Last week, I saluted spring by introducing a list of essential questions confronting the new Big Ten.
It's now 22 degrees colder, and flurries have re-taken the night sky.
Spring is a liar in the Midwest. Fortunately for you, I am not. Here are the remaining questions that remain to be answered.
In twenty-three days, Indiana will trot out into a newly-renovated Memorial Stadium. Will the staff shuffle on defense (co-coordinators Brian George and Joe Palcic to tackles and secondary, Mike Yeager from safeties to linebackers, and George Ricumstrict from linebackers to ends) cause a chain reaction for a unit that was last-in-conference in 2008? Will Senior Kellen Lewis get back to the future by putting up the kinds of pass and rush numbers he did in 2007?
In twenty-three days, Minnesota will get off the drawing board, and into construction. We know All-Big Ten duo QB Adam Weber and WR Eric Decker can play pitch and catch. Will RB DeLeon Eskridge give them a ground game that keeps teams honest? The Gophers ranked 104th nationally rushing in 2008.
Tyrell Sutton - RB - Sr.
Kevin Mims - DE - Sr.
Joel Belding - RG - Sr.
C.J. Bacher - QB - Sr.
Ross Lane - WR - Sr.
Eric Peterman - WR - Sr.
Rasheed Warren - WR - Sr.
John Gill - DT - Sr.
Prince Kwateng - LB - Sr.
Adam Hahn - DT - Jr.
Brad Phillips - SS - Soph.
Sherrick McManis - CB - Jr.
Notice anything in particular? If you don't, I imagine Adam Hahn, Brad Phillips, and Sherrick McManis do. They're the only ones left. Can Pat Fitzgerald's cats continue the metamorphosis in 2009? It can't hurt having Salamander-turned-scrambler QB Mike Kafka on board.
In eight days, Wisconsin will play early bird in Madison. Will Wisky's edge play pick up with the addition of skill standouts like fullback turned DE Tyler Dippel? Will Dustin Sherer give Wisky a signal caller they can trust? Is Bret Bielema capable of turning his tenure around?