Oct. 3, 2010
[ONE // big ten football season begins]
The first week of Big Ten football action is in the books with Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, and Ohio State winning each of their conference openers. Second-ranked Ohio State claimed victory on the road at Illinois, 24-13, while Northwestern did the same with a 29-28 thriller at Minnesota. Michigan captured a 42-35 win in a shootout at Indiana, while its upcoming opponent, Michigan State, improved to 5-0 as well with a 34-24 home victory over Wisconsin. In prime time, Iowa defended its home turf with a 24-3 win over Penn State.
[TWO // pick six]
The Big Ten remains one of two conferences with six teams among the top 25 in at least one of the national polls after the latest Associated Press (AP) and USA Today coaches polls were announced. The Big Ten and SEC are the only conferences with six teams rated among the top 25 in the coaches poll, while the Big Ten's five teams among the top 25 in the AP rankings rates second only to the SEC. The Big 12 ranks third with four teams among the top 25 in both polls, including future Big Ten member Nebraska, followed by the Pac-10 (three teams), Mountain West (three in AP, two in coaches), ACC (two) and WAC (two). While Penn State dropped from the top 25 after a loss at Iowa, Northwestern returned to the polls for the first time since Dec. 7, 2008, and is ranked No. 25 by the coaches. The Big Ten's remaining ranked squads all appear among the top 20, led by Ohio State at No. 2 in both polls for the sixth straight week. The Big Ten's other top-20 programs are No. 15/15 Iowa (AP/USA Today), No. 17/16 Michigan State, No. 18/17 Michigan and No. 20/19 Wisconsin.
[THREE // honored on the field and in the classroom]
Nine Big Ten players have been named semifinalists for the 2010 William V. Campbell Trophy, given annually to the nation's top football student-athlete. The Big Ten's nine semifinalists are Illinois' Anthony Santella, Indiana's Ben Chappell, Iowa's Julian Vandervelde, Minnesota's Adam Weber, Northwestern's Stefan Demos, Ohio State's Bryant Browning, Penn State's Stefen Wisniewski, Purdue's Kyle Adams and Wisconsin's Scott Tolzien. Selected as the best and brightest from the college gridiron, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced 121 semifinalists for the Campbell Trophy (formerly known as the Draddy Trophy), endowed by HealthSouth, and the candidates for the 2010 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards. Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, semifinalists must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
[FOUR // getting ready for women’s hoops on the small screen]
More than 150 Big Ten women’s basketball home contests will be produced for a national audience during the 2010-11 season, the conference office announced Friday. The complete broadcast schedule includes more than 60 linear telecasts and approximately 90 streamed matchups on www.bigtennetwork.com. At least 56 Big Ten games will be televised by the Big Ten Network, including the first nine of the Big Ten Tournament. ESPN2 will broadcast five games throughout the season, including the Big Ten Tournament final, and CBS Sports will televise one. Through the conference’s media agreements, more than 90 percent of the Big Ten women’s basketball home games will be produced for a national audience.
[FIVE // honoring an indiana icon]
The Big Ten Network revealed on Wednesday that Indiana's Steve Alford had been named Big Ten Icon No. 17. Alford helped lead Indiana to the 1987 National Championship, was a two-time All-American, a three-time All-Big Ten selection and was named Indiana's team MVP four straight years. He finished his collegiate career as the Hoosiers' all-time leading scorer. The native of New Castle, Ind., also won a gold medal on the Bob Knight-coached 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team. The Big Ten Icons countdown, presented by Discover, continues at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 5, with a profile of the sharp-shooting guard. The episode includes new, exclusive interviews with Alford, his father, Sam, Steve Lavin, Gene Keady, Bob Hammel, Don Fischer and others.
[SIX // a big ten feel at the ryder cup]
Big Ten men's golf has been well represented at the 2010 Ryder Cup, with three former Big Ten golfers taking part in this week’s tournament. Steