Michigan Football Preview 2013

2013 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link: https://read.uberflip.com/i/137378

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Page 173 of 267

Big Ten Preview Leaders And Legends Divisions Enjoy Final Hurrah Before New Additions In 2014 W By Michael Spath hen the Big Ten expanded by one in 2011, adding Nebraska, most envisioned a decade or more of the Legends and Leaders division champions facing off against each other for the league title. Yet after only three seasons, the Big Ten will say goodbye to the two divisions, blowing them up after 2013 and starting anew in 2014 with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers. How this three-year period will be remembered remains to be seen … a bridge between two eras perhaps or an anomalous stretch the Big Ten would rather glide over in the record books. Top Storylines Offensive reassertion: Three Big Ten teams ranked among the top-25 defenses in the country in 2012, while six ranked among the nation's top 25 in 2011. On the flip side, only one offense — Wisconsin in 2011 — ranked among the 25 best over the past two seasons, with the league simply lacking the elite skill players, and talented quarterbacks, to put up consistently big numbers week after week. This season, though, the Big Ten should be more prolific offensively. Nine of 12 starting quarterbacks return, including Ohio State's Braxton Miller, Nebraska's Taylor Martinez and Northwestern's Kain Colter, who all rank among the NCAA's top dual-threat signal-callers. The league's top-three rushers from 2012 are gone, but Nos. 4-10 return, and eight of the league's 10 most productive receivers are back as well. Stability in the Legends, turnover in the Leaders: The Legends Division welcomes back all six of its head coaches from 2012, with its members combining for 31 years of experience in the Big Ten. The Leaders Division, meanwhile, has newcomers at Purdue and Wisconsin, and second-year bosses at Penn State, Ohio State and Illinois. Indiana's Kevin Wilson is the elder statesman in the division despite entering just his third year as head coach of the Hoosiers. Perhaps it is no surprise that the Legends is viewed as the stronger division, with four teams — Michigan, Nebraska, Michigan State and Northwestern — capable of vying for the league crown, while the Leaders almost Michigan head coch Brady Hoke will be looking to to lead the Wolverines to their first Legends Division title and a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game. photo by lon horwedel

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