Feb. 1, 2009
[ONE // former big ten stars shine in super bowl xviii]
Go figure that in football’s grandest game, the shining stars would hail from the Big Ten. The Pittsburgh Steelers captured Super Bowl XLIII with a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday. A total of 22 players and seven coaches represented the Big Ten in the game and once again the conference boasted the contest’s most valuable players. Leave it to two men from college football’s greatest rivalry – Michigan and Ohio State – to seal the win for the Steelers. Former Ohio State standout Santonio Holmes was named Super Bowl XLIII MVP after hauling in nine catches for 131 yards, including a dramatic game-winning touchdown catch with only minutes left. Former Michigan linebacker LaMarr Woodley knocked the ball loose from Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner with seven seconds remaining and when the Steelers recovered the ball, the game was over. The Big Ten and ACC tied for the lead among all conferences with 22 players on the two Super Bowl squads, followed by SEC (14 players), Pac-10 (11) and Big 12 (10). Nine of the 11 Big Ten schools were represented either on the field or on the sidelines on Super Bowl Sunday.
[TWO // purdue’s woodson elected; buckeyes’ carter forced to wait for hall of fame]
Congratulations to former Purdue defensive back Rod Woodson, who learned Saturday he was elected in his first year of eligibility to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Woodson played 17 years in the NFL with four teams – the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders – and was one of only four NFL players to compete in three Super Bowls with three different teams. He finished his pro career with 725 tackles and 71 interceptions (the third-most in league history), with 12 interceptions returned for touchdowns. His 1,483 interception return yards are an NFL record. During his time at Purdue from 1983-86, he was a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and a consensus All-American as a senior. Saturday was not as bright for former Ohio State wideout Cris Carter, who was not selected to the Hall of Fame despite impressive NFL numbers. The OSU grad played 16 seasons in the league and was selected to eight Pro Bowls and to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.
[THREE // iowa’s kinnick stadium looks for yet another renovation]
Over the past few years, Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium and its surrounding areas have undergone an extensive reservation and preservation of the historic football complex. This past week it was announced that a new project is a vote away from taking place at the stadium, this time to the playing field itself. With concerns that the current drainage system is not working properly, Iowa will join the ranks of Big Ten football facilities featuring synthetic turf if the Board of Regents approves the request next week. The current playing field - Prescription Athletic Turf installed during the 2005 season - would be removed during the repair or replacement of the drainage system. Kinnick has featured a grass playing surface since the 1989 season. It had an artificial surface from 1972 through 1988. The UI would become the seventh Big Ten institution to have an artificial surface in its football facility.
[FOUR // roar of the lion]
In last week’s review we touched on the fact that the Northwestern men’s basketball team was able to march into the Breslin Center and end Michigan State’s 28-game home winning streak and its 80-game home winning streak against unranked opponents. It was a milestone for the Wildcats. On Sunday, Penn State, which had never won in East Lansing in its previous 16 meetings, was able to knock off the Spartans as well. Taylor Battle scored a career-high 29 points and Jamelle Cornley had 16 to help the Nittany Lions to a 72-68 upset over the ninth-ranked Spartans.
[FIVE // single-session tickets on sale monday for women’s hoops tourney]
The Big Ten office announced Monday that single-session tickets for the 2009 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will go on sale to the general public Monday, Feb. 2 at 10 a.m. EST. The 2009 tournament, which takes place on March 5-8 at Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis, features all 11 Big Ten teams battling in 10 games over four days of competition. The winner will earn the conference’s coveted automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
[SIX // reserve single-session plans for the men’s tourney as well]
The conference office also announced Monday the single-session ticket plans for the 2009 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. Those tickets will also go on sale to the general public Monday, Feb. 2 at 10 a.m. EST. The tournament, which will be held March 12-15, 2009, at Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis, features all 11 Big Ten teams in action, competing in 10 games over four days to crown the 2009 champion. The winner will earn the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Single-session tickets range from $30 to $75 depending on session and seat location.
[SEVEN // olympian wastes no time setting boilermaker diving records]
It should be no surprise that Purdue freshman David Boudia broke another school driving record this weekend, as he now owns all three standards on the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform in just his short time on campus. The Beijing Olympian broke teammate David Colturi's school record with 456.65 points from the 10-meter platform this past week at the Big Ten Dual meets Saturday in Minneapolis, Minn. The Boilermaker newcomer is coming off an impressive summer where he finished 10th on platform at the 2008 Olympics and placed fifth in synchronized platform. The eight-time national champion was also USA Diving's 2008 Male Athlete of the Year.
[EIGHT // another “miracle” in the future?]
Wisconsin women’s ice hockey coach Mark Johnson learned this past week of his selection by a five-person committee to become the next women’s head coach of Team USA. Having grown up in the shadows of his legendary father Bob Johnson and played for former Minnesota and USA coach Herb Brooks, when he scored two goals in the historic 1980 “Miracle on Ice” defeat of the Russians, Johnson has made quite the mark during his six-plus years in Madison. He has guided the Badgers to 198 wins and two NCAA titles, while compiling a Division-I best .813 active winning percentage. His top-ranked Wisconsin squad is currently 22-1-3. Johnson will take next season off to prepare the Americans for the 2010 Vancouver Games, where the team will look for its first gold medal since 1998.
[NINE // match play coming to the links]
The Big Ten will be the first conference to emulate the new NCAA Golf Championship format in the 2009 Big Ten Match Play Championship, scheduled for Feb. 13-14 at Heron Bay Golf Club in Coral Springs, Fla., and the Big Ten Network will televise the inaugural tournament. Beginning this season, the NCAA title will begin with 54 holes of stroke play to narrow the field to eight teams. Those eight squads then will compete in match play format to determine the national champion. The Big Ten conference's 11 schools will get an early taste of match play in its own tournament to kick off the spring season of competition. All 11 Big Ten schools enter the 2009 spring season ranked in the top-80 in the nation, with seven of those schools in the top-50.
[TEN // big ten celebrates black history month]
In a continued effort to commemorate the achievements of African-Americans on Big Ten campuses, the conference office announced the 22 student-athletes to be recognized on the Big Ten's Black History Month website. Throughout February, the website will feature stories on current and former student-athletes from each institution and can be accessed by clicking here.
[ELEVEN // big ten and buckeyes say goodbye to waterman]
As we begin to celebrate Black History Month, the Big Ten and Ohio State learned this week of the passing of Ben Waterman – a member of Fred Taylor’s coaching staff and the first African-American Big Ten basketball coach. He was 87. In addition to Ohio State’s thoughts on Waterman, Dayton Daily News reporter Tom Archdeacon penned a column this week that not only touched on Waterman’s Ohio basketball legacy, but also on his responsibilities as a Buckeye assistant in the 1970s.