July 22, 2013
[ONE // ready to kickoff, ready to run]
This week’s feature has been devoted to all things Big Ten football, in honor of this upcoming week’s Big Ten Football Media Days and Kickoff Luncheon. The Big Ten announced this past Thursday that BTN and ESPNU will continue to air coverage of the opening session of the 2013 Big Ten Football Media Days on Wednesday, July 24, which will be held at the Hilton Chicago. BTN will present five hours of live coverage of Big Ten Football Media Days on Wednesday, airing the press conferences for all 12 coaches, BTN President Mark Silverman, Tournament of Roses President Scott Jenkins and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. For the eighth consecutive year, the opening session of the Big Ten Football Media Days will appear on an ESPN network. Coverage by ESPNU will begin on Wednesday at 10 a.m. CT, and is scheduled to feature all 12 head coaches, Jenkins and Delany either live or tape-delayed as they address the assembled media. In addition, the BTN reports that more than 12,000 runners have already signed up for the second-annual BTN Big 10K and 5K run/walk, more than double the amount of runners who participated last year. The race is set for Saturday, July 27, and will be televised on BTN at 8 p.m. ET that night.
[TWO // revsine ready to talk big ten football]
The Big Ten announced this past Tuesday that Dave Revsine will serve as emcee for the 2013 Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon presented by Allstate and BMW, which will be held Thursday, July 25, at the Hilton Chicago. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. CT with the players and coaches autograph and photo session for fans attending the luncheon. The luncheon itself begins at 11:30 a.m. Revsine, who has served as BTN's lead studio host for a wide array of programming since the network's inception and was its first on-air hire, will be joined at the Kickoff Luncheon by each of the 12 Big Ten head football coaches and 36 of the conference's top returning players.
[THREE // revsine and friends return to btn for fall season]
Speaking of Dave Revsine, the BTN’s lead studio host is set to return for his seventh season along with broadcast teammates Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith. The trio anchors the network’s game-day studio coverage on Big Ten Football Saturday, and contributes to additional studio shows during the week. This past Wednesday, BTN revealed its game broadcast teams and studio talent for the 2013 football season. The network’s football schedule will feature 47 games, extensive pre-game, halftime and post-game coverage on Saturdays and football-themed studio shows every weeknight. For a complete look at the BTN talent teams for this fall, click here.
[FOUR // continuing a strong bowl partnership]
This past week two postseason bowl contests extended their long-standing partnership with the Big Ten. Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan, President Tony Massey and Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany announced Friday an extended partnership agreement for Orlando’s Capital One Bowl, maintaining the game’s traditional relationship through the 2019-20 season. Under the extended agreement, the New Year’s Day Classic will select an eligible Big Ten team immediately after the conference's participants in the Rose Bowl and/or College Football Playoff are identified when the new system takes effect in the 2014-15 campaign. Also on Friday, Outback Bowl officials announced an agreement to extend the contract with the Big Ten six additional years through the 2019 college football season. The agreement extends a 20-year relationship with the conference to play in Tampa on New Year's Day at Raymond James Stadium.
[FIVE // the best of both worlds for big ten bowls]
Prior to the extensions with the Capital One Bowl and Outback Bowl, the Big Ten entered into a new agreement with two additional bowls on Thursday. The TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl announced that an agreement has been reached with the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl to share selections for one of its participating teams with the Big Ten and the Atlantic Coast Conference, which includes the University of Notre Dame, for a term of six years following the 2014 college football regular season. The unique partnership with these conferences signifies the Bowl's efforts to offer flexibility in the team selection process. Previously, the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl had an agreement with the Big Ten and the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl had an agreement with the Atlantic Coast Conference. This unique partnership allows the conference teams the flexibility to participate in both Bowl games three times each in a six-year period. Representatives of the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl announced the new partnership with the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl on Thursday as well.
[SIX // a new (or renewed) showdown in motown]
The Detroit Lions announced this past Wednesday that they have entered into a six-year partnership with the Big Ten for a bowl game that will be played at Ford Field beginning in 2014. The game will be officially named once sponsorship agreements are in place. The inaugural game is tentatively scheduled for December 30, 2014 (pending TV broadcast schedule). At the end of each college football season, the Big Ten and a conference to be named will determine their team representatives after discussion between bowl and conference officials to create the best possible matchup. The Big Ten has sent a representative to Detroit for a bowl game three times (Northwestern, 2003; Purdue, 2007 and 2011) for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, also played at Ford Field.
[SEVEN // six who love camp]
Six Big Ten players were named to the Walter Camp Player of the Year watch list, honoring the most outstanding player in college football, it was announced on Friday. Congratulations to Michigan’s Taylor Lewan, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah and Taylor Martinez, Northwestern’s Venric Mark, and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and Bradley Roby. Speaking of the Buckeyes, Big Ten institutions have claimed 13 Walter Camp Awards since 1967, most recently with 2006 honoree Troy Smith of Ohio State.
[EIGHT // seven look to run for walker]
Seven Big Ten players were named candidates for the Doak Walker Award, it was announced on Thursday. Since 1990, the Doak Walker Award has been presented annually to the nation's top running back. Former Wisconsin standout Montee Ball won the award last season, while Northwestern's Venric Mark was tabbed a candidate after appearing as a semifinalist for the award last season. This year’s preseason candidates include Iowa’s Mark Weisman, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Northwestern’s Venric Mark, Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde, Penn State’s Zach Zwinak, and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and James White. Big Ten players have claimed six Walker Awards - Ohio State's Eddie George (1995), Wisconsin's Ron Dayne (1999), Penn State's Larry Johnson (2002), Michigan's Chris Perry (2003), Iowa's Shonn Greene (2008) and Wisconsin's Ball (2012).
[NINE // three slingers up for o’brien award]
Three Big Ten players appear on the Davey O'Brien Award watch list, it was announced on Wednesday. Michigan's Devin Gardner, Nebraska's Taylor Martinez and Ohio State's Braxton Miller are each up for the award presented annually to the nation's most outstanding quarterback. Six players from Big Ten institutions have received the O'Brien Award--Penn State's Todd Blackledge in 1982, Iowa's Chuck Long in 1985, Penn State's Kerry Collins in 1994, Nebraska's Eric Crouch in 2001, Iowa's Brad Banks in 2002 and Ohio State's Troy Smith in 2006.
[TEN // eight standouts selected to biletnikoff watch list]
Eight Big Ten student-athletes were named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list, it was announced on Tuesday. Indiana's Cody Latimer, Michigan's Jeremy Gallon, Michigan State's Aaron Burbridge, Nebraska's Kenny Bell, Ohio State's Corey Brown and Devin Smith, Penn State's Allen Robinson and Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis are all up for the award presented annually to the nation's most outstanding receiver. Big Ten players have claimed four Biletnikoff Awards, the most of any conference, including inaugural recipient Bobby Engram of Penn State in 1994. Past winners also include Ohio State's Terry Glenn (1995), Michigan State's Charles Rogers (2002) and Michigan's Braylon Edwards (2004).
[ELEVEN // nearly twenty on the list for butkus, lombardi awards]
Nineteen Big Ten standouts were named to the Butkus and Lombardi watch lists, it was announced on Monday. Iowa's Anthony Hitchens, Michigan State's Max Bullough, Ohio State's Ryan Shazier and Wisconsin's Chris Borland were honored on both lists. The Butkus Award is given annually to the nation's top linebacker and Big Ten institutions have claimed nine honors in conference history, most recently with 2007 honoree James Laurinaitis of Ohio State. Since 1970, the Lombardi Award has been awarded to the nation's most outstanding lineman. Big Ten institutions have earned 14 Lombardi Awards, most recently with 2009 recipient Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska. For a complete look at the Big Ten representatives on each list, click here.
[TWELVE // an award-winning run]
Finally this week, the annual ESPN ESPY Awards aired this past week, and sports fans across the country likely had at least one moment where they were moved to tears during the broadcast. Whether it was Robin Roberts’ motivating speech, or Dick and Rick Hoyt’s inspirational story, the 2013 ESPY Awards were nothing shy of fascinating. But one could argue that the “best moment’ of the night was when 7-year-old Atkinson, Neb., native Jack Hoffman was honored with the award for “Best Moment.” Jack’s fight against pediatric brain cancer has been told several times through Big Ten and Nebraska mediums, and by several we mean more than 8.1 million times on YouTube. A few months ago during the Cornhuskers’ annual Spring Game, Hoffman entered the game for Big Red and scampered 69 yards for a touchdown. It was the “best moment” of his life, and now it is sports’ “best moment” of the year.