This Week in the Big Ten

Former Illinois golfer Steve Stricker placed tied for 12th Sunday at the British Open, while Indiana graduate Jeff Overton tied for 70th.

Former Illinois golfer Steve Stricker placed tied for 12th Sunday at the British Open, while Indiana graduate Jeff Overton tied for 70th.

July 20, 2008

by Jeff Smith

[ONE // welcome to the hall of fame]

This past Saturday was a memorable milestone for two Big Ten legends as Penn State head coach Joe Paterno and former Indiana tailback Anthony Thompson were inducted into the National Football Foundation's College Hall of Fame.  The pair joined 12 Football Subdivision players and two coaches in the 2008 class.  While at Indiana from 1986-89, Thompson was a two-time first-team All-American and the NCAA's rushing and scoring career leader.  Twice the Big Ten's rushing champion, Thompson was a two-time conference Offensive Player of the Year and was also named the Walter Camp and AFCA Player of the Year.  Thompson, who finished his career with 5,299 career rushing yards, won the Maxwell Award as the nation's finest college football player and finished second in the 1989 Heisman Trophy voting as a senior.  Paterno enters his 43rd season as Nittany Lion head coach having been named National Coach of the Year on five occasions.  His 372 wins are just one shy of the all-time NCAA record and his record of 23-10-1 in the postseason makes him the all-time leader among coaches in bowl appearances and victories.  His teams have posted five undefeated seasons and captured two national championships.

[TWO // tune in to hear paterno speak]
While his enshrinement speech has already come and gone, Big Ten fans can still tune in to hear the legendary Penn State coach talk about the upcoming season.  Paterno will be among the 11 coaches and 33 players at this week's Football Kickoff Luncheon and Media Days.  The Big Ten Network and ESPNEWS have agreed to carry parts of the media day this week.  ESPNEWS will air the coaches' sessions live on Thursday while the Big Ten Network will record the 37th Kickoff Luncheon on Friday to appear on the network at a later date.  More information about the event target="_blank">can be found here.

[THREE // trio of nation's top quarterbacks honored]
Congratulations to Big Ten quarterbacks Juice Williams (Illinois), Todd Boeckman (Ohio State) and Curtis Painter (Purdue), who were named Thursday to the target="_blank">Davey O'Brien Award Watch List.  The trio joined 28 other college signal callers on the watch list for the award that annually honors the nation's best quarterback. Semifinalists for the O'Brien Award will be announced Oct. 27 with finalists being named on Nov. 24.  The award will be given on Dec. 11.

[FOUR // want to read up on football?]
Two Big Ten football icons recently published books on dreaming big and how to win.  Former Minnesota standout and current Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy released a children's book titled "You Can Do It!" that not only is meant to inspire children, but also to give readers a glimpse into his childhood.  Ohio State's Jim Tressel, who led his Buckeye football team to the 2003 national championship and to the past two BCS finals, released his book "The Winners Manual" on Tuesday.  The book offers insight on one of the most successful coaches in recent college football history.

[FIVE // a new field of dreams?]
A year after an impressive 5-2 home record which helped lead the Indiana Hoosiers to their first bowl game since 1993, the Cream and Crimson is set to begin a new season on new turf.  This past week Memorial Stadium earned a new blanket of carpet after its original synthetic turf playing field was damaged by last month's severe storms and flooding.  Workers began installing the FieldTurf surface earlier in the week and university officials are expecting the work to be done in two weeks.  The Hoosiers' insurance is expected to pay for most of the $406,680 price tag for the new turf.

[SIX // mark your calendars for the challenge]
This past week ESPN, along with the ACC and the Big Ten, announced the times and broadcast information for the upcoming ACC/Big Ten Challenge in December.  The 10th annual event will pair teams from the two leagues in an 11-game challenge that will air on ESPN's family of networks.  The event schedule, which encompasses the first three days of December, can be found by target="_blank">clicking here. 

[SEVEN // speaking of basketball events]
The Penn State women's basketball team learned Wednesday it will participate in the third annual Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.  The two-game doubleheader event will take place on Sunday, Dec. 14, and will also include Connecticut, Rutgers and Dixon's former team Army. Penn State will face off against the five-time national champion Huskies in the second game of the doubleheader, while Army and Rutgers battle in the first game of the day. Both games will be televised on ESPNU.

[EIGHT // coquese elected to serve]
Penn State head coach Coquese Washington was named this past week as one of three people elected to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Board of Directors for the upcoming season.  Washington, who completed her first season in State College last season, joins the board which develops policies, procedures and regulations for the operation of the organization.

[NINE // former big ten golfers finish at british open]
Former Big Ten golfers Steve Stricker and Jeff Overton competed this past week at the British Open - professional golf's third major of the year.  Stricker, a 1990 Illinois graduate, rebounded from a first-round 77 to tie for 12th overall at 12-over-par 292 (77-71-71-73).  Overton, a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year while at Indiana from 2001-05, finished 21-over at 301 (72-75-75-79) to tie for 70th.

[TEN // big ten set to welcome some of nation's finest wrestling talent]
InterMat, college wrestling's top media outlet, released Thursday its collegiate recruiting class rankings and the Big Ten was well represented throughout the top-30 poll.  Minnesota and Wisconsin rank first and second, respectively, while 2008 NCAA Champion Iowa is fifth.  Rounding out the top 10 is Michigan in seventh and Illinois in ninth.  Other Big Ten squads in the rankings include No. 15 Northwestern, No. 18 Ohio State, No. 24 Indiana and No. 26 Purdue.

[ELEVEN // all eyes on beijing]
Finally this week, both the Big Ten Conference and the Big Ten Network have begun highlighting former and current Olympians as the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing are quickly approaching. took a look at the Olympic accomplishments this past week of former conference student-athletes in the sports of men's basketball and track and field, women's diving, and volleyball.  Big Ten Network analyst Kara Lentz has done a number of podcast interviews with former Olympians recently and the BTN has several segments on video worth checking out.  Stay tuned to the BTN and for ongoing Olympic features leading up to the 2008 Summer

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