Aug. 3, 2008
[ONE // big ten football among nation’s best]
We have made it to August, which means college football season is here. Last week we talked about the Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon and the events leading up to the 2008 season openers. This week we saw the release of the preseason USA Today Coaches' Poll and once again, the Big Ten did not disappoint. The conference is represented by five teams, which equals the nation-leading total along with the Big 12 and SEC. Ohio State topped the Big Ten at No. 3 nationally, followed by No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 19 Illinois, No. 22 Penn State and No. 24 Michigan. Take a closer look at the preseason poll by clicking here!
[TWO // handful of tight ends named to watch list]
The Big Ten also boasts five representatives on the 2008 John Mackey Award Watch List, which was released this past week. Illinois junior Jeff Cumberland, Iowa senior Tony Moeaki, Michigan senior Branden Ledbetter, Penn State junior Andrew Quarless and Wisconsin senior Travis Beckum were among the 30 nominees for the award that honors the nation’s best tight end. The award is named for NFL Hall of Fame member John Mackey, who is considered to be the best to have played the tight end position. The 2008 winner will be announced in mid-December.
[THREE // we're talking about practice?]
This past week the Big Ten Network announced plans to visit all 11 campuses this month to stop in on football practice sessions. The BTN’s lead studio team of host Dave Revsine and analysts Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith will travel to each school and broadcast a 90-minute special of Big Ten Tonight, which will feature everything from interviews to in-depth analysis and position battles. All editions of Big Ten Tonight: Football Practice will debut at 9 p.m. ET. The tour begins at Ohio State (Aug. 5) and continues with Iowa (Aug. 7), Wisconsin (Aug. 9), Minnesota (Aug. 11), Indiana (Aug. 12), Purdue (Aug. 13), Northwestern (Aug. 14), Illinois (Aug. 15), Michigan (Aug. 18), Michigan State (Aug. 19) and Penn State (Aug. 21).
[FOUR // the btn has moved?]
Relax, the Big Ten Network is still located on the near northside of Chicago, however its location on DIRECTV has moved from channel 220 to channel 610. The move, which occurred this week, was part of a system-wide realignment that included many other sports networks as well. No worries though as the channel change does not mean a change in how its carried. The Big Ten Network will remain a part of the CHOICE Package, DIRECTV's most widely distributed programming package.
[FIVE // usa gymnastics loses a buckeye, gains a buckeye]
As the USA Gymnastics squad makes its journey to Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games, Ohio State graduate Paul Hamm will not be participating with the team, it was announced this week. The reigning Olympic all-around gold medalist still has not fully recovered from the broken hand he suffered at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. However, one Buckeyes’ loss is another Buckeyes’ gain. Raj Bhavsar, who competed for Ohio State from 2000-03, will replace Hamm on the Olympic roster. Bhavsar served as an alternate at the Athens Games in 2004 while training with Ohio State head coach Miles Avery, who is also helping out in Beijing as an assistant coach for Team USA.
[SIX // cysewski honored by usa wrestling]
Speaking of Big Ten coaches with ties to Team USA, Northwestern wrestling head coach Tim Cysewski was named USA Wrestling FILA Junior/University Person of the Year last Wednesday. The award goes to a leader who works with athletes and programs on the FILA Junior (ages 17-20) and University (18-24) levels. Cysewski has spent the last 18 years in Evanston and has helped develop and build the successful University National Championships program. He has also coached the U.S. in international competition, including assignments at the Pan American Games, the World Cup, and the Espoir World Cup.
[SEVEN // clary cleary the best at u.s. open]
Michael Phelps who? Well, perhaps Michigan’s Tyler Clary isn’t quite on the level as the current Wolverine volunteer assistant coach and Olympic gold-medal favorite, but Clary now has proof he has an edge over Phelps in the 400-meter individual medley. This past Wednesday at the U.S. Open, Clary broke Phelps’ meet record in Minneapolis, Minn., with a winning time of 4:17.02. The sophomore’s mark bested Phelps’ previous record of 4:18.32, which was set at the 2006 U.S. Open. With the win, Clary qualified for the 2009 World University Games.
[EIGHT // bennett competes at women’s british open]
Former Iowa golfer Liz Bennett both qualified and competed at the Women’s British Open this past week. A 71 in the qualifier earned one of 30 qualifying spots in the field and the former Hawkeye nearly did enough to make the cut in her first major. The two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and 2004 and 2005 team MVP fired a 146 (74-72) to miss the cut by one stroke.
[NINE // gulyanamitta set for u.s. women’s amateur]
Give a tip of the cap to Purdue sophomore Junthima Gulyanamitta for qualifying for this week's United States Women's Amateur Championship, which will be played Aug. 4-10 at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore. A first-team All-Conference selection in 2008, Gulyanamitta shot a 75 to finish third at a Section Qualifier in Indianapolis. Gulyanamitta, who placed tied for 10th at this past year's Big Ten Championships, will begin stroke play competition on Monday. The field will then be cut to 64 for match play, which will begin on Wednesday, culminating in the Championship match this Sunday.
[TEN // hoosier golfers continue to make headlines]
A pair of former Indiana golfers made headlines this week as well. Jorge Campillo, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year and 2008 NCAA runner-up, captured the Spanish National Amateur Championship with a 9-under-par 279 (70-67-72-70) to win by five strokes. The win catapulted Campillo to No. 2 in the latest World Amateur Rankings. In other news, two-time All-American and former Big Ten Golfer of the Year Jeff Overton found himself on top of the PGA Tour leaderboard once again this past week. After an opening 7-under 65 at the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open, Overton entered the second round as the leader of the tournament. Unfortunately back-to-back rounds of 75 took the former Hoosier out of contention for the win. His 72-hole score of 285 (65-75-75-70) tied for 37th overall.
[ELEVEN // byrne taking over arm of badger dynasty]
Finally this week, the Big Ten welcomes Mick Byrne to the conference as the new head men’s cross country coach and assistant track and field coach at Wisconsin. Byrne, who served as the head men’s and women’s cross country coach at Iona since 1990, replaces Jerry Schumacher, who helped build the Badger program into a national dynasty. Under Schumacher’s watch, Wisconsin captured nine straight Big Ten men’s cross country titles and the 2005 NCAA Championship. In addition, the Badgers collected five national runner-up finishes and never placed lower than sixth in the event. Byrne comes to Madison with an impressive resume, however, as his Iona teams finished in the top four at NCAAs in four of the last five years, including a runner-up finish in 2007.