Sept. 19, 2010
[ONE // big ten goes 9-2 in week three]
Week three of Big Ten football is in the books and the conference put forth another impressive week, going 9-2 with all 11 league teams in action. Highlighting the weekend’s wins was Michigan State shocking Notre Dame 34-31 in overtime on a fake field goal that led to a 29-yard game-winning touchdown reception. Ohio State dropped Ohio 43-7, Michigan held on to defeat Massachusetts 42-37, Penn State blanked Kent State 24-0 and Wisconsin topped Arizona State 20-19. Other winners included Illinois (28-22, Northern Illinois), Indiana (38-21, Western Kentucky), Northwestern (30-13, Rice) and Purdue (24-13, Ball State). Falling on Saturday was Iowa (34-27, Arizona) and Minnesota (32-21, USC)
[TWO // rank ‘em… six football teams among nation’s best]
The latest college football national polls have been released and the Big Ten and SEC lead all conferences with six teams ranked among the top 25 in both the Associated Press (AP) and USA Today coaches polls. The last time six Big Ten programs were rated among the top 25 in either the AP or USA Today polls was on Oct. 24, 2005. The last time six Big Ten programs were ranked among the top 25 in both polls was on Sept. 13, 2004. Ohio State continues to pace the conference at No. 2 in both polls, with five first-place votes from the media and three top votes from the coaches. Other Big Ten teams include No. 10/11 Wisconsin, No. 18/18 Iowa, No. 21/22 Michigan, No. 23/20 Penn State and No. 25/23 Michigan State. Northwestern is the seventh Big Ten team to receive votes, appearing on multiple ballots both media and coaches.
[THREE // thoughts are with coach “d” and spartan family]
Following a thrilling 34-31 overtime victory over a shocked Notre Dame, it was Michigan State – and all of college football – that was shocked to hear Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio was admitted to the Sparrow Hospital Emergency Room in East Lansing early Sunday morning, with symptoms consistent with a heart attack. Dantonio was hailed this weekend for his gutsy play call that had the Spartans bypass a potential game-tying field goal and instead fake the attempt for a 29-yard touchdown winner. Dantonio will remain at Sparrow Hospital for a few days for monitoring. His return to the sidelines will be determined at a later date. During Dantonio's recovery, offensive coordinator Don Treadwell will manage the day-to-day responsibilities of the head coach. All of us at the Big Ten and its nationwide followers across Big Ten Country send thoughts and best wishes to both the Dantonio and MSU family at this time.
[FOUR // one percent chance to walk again, 100 percent chance to touch your heart]
Next we focus on another personal story from the state of Michigan, but one that will leave you inspired and touched. This past Saturday the Big Ten Network aired a feature on Michigan football player Brock Mealer, who was given less than a one percent chance to walk again after a tragic car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Remarkably, with the help of the Michigan football strength and conditioning staff over the last nine months, Mealer was able to lead the Wolverines down the tunnel in the season opener against Connecticut and touch the traditional Maize and Blue banner, which prompted the NCAA-record 113,000 in attendance at Michigan Stadium to erupt. If you don’t know Mealer’s story, find eight minutes in your day and click on this link to learn more about this incredible comeback.
[FIVE // battling the tough fight together]
If Brock Mealer’s story wasn’t inspiring enough for you, Graham Hays of ESPN.com recently traveled to Bloomington to pen a feature story on Indiana women’s soccer coach Mick Lyon, which was the primary story on ESPN.com’s College Sports page over the weekend. Was it a story about the success of the Hoosiers’ program? Was it a story about the goals for this season? The answer to both is no. The lengthy and very well written article focused on how Lyon and his wife Elizabeth have each been battling multiple sclerosis. We talked in the aforementioned article about Mealer how he was given a one percent chance to walk again. You want to talk about odds… the National Multiple Sclerosis Society lists the risk of developing the disease in the United States as 1 in 750. But the odds for both a husband and wife to get the disease in a two-year time frame? As Hays put it, "improbable" is an understatement.
