50 things I'm interested in for the 2019 B1G season
The countdown is on. We are officially 50 days away from the start of the B1G football season.
On Thursday, Aug. 29, the season kicks off with Minnesota hosting South Dakota State at TCF Bank Stadium. Friday, four more teams are in action: Michigan State, Purdue, Rutgers and Wisconsin. Then, on Saturday, the other nine B1G teams take the field on the first full Saturday of the season.
We can hardly wait. Hopefully the next month and a half flies by as quickly as the rest of the offseason.
In honor of the 50-day mark until B1G football returns, here’s a list of 50 things that I’m most interest in as we head into the 2019 season, in no particular order:
1. Which third year coach has the better season — Jeff Brohm, P.J. Fleck or Tom Allen.
2. How many transfer quarterbacks start in the B1G in Week 1.
3. Indiana attempting to end 30-year losing streaks to Michigan, Ohio State.
4. Whether Brandon Peters will be the answer of Illinois’ QB problems.
5. 6-foot-9, 400-pound Daniel Faalele running the football for Minnesota.
6. Luke Fickell’s return to The Horseshoe on Sept. 7.
7. How long it takes for Chris Ash’s job security to come into question.
8. Which Iowa tight end has a breakout year.
9. What Michigan’s new-look offense looks like under Josh Gattis.
10. Rondale Moore’s attempt to replicate last year’s unbelievable production.
11. What changes Kalen DeBoer brings to Indiana’s offense.
12. Justin Fields adjusting to a new role, new conference and new system.
13. Michigan State’s defense, and whether it’s as good as last season.
14. Jonathan Taylor’s pursuit of 6,000 rushing yards in three seasons.
15. Whether Nebraska lives up to the incredibly high expectations.
16. What Maryland looks like in Year 1 under Mike Locksley.
17. If Graham Mertz wins the starting job at Wisconsin at some point.
18. Which team emerges from the B1G West.
19. How Ryan Day adjusts to being the full-time head coach in Columbus.
20. Which true freshmen steal the spotlight.
21. Michigan State’s offensive changes.
22. If the B1G can send 10 or more teams to the postseason.
23. All the rivalry games. All of them.
24. A.J. Epenesa finally in a starting role.
25. The only B1G-SEC regular season matchup: Vanderbilt vs. Purdue.
26. If Michigan can finally get over the hump and beat MSU, OSU and win the East.
27. Penn State’s QB situation with Sean Clifford.
28. If Anthony McFarland can replicate his outstanding freshman season.
29. How many times College GameDay is on a B1G campus.
30. Minnesota’s three-headed monster — Rodney Smith, Shannon Brooks, Mohamed Ibrahim.
31. Whether or not Adrian Martinez is a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender.
32. If the B1G can finally put an end to the MAC’s 12-year winning steak.
33. Illinois’ bowl chances in Year 4 under Lovie Smith.
34. Which team pulls off the biggest upset of the year.
35. How much of an impact Purdue freshman DE George Karlaftis makes.
36. Nate Stanley’s last stand.
37. If Hunter Johnson picks up where Clayton Thorson left off.
38. How much improvement Ohio State’s defense makes.
39. The B1G champion snapping a three-year College Football Playoff drought.
40. What Rutgers’ backfield can do with Raheem Blackshear and Isaih Pacheco.
41. The most important B1G non-conference game: Notre Dame vs. Michigan.
42. If Scott Frost fires back at Colorado’s Mel Tucker before kickoff.
43. Wisconsin’s offensive line, and if it’ll still be dominant with a massive overhaul.
44. The number of coaching changes at the end of the year.
45. Which B1G star gets invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
46. If Northwestern can improve in non-conference play.
47. Whether or not Brian Lewerke looks like his 2017 self.
48. Which Penn State running back steals the show.
49. The number of trick plays Jeff Brohm calls.
50. Brandon Peters’ vs. Michigan on Oct. 12.