[ONE // summer tour keeps on rollin’]
The Big Ten Network’s Summer Football Tour continued traveling through Big Ten Country this past week to prep for the upcoming football season. The BTN crew and its decked-out tour bus stopped by Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Minnesota over the last seven days. For a complete recap, check out the BTN’s diary here. Watch nightly coverage at 6 p.m. ET on BTN/BTN2Go, and follow BTN Live on Facebook and Twitter. Also, bookmark Tom Dienhart's Diary and Instagram for updates from every stop.
[TWO // big ten football found in preseason ap poll]
Four Big Ten teams appeared among the top 25 of the preseason Associated Press (AP) poll released Sunday, including a pair of schools among the top 10. Ohio State leads the way for the Big Ten and is ranked fifth overall, after appearing sixth in the preseason Amway Coaches' poll announced July 31. The Buckeyes won 12 games and claimed division titles in each of the last two seasons. Defending Big Ten and Rose Bowl Game Champion Michigan State also cracked the top 10, appearing at No. 8 overall in both the AP and Amway Coaches' polls. Elsewhere, Wisconsin and Nebraska earned the same ranking in both the preseason media and coaches' polls at No. 14 and 22, respectively.
[THREE // quarterback quintet up for manning award]
Five Big Ten standouts were named to the watch list today for the Manning Award, which goes to the nation’s most outstanding quarterback. Finalists for the award, which includes candidates’ performance in bowl games, will be released on Nov. 26 with the winner to be announced on Jan. 14. The Big Ten’s preseason honorees for the Manning Award are Indiana’s Nate Sudfeld, Iowa’s Jake Rudock, Michigan’s Devin Gardner, Michigan State’s Connor Cook and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller.
[FOUR // penn state volleyball a popular preseason pick]
Defending NCAA and Big Ten Champion Penn State was chosen as the conference favorite for the 2014 volleyball season as voted on by the Big Ten coaches, it was announced on Thursday. After claiming their sixth national title last season, the Nittany Lions top the preseason poll for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons. Nebraska, which finished second in the Big Ten last season, was picked to finish second in 2014. After appearing in the NCAA championship match last season, Wisconsin was selected third this season, while Illinois was picked fourth in the voting. Purdue rounded out the top five in the preseason poll. Additionally, conference coaches selected a Preseason All-Big Ten Team, which features six unanimous selections and five returning members. That team can be found by clicking here.
[FIVE // …and nationally too]
The Big Ten leads the country with seven volleyball teams ranked in the AVCA Division I Coaches 2014 Preseason Poll, including four top-10 squads. Reigning NCAA and Big Ten Champion Penn State tops the poll at No. 1, followed by No. 6 Wisconsin. Other conference teams among the top 10 include Nebraska at No. 7 and Purdue at No. 8. Illinois begins the season at No. 11, followed by No. 12 Minnesota and No. 16 Michigan State. Michigan is also receiving votes in the preseason rankings. For the complete poll, click here.
[SIX // preseason on the pitch]
The Big Ten announced its 2014 women's soccer preseason coaches' poll and players to watch list on Wednesday, with Penn State earning top honors among the 14 conference teams. The Nittany Lions enter the season as the conference favorites after making their 19th straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2013. Penn State completed the 2013 campaign with a 7-4-0 conference record (15-7-1 overall), and returns eight starters for the 2014 season. The Nittany Lions have won 15 of the last 16 Big Ten women's soccer titles. Wisconsin checks in at No. 2 in the preseason poll, followed by Maryland at No. 3 in its first year in the conference, defending Big Ten champion Nebraska at No. 4 and Michigan at No. 5. Additionally, the 2014 players to watch list was also release and can be found by clicking here.
[SEVEN // madness hits big ten women’s soccer]
College Sports Madness named 26 women’s soccer players to its Big Ten Preseason All-Conference First and Second Teams this past week. The preseason honors also included an Offensive Player of the Year (Jannelle Flaws, Illinois), Defensive Player of the Year (Whitney Church, Penn State), Freshman of the Year (Sydney McGinnis, Wisconsin) and Coach of the Year (Greg Ryan, Michigan). The publication also selected Flaws as a First Team Preseason All-American. Wisconsin midfielder Rose Lavelle and Penn State’s Church received Second Team All-America mentions. The list of honors can be seen by clicking here.
[EIGHT // men’s soccer makes some madness as well]
College Sports Madness named 26 players to its Big Ten men's soccer preseason All-Conference first and second Teams on Wednesday. The selections also included an Offensive (Joey Calistri, Northwestern), Defensive (Mikey Ambrose, Maryland), Freshman (Ahinga Selemani, Michigan) and Coach of the Year (Damon Rensing, Michigan State). The 2014 men's soccer season is set to begin August 29.
[NINE // up for the challenge]
ESPN has finalized the time and network designations for the 15th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. ESPN networks will combine to cover every game of the event during the first week of December. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will televise the 14 games of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge – including all 14 Big Ten schools and 14 of 15 ACC teams – from Monday, Dec. 1 through Wednesday, Dec. 3. The ACC and Big Ten have split the past two events, winning six Challenge games each in 2012 and 2013. In the event of a tie, the Commissioner’s Cup remains with the conference that won the previous year, which was the Big Ten in 2011. The ACC won the first 10 Challenges (1999-2008), while the Big Ten won the next three (2009-2011).
[TEN // a big ten flavor on super tuesday]
ESPN's 2015 Super Tuesday schedule - showcasing a game from the Big Ten and SEC each Tuesday - will matchup top teams in the nation beginning Jan. 6. The doubleheader will feature a game at 7 p.m. ET and 9 p.m., with the conference contests switching between the timeslots on varying weeks, concluding the nine-week series on March 3. The potential of two top-25 Big Ten matchups featuring No. 25 Iowa at No. 4 Wisconsin on Jan. 20 and a battle between 2014 Elite Eight participants and in-state rivals No. 18 Michigan State at No. 24 Michigan on Feb. 17.
[ELEVEN // ice ice baby]
If you are reading this feature right now, you have likely spent time surfing the Web and have seen a number of different personalities taking the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for ALS. Just this past week, Indiana athletic director Fred Glass, Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini, and a host of others in the Big Ten family accepted the challenge. Check out this running blog by BTN.com that chronicles all the challenges by Big Ten personalities.
[TWELVE // new to the big ten family]
Finally this week, we extend a special welcome to Katie Kane, who has been hired as the Big Ten Assistant Director for Communications. Kane will be the primary communications contact for women’s basketball, baseball and field hockey and also serve as the media coordinator for the Big Ten Women’s Basketball and Baseball Tournaments. Kane joins the Big Ten after spending the last four years as Associate Sports Information Director at West Virginia, where she was responsible for the public and media relations efforts of the women’s basketball team.