Can't wait to see these things this fall

Originally Published: May 2, 2005
By Ivan Maisel and Pat Forde | ESPN.com

Three Things I Can't Wait To See This Fall In The Big Ten
Ivan Maisel
Pat Forde
1. Iowa finished last season with an eight-game winning streak. The Hawkeyes won three of those games by two points, and the fourth was the Capital One Bowl miracle against LSU. Injuries left Iowa in worse shape after spring ball than before. This might be the year we discover how good an escape artist coach Kirk Ferentz really is.

2. Minnesota junior tailback Laurence Maroney doesn't have to share the ball -- or the load -- with Marion Barber III. Can Maroney keep the chains moving well enough to let a new defense gets its legs under it?

3. Penn State has a solid defense, and JoePa has been saying since last spring that the Nittany Lions wouldn't begin their climb back to the top of the Big Ten until 2005. Well?
1. Two huge September games for Ohio State, against Texas and Iowa. Win them both and that Buckeyes-Wolverines tilt at the end could carry maximum payload.

2. How Joe Paterno does with what could be his last chance to prove he can still do it at Penn State. The defense will be good, the offense should be improved ... but will that be enough for a return to relevance?

3. Ron Zook at Illinois and Terry Hoeppner at Indiana. If sheer enthusiasm wins games, these guys will pull some surprises in their first Big Ten seasons. Unfortunately, sheer enthusiasm without accompanying talent has an approximate .168 career winning percentage.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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