A.J. Barker

CFT Predicts: the Big Ten

21 Comments

As the 2013 season draws near, we peek into our crystal ball and guess project how each of the five major conferences will play out. Today, we examine the Big Ten.  

While we’re at it, be sure to check out our other conference predictions: SEC, Pac-12

Leaders Division

1. Ohio State (Last year: 12-0)
What happened last season?
Urban Meyer‘s first year with the Buckeyes was flawless, at least as far as things go in the win-loss column. Though Ohio State had no postseason to look forward to thanks to NCAA sanctions, it went undefeated during the regular season. That’s propelled OSU to become one of the preseason favorites to appear in the final BCS championship.

So why are they ranked here?
The more appropriate question would be why wouldn’t the Buckeyes be ranked here? Meyer is easily one of the best in the game and quarterback Braxton Miller is now the betting favorite to win the Heisman. There are some concerns along the defensive front for this team, but it doesn’t have the appearance of something that will be an insurmountable problem.

Anything else?
The Game against Michigan can go either way, but there’s really only one spot I can potentially see Ohio State slipping. That would be an Oct. 5 game at Northwestern. The Wildcats enter 2013 with some hype (there’s something you don’t type everyday) after winning 10 games last year.

2. Wisconsin (Last year: 8-6; lost to Stanford in Rose Bowl) 
What happened last season?
The Badgers can thank the NCAA for getting to the Big Ten title game as both Ohio State and Penn State watched from home. The Badgers struggled with offensive consistency throughout the year even though Montee Ball was among the leading rushers in the country. 

So why are they ranked here?
Gary Andersen takes over for the departed Bret Bielema. Though Ball is gone and the quarterback situation needs to be figured out, this is a veteran team with some recognizable names still around like running back James White and receiver Jared Abbrederis. The bigger concern lies on defense, which will be moving to more of a 3-4 this year.

Anything else?
The Badgers avoid Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska this season. It may not help Andersen win the Leaders Division in his first year, but it should help with a few more W’s. Also, QB Tanner McEvoy has started getting some looks at receiver and should help in that department.

(more…)

Ex-Minnesota WR arrested on suspicion of marijuana charge

7 Comments

Minnesota’s former leading receiver, who will now be Houston’s new wide receiver, has encountered a legal problem before playing one snap for the Cougars.

Per the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, A.J. Barker was arrested and charged with suspicion of marijuana possession in Houston. The paper cites the Harris County District Clerk office with the details. Barker was arrested Sunday night and released on $500 bond. His court date is Feb. 14, per the report.

Barker announced he was leaving the team late last year and wrote a lengthy blog post alleging mistreatment by head coach Jerry Kill. That post has since been removed. Kill has denied any mistreatment and says he wished he had a chance to speak with Barker before he left the team.

Despite being the Gophers’ leading receiver in 2012 (30 catches for 577 yards and seven touchdowns), Barker was still a walk-on. Because he was not on scholarship, Barker will not have to sit out a season in the transfer process.

TTU gaining a receiver, Minnesota losing one for Car Care Bowl

2 Comments

An injury knocked Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro out for the second half the regular season. Good news for the Red Raiders, though: they’ll be getting the sophomore back in time for the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas against Minnesota.

Texas Tech confirmed Monday that Amaro would be back for the bowl. Amaro had previously been cleared to practice, but not play. Despite missing six games on the year, Amaro still finished as the team’s third-leading receiver with 394 yards receiving and four touchdowns. His season-high of156 yards against West Virginia came in his final appearance before suffering the injury.

Meanwhile, Minnesota announced that freshman receiver Andre McDonald would miss the bowl because of a violation of team rules. McDonald was seventh on the team in receptions (10) and had 121 yards on the year.

Minnesota already lost its leading receiver, A.J. Barker, who left the team last month alleging mistreatment from head coach Jerry Kill. Barker will transfer to the University of Houston.

Ex-Minnesota WR transfers to Houston

6 Comments

Later this month, Minnesota will be heading to Houston to play Texas Tech in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. As it turns out, one former Gopher will be making the trip as well, although not with the team and he’ll be staying beyond just a few days.

Per the Pioneer-Press, ex-UM receiver A.J. Barker will be transferring to Houston and will receive a scholarship. Last month, Barker announced he was leaving the team and wrote a lengthy blog post alleging mistreatment by head coach Jerry Kill. That post has since been removed (and replaced with an amazing GIF). Kill has denied any mistreatment and says he wished he had a chance to speak with Barker before he left the team.

Despite being the Gophers’ leading receiver this year (30 catches for 577 yards and seven touchdowns), Barker was still a walk-on. That, along with the treatment he received after an ankle injury, was among the many issues Barker had with Kill. Because he was not on scholarship, Barker will not have to sit out a season in the transfer process.