Aug. 10, 2009
[ONE // trio of football teams ranked nationally]
With the college football season less than a month away, the Big Ten was well represented in the preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll with nine of the 11 programs receiving at least one vote and two schools ranked among the top 10. Ohio State enters the season sixth, followed by No. 8 Penn State and No. 21 Iowa. The Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC are the only conferences to feature multiple top-10 teams. Six other Big Ten schools also received at least one vote in the preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll, including Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan and Minnesota.
[TWO // football news and note are out]
Want to get caught up on all the latest news surrounding Big Ten football? This past week the conference office released its preseason release with several notes regarding teams and players. The 114th season of Big Ten football kicks off Thursday, Sept. 3, as Indiana hosts Eastern Kentucky in a primetime matchup to be shown live on the Big Ten Network. The conference's other 10 teams open their seasons on Saturday, Sept. 5, including eight which begin their 2009 campaigns at home. For the third consecutive season, Illinois starts its slate on neutral turf, taking on Missouri in St. Louis. Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin open play in front of their home crowds, while Minnesota heads out east to face Syracuse. Every Big Ten home game during the first week will reach a national television audience, broadcast either on ABC, ESPN or the Big Ten Network.
[THREE // three tailbacks eye doak walker award]
Three Big Ten rushers have been tabbed on the watch list for the 2009 Doak Walker Award. The Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum announced this week that Michigan senior Brandon Minor, Ohio State sophomore Dan Herron and Wisconsin sophomore John Clay are among the nation’s top rushers entering the 2009 season. The recipient of the 2009 Doak Walker Award will be announced live on ESPN on The
Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards on Thursday, December 10.
[FOUR // seven ends highlight preseason candidates for hendricks award]
Speaking of national awards, seven Big Ten defensive ends were among the 30 preseason candidates named this week for the 2009 Ted Hendricks Award. The Big Ten is represented by Illinois’ Doug Pilcher, Indiana’s Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton, Michigan’s Brandon Graham, Michigan State’s Trevor Anderson, Northwestern’s Corey Wootton and Ohio State’s Lawrence Wilson. Now in its eighth season, the Ted Hendricks Award is named in honor of college football's first three-time first-team All-American. The 2009 winner will be announced on Dec. 9.
[FIVE // pair of punters on national list]
A third watch list was released this week with this one honoring punters. The Ray Guy Award, given annually to the nation’s top punter, listed two Big Ten punters among the nine preseason candidates. Congratulations to Michigan's Zoltan Mesko and Iowa's Ryan Donahue, who were both semifinalists for the award last year.
[SIX // purdue’s woodson enshrined in hall of fame]
So far we have talked about the upcoming football season and several of the preseason honorees for national awards. Now let’s take a look back at one of the conference’s greats. Congratulations to former Purdue star Rod Woodson, who was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past weekend in Canton, Ohio. In fact, even though he was named to 11 Pro Bowl squads in his 17 professional seasons, Woodson still found time to thank Purdue during his acceptance speech. In those words, he said, “All the professors taught me so much. They got me ready for the National Football League. But more importantly, they got me ready for life. And I want to thank Purdue University for everything it did for me in my four years of being there. Thank you very much, Purdue.” Rod, thank you and congratulations on your honor.
[SEVEN // badger basketball to open against arizona in paradise]
It’s time to talk basketball now and three Big Ten teams learned this week of their season-opening opponents in respective tournaments. For Wisconsin, which will be competing in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, the Badgers will face Arizona in the fourth game of the tournament. The contest pairs newly-named head coach Sean Miller guiding former national champion Arizona against a Bo Ryan-led team that shares a 2-2 overall record with the Wildcats. UW lost in the most recent meeting between the two schools when Arizona downed the Badgers, 94-75, in the first round of the 2006 NCAA tournament.
[EIGHT // hoosiers learn of first opponent in puerto rico]
The Indiana men's basketball team will face Ole Miss in the first round of the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Nov. 19 in San Juan. This will be the first meeting between the two teams and Ole Miss remains the only SEC team the Hoosiers have yet to play in their storied history. IU holds a 52-34 edge over SEC opponents. Indiana will then move on to the tournament semifinal or consolation round to meet Kansas State or Boston University.
[NINE // michigan to face creighton at disney in basketball opener]
Also announced this week was the bracket for the 2009 Old Spice Classic, which will be held Nov. 26-29 at the Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla. Michigan will be one of the participants in the event and will play Creighton in the first round. If U-M wins its opening game, the Wolverines will advance to the championship bracket and face the winner of the Marquette/Xavier matchup on Friday, Nov. 27, at noon on ESPN. With 12 games played over a three-day period, the fourth annual Thanksgiving tournament features an eight-team field, including six teams that earned postseason bids -- four NCAA and two NIT. In addition to U-M, the remaining field members include: Alabama, Baylor, Creighton, Florida State, Iona, Marquette and Xavier.
[TEN // volleyball ready to battle before nationally-televised audience]
Big Ten volleyball will once again enjoy vast national television exposure for the 2009 season with 23 matches to be played on national television, it was announced this past Wednesday. The Big Ten Network will broadcast 20 contests, while ESPN2 and ESPNU will carry three more. Each Big Ten team will make at least one TV appearance, and every squad will have at least one match broadcast nationally from its home court. Two-time defending NCAA Champion Penn State will be featured eight times, including four matches from Rec Hall. In all, the Big Ten’s five NCAA teams from a year ago – Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State and Purdue – will combine to make 28 national television appearances.
[ELEVEN // winckler named to hall of fame]
Finally this week, congratulations to former Illinois women's track and field head coach Gary Winckler, as he is one of six honorees to be inducted into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Hall of Fame Class of 2009. Winckler earned this prestigious honor for his outstanding achievements and dedication to track and field throughout his 34 years of service as a coach, including 23 years at the helm of Illinois' program. He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year 11 times and NCAA Coach of the Year three times, cementing his legacy as one of the nation's premier developers of outstanding track and field student-athletes. The 2009 Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Dec. 16, 2009 at the USTCCCA annual convention in Orlando.