This Week in the Big Ten

The Big Ten announced both the men's and women's basketball schedules this past week.

Sep 2, 2013

[ONE // week one on the gridiron in the books]
The Big Ten opened the 2013 football season 10-2 this past week, which featured games on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  The conference boasted two teams in action on Thursday – two teams that absolutely lit up the scoreboard for a combined 124 points.  Indiana scored the most points in a game than it had in 112 years with a 73-35 victory over Indiana State, while Minnesota tallied its highest point total in TCF Bank Stadium with a 51-23 win over UNLV.  On Friday, Michigan State’s defense recorded a pair of touchdowns in a 26-13 outcome over Western Michigan.  Among the highlights on Saturday, Urban Meyer remained perfect in Columbus as Ohio State doubled-up Buffalo, 40-20, Wisconsin blanked UMass 45-0 in head coach Gary Andersen’s debut, and Northwestern bested California on the road, 44-30.  Elsewhere, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, and Penn State found the win column, while Iowa and Purdue fell in their openers.

[TWO // enhancing the experience]
Prior to kickoff of the Big Ten football season this past week, the conference announced that all Big Ten schools can now show an unlimited number of replays on football stadium videoboards, as recently approved by conference administrators. The enhanced replay program occurred as part of a broader discussion by the Big Ten Football Gameday Experience Subcommittee in an effort to supplement the in-stadium experience.  The subcommittee has encouraged each institution to explore the feasibility of adding full WiFi and Distributed Antenna System (DAS) coverage along with enhanced audio/video content (e.g., locker room video) that would be proprietary to stadium videoboards.  The group also encouraged institutions to provide increased coverage of other Big Ten and NCAA games and to explore the possibility of creating lounge-style environments for fans to watch those games or to connect through social media.

[THREE // gameday heads to big house]
ESPN College Football GameDay will make a return trip to Ann Arbor this upcoming Saturday for the first time since the Michigan-Notre Dame "Under the Lights" game in 2011, the network announced Saturday night. U-M hosts the Fighting Irish on Saturday at Michigan Stadium, with kickoff set for 8:12 p.m. EDT on ESPN.  Former U-M Heisman Trophy winner and the inaugural Michigan Football Legend, Desmond Howard, will be back with his ESPN GameDay partners for the "Under the Lights II" match-up against the Irish. ESPN will broadcast live from 9 a.m. until noon on Sept. 7. The Wolverines are 14-8 all-time when GameDay is present. This also will be the 11th time GameDay visits Ann Arbor, as U-M is 8-2 at the Big House. The Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry has been showcased five other times by ESPN, including three times in Ann Arbor.

[FOUR // fall sports weekly wrap-up]
Big Ten volleyball combined for a 30-7 record to start the 2013 season this past week, including a 12-3 mark on Friday and an 18-4 result on Saturday.  Friday’s highlights included Illinois upsetting No. 18 Florida State 3-0, while the Fighting Illini returned Saturday to top No. 17 Kentucky in five games.  Elsewhere on Saturday, Michigan head coach Mark Rosen recorded his 500th career win following a 3-0 blanking of Northern Kentucky.  In week two of action, Big Ten women’s soccer went 18-4, highlighted by a perfect 6-0 record in extra sessions, which included three double-overtime victories on Sunday.  The men’s soccer season opened with a 7-3 record, which included a pair of shutout wins by Penn State and an overtime win for Wisconsin.  In the featured matchup of the week, No. 1 Indiana dropped a 1-0 overtime thriller to No. 9 UCLA before a school-record attendance of 7,720 fans at Bill Armstrong Stadium.  Field hockey opened the 2013 campaign with a 7-6 record, including three top-20 victories.  No. 6 Penn State topped No. 8 Old Dominion 3-1, No. 11 Northwestern bested No. 15 Northeastern 4-2, and Ohio State bested No. 20 New Hampshire in a shootout, 3-2.  In cross country, Illinois took home the Illini Challenge crown, Ohio State claimed both the men’s and women’s titles at the Dayton Flyer 5k Challenge, and Michigan and Purdue opened in the non-scoring Michigan Open, as did Michigan State in its non-scoring Jeff Drenth Memorial.

