BIG 10 Preview by Trevor Griswold

By Trevor Griswold – (@tgriswold1)

Welcome to the Full 10 Yards BIG 10 Conference Preview!

There is nothing better than a Big Ten football game in Fall. A blue-grey October sky is the ultimate back drop for college football. Crisp fall air bites at any revealed skin during pre-game festivities. This year every team is vying to knock Ohio State off its pedestal. Will this be the year we get a new Big Ten Champ?

Looking Ahead…

Ohio State has sat comfortably atop the Big Ten standings the last few years. However, with Urban Meyer stepping aside is it time for a new team to rise up and dominate in Indianapolis?

Will a team emerge from the pack in the West? Or will the East continue its stronghold on the conference?

What About 2018?

Last season was a season of continuation. Ohio State continued to dominate the conference, Michigan failed to live up to lofty preseason expectations and the West division failed to live up to its Eastern counterparts. Purdue may have had the game of the season dismantling the Big Ten champ and Northwestern was able to turn their season around after a slow start to win the West. Ohio State and Michigan were the only teams to finish with double digit wins. Whereas, five teams missed bowl eligibility altogether.

Back to Looking Ahead…

So what is going to be different this season. Firstly Ryan “a New” Day takes over the helm of the King’s of the North. As the rest of the conference looks to take advantage of Ohio State’s inexperienced coach, he looks to improve upon the dynasty that Urban Meyer has built. Getting away from the coaches, there are players that are poised for great seasons within the conference. There are four End rushers that quarterbacks will have nightmares about. These four plan to leave a trail of quarterback tears and broken offensive coordinators in their wake. They are AJ Epenesa Jr. from Iowa, Kenny Willekes from Michigan State, Yetur Gross-Matos from Penn State, and lastly Chase Young from Ohio State. All future stars of the NFL. On the offensive side we have game breaking talent such as breakout star Rondale Moore superstar talent Jonathan Taylor, big name transfer Justin Fields, and often injured but super talented Tarik Black. The Big Ten is not hurting for talent as there are countless others that will make huge plays throughout 2019.

Top Shelf Heavy Hitters

This season there seems to be only two realistic teams that have a shot at making the College Football Playoff.

Ohio State- the King of the Big Ten and will be tough to knock off again this season. They are favored in every game this season but one. Ohio State can go 12-0 in the regular season winning the East division as long as Justin Fields lives up to the hype and is a nightmare for defenses week in and week out. The defense needs to be much more consistent than last season. This One team that could give them the most trouble if everything goes their way is…

Michigan- The offense in Ann Arbor this season seems to be more up to date than the recent slow paced pro offense Harbaugh has had the last few seasons. If Patterson can get comfortable in this new offense and be able to maintain drives, as well as the defense maintaining its dominance after losing several key pieces this team can be a true playoff contender.

Dark horse?

With a little luck and exceptional play there are four other teams notable of a conference championship run. Starting with…

Wisconsin- Jonathan Taylor and company look to prove last season was a fluke and plan for a trip to Indy come November. Can Jonathan Taylor do it by himself? He may have too as the rest of the offense is nothing to write home about. The defense has some young promising defensive backs and hope a couple turn out to be leaders. All in all Wisconsin is spoiled with a weak division and could find itself being carried all the way to a conference championship behind a generational talent in Taylor.

Minnesota- This may come as a surprise as Minnesota hasn’t won a conference championship in over 50 years. PJ Fleck is now on his third year with the Golden Gophers, when he last was in his third year at a new school he took that team to an undefeated season. A light schedule with lots of returning talent and a young thriving coach can put Minnesota where they haven’t gone since 1962.

Michigan State- It seems year in and year out this squad is under rated. This season is no different. As in-state rival UofM is getting hyped for a playoff run Michigan State will quietly have arguably the best front 7 in football. Lead by seniors Kenny Willekes and Joe Bachie the front seven will wreak havoc all year long. However, an anemic offense could hold this team back from competing for a conference championship? Will a healthy Brian Lewerke be able to score enough points week in and week out?

Iowa- a perennial middle of the road Big Ten squad may have enough talent to win a weak West division. Iowa lost plenty of talent this offseason but a solid quarterback in Nate Stanley and arguably the best pass rusher in A.J. Epenesa, Iowa is reloading and ready to compete. Iowa maybe the favorite to win the West if not for the brutal schedule featuring road games at Iowa State, Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Northwestern.

We think we can, we think we can, can we…?

Lost in the fold, there are five teams that have a slim shot of pulling some upsets, riding on their young superstars and shocking the conference, maybe. These teams have reasons to be hopeful, but in the end, just ins’t as talented as the teams mentioned above. Starting with,

Penn State- This offense has been spoiled with superstars manning the backfield over the last few seasons. This year the East divison will look to exploit the youth on offense. Penn State will have to lean on its defense for the first time under James Franklin. Yetur Gross-Matos will cause disruptions in the back field. A pair of sophomores in Sean Clifford and Ricky Slade look to score points on offense.

Purdue- Purdue has found a superstar in WR Rondale Moore. Jeff Brohm has turned this program around and has created a winning atmosphere in West Lafayette. The defense should be better this season with a lot of starters returning. Can the offense find any one other than Rondale Moore to make plays? One thing is for sure, the late great super fan Tyler Trent will continue to be motivation for this under dog team. Expect a miracle or two this season for the Boilermakers.

Northwestern- The reigning champs of the Big Ten West will have a tough road back. The defense will be adequate to win the West but can the offense get to a championship level? Incoming Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson will look to be the answer at QB. Hunter Johnson will have to start fast as four of the first five games are against quality opponents. This season looks to be a challenge for coach Pat Fitzgerald who enters his 14th year manning the sideline in Evanston.

Nebraska- Fans in Lincoln believe Nebraska is back after Husker legend Scott Frost led the team to a promising second half of the season last year. Patience is a virtue, I believe Husker fans will need some as this team is not yet ready to contend for a conference championship. One could argue that Adrian Martinez is the most talented QB in the Big Ten. Combine that and the fact that the players will have another year under Frost’s system has led fans to believe this is their year. Frost and Martinez are both the real deal. However, I believe it will take atleast one more year to see this team bloom enough to fulfill these lofty expectations.

Maryland- Similarly to Nebraska, Maryland has a new coach that is receiving high expectations. However, most know that this program will take a couple years to turn around after it was left in turmoil for Mike Locksley. Anthony McFarland plans to build off his solid freshman campaign and Virginia Tech transfer QB Josh Jackson looks to make this coaching transition a smooth one and to shock the East division with a couple upsets.

Good luck next year

Three teams come to mind that have little to no expectations on the season. A 6-6 record and a bowl bid would be ceiling for these squads.

Indiana- The Hoosiers are bringing back 15 starters from their 2018 campaign. That is usually a sign of good things to come. However the talent gap between Indiana and the top 4 teams in the East division are much too great for Indiana to make a move up the rankings. Indiana needs to produce a line to protect their signal caller, as well as a QB to disburse the ball between their adequate skill players. A name to watch is Stevie Scott who ran for over 1000 yards as a freshman.

Rutgers- Head Coach Chris Ash is on the hot seat after finishing 1-11 last season in his third campaign. The offense couldn’t score and the defense couldn’t get stops. Ash expects his team to get bowl eligible this season. To do this QB Artur Sitkowski has to see major improvement, as well as lean on running backs Raheem Blackshear and Isaih Pecheco.

Illinois- Three seasons ago Illinois landed Lovie Smith who famously coached the Chicago Bears to the super bowl. There has been any excitement since as Coach Smith has a 9-27 record entering this season. This team, on paper doesn’t look much better than last seasons. However, with a soft non-conference schedule and getting Rutgers from the East the Fighting Illini are just a couple upsets from bowl eligibility. The defense brings back nearly every starter from a season ago that saw the team struggle to stop opponents. They look to improve after another year to work with each other. On the offensive side Reggie Corbin looks to make an impression on his senior year campaign after rushing for over 1,000 yards last season.

