Penn State could help Big Ten to record-setting fall, Jim Harbaugh fires back on Twitter (again) and more
Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley throws during the annual Blue-White game at Beaver Stadium on April 22, 2017.
Today’s Big Ten football links take a look at the state of the conference’s offenses, a Twitter beef involving Jim Harbaugh and a former conference head coach and more.
ESPN.com’s Dan Murphy examined why the Big Ten could be in for another offensive explosion in 2017. The conference had Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan all put up eye-popping point totals at one point or another last fall, and a combination of factors could help those programs turn in a repeat performance.
All three programs are returning quarterbacks in the Nittany Lions’ Trace McSorley, the Buckeyes’ J.T. Barrett and the Wolverines’ Wilton Speight — though he’ll be in competition with Brandon Peters — and Ohio State also added a new offensive coordinator in former Indiana coach Kevin Wilson, who comes from the air raid tree.
Plus, there’s some inexperience for certain teams that could lead to shootouts. Ohio State and Michigan both have to replace major pieces of their secondaries.
Elsewhere, Purdue and Minnesota both hired new coaches who can put up numbers in Jeff Brohm and P.J. Fleck, respectively. Nebraska has an influx of talented wide receivers as it searches for a quarterback to replace Tommy Armstrong. Maryland has a bright young mind at offensive coordinator in Walt Bell, while Rutgers brought in former a veteran with a proven track record in former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill.
Sure, there will still be some smashmouth, defense first teams in the conference like Northwestern, Wisconsin and even Iowa. But things are tilting toward the offenses a bit.
Ohio State — despite an air attack that didn’t live up to the head coach’s standards — scored 66 touchdowns in 2016. Michigan and Penn State each matched their East Division foe with the same number. For the first time in league history, three different Big Ten teams topped 500 total points. There’s reason to believe all three could be more prolific in 2017. Could next fall be a record-setting year for scoring in the Big Ten? If spring ball is any indication, there’s a pretty good chance.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh doesn’t shy away from anything, so it’s no surprise that he had a retort when Florida State assistant Tim Brewster, the former coach at Minnesota, needled the Wolverines after the NFL draft, where Harbaugh’s team had the most players picked:
Most draft picks doesn’t correlate to winning….Just ask Michigan! #OrangeBowlChampions!
— Tim Brewster (@TimBrewster) April 29, 2017
Harbaugh, of course, was ready to fire back:
@UMichFootball – We LOVE having our players picked, and our players love BEING picked. [?] https://t.co/5c7L0pgjnB
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) May 3, 2017
It’s May in the college football world.
Big Ten recruiting rankings: Ohio State might be closing in on Penn State; Minnesota, Northwestern sitting solid
Here’s the rest of the day’s Big Ten football news: