This Week in the Big Ten

Former Indiana golfer Steve Wheatcroft earned his second-ever Tour victory on Sunday.

July 20, 2014

[ONE // time to start planning for the pigskin]
Big Ten schools announced Wednesday additional game times and television assignments for home football games to appear on BTN, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPNEWS for the first three weeks of the 2014 football season. Schools previously announced times and television for prime time matchups throughout the season. Start times and television plans for the remainder of the schedule will be announced six to 12 days in advance.  Eight Big Ten home games will be featured on Saturday, August 30, the first full Saturday of the college football season.

[TWO // all B1G eyes on bristol]
The Big Ten announced this past week that all 14 football coaches will visit ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters July 30-31 to take part in ESPN's annual mid-summer college football coaches' "car wash" - in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day.  The schedules for the Big Ten coaches will include a mixture of interviews with more than 25 different shows and writers across ESPN's television, radio and digital media platforms. Outlets may include College Football Live, SportsCenter, First Take, SportsNation, Highly Questionable, Numbers Never Lie and E:60 on television and ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike in the Morning, SVP & Russillo, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Sedano & Stink, The Freddie Coleman Show, The Dan LeBartard Show and College GameDay Radio.  The coaches will also be interviewed by writers Travis Haney, Ivan Maisel and Brett McMurphy; appear on a variety of podcasts; participate in chats; and more.

[THREE // look who’s talking]
The Big Ten announced Thursday that ESPN’s Rece Davis will serve as emcee for the 2014 Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon presented by Allstate and BMW. The 43rd annual event will be held on Tuesday, July 29, at the Hilton Chicago and will mark the first official appearance of Maryland and Rutgers as members of the Big Ten.  Davis, who joined ESPN in 1995, serves as primary studio host for ESPN and ESPN2’s coverage of college football and college basketball. He is the host of ESPN’s Saturday college football pregame, halftime and postgame studio coverage and College Football Final with analysts Lou Holtz and Mark May. Davis also calls the ESPN College Football Primetime game on Thursday nights. Before joining ESPN, Davis worked at WJRT-TV in Flint, Mich., after beginning his career at television stations in Georgia and Alabama. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1988.

[FOUR // eight set for camp]
Eight Big Ten standouts were named to the watch list Friday for the Walter Camp Award, which goes to the nation’s most outstanding player. The Big Ten’s preseason honorees for the award are Maryland’s Stefon Diggs, Michigan’s Devin Funchess, Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah and Randy Gregory, Northwestern’s Chi Chi Ariguzo, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon. Miller was named a semifinalist for the award last season while Calhoun was named a Walter Camp Second-Team All-American in 2013. Twenty standouts from current Big Ten programs have claimed the Walter Camp Award 21 times, including honorees from 10 different schools.

[FIVE // eight running for walker]
Eight Big Ten standouts were named to the watch list Thursday for the Doak Walker Award, which goes to the nation’s most outstanding running back. The Big Ten’s preseason honorees for the award are Illinois’ Josh Ferguson, Indiana’s Tevin Coleman, Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford, Minnesota’s David Cobb, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Penn State’s Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon. Abdullah and Gordon were each named semifinalists for the award last season.  Six running backs from Big Ten schools have claimed the Doak Walker Award – Ohio State’s Eddie George in 1995, Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne in 1999 and Montee Ball in 2012, Penn State’s Larry Johnson in 2002, Michigan’s Chris Perry in 2003 and Iowa’s Shonn Greene in 2008.

[SIX // five pass the preseason test for o’brien award]
Five Big Ten standouts were named to the watch list Wednesday for the Davey O’Brien Award, which goes to the nation’s most outstanding quarterback. The Big Ten’s preseason honorees for the award are Michigan’s Devin Gardner, Michigan State’s Connor Cook, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg and Wisconsin’s Joel Stave. Miller was named a semifinalist for the award last season. Six quarterbacks from current Big Ten schools have claimed the Davey O’Brien Award – Penn State’s Todd Blackledge in 1982 and Kerry Collins in 1994, Iowa’s Chuck Long in 1985 and Brad Banks in 2002, Nebraska’s Eric Crouch in 2001 and Ohio State’s Troy Smith in 2006.

[SEVEN // six standouts named to biletnikoff watch list]
Six Big Ten standouts were named to the watch list this past Tuesday for the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the nation’s most outstanding receiver. The Big Ten’s preseason honorees for the award are Indiana’s Shane Wynn, Maryland’s Stefon Diggs, Michigan’s Devin Funchess, Nebraska’s Kenny Bell, Northwestern’s Christian Jones and Ohio State’s Devin Smith. Four receivers from Big Ten schools have claimed the Biletnikoff Award – Penn State’s Bobby Engram in 1994, Ohio State’s Terry Glenn in 1995, Michigan State’s Charles Rogers in 2002 and Michigan’s Braylon Edwards in 2004.

[EIGHT // fifteen earn recognition from national defensive awards]
Fifteen Big Ten standouts were named to the Butkus and Rotary Lombardi Award watch lists this past Monday, with Michigan’s Jake Ryan named to both lists. The Butkus Award is won by the country’s top linebacker while the Rotary Lombardi Award goes to the nation’s most outstanding linebacker or offensive or defensive lineman.  Linebackers from Big Ten schools have earned the Butkus Award 10 times, most recently by Ohio State’s James Laurinaitis in 2007.

[NINE // thirteen touted for good works off the gridiron]
Thirteen Big Ten football student-athletes were among the nominees for the 2014 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) announced this past Tuesday. The award recognizes players whose charitable involvement and community service contributions stand out among all other student-athletes participating in the sport.  Big Ten student-athletes earning Allstate AFCA Good Works Team nominations were Illinois’ Mason Monheim, Indiana’s Mark Murphy, Iowa’s Mark Weisman, Maryland’s Sal Conaboy, Michigan’s Brennen Beyer, Michigan State’s Keith Mumphery, Minnesota’s Peter Mortell, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Northwestern’s Max Chapman, Ohio State’s Michael Bennett, Purdue’s Robert Kugler, Rutgers’ David Milewski and Wisconsin’s Derek Watt.

[TEN // B1G all-star performances]
Three former players with ties to current Big Ten institutions appeared in last Monday’s All-Star Game, held at Target Field in Minnesota, home of the 2015 Big Ten Baseball Tournament. Former Gopher Glen Perkins (Minnesota) earned the save in front of his hometown fans, pitching a perfect ninth inning to secure a 5-3 victory for the American League. Former Husker Tony Watson (Pittsburgh) struck out the only batter he faced in the eighth inning, while former Scarlet Knight Todd Frazier (Cincinnati), who advanced to the championship round of Monday’s Home Run Derby, walked in a pitch hit appearance. Former Husker Alex Gordon (Kansas City) did not play due to injury.

[ELEVEN // a not-so-new michigan man]
University of Michigan men's track and field coach Jerry Clayton announced on Thursday the hiring of former Wolverine national champion and three-time Olympian Kevin Sullivan as the head cross country coach and the assistant track and field coach for the men's programs.  The most decorated runner in school history, Sullivan was a 16-time Big Ten champion and a 14-time NCAA All-American during his Michigan career. He won four NCAA titles, claiming top honors in the mile (1995 and 1998) and the distance medley relay (1995) during the indoor season, and the 1500m run at the 1995 outdoor championships. Sullivan was a nine-time Big Ten Athlete of the Year, earning the honor each of his four years in cross country, three times in indoor track and field and twice outdoors.  In cross country, Sullivan was a four-time NCAA All-American (1993-95, 1997), four-time NCAA regional champion, four-time Big Ten champion, four-time Big Ten Athlete of the Year and a four-time all-conference selection. He was also the 1993 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.  Sullivan was a three-time Olympian for Canada, competing in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Games.

[TWELVE // a weekend of tragedy and triumph for hoosier nation]
Finally this week, Hoosier nation was hit late in the week with tragic news, but rebounded to have something to cheer about on Sunday.  Former Indiana golfer Steve Wheatcroft rallied in the final five holes and then won a playoff to earn his second-ever Tour event with a 24-under-par 260 (64-66-65-65) winning score at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco.  Also in the event was 2012 IU graduate Chase Wright, who tied for fourth place at 19-under 265 (64-66-69-66).  The exciting news came just days after learning the tragic passing of former student-athlete Karlijn Keijzer.  A doctoral student in the chemistry department in the IU College of Arts and Sciences, Keijzer was among the passengers on Malaysia Air Flight 17, which was shot down Thursday leaving no survivors. Keijzer, 25, was a member of the women's rowing team during the 2011 season, earning Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete honors as well as Academic All-Big Ten accolades.  Our B1G hearts are with all of Hoosier Nation as we echo the sentiments of IU president Michael A. McRobbie, who called her death “a loss to the campus and the university.”