Final Predictions

East division:

  1. Ohio State 12-0 Big Ten Champ
  2. Michigan State 9-3
  3. Michigan 9-3
  4. Penn State 7-5
  5. Maryland 4-8
  6. Indiana 3-9
  7. Rutgers 2-10

West division

  1. Minnesota 10-2
  2. Wisconsin 9-3
  3. Purdue 8-4
  4. Iowa 8-4
  5. Nebraska 6-6
  6. Illinois 5-7
  7. Northwestern 5-7

June Competition

JUNE – A Von Miller Texas A&M Jersey

To win the prize, you must:

  1. Follow @Full10YardsCFB
  2. RT The Competition tweet

When 500 followers is reached on the Twitter Account, a winner will be drawn at random and announced on the podcast following the 500 follower threshold being hit. You must satisfy both criteria as set above in order to be considered an entrant in to the draw.

The winner will have 1 week to claim the prize otherwise it will expire and we will redraw a new winner. Process will continue until the prize is claimed.

Pick It Apart; LJ Collier

Pick it Apart!

The Draft is in the books and the dust has settled. But how well did your team do in the first round?

We are taking a look back at every selection in the first round and giving you the lowdown on the pick; Was it a reach? Was it a steal? We’ll tell you and give you the impact for fantasy football….

Pick: #29

Player: LJ Collier

Drafted by: Seattle Seahawks

Grade: B-

Analysis:

If you managed to get this fair with a perfect board, firstly you’re lying and secondly, you’d have been downed by this pick.

Seattle danced around the back end of the 1st round only ending up picking once. They invested that pick in Collier, the defensive end out of TCU. This has all the hallmarks of a classic Seattle pick; rugged, raw, and explosive with a decent amount of power. He isn’t the biggest or most athletic, but his profile is one that usually translates to a decent pass rusher in the NFL.

He’ll need to get a bit more bendy at the knees and hone his change of direction skills but will try and utilise his strength and his bull rush to knock the QB off his perch.

He doesn’t have a lot of starter experience in his College career and that will need to be developed by Seattle but I think we need to trust the coach and the front office on this one because historically, Seattle are a team who usually have different draft boards from everyone else and this pick seems to be no different. Their past record in drafting speaks for itself and whilst it’s hardly the start of the Legion of Boom 2, I am not going to sit here and say he’ll be a bust. You don’t bet against Pete Carroll. He is the master at getting the most out of the young studs.

Fantasy Football Impact:

Seattle aren’t quite the defence of old but still are a decent defence in the right matchup or at home. Collier will look to add to the sack column from day 1.

Pick It Apart; Marquise Brown

The Draft is in the books and the dust has settled. But how well did your team do in the first round?


We are taking a look back at every selection in the first round and giving you the lowdown on the pick; Was it a reach? Was it a steal? We’ll tell you and give you the impact for fantasy football….


Pick: #25


Player: Marquise “Hollywood” Brown


Drafted by: Baltimore Ravens


Grade: B+


Analysis:

The Oklahoma WR was the first one off the board at his position.

What does this mean? In general, not a lot but it says a lot about the team’s opinions and value on the player when the team selecting them decide to choose them over everyone else available in the draft.

Considering the Ravens are a heavy run first team, some were surprised at this pick.

I was not.

Baltimore just had to get some Wide Receivers in order to try and make defences honest; Marquise Brown was my favourite WR coming in to the draft and loves YACing it up like a 19 year old on their birthday in a nightclub. Marquise Brown can do all the routes and will provide an instant option from day 1 on all the short and intermediate plays with the occasional 9 route to keep it interesting.

In his 2 seasons with the Sooners, Brown posted over 1000 yards in both seasons (he did have Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray throwing him the ball) including a Oklahoma  single game record of 265 receiving yards against Oklahoma State.

These numbers meant he was a First Team All American and All-Big12 selection.

“Hollywood decided to forego his final year to declare for this year’s draft.

He isn’t the biggest at 166lbs and didn’t appear at the combine due to a Lisfranc injury (which may still niggle him for a few months yet) so there are questions marks about whether he’ll be able to take on the big boys. But he is a speedster, who will create separation and will get open, perfect for his new QB. He isn’t a guy who will win your typical 50-50 balls, which is good because Lamar Jackson will not throw into tight windows in this type of offence.


Fantasy Football Impact:

A lot of people will be turned off by the offence he is in, a lot of people will be turned off by the Quarterback that is throwing him the ball. This will mean that a lot of leagues will see him undrafted in redraft leagues in 2019. He’ll be a waiver wire pickup for sure if that is the case.