[SIX // a milestone win]
Keeping with the theme of incredible accomplishments involving Big Ten coaches, congratulations to Penn State field hockey coach Charlene Morett on capturing her 400th career win this weekend. With a 4-0 dominating effort over Temple, Morrett eclipsed the milestone to become only the fourth (ninth overall) Division I coach in NCAA history to obtain the landmark. Following a 3-1 win over West Chester on Sunday, Morett's coaching record sits at 401-161-17, including her three years as coach of the Boston College Eagles.
[SEVEN // hockey coming to happy valley]
Staying in State College, big news was announced this past week by the Penn State athletic department that men’s and women’s hockey will officially become a varsity sport in the 2012-13 academic year. Penn State President Graham Spanier announced to the Board of Trustees Friday the largest private gift in the University's history -- $88 million from Terrence M. and Kim Pegula to fund a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose arena and help to establish an NCAA Division I men's hockey program. The gift also paves the way for the creation of a Division I women's ice hockey program and enhanced figure skating opportunities. The addition of a varsity hockey program at Penn State will soon give the Big Ten six hockey squads – the minimum number of teams needed to hold a conference championship. The Big Ten, however, released a statement this week praising the announcement but also stating its intentions to research all the options and requirements needed for such a decision to be made. Penn State will now join Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Wisconsin as conference schools with varsity hockey programs.
[EIGHT // former purdue star douglas tabbed all-wnba]
This past Monday the WNBA announced former Purdue standout Katie Douglas was named as a second-team All-WNBA selection. The Indiana Fever guard played in all 34 games this past year, averaging 13.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game. In her 10th year as a professional, Douglas has now been named four times to All-WNBA teams.
[NINE // penn state’s wright helps storm to wnba title]
Former Penn State standout Tanisha Wright scored 13 points to go along with four rebounds, three assists and two steals as the Seattle Storm won the 2010 WNBA Championship with an 87-84 win over the Atlanta Dream on Thursday night. Seattle won the series 3-0 and claimed their first WNBA title since 2004. Wright was an important cog in the Storm rotation in the finals, averaging 11.3 points, 3.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.7 steals in the finals. On the year, she averaged nearly 10 points a game to go along with 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game and was named to the WNBA's All-Defensive First Team for the second year in a row.
[TEN // icon countdown]
This past week the Big Ten Network continued 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 www.BigTenIcons.com based solely on their collegiate playing careers. Icons 28 through 19 were unveiled this week, including Icons 20 and 19 during the Keith Jackson-hosted Big Ten Icons show. Congratulations to Icons No. 28 Quinn Buckner (Indiana basketball, 1972-76), No. 27 Glen Rice (Michigan basketball, 1985-89), No. 26 Bubba Smith (Michigan State football, 1963-67), No. 25 Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch (Wisconsin/Michigan football, 1942-44), No. 24 Anthony Carter (Michigan football, 1979-82), No. 23 Bob Griese (Purdue football, 1963-67), No. 22 Jack Ham (Penn State football, 1967-70), No. 21 Bronko Nagurski (Minnesota football, 1927-29), No. 20 Charles Woodson (Michigan football, 1995-98) and No. 19 Suzy Favor-Hamilton (Wisconsin cross country/track and field, 1986-91). 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.
[ELEVEN // sportsnation coming to big ten country]
Finally this week, ESPN2's SportsNation will take its act on the road Monday, Sept. 20 through Thursday, Sept. 23, televised live 4 to 5 p.m. ET, from the campuses of Iowa, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin. In addition to airing on ESPN2, a SportsNation Big Ten segment will appear on all episodes of ESPN's SportsCenter that week. The ESPN2 program co-hosted by Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle incorporates user-generated polls and games based on the days' leading sports news into a fun, interactive show. Each episode aired live on campus will feature polls and games involving the respective host university's football program along with special guests. The school schedule for SportsNation will be: Monday, Sept. 20, Wisconsin - The Memorial Union; Tuesday, Sept. 21, Iowa - Hubbard Park; Wednesday, Sept. 22, Michigan - Ingalls Mall; and Thursday, Sept. 23: Penn State.