This Week in the Big Ten

In its first competition of the New Year, Purdue topped Hawaii in both the men's (134-103) and women's (146-91) dual meets.

In its first competition of the New Year, Purdue topped Hawaii in both the men's (134-103) and women's (146-91) dual meets.

Jan. 6, 2014

[ONE // spartans, huskers highlight big ten bowl season]
The Big Ten football season has now concluded with Michigan State and Nebraska posting wins in postseason bowl games.  The Spartans outlasted No. 5 Stanford in the 100th Rose Bowl Game, while the Huskers posted an exciting victory in the Gator Bowl against Georgia.  MSU's Connor Cook passed for a career-high 332 yards to lead the Spartans past the Cardinal, 24-20.  Tommy Armstrong Jr. connected with Quincy Enunwa for two touchdowns, including a 99-yarder in the third quarter, to help lead Nebraska past No. 23 Georgia 24-19 in the rain-soaked Gator Bowl.  For a complete look at how the Big Ten fared in the postseason, click here.

[TWO // eight big ten legends honored by rose bowl]
Prior to the 100th Rose Bowl Game, eight Big Ten representatives were honored by the Tournament of Roses.  Former Ohio State tackle Orlando Pace and Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr joined USC wide receiver Lynn Swann as Class of 2014 inductees into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.  In addition, in commemoration of the 100th Rose Bowl, the Tournament of Roses created a special program to honor great players and coaches throughout the history of The Granddaddy of Them All.  During the course of the regular season, members of the Football Writers Association of America selected one Rose Bowl Game representative from each decade to comprise an All-Century Class. The panelists, spanning media outlets across the country, also nominated one overall player and one overall coach who best captured the Passion, Strength, Tradition and Honor of the Rose Bowl Game.  Archie Griffin led five other conference representatives as All-Century Class honorees.  He was given the accolade of All-Century Player as well as the 1970s representative.  The only player ever to win the Heisman Trophy twice, Griffin is one of only two players ever to have started in four consecutive Rose Bowl games.  Other Big Ten decade representatives in the Rose Bowl's All-Century Class included Ohio State's Woody Hayes (1950s), Michigan's Bo Schembechler (1980s), and Wisconsin's Ron Dayne (1990s) and Montee Ball (2010s).

[THREE // former big ten players competing in nfl playoffs]
With the NFL playoffs beginning this past Saturday, a total of 90 former student-athletes from current Big Ten schools appear on the active rosters of the playoff teams. The Big Ten has at least four players on each playoff roster and every Big Ten school is represented, including nine schools with five or more standouts taking the field during the postseason.  Ohio State leads all Big Ten teams with 14 former student-athletes taking the field, while Illinois has 13 former players on NFL rosters. Green Bay leads all playoff squads with 10 former Big Ten standouts on the active roster, including three each from Iowa and Ohio State.  In addition, five Big Ten student-athletes on postseason teams were selected to the 2014 Pro Bowl, including quarterbacks Tom Brady (New England-Michigan), Drew Brees (New Orleans-Purdue) and Russell Wilson (Seattle-Wisconsin) and linebackers NaVorro Bowman (San Francisco-Penn State) and Tamba Hali (Kansas City-Penn State).  For a complete breakdown of the Big Ten's representation in the NFL Playoffs, click here.

[FOUR // buckeyes, badgers remain perfect as big ten play begins]
Ohio State and Wisconsin are among five Big Ten men's basketball teams to have opened Big Ten play a perfect 2-0 this past week, and the Buckeyes and Badgers remain the lone conference squads undefeated at 15-0 overall.  No. 3/3 Ohio State scored a 78-69 victory in the league opener over Purdue on New Year's Eve, and answered with an 84-53 decision over Nebraska on Saturday.  The No. 4/5 Badgers opened conference action Thursday with a 76-49 win against Northwestern and then polished off the week with a 75-71 thriller over No. 22/23 Iowa Sunday night.  In addition, Illinois, Michigan and Michigan State swept their first two conference matchups, while Iowa and Minnesota sit at 1-1.   For a complete wrap-up of Big Ten men's basketball results, follow along in the sport's blog by clicking here.

[FIVE // hoosiers, buckeyes snag headlines in women's basketball action]
This past week in Big Ten women's basketball action, Indiana opened league play with an 86-84 upset over No. 22/23 Iowa on Thursday night to remain undefeated on the season with its best start in school history at 14-0.   That same night, Ohio State gave first-year head coach Kevin McGuff his first B1G win with an 89-78 upset over No. 17/19 Purdue in Columbus.  Elsewhere, Wisconsin stopped Illinois 76-64 in overtime on Friday, while Michigan bested rival Ohio State and Penn State defeated Iowa on Sunday.   

[SIX // big ten hockey splits on the week]
Top-ranked Minnesota and No. 13/15 Wisconsin were the lone Big Ten hockey teams in action this past week.  At the Mariucci Classic, which was hosted by the Golden Gophers, Minnesota tied Colgate 2-2 but fell in a shootout on Friday, only to rebound a night later with a 6-2 win against Rensselaer.  The Badgers earned a weekend split with Alaska Anchorage, falling 3-2 on Friday and securing a 4-3 victory on Saturday.