However as with all rookie WR, they are always seen as shiny new toys so there will no doubt be people taking him with a last round pick (dont pick up kickers, kids). Added in to that, the fact that he’ll have big games here and there means he is perfect for Bestball leagues. He can run every route and he’ll be open a helluva lot. I like Brown as a sleeper this year.

What can you expect from Brown in year one?

Well, certainly not anything near his cousins numbers (yes, even in Oakland). Anything around the 50 receptions mark can be expected along with anything around 600 yards and a couple of TDs. A lot will depend on his ability to get YAC, something he excelled in at College. Much more of an exciting dynasty prospect and usually goes in around the early part of round 2.

SIGN. ME. UP!

Pick It Apart; Jeffrey Simmons

Pick it Apart!

The Draft is in the books and the dust has settled. But how well did your team do in the first round?

We are taking a look back at every selection in the first round and giving you the lowdown on the pick; Was it a reach? Was it a steal? We’ll tell you and give you the impact for fantasy football….

Pick: #19

Player: Jeffrey Simmons

Drafted by: Tennessee Titans

Grade: B+

Analysis:

It didn’t feel right giving the Titans an A- for this purely because they got the injury discount.

Baked in to that as well is the fact that who knows whether Simmons will have the same juice and explosiveness on the edge. Uncertainty causes doubt, just look at the strength of the pound and Brexit. That being said, if Simmons was a full go and 100%, he would easily be a top 6 picks, well top 7 because you know…the Giants.

The Mississippi State defensive tackle is regarded as one of the most talented in this draft class and was considered a five star recruit coming out of Noxubee County High School. Simmons choose Mississippi State over Alabama and Ole Miss and his production increased each year through college. Unfortunately, Simmons tore his ACL whilst training for the draft so it’s unlikely that we will see him in 2019. When he does return, he’ll slot quite nicely in this Titans defence that is ridiculously underrated. After investing in linebackers Harold Landry and Rashaan Evans in 2018, this Titans defence has plenty of upside, youth and talent.

But what does Simmons bring on the defensive line?      

The 6”4, 300+lbs pass rusher is an impressive physical specimen, with lots of power and strength who will be a handful for double teams, let alone man to man.

On the flip side though, there are character concerns. In March 2016, he pleaded no contest to simple assault after attacking a woman (why? Just why do people do it?) but has been “out of trouble” since.

All in all, if Simmons can come back from the ACL tear and regain his elite talents, this could be a home run pick for the Titans and a pick that could see their defence be a stellar one for the foreseeable future. They’ll need him to be elite, with the depth at the position not great and other injuries there too.

Fantasy Football Impact:

Simmons certainly wont be troubling draft boards or IDP leagues this season, you have to wonder if he ever will considering the position he plays. In standard leagues, the Titans pose themselves as undrafted types, but that is an error on the GMs part because I think the Titans will keep opposing teams to low scores (3rd best in pts allowed, 8th best in yards allowed) and they have good turnover abilities on the back end. A sleeper pick for me.

Pick It Apart; Jonah Williams

Pick it Apart!

The Draft is in the books and the dust has settled. But how well did your team do in the first round?

We are taking a look back at every selection in the first round and giving you the lowdown on the pick; Was it a reach? Was it a steal? We’ll tell you and give you the impact for fantasy football….

Pick: 11

Player: Jonah Williams

Drafted by: Cincinatti Bengals

Grade: A

Analysis:

Love this pick for the Bengals; Area of need, top 3 at the position and a day 1 starter who will make an immediate impact and improvement.

The guard from Alabama stands at 6”4 and 302lbs and was a 5 star recruit at Folsom in Cal.

Williams left school early to get a head start on his journey to the NFL and it actually paid off.

Plenty of starts in all 3 years led to plenty of awards and accolades which was the result of his technique but also versatility along the front line. He is a steal, if you can get those at pick 11 in the first round and has a variety of techniques to succeed against all the defensive lineman trying to nudge their way past.

It would have been interesting to see if pick 10 resulted in Devin Bush still being on the board at 11, because that was another need for the Bengals and would have been intriguing to find out what Zac Taylor and the Bengals front office thought would have been a more worthy pick.

