This Week in the Big Ten

Sept. 5, 2010

[ONE // big ten football posts strong start to 2010 season]
With all 11 conference football teams opening their respective seasons this past week, the Big Ten established an impressive 9-2 mark.  On Thursday, three teams – Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio State – open the year in the win columns as the Hoosiers topped Towson 51-17, the Golden Gophers defeated Middle Tennessee State 24-17, and the No. 2 Buckeyes ousted Marshall 45-7.  Winners on Saturday included Iowa (37-7, Eastern Illinois), Michigan (30-10, Connecticut), Michigan State (38-14, Western Michigan), Northwestern (23-21, Vanderbilt), Penn State (44-14, Youngstown State) and Wisconsin (41-21, UNLV).  Falling in tested rival matchups Saturday was Illinois (23-13, Missouri) and Purdue (23-12, Notre Dame).

[TWO // michigan’s robinson honored by walter camp reps]
The Walter Camp Football Foundation has announced its first 2010 Bowl Championship Subdivision National Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week for games ending September 4, and Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson earned the national offensive honor for his performance against Connecticut. This is the seventh year that the Walter Camp Football Foundation will honor one offensive and one defensive player as its national Bowl Subdivision player of the week during the regular season. Recipients are selected by a panel of national media members and administered by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.  In his first game as a starter, sophomore quarterback Robinson accounted for 383 yards and two touchdowns as Michigan defeated Connecticut, 30-10, before a crowd of 113,090 in Ann Arbor. Robinson rushed for 197 yards -- a school record for a quarterback -- and one touchdown (32 yards) to go along with 186 yards passing (19-of-22) and an 11-yard scoring toss.

[THREE // split ‘em up!  big ten makes milestone announcement]
This past Wednesday, the Big Ten office announced football division alignments beginning with the 2011 season as recommended by conference directors of athletics and reviewed and supported by the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors. Nebraska will officially begin conference competition in 2011, giving the Big Ten 12 football programs for the first time in conference history.  The winner of each Big Ten division will meet in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game, to be played December 3, 2011, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The championship game will determine the Big Ten Champion and the conference's participant in the Rose Bowl Game or Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.  The Big Ten football division alignments will include a division featuring Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin, and a division featuring Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern.

[FOUR // taking another look at these great games]
Featuring bitter rivalries, bowl victories, down-to-the-wire finishes and star-making performances, the fourth season of The Big Ten’s Greatest Games premiered this past Friday. New episodes will air at 6 PM ET for 13 straight Fridays this fall.  This list of classics features Big Ten fans’ most commonly requested games over the past year. The 2005 Ohio State-Penn State thriller was the fan favorite. The fourth football season of The Big Ten’s Greatest Games will feature accomplished and celebrated Big Ten heroes such as Illinois’ Kurt Kittner, Indiana’s Vaughn Dunbar, Iowa’s Bob Sanders, Michigan’s Anthony Thomas, Michigan State’s Tony Banks, Minnesota’s Laurence Maroney, Northwestern’s Tyrell Sutton, Ohio State’s Troy Smith, Penn State’s Paul Posluszny, Purdue’s Kyle Orton, Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne, and more.  Click here to view the complete breakdown of the fourth season’s “Greatest Games.”

[FIVE // counting down the most iconic figures in conference history]
This past week the Big Ten Network began counting down its top 50 iconic figures in conference history. Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover, is the network’s most ambitious multi-platform initiative to date. The program is counting down the top 50 student-athletes in Big Ten history on based solely on their collegiate playing careers.  Icons 50 through 21 are being unveiled through Sept. 16 at Congratulations to Icons No. 50 Tom Brands (Iowa wrestling, 1989-92), No. 49 Megan Hodge (Penn State women's volleyball, 2006-09), No. 48 Drew Brees (Purdue football, 1997-2000), No. 47 Chris Spielman (Ohio State football, 1984-87), No. 46 LaVar Arrington (Penn State football, 1997-99), No. 45 Rod Woodson (Purdue football, 1983-86), No. 44 George Halas (Illinois football, 1916-18) and No. 43 Chuck Long (Iowa football, 1981-85).  The television show, hosted by legendary college sports broadcaster Keith Jackson, debuts Sept. 18 following a Big Ten Network football telecast in which Icon No. 20 will be revealed. The countdown continues at 9 PM ET every Tuesday night through the end of football season and into the spring. The No. 1 Big Ten Icon will be revealed around the 2011 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament.