[SEVEN // hawkeyes wrestle their way to midlands title, big ten sweep]
Big Ten wrestling opened the week by concluding the 51st annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships.  Iowa crowned three champions en route its 23rd Midlands title on Monday night at Northwestern's Welsh-Ryan Arena.  Iowa scored 187.5 points in the win, and was followed by Michigan (84) in third, Illinois (83) in fourth, Northwestern (63.5) in seventh, Wisconsin (62.5) in eighth, Indiana (57.5) in 10th and Purdue (45.5) in 13th.  For a look at the final brackets, click here.  The Hawkeyes continued that momentum at the end of the week by earning Big Ten dual sweeps over No. 21 Purdue (30-3) and Michigan State (41-0) on Friday and Saturday, respectively.  In addition, No. 16 Northwestern stopped No. 23 Indiana 27-12 on Saturday.

[EIGHT // penn state opens big ten women's gymnastics season with a win]
The 2014 Big Ten women's gymnastics season officially opened this past weekend as No. 15 Penn State captured a 193.925-193.550 victory at Iowa State.  Illinois, Michigan and Michigan State will open their season on Jan. 10, while Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Ohio State will start on Jan. 11.  No. 16 Illinois travels to Michigan State on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m., while No. 7 Michigan will take on Illinois State and Iowa State at 7:30 p.m.  The remaining Big Ten squads are set to compete on Jan. 11, with Iowa hosting Utah State and No. 14 Minnesota facing Air Force and Lindenwood. No. 10 Nebraska will entertain Northern Illinois and No. 19 Ohio State will take on No. 12 Oregon State and Bowling Green.  The Big Ten Championships will be held in University Park, Pa., on March 22. Nebraska won the title at last season's Big Ten Championships for the second consecutive year, while Michigan and Minnesota shared last year's inaugural regular season title. 

[NINE // four big ten teams open new year in the pool]
Four Big Ten men's and women's swimming and diving programs opened 2014 in tropical locations this past weekend as Michigan traveled to the Orange Bowl Classic in Key Largo, Fla., Penn State hosted North Carolina in Naples, Fla., and Purdue competed at Hawaii.  Both the Michigan men and women were victorious at the Orange Bowl Classic, while the Penn State teams joined forces for a unique non-scored dual against North Carolina on Friday. The meet featured six mixed relays, two men and two women on each relay. The Nittany Lions won five of the six relays, which included the 200 medley, 800 freestyle, 400 breaststroke, 400 backstroke and 200 freestyle events.  Purdue topped Hawaii in both the men's (134-103) and women's (146-91) dual meets.

[TEN // big ten tennis teams found in new ita rankings]
Ten Big Ten men's tennis teams and eight women's squads are found among the top 75 teams ranked in the inaugural ITA rankings, which were released on Thursday.  On the men's side, Ohio State leads the conference contingent at No. 5, followed by No. 22 Illinois, No. 26 Michigan, No. 32 Northwestern, No. 34 Minnesota, No. 37 Michigan State, No. 56 Indiana, No. 60 Nebraska, No. 65 Wisconsin and No. 69 Purdue.  In the women's poll, Michigan leads the way at No. 11, followed by No. 15 Northwestern, No. 25 Nebraska, No. 27 Purdue, No. 41 Indiana, No. 44 Illinois, No. 49 Penn State, and No. 72 Ohio State.

[ELEVEN // btn ready to live big once again]
A new season of the television series BTN LiveBIG debuts Jan. 8, with stories about the community of Big Ten students, faculty and alumni who are making a difference in the world through innovations in research, education and community service. The first episode features Illinois, it was announced this past Thursday by BTN.  The 12-episode series will include two exceptional stories per school. Throughout the season, viewers will learn about a former Big Ten defensive back achieving his dreams of becoming a NASA astronaut, a strength-and-conditioning coach and his courageous fight following a paralyzing bicycle accident and an engineering class created to help a 13-year-old girl with cerebral palsy communicate better.  In its second season, BTN has expanded the online hub for the show, www.BTNLiveBIG.com, to feature additional daily content from each school as well as curate conversations surrounding these motivating people and programs from the BTN LiveBIG Facebook and Twitter pages.

[TWELVE // remembering michigan, husker legends]
Finally this week, we say goodbye to a pair of men who had become synonymous with their Big Ten institutions.  Johnny Orr, who spent 12 seasons as Michigan's head coach before moving on to Iowa State, passed away this past Tuesday at the age of 86.  The two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year guided the Wolverines to four NCAA tournament berths, the national title game in 1976 and 209 wins, the most in the school history.  Elsewhere, 100-year-old Gilbert "Gib" Babcock had his dying wish granted on New Year's Day.  The former Nebraska groundskeeper, who became the Huskers' legendary equipment manager for football, baseball and track and field under the likes of coaching legends Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne, had been gravely ill for some time.  However, Babcock could not make his final exit without hearing that his Huskers defeated Georgia in the Gator Bowl.  Randy York of Nebraska's official blog "N'Sider," has more on Babcock's life here.

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