a successful run on the recruiting trail and a prolific offensive scheme, Clemson has built itself into a program that appears ready to contend annually for at least a conference title under Swinney. The Tigers haven’t yet climbed over the hump into position to play for a national title, but after overcoming a rough patch during his second full season that seemed to put Swinney on the hot seat, they certainly seem to be headed in the right direction.

Clemson has won at least 10 games three seasons in a row and will be making its second appearance in the Orange Bowl in three years. The first trip didn’t turn out well as West Virginia put up 70 points in a blowout victory over the Tigers after the 2011 season, again putting their defense under fire after failing to do much to support a high-flying offensive attack that typically has no problems carrying its share of the load.

This year, that defensive unit has been steady and solid, giving up just more than 21 points per game to rank No. 17 in the nation. That helps balance the scales with an offense that scores more than 40 points per game. The Tigers were gashed, though, in Top 25 matchups against Florida State and South Carolina, yielding 51 to the No. 1 Seminoles and 31 to the rival Gamecocks to close the regular season. Key matchup: Ohio State star cornerback Bradley Roby has one final audition on the college stage before heading to the NFL draft, and he’s going to have his hands full with another surefire future pro. Watkins is one of the most dangerous targets in the country, and few defensive backs have been able to handle him without much help thanks to his explosive athleticism and playmaking ability.

The Buckeyes are at their best when they can play man coverage in the secondary and create pressure in the front seven, particularly when they turn Ryan Shazier loose as a blitzer. But an aggressive approach in getting after the passer requires lockdown coverage on the receivers, and the winner in what figures to be a spirited battle between Watkins and Roby will go a long way toward determining the Orange Bowl title.

More bowl opponent primers:

Ohio State Basketball: LaQuinton Ross is the Key to Buckeyes’ B1G Title Hopes

Ohio State has the best defense in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy (subscription required). Aaron Craft may be the best point guard in the nation, according to Jay Bilas (ESPN Insider subscription required). But the key to the Buckeyes’ B1G title hopes is still combo forward LaQuinton Ross. That may seem like a strange claim about a player who is currently the No. 5 scorer on the OSU roster. Ross has demonstrated this season that he can be streaky, as he was in the Buckeyes’ first five games, going 10-of-44 (22.7 percent) from the floor, averaging 6.2 PPG. More importantly, in Ohio State’s last two games, he has also proven that he can shoot the eyes out of the basket. The 6’8″ junior was feeling it against North Florida and Maryland, scoring 17 and 20 points in those respective games, while hitting 8-of-13 shots from beyond the arc. Thad Matta’s 2013-14 mob has rolled through their first seven games with a perfect 7-0 record largely because of suffocating defense and balanced offense. The thought about Ross being the key to OSU’s conference title hopes in no way, shape or form suggests that the Buckeyes should transform into a one-man show. It would be foolish to reduce the roles of Lenzelle Smith Jr., Amir Williams or Shannon Scott. Each of these players is having excellent starts to this young season. But, they are, in ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan’s estimation, “not of the go-to offensive breed.” Ross displayed his combustibility in last year’s NCAA…

B1G Championship 2013: Is Braxton Miller or Carlos Hyde Bigger Threat to MSU?

No doubt the biggest storyline of this year’s Big Ten Championship Game has been the matchup between Ohio State’s high-powered offense and Michigan State’s stingy defense. Who wins out in the biggest battle of the game will depend on stopping the biggest weapons Ohio State can throw at you. That means trying to stop Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde. If you are MSU, though, you can only pick one to contain. The question is, which one do you pick? According to ESPN college football analysts Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack the answer is very simple—you stop Carlos Hyde. “This offense is where it’s at because of Carlos Hyde, it’s not where it’s at because of Braxton Miller,” said Pollack. “Carlos Hyde is a man-child. When you turn on the tape of Carlos Hyde there’s a lot of takers in the first quarter, in the second quarter there are less takers and in the third quarter it becomes a business decision. I don’t know if there is a more improved running back from last year to this year.” Hyde has rushed for over 200 yards in two of the last three games and despite missing three full games due to suspension, he ranks 16th nationally in rushing yards with 1,290 yards. Miller is no slouch either, though, averaging 6.8 yards a carry. But, if you are Michigan State, putting him in a position to have to win the game is a better proposition than stopping him and letting Hyde go off in the run game. The passing game is…

Roundtable: B1G defensive player of year

On Tuesday, we debated who should be the frontrunner for Big Ten offensive player of the year. Naturally, we decided to turn our attention today to who should be the league’s defensive player of the year. And the race is even more wide open on this side of the ball with two weeks left in the regular season. Here’s who we see as the top four candidates right now, though others have a strong case as well:

Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier: He leads the Big Ten with 14.5 tackles for loss and paces the No. 3 Buckeyes with 88 total stops, to go along with 4.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.

