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Posts Tagged ‘Devin Smith’

No. 11: Wisconsin

At Tennessee, replacing seven assistant coaches isn’t so much cause for alarm as it is a sign of the times: Tennessee has suffered back-to-back seven-loss seasons, so it’s not surprising to see that Derek Dooley and the Volunteers are nearly starting from scratch — because assistant coaches value many things, but no one thing more than job security. But at Wisconsin, with the Badgers fresh off back-to-back trips to Pasadena, the changing cast of assistant coaches is met with some degree of surprise, if not outright skepticism: Wisconsin has been so good over the last three years, was so dominant over the last two years, that you’d almost expect every one of Bret Bielema’s assistants to remain in the fold until a head coaching opportunity opened up, as was the case with former coordinator Paul Chryst at Pittsburgh. While Tennessee and Wisconsin share this overhaul, the similarities end there: U.T. wants to regain some of its lost luster in the SEC; Wisconsin wants more of the same — more wins, more intimidation, more points, another Big Ten title and another shot at the Rose Bowl.

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    No. 21: Ohio State

    Not that Luke Fickell didn’t have his hands full. And not that this wasn’t one of the youngest Ohio State teams in recent memory. And not that the team, planning on having Terrelle Pryor and company in the fold in time for the heart of Big Ten play, wasn’t thrown a loop when the old guard didn’t ride into town and save the day in October. But there’s one fact that can’t be ignored: not counting the forfeited season of 2010, Ohio State finished with a losing record for the first time since 1988 and for only the second time since 1967. The slide was inevitable, perhaps, and so was the glee with which it was greeted by the rest of the Big Ten. Here’s guessing that Ohio State will have the last laugh: Enter Urban Meyer — and you can hear the collective giggles over Ohio State’s slide catch in the collective throat of the Big Ten.

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      No. 73: Purdue

      Last season’s bowl berth, Purdue’s first since 2007, was a just reward for a year pocked with would-be roadblocks: injuries, most notably, but also the sort of ineffective play that has plagued the program over the last half-decade. For overcoming those wounds — those out of his control and those self-inflicted — Danny Hope was rewarded with a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2016 season. The extension solidifies the future of the program; it’s not a mere token gesture, as adding two years to Hope’s contract sends along the message that he remains in the good graces of the university and its athletic department. But the new deal also comes with a mandate: improve. Sink or swim, as no amount of added years or extra zeroes will withstand further mediocrity, let alone a step back to a bowl-free existence in 2012 and beyond. But that sort of responsibility comes with the territory.
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        The Countdown

        A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.