Last week I posted responses to questions that were sent out to all members of the Big Ten Bloggers network. The questions are courtesy of Linebacker U, which for casual football fans is a nickname for Penn State. With March Madness and the college sports off-season, only four Big Ten Bloggers chose to participate this round. Here's a few highlights from those other Big Ten Bloggers:
Northwestern's Lake the Posts comments on their incoming recruiting class:
The overall theme was an increase in athleticism and speed. WR Tony Jones (Grand Blanc, MI) appears to be a real coup for us and NU fans were thirsting for a RB based on our dismal performance last year - and we closed with a good one - Adonis Smith. Ironically, one of the true future stars of the class might be the guy from our own back yard with the NFL-type name - Chance Carter, a DE from Evanston who chose NU over Nebraska and Notre Dame.
Michigan blog Maize 'n Brew comments on their biggest shoes to fill from the 2009 team:
Cornerback Donovan Warren. I know we just lost Brandon Graham, but Michigan is pretty deep at defensive line this season, so while production will obviously drop off, it's not like we're staring down the abyss. Warren's departure, however, is potentially crippling. Michigan was already thin at DB to begin with, and losing a three year starter with a year of eligibility to go, especially one that would've been a First Team All Big Ten corner, scares the hell out of Michigan fans. What it comes down to is players from an awful defensive backfield last season are going to reach a level of play they haven't shown the ability to reach at this point. It's also going to take some of the Freshmen and red-shirt freshmen being as good as advertised. Warren at least took the pressure off one side of the field.
Meanwhile, competing Michigan blog Maize and Blue Nation considers the Penn State quarterback to be the most heated competition heading into the Fall:
I'd have to say the QB spot in Happy Valley will be interesting to watch. Darryl Clark left some pretty big shoes to fill. It wasn't always about his ability or his stats, which were both typically good, but he ran that offense with such poise and purpose. It will be interesting to see who steps forward there. Former 2009 Michigan commit - turned Penn State signee Kevin Newsome is my pick for the starting role on Sept. 4th against Youngstown State.
Not to be outdone, Maize 'n Brew also focuses on a quarterback competition, this one for Ohio State:
Terrelle Pryor v. Himself. Ohio State comes into the year as the most talented and deepest team in the conference. The big question for that team is which Terrell Pryor is going to show up. Is it going to be the Pryor we saw in the Rose Bowl or the Pryor we saw against USC? Pryor's mechanics and penchant for throwing off his back foot when he gets in trouble were his calling card in close games, and it's what cost OSU the USC game. He seemed to correct those issues as the season ran to a close, but one game does not a career make. If he can learn to stand in the pocket under pressure, take the hits to deliver the pass, and be the quarterback he's been reputed to be since high school the Buckeyes could be a legitimate BCS contender. But if he takes a step backwards this season, OSU could be one of the more disappointing teams in the conference based on their expectations going into the season.
So, the takeaway message is that Michigan fans are watching Penn State and Ohio State very closely. It's the Big 3, right? Well, that is the unfortunate reality until another Big Ten team can make it to the national title game.