Wisconsin LB Chris Borland: Borland is the clear leader of a Wisconsin defense that ranks just behind Michigan State. He has 80 tackles and four sacks, though he did miss the Iowa game and most of the Illinois game.

Nebraska DE Randy Gregory: The junior college import leads the Big Ten in sacks with 8.5 and is second to Shazier with 13.5 tackles for loss.

Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard: The best cornerback in the league, if not the nation, Dennard has three interceptions and makes the Spartans defense go by locking down his side of the field.

To the debate we go … Those are four pretty good candidates, and we haven’t even mentioned guys like Shilique Calhoun, Max Bullough, Denicos Allen, Ra’Shede Hageman, James Morris, etc. Has any player truly separated himself in this race at this point?

Austin Ward: This is about as crowded as a field can get for an individual award, and it’s a reflection that there has been some pretty good defense played in the picked-on Big Ten this season. This race is going down to the wire, and a strong case could be made for all of the four finalists — and the margin isn’t that wide between those guys and the next wave of defenders worthy of consideration. Shazier’s production and vital importance to an Ohio State team that has had to replace so many key contributors from a year ago pushes him over the top, but it’s impossible to ignore how much individual talent is lining up defensively in the league. Mitch Sherman: It’s still wide open. Each one of the four brings something unique. I’ve seen more of Gregory than the others, and he’s simply an athletic freak, though a better candidate to be the league’s top newcomer. Shazier is probably the best football player in this group; Borland is the best leader and difference-maker in the locker room. And while it’s often tough to consider a cornerback in this kind of company, Dennard is dominant in a way I’ve not seen from any player nationally at his position.

Brian Bennett: It’s incredibly difficult to decide between the top four candidates we named, and some other defensive players are also having outstanding years. …

Roundtable: B1G offensive player of year

In two weeks, the Big Ten will announce its all-conference teams and major award winners, including offensive player of the year. No award has had more twists and turns in recent weeks, and unlike in past seasons, there’s no clear frontrunner entering the final two weeks of regular-season play. So we’re here to debate it. We’re considering three candidates:

Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah: 1,336 rush yards, 7 TDs, 133.6 rush yards per game, 10 games played

Ohio State QB Braxton Miller: 1,466 pass yards, 17 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 68 percent completions; 594 rush yards, 3 TDs, eight games played

Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde: 947 rush yards, 11 TDs, 135.3 rush yards per game, seven games played

Where’s Melvin Gordon and James White? Both Wisconsin running backs have had terrific seasons, but the fact they play the same position and have such similar numbers suggests that the votes would cancel out one another. We’re not slighting them, just being realistic. Let’s get started …

How close is this race right now, or has one candidate separated himself in your mind?

Austin Ward: While all three of those finalists are deserving, there’s a clear winner this year — and he’s the same guy who won it last season. Abdullah has been fantastic and has done some seriously heavy lifting to keep the Nebraska offense humming along, but Hyde has actually been more productive since conference play started, which effectively cancels the running backs out for me. Miller is a uniquely talented performer who makes everything go for one of the nation’s most prolific offenses, both in the passing game and on the ground, and he has improved dramatically since claiming player of the year honors as a sophomore. While having a sidekick like Hyde helps, Miller is the key to the whole Ohio State operation.

Mitch Sherman: Much like Gordon and White, I think Hyde and Miller could actually hurt each other’s candidacies. Both are fantastic players and key cogs in the league’s best offense. Abdullah does everything for Nebraska in the absence of running mate Taylor Martinez at quarterback. …

Kenny Guiton and Ryan Shazier named B1G Players Of The Week

Guiton Named Walter Camp Player of the Week
For his efforts, Kenny Guiton, who completed 21 of 32 passes for 276 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions (or sacks), was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s offensive player of …

Braxton Miller No. 2 on ESPN Heisman Watch

ESPN released their 2013 Heisman Watch today and Braxton Miller finished second just behind South Carolina’s defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.  Miller was the only player from the B1G to receive a vote.

Regarding Miller, ESPN had this to say:

If …

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