He turned a team in disarray into a winner, going 7-6 and 9-4 in his first two seasons. With 15 starters back, the Spartans could be a Big Ten sleeper.
Coach on the Hot Seat
Bret Bielema :: Wisconsin
Since Bielema burst onto the scene with a 12-1 record in his first season, the Badgers have gone 9-4 and 7-6 and have struggled offensively.
Minnesota is coming off its first winning season since 2005, but the Gophers lost their final five games after starting 7-1. Third-year coach Tim Brewster is junking the spread in favor of a pro-style attack. Jedd Fisch, formerly the Broncos' receivers coach, was hired as offensive coordinator, and the 33-year-old veteran of eight NFL seasons has set about fixing a ground game that last year averaged 104 yards a game and 3.1 yards per rush, both Big Ten lows ... Another team looking to improve its running game is Indiana, where third-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada is experimenting with the pistol, which combines the shotgun and the I formation. Key to this transition will be the play of redshirt freshman tailback Darius Willis, who, at 6 feet, 219 pounds, possesses size and speed ... On a Purdue offense bereft of playmakers, freshman running back Al-Terek McBurse stands out. A four-star recruit who turned down offers from Georgia Tech and Miami, the 6-foot, 204-pound native of Winter Springs, Fla., enrolled in January, only to miss spring ball while awaiting NCAA clearance. He's a threat as both a runner and a receiver. --Mark Beech