Pickin’ On the Big Ten, Week 9: All These Miles, None of Them Les

ameer abdullah

This week’s Big Ten football schedule features two of the longest roads trips possible for conference teams — and the absolute shortest. No doubt some of these teams will be wishing they’d just stayed home. But who? And why? Well, that’s why I wrote the article, so go read it.

Pickin’ On the Big Ten, Week 8: Regression Analysis

Nebraska v Michigan State

At first glance, this week’s collection of Big Ten football games looks uninspiring, without a true marquee matchup. At second and third glance it’s much the same. But burbling just below the surface like the spinach in a pot of minestrone, we find that just about every game is going to reveal something we’ll need to know on the way to Indianapolis. Click on and see what’s going to be sorted out this Saturday.

Pickin’ On the Big Ten, Week 7: Rise of the Two-Headed Quarterbeast

Jake Rudock C.J. Beathard

Week 7 of Big Ten football sees two prominent teams, Wisconsin and Iowa, finally admitting they don’t have a complete quarterback at the moment, but maybe they have the parts to assemble one. While turning to the Two-Headed Quarterbeast is usually seen as a desperation move, for both these schools, it just may be the fix they need. (Emphasis on “may be.”) Click on, as for the first time this season, we have nothing but conference games to look at.

Pickin’ On the Big Ten, Week 6: Negative Brand(on) Equity

Brady Hoke Dave Brandon

I could write something snarky about Michigan, Brady Hoke, and/or Dave Brandon, but I don’t like to do what everyone else does. Besides, we all know there’s a huge game this week, one with potential national playoff implications, so why spend time discussing some school’s problems?

Pickin’ On the Big Ten, Week 5: Ice-Cold Hoke Zero

Brady Hoke

The Wheel of Narrative has spun once more, and this week the Big Ten’s arrow is pointing to “hopeful.” (WARNING: Not valid in Washtenaw County, Michigan.) Can the conference keep the good football rolling? Or, now that conference play begins in earnest, are we just being set up for another five-loss conference champion? Your answer begins … now.

Pickin’ On the Big Ten: I’m OK, You’re OK, It’s Not OK

Miami Nebraska

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: The Big Ten plays some pretty important non-conference games in front of millions of eyes, but things don’t quite go according to p-

(The Internet, as one: “Stop! We’ve heard this one!”)

Gladly. You think you’re sick of hearing it? Think how sick I am of writing it.

Pickin’ On the Big Ten, Week 3: All Thy Sins Laid Bare

James Franklin Penn State

I don’t know if you noticed, but the Big Ten lost a few important non-conference games last week. In this week’s Big Ten football picks I’ll be looking at each team, evaluating what’s working and what clearly isn’t. Well, as clearly as anything can be evaluated after just two weeks. To the games!

Pickin’ On the Big Ten, Week 2: The Something Strange Is Always Les Miles

Wisconsin LSU

Big Ten football didn’t have too many shocks last week. There were only two real surprises, one pleasant (Rutgers’ win over Washington State) and one unpleasant but probably not all that surprising (Northwestern’s loss to Cal, which is the fault of everybody but Pat Fitzgerald, to hear him tell it). What’s in store for week two? Click through and see how I’m calling the games this week.

Pickin’ On the Big Ten, Week 1: Appalachian State and Other Disasters

Michigan Appalachian State

Week One of the 2014 Big Ten football season is here. I’ve already given you my picks for the three early games this upcoming week, but what about the games that are being played when they’re supposed to be, on Saturday? Click on, pilgrim; I’ve got some picks for you.

Pickin’ On the Big Ten, Week 1: Weird Non-Saturday Games

Big Ten Football

The 2014 Big Ten football season is finally here, and like everyone else, I too am ready to pretend I actually know a thing or two about Rutgers and Maryland football now. There is room in my brain since I have already forgotten which teams were in the Leaders division and which were in the Legends. I may never forget that’s what the two divisions were called.

Down on the Farm: Battle of the Sioux (at the Falls)

Sioux Falls Stadium 3

With the Independent and Minor League Baseball regular seasons a month from closing, and the Northwoods League schedule roughly a week away from conclusion, we’ve hit the proverbial dog days of baseball across the Heartland. Few locales was this more evident than a steamy night in eastern South Dakota when two last place teams separated by just 85 miles did battle.

Breaking down the wide open NL MVP race

Troy Tulowitzki

For the first three months of the MLB season, it looked like Troy Tulowitzki was going to run away with the 2014 National League MVP award. The Rockies shortstop was leading the league in batting average (.340), slugging percentage (.432), on-base percentage (.603) and OPS (1.035), in addition to ranking first in WAR (5.6) and third in home runs (21) just a few weeks ago. But a few developments in the last few weeks have paved the way for what could very well be a wide-open NL MVP race as we head towards the stretch run.

Down on the Farm: Montgomery Exudes Southern Charm

Riverwalk Stadium 8

I enjoyed my May visit to Birmingham’s Regions Field so much that upon a July return to Alabama, I headed 90 miles south to check out Southern League rival Montgomery’s yard. Capitalizing on unseasonably pleasant weather with temps in the low 80s didn’t bother this northerner either.

Down on the Farm: The Other Mayo Facility in Rochester

Mayo Field 6

A recent visit to southeast Minnesota wrapped up six days and 3,000 miles on the road during a pleasantly mild late July.

Mayo Field is the fourth and likely final Northwoods League I’ll visit and review this summer, marking six total going back to 2013.

Down on the Farm: A Visit to “MoonDog Country”

Franklin Rogers Park 1

As the baseball world observes Minnesota’s love affair with the sport this week, I continued my trip to amateur yards around the North Star State.