Another day, another college fooball preview here on Bleacher Report. For the sake of something different and entertaining (I hope), I'm taking a look at the upcoming Big 11 season through the eyes of one of the greatest songwriters of all time.
Each team has the title of a Dylan tune associated with it followed by an explanation of how each song fits each team.
Ohio State Buckeyes: Song to Woody. Dylan's Song to Woody is written for Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan's folk-singing hero. The 2008 Buckeyes are singing to Woody Hayes, perhaps to tell him about their recent success against Michigan, but hopefully to promise the legendary coach that they'll finally come through in a National Championship game.
Wisconsin Badgers: Highway 51 Blues. United States Highway 51 runs from Laplace, Louisiana to Hurley, Wisconsin. Dylan sang about the southern end that runs through Memphis, a city famous for its musical reputation, but Big 11 opponents have been lamenting about the stretch that runs through Madison. The Badgers have yet to lose at Camp Randall in the Bret Bielema era, and conference favorite Ohio State pays a visit later this season.
Illinois Fighting Illini: House of the Risin' Sun. After five seasons of futility at the bottom of the Big 11, Illinois returned to the Rose Bowl. Head coach Ron Zook and quarterback Juice Williams will try to continue the program's ascent, but the task will be much more difficult without Rashard Mendenhall alongside Williams in the offensive backfield.
Michigan Wolverines: The Times They Are A-Changin'. New head coach Rich Rodriguez will implement the spread offense he made famous in West Virginia. Problem is, they don't have a quarterback with the right tools to run it effectively. Until Rodriguez gets a guy that does, Michigan fans will have to get accustomed to something they're unfamiliar with: Third place or worse in the Big 11.
Michigan State Spartans: Nashville Skyline Rag. After an encouraging first season for Mark Dantonio, Sparty is looking to make an appearance in a respectable bowl game. Unfortunately, the talent level isn't there, and the Spartans will be forced to look at Nashville's skyline at the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl (or worse...).
Iowa Hawkeyes: Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance. This might be Kirk Ferentz plea to Iowa athletics after several seasons of failing to live up to expectations after a successful 2004 campaign. Another season of .500 football might mean the beginning of the end for Ferentz.
Penn State Nittany Lions: Restless Farewell. Joe Paterno's tenure as Penn State's head coach has no doubt been successful, but many, including myself, think that it's time for the university to uncomfortably say good-bye to one of the all-time greats.
Purdue Boilermakers: Freight Train Blues. These are what Purdue students, alumni, and fans have felt for the past few years. The Boilermakers start fast but taper off when every game is magnified, leaving many fans disappointed.
Indiana Hoosiers: It Ain't Me, Babe. Looking for that team that might fly under the radar and be in the running for a bowl game? If you are and you ask the Hoosiers, this is the answer you'll get.
Northwestern Wildcats: I Want You. As in "I want you on the schedule so my team can get a pretty easy win." Unfortunately for the Badgers and Nittany Lions, they don't get to see the Wildcats on their schedules.
Minnesota Golden Gophers: You're No Good. Need I say more?