I would guess that Bush would have been the selection so in some ways, the Bengals perhaps were lucky that they didn’t have to make a tough call if both were sitting there.

Regardless, Jonah Williams will have a long and successful career in the NFL and his primary job will be to keep Dalton upright and provide big gaping holes for Joe Mixon.

One aspect to love about Williams is that he is a self-confessed “Film Junkie” and we aren’t talking about Star Wars or The Shawshank Redemption, we are talking game film. He views the position as a full time job, even at College, which can only mean that he is going to come on leaps and bounds, even in year one and you can tell that he’ll search for perfection for years to come. It’s a great attribute to have and I look forward to seeing his skills in a tough, nasty division (the Browns are in there, too). To epitomise how much of a perfectionist Williams is, check out Jordan Raanan of ESPN’s article about how Williams created Excel Spreadsheets detailing the number of moves defensive lineman used against him and their pass/fail rates (Article can be found here: http://www.espn.co.uk/nfl/draft2019/story/_/id/26560208/jonah-williams-unique-preparation-make-nfl-draft-top-tackle).

Fantasy Football Impact:

This move will indirectly help the offence so Joe Mixon ticket holders will be very happy with this selection. If you don’t have time in the pocket at QB or you don’t have the lanes open for the RB, you aren’t scoring fantasy points. Williams will be an unsung hero of the Bengals offensive line.

Pick It Apart; Ed Oliver

Pick it Apart!

The Draft is in the books and the dust has settled. But how well did your team do in the first round?

We are taking a look back at every selection in the first round and giving you the lowdown on the pick; Was it a reach? Was it a steal? We’ll tell you and give you the impact for fantasy football….

Pick: #9

Player: Ed Oliver

Drafted by: Buffalo Bills

Grade: A-

Analysis: The rumour mill was churning that Ed Oliver could have gone as high as #3 overall to the Jets, so this has to merit some kind of value here to the Bills at 9. I think that this was about right for the defensive tackle out of Houston. It would have been interesting to see if they would have still opted for Oliver had TJ Hockenson been on the board.

The Bills defence, middle of the pack in terms of rushing defence in yards and 26th in sacks(but ranked no.2 overall) do need a bit of an oomph up the gut after the exit of Kyle Williams and Oliver will bring it. He brings a quick, explosiveness to the position and whilst many say he may be too big (6”3 and heavier than Aaron Donald for perspective), he will do exactly what Sean McDermott picked him for. Although many considered Oliver to have a somewhat underwhelming 2018 and final college season (Oliver declared prior to his final college season that he would declare for 2019), he still finished with 54 tackles (14.5 for loss, 3 sacks( in 8 games after missing a bit of time with injury.

His transition in to the league will mean that he’ll look to fill those big boots vacated by Kyle Williams and does bring a slight question mark about character (had a bit of a run in with a coach in college during a game over a jacket). Expect Sean McDermott, a coach known for his knack of getting the most out of his players and getting them all to play for him, to give Oliver 1 simple task…get after the Quarterback. McDermott attended Oliver’s pro day and it seems as if Oliver was hand picked by the Bills HC should he have gotten to #9 overall, so it would have been REALLY interesting if TJ Hockenson was there. Unfortunately, that’s something we’ll never know….just like why Jon Snow didn’t pet Ghost before leaving Winterfell.

Fantasy Football Impact:

Buffalo Bills defence are sneaky good, and Oliver could be a sneaky addition in IDP leagues with his duty to essentially go and get the Quarterback. Considering how good the back end of this defence is and the other teams in this division, he could rack up a decent about of sacks in his rookie year.

Podcast 61 – Week 12 Review

In this episode, we recap all of the week 12 games and discuss all the talking points.

We ask some pondering questions coming out of the games including which QB you would start a franchise with, which QB should the Ravens ride with to close the season and whether the Texans can take the #2 seed?!

Regular Tuesday segments Stinkers/Stonkers, Jason Garrett Corner, Thursday Night Football preview between New Orleans and Dallas and some week 13 fantasy waivers along with everyone’s favourite NFL Quiz – The Full10Questions.