The Hokie Guru (Govloop’s Bureaucrat on Sports)… The Big Ten (Um, 11?) College Football Preview!!

Happy Sunday!!!

Your History Lesson

There’s been a few times in civil service history when the United States Government hired several government workers. 1978 was one of those years. That’s also when one of the largest civil service reforms, Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, was passed. The Act also established the Senior Executive Service (SES). The SES really was supposed to be a group of executives that were hired for their general management capabilities. SES employees would be roated around the government and would move on from assignment to assignment. We can see, however, that this is not the case with the SES. Many SES employees stay in their positions for 15-20 years or more.

Now, it appears we might have another era of reform because Congress is considering a program to groom civilian defense leaders. We will see how this turns out.

The Hokie Guru’s Big 10 11 rankings

So… where does the Hokie Guru stand on the Big 10? Look out below:

1.) Ohio State – At 6’6″, 235 lbs, Buckeye Quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, is the real deal. He has the physical attributes that the NFL is looking for… and he is ONLY a sophomore… thank heavens he will be around for one more year in Columbus. The defense is absolutely superb. The Buckeyes might have the best secondary and defensive line in the Big 10. Some people, the Hokie Guru included, think that Ohio State was given a hard time because of their lack of success against USC, Florida, and LSU. It’s sad that this is the measuring stick that Jim Tressel must face up to, but that is today’s “what have you done for me lately” attitude in college football. The Buckeyes won’t get that “soft” label off their backs until they can win a tough non-conference matchup… and they have that opportunity this year against USC on September 12, 2009 at 8 PM EST on ABC… the cheapest ticket appears to be $240.

2.) Penn State – The Nittany Lions have a dynamic dual threat quarterback in Daryll Clark (he is a true physical specimen at 6’3″, 233 lbs.). When you play Penn State, you know that you are going to play a tough as nails defense because they are “Linebacker-U.” An extremely favorable schedule is the only reason the Hokie Guru has Penn State so high. The Nittany Lions easiest pathway to the Big 10 title. They have Iowa and Ohio State at home (and several other cupcakes at home). Road games include both Michigan State (which will be tough) and Michigan (which are not the Wolverines of old). The winner of the November 7, 2009 game between Penn State and Ohio State at State College, PA could decide the Rose Bowl spot and maybe even who will play in the national championship game. Penn State or Ohio State (who the Hokie Guru will preview below) must run the table in order to get to the Bowl Championship Series National Championship game… for now, the Hokie Guru has Penn State at #2 because he thinks they lose to Buckeye Central (Penn State has a weak schedule)… but will reassess this situation in November.

3.) Iowa – The Hawkeyes could be the Hokie Guru’s surprise team in the Big Ten. While the Hawkeyes did lose RB Shonn Greene to the NFL, their offensive line will be one of the best units in the conference (maybe the best in the nation), which will make the transition easier for a new starting RB. Iowa should cruise through it’s non-conference schedule with Arizona being the only real tough matchup. According to College Football News, the defense has the chance to be a “brick wall.” Scary. The Hokie Guru would have rated the Hawkeyes at the #2 spot, but they must go on the road to both Penn State and Ohio State… and Penn State will be looking for some major revenge because the Hawkeyes kept the Nittany Lions out of the title game last year.

4.) Illinois – Juice Williams, also a dual threat, is the most experienced quarterback in the Big 10 conference. He is arguably throwing to the top wide receiver in the conference in Arrelious Benn (How did this guy get away from Maryland, Virginia Tech, or Virginia? He is from Washington, DC!!). The Illini should be explosive on offense. On paper, the Illini have the toughest schedule in the conference. The Illinois schedule includes a neutrual site game against Missouri, a matchup at the defending Big East Champion Cincy Bearcats, home matchups against Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan, and a road date with Ohio State… and we know what happened the last time the Illini went to Ohio State… check the video below:

5.) Michigan State – The Spartans are one of those blue collar teams that you know is always going to play tough, hard-nosed defense (Courtesy of Tom Diehnart, Sparty’s got an A grade on their defense). Greg Jones should be one of the nation’s best linebackers. The offense isn’t anything special yet… ball control… pound it in… running back by committee… and the offensive line needs work. Sleeper city here… the Spartans have all of their tough games at home and they do not play Ohio State… yes, they have a road date at Illinois that will be difficult… but the games against Penn State and Iowa are at home. Michigan State has a real shot to win the Big Ten.

6.) Michigan – The Hokie Guru thinks that Michigan is about two years away from being really good… there is no QB under more pressure than Tate Forcier. Head Coach, Rich Rodrguez, had to blow up the Michigan team and start from scratch. Brandon Minor (How did this kid get away from Virginia Tech? He’s from Richmond, VA!!) might well be the best running back in the Big Ten. The Wolverines have a brand new defensive coordintor in Gregg Robinson. For now, the Wolverines will hold at the six spot here and if they make a bowl, the season will be a success…. but they will always be remembered for…

Even when the weather is cold, cold, cold… the Hokie Guru is HOT HOT HOT

7.) Minnesota – Eric Decker might be the best receiver in America that you have not heard about. You should know him. He is a big, physical target… and he’s a two-sport athlete (baseball and football)… the truly great athletes can play multiple sports. The problem is, everyone else in the Big Ten knows about him and he will likely receive double coverage all year long. Minnesota will be going back to the basics with a pro-style offense (the spread is gone)… and the Gophers will have a power running game… and experienced QB, Adam Weber, will run the show. If RB Kevin Whaley gets a shot, Minny could be very good on offense. Minnesota will not be a power on defense… their only hope is to slow the opponent down a bit.

8.) Wisconsin – Bucky Badger’s got some massive questions at QB. This is not a good thing in the Big Ten. The running game and the offensive line will be strong. The Baders do not have Penn State or Illinois on their schedule, but there’s a real chance that they could lose to Northern Illinois AND Fresno State in their first two games… yikes..

9.) Northwestern – At age 34, Pat Fitzgerald is the youngest coach in college football. Folks, we’re talking about a real stud football coach… someone who has won at a higher education institution with strict academic standards. Fitzgerald was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, a semifinalist for the George Munger Coach of the Year Award, and a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. No Big Ten coach gets more out of his players than Pat Fitzgerald. The Wildcats have an underrated defense, but have questions at receiver.

10.) Purdue – The Boilermakers open 2009 with a brand new coach in Danny Hope. Will he provide them with the hope they need? Sorry lol. Fact is, the Hokie Guru knows nothing about the Boilermakers and they haven’t had a really decent win since 2004 over Ohio State… that isn’t going to change this year.

11.) Indiana – Perhaps you could learn a thing or two from Boise State below…

Have a great week!!

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Matthew Stephen Worner

My concern about Penn State is their soft as Charmain schedule. I’m not sure that playing Syracuse, who has Greg Paulus as their starting QB, Akron, and Temple in Penn State’s first three games (and Eastern Illinois later on) is effective preparation for the rigors of playing Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio State University… the Nittany Lions are lucky that they have Ohio State at home, however. This is the way that James E. Delany wants his teams to schedule football, though, because they always have a shot at the BCS final ad the end of the season.

As a Hokie, I WOULD LOVE TO PLAY PENN STATE (we have Ohio state in the schedule in four years). Sadly, the Nittany Lions will only play us in basketball… and I will be there.