Ty and Dan kick off their conference previews by talking with Big Ten Network’s Dave Revsine about Ohio State’s projections, losses on defense for Wisconsin and Michigan State, potential regression for Christian Hackenberg, Michigan’s dreadful offensive line in 2013, and much much more. Plus, a quick walkthrough of Dave’s fascinating new book The Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation.
Big Ten Preview with Dave Revsine (7/30)
Before welcoming in Dave Revsine, analyst for the Big Ten Network, the guys talk about some general storylines in the conference. Among other things, Dan brings up Michigan’s offense, the lack of balance between the divisions, James Franklin’s first season at Penn State, and some premiere talent at the top, like Braxton Miller. Ty throws out some obvious teams that everyone likes, but is mostly intrigued by a couple unlikely teams.
7:34 – Ty brings up the Big Ten Media Days by laughing at the idea that something interesting could come up. Dan does throw out some things he found intriguing, like Urban Meyer’s charisma, photoshopped green screens, and Jabrill Peppers.
9:10 – Dave Revsine joins the gang to talk Big Ten football. and his new book, The Opening Kickoff. Ty starts by bringing up his book and asks if things really were better in the past, because it reads as if maybe they weren’t. Revsine says that the thesis of his book is that everything in college football that’s important was important before. “Nothing new under the sun,” so he says. Ty asks about his background in writing and how that helped the production of the book.
13:39 – The kickers were the stars of yesterday, Ty says, and he asks how that could be and why it’s changed so dramatically. Revsine says that scoring and rule changes diminished their roles because strategies changed and highlighted other players. He goes on to talk about coaches blocking rule changes to suit their self-interests.
17:24 – Ty next asks about the evolution of the forward pass and how quickly it was implemented in football. Was it a quick adaptation or more steadily used over the years? Revsine breaks down specific years that rules changed which that let it grow and in the process he covers the big teams that used the pass. They round up discussion of the book by discussing what Revsine learned while doing research.
21:35 – The Big Ten has shifted its divisional structure with an east/west design and Ty wonders about the impact of that this season. Revsine says that at Media Days there were a couple things that stood out to most, including the lack of balance mentioned earlier.
23:17 – Starting in the East, Ty brings up Ohio State and some turnover on the offense, specifically the line, and he asks about their forecast for the upcoming year. Revsine doesn’t seem to think they’ll fall far from last year but mentions specific groups that need to improve.
25:02 – Another team that is built among the best in the conference is Michigan State, which is also losing key talent but on defense. Can they rebound and be a threat defensively? Revsine thinks the key is Pat Narduzzi for that side of the ball but he also brings up the offense and where they could be in 2014.
26:24 – Ty almost jokingly segues to Michigan State’s rival, Michigan, which got blasted in big games last year. Al Borges took the fall after the end of the season and Ty asks if the wrong guy got fired and if their offensive line play will improve. Revsine recaps some of their running woes last year and then mentions that some of that line got drafted, which shows that talent wasn’t the issue. Later on, Ty wonders aloud if Michigan fans would take back Rich Rod if given the chance.
29:40 – Penn State, Ty’s alma mater, has a new coach in James Franklin, who’s been generating excitement, but Ty seems concerned about a lack of depth. He asks if Hackenberg will continue to play well with losses on offense. Dave has similar concerns and breaks down where exactly fans should worry, including the offensive line.
31:20 – Jumping to the favorite in the West, Ty asks Dave how concerned he is with Wisconsin‘s losses on defense, especially considering their schedule. He thinks that a shift in strategy could help them, especially at linebacker, and the cross-divisional schedule could help them later on too.
33:05 – Nebraska in 2014 is rebuilding both the defensive line and offensive line and Ty asks how slim their margin of error is. Despite the lines changing, Revsine seems optimistic about other areas of the Cornhuskers personnel, which could help cover for them. There’s another portion of the defense he’s more concerned with than the line.
34:37 – Dave’s alma mater, Northwestern, was very unlucky at times last year and Ty asks if they could be recussitated to double-digit wins since they seem more experienced all over the field. Revsine brings up that injuries plagued them last year but that ultimately they played poorly at certain positions and that really has to change for them to improve. The schedule does not pay them any favors though.
36:36 – Ty says that it seems like when people are ready to count out “the enigma that is” Iowa for a season, they produce better-than-expected results. Will that happen in 2014, now that they have some momentum? Dave says that they have an amazing schedule and he explains exactly why that is. Coming out of the Spring, some of their talent inspired confidence but one group lost a lot of experience, which is concerning to Revsine.
38:41 – To keep things easy, Ty bundles up discussion of Illinois and Purdue and asks which is closer to respectibility. Without hesistating Dave gives his answer, based on talent stepping up, like the quarterback. Both were terrible on at least one side of the ball, but one was dreadful on both.
40:08 – When is the last time people were this optimistic about Indiana football? Ty asks if the personnel is in place for marginal improvement for the Hoosiers based on defensive coaching changes. Dave answers, “It is the eternal question, Ty.” Their defense has always been the question and he says that their offense is loaded in their pass-first spread attack, which might help if the other side doesn’t improve so much.
42:20 – Rutgers and Maryland join the Big Ten this year, both with optimism for a better season than 2013, and Ty asks about their respective ceilings. Revsine says he’s studied up on their past games and after talking to their coaches one team stands out from the other. They both could be good teams but one team just needs to side-step injuries to improve quickly.
46:30 – The guys close the show by talking about how hard college football was back in the day and how today’s teams would fare without the modern, revised rules and strategies. They also make sure to get in some good ol’ fashioned Big Ten jokes.