[FIVE // men’s hoops schedule released]
The Big Ten announced this past Wednesday its 2013-14 men's basketball conference schedule, with at least 49 games to be televised by CBS Sports or an ESPN Network. Remaining network assignments will be announced at a later date. The Big Ten schedule will begin with four games on Tuesday, Dec. 31, including a New Year's Eve doubleheader on ESPN2 featuring defending Big Ten Tournament Champion Ohio State at Purdue, followed by reigning Big Ten Champion Indiana at Illinois. The Big Ten season concludes on March 8 and 9, including a March 8 matchup between the Hoosiers and 2013 national runner-up Michigan, the two teams that met in last year's finale resulting in a last-second finish to clinch the outright title for Indiana. The Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament will be held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis from March 13-16.  For a closer look at the schedule, click here.

[SIX // women’s basketball slate announced as well]
The Big Ten announced the 2014 women’s basketball conference schedule this past Tuesday, revealing the 16-game slates for each conference program. This year’s schedule begins on Thursday, Jan. 2 and will culminate on Sunday, March 2.  Three matchups highlight the opening night of conference action as Ohio State welcomes two-time defending Big Ten Tournament champion Purdue, Nebraska hosts Northwestern and Indiana takes on Iowa. Illinois hosts Wisconsin on Friday, Jan. 3 and Minnesota welcomes Michigan State on Saturday, Jan. 4. Penn State, two-time defending Big Ten Champion, and Michigan open the conference season on Sunday, Jan. 5, as the Lady Lions travel to Iowa and the Wolverines head to Ohio State.  The conference schedule will regularly feature games on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, while six Big Ten contests will appear on four Mondays during the season. Over the nine weeks of conference play, each team will have five home-and-away series and six single-play opponents.

[SEVEN // big ten pair ready for big monday]
ESPN has announced its Big Monday women's basketball lineup for the 2014 season, which includes one Big Ten matchup. On Feb. 24, Nebraska will host Penn State at 7 p.m. ET in a matchup that features the two-time defending conference champion Lady Lions against the Huskers, who have appeared in two consecutive Big Ten Tournament championship contests. Both squads appear in's preseason top 25, with Nebraska ninth and Penn State 19th.

[EIGHT // five netters honored for class]
Five Big Ten volleyball standouts were named this past week as candidates for the 2013 Senior CLASS award, given to athletes who excel both on and off of the court. Michigan's Jennifer Cross, Michigan State's Lauren Wicinski, Minnesota's Ashley Wittman, Northwestern's Stephanie Holthus and Penn State's Ariel Scott are each up for the award. The candidate list will be narrowed from 30 to 10 finalists midway through the regular season.  To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.

[NINE // five men’s cross country squads earn preseason recognition]
Five Big Ten men's cross country teams garnered recognition in the preseason USTFCCCA national coaches' top 30 poll, which was released on Tuesday. Defending Big Ten Champion Wisconsin leads the way at No. 7, followed by No. 20 Indiana, No. 26 Michigan and No. 30 Michigan State. Illinois was receiving votes in the poll. For the complete poll, click here.

[TEN // four women’s cross country teams ranked nationally]
Four Big Ten women's cross country squads have earned spots in the preseason USTFCCCA national coaches top 30 poll, which was also announced on Tuesday. Penn State leads the way for conference squads, coming in at No. 11. Michigan State follows at No. 13, Michigan comes in at No. 17 and Minnesota is ranked No. 19. Click here to see the complete poll.

[ELEVEN // four field hockey squads found in preseason poll]
Four Big Ten field hockey teams appeared in the 2013 Penn Monto/NFHCA Preseason Poll, which was released on Tuesday. Big Ten Champion Penn State leads the way at No. 6, while Michigan joins them in the top 10 at No. 9. Northwestern comes in at No. 11, while Iowa sits at No. 13. For the complete poll, click here

[TWELVE // called up to team usa]
Finally this week, congratulations to Illinois women's soccer senior midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo, who was called up to the U.S. National Team for its Sept. 3 match against Mexico at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. DiBernardo, a three-time All-Big Ten first team selection, missed Illinois' match against Illinois State on Sunday, but will return to the Illini in time for their two games at Arizona State (Sept. 6 and 8).  The USA-Mexico match will kick off at 8 p.m. ET and air on FOX Sports 1 as the new network's first international soccer match.