[SIX // big ten network “gives big” to community service]
In an effort to honor, encourage and support the thousands of Big Ten community members who give back, the Big Ten Network has launched Give Big, a major community service initiative.  Beginning this past Friday, the network will feature a top community-service effort of a Big Ten supporter during Big Ten Tailgate, which visits a different Big Ten campus each week during football season. Some profiles will focus on the efforts of famous athletes such as Wisconsin's Devin Harris and Minnesota's Karl Mecklenburg, as well as remarkable projects undertaken by community leaders better known locally. While Give Big salutes these charitable efforts on the air, it will also look to engage the Big Ten Network's passionate and growing audience on a dedicated website ( and other social-media sites to funnel their enthusiasm and support toward these worthy causes.

[SEVEN // from community service to public service]
This past Thursday, the Big Ten unveiled three public service campaigns for the upcoming academic year. “Impact the World” made its debut, while “Big Ten Fan Camp” returns for a second season, and “Faces of the Big Ten” gets a facelift in its third year. All three PSAs fall under the “Big Life. Big Stage. Big Ten.” theme introduced in the fall of 2008. The theme speaks to the breadth, visibility and impact of the Big Ten across all aspects of life and sport. The “Big Ten Fan Camp” and “Impact the World” PSAs, as well as new editions to the “Faces of the Big Ten” campaign, can be found through the conference website,, and on the conference’s YouTube page,  Do yourself a favor… take 10 minutes or so and scan through all of these new videos.  These are great segments featuring some pretty wonderful student-athletes and stories!

[EIGHT // men’s soccer season begins]
The 2010 Big Ten men’s soccer season opened this past week with all seven teams in action combining for a 7-5 record.  Ohio State (1-0, College of Charleston / 2-0, Buffalo) and Penn State (5-0, Buffalo / 1-0, College of Charleston) both captured a pair of wins this week, while Wisconsin won its lone contest over Santa Clara, 2-1.  Indiana and Michigan State earned splits this week, but each team carded a big top-25 win as well.  Indiana fell 2-1 in double overtime to California to open the season, but responded to bounce No. 5 UCLA, 5-1.  MSU dropped No. 6 Maryland 4-3 in overtime to start the year and then fell 4-0 to Georgetown.  Michigan was defeated in its opener, 1-0, to Drake, while Northwestern lost 1-0 to San Francisco and 3-2 to St. Mary’s over the weekend.

[NINE // cross country season begins with big ten teams ranked]
Both the men’s and women’s cross country season got underway this past week, and once again, the Big Ten is represented well in the national rankings. According to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), the Wisconsin men are ranked seventh, followed by Michigan State (21), Minnesota (26) and Indiana (27).  On the women’s side, Minnesota leads the conference contingent at No. 21, while No. 23 Michigan State, No. 24 Penn State, No. 26 Wisconsin, No. 27 Michigan and No. 29 Iowa round out the top 30 poll.  Indiana and Ohio State are both receiving votes in the women’s poll released this past week.

[TEN // diving into the big blue]
Congratulations to Kongzheng "KZ" Li, who was recently named as the head diving coach for both the Michigan men's and women's swimming and diving programs.  Li has spent his entire 19-year career as a head coach, including the past two seasons as co-head coach of the U.S. Elite Diving Academy in Columbus, Ohio.  From 1996-2003, Li was head diving coach at Minnesota, where he produced eight NCAA All-Americans, six Big Ten champions and 45 Big Ten Championships finalists. In addition, three of his divers won Big Ten Diver of the Year and four were selected as Big Ten Diver of the Championships. Li is a two-time Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year, winning the honor in 2001 (men) and 1998 (women).

[ELEVEN // mourning the loss of a hawkeye hoops legend]
Finally this week, we learned Monday of the passing of former Iowa head basketball coach and player Sharm Scheuerman.  He was 76.  Scheuerman, a Rock Island, Ill., native was a member of Iowa's legendary "Fabulous Five" team in 1956 that ultimately finished as the NCAA runners-up. Iowa won 17 straight games that year, the second-longest streak in school history. The 1955 team also reached the Final Four. A two-sport student-athlete, Scheuerman was also a three-year letterman in baseball.  Upon graduation in 1956, Scheuerman became an assistant basketball coach and then at the age of 24, was promoted to become the youngest head basketball coach in NCAA Division I history.  His six-year record at Iowa was 72-69 (.511). His 1961 team finished 18-6 overall and placed second in the Big Ten with a 10-4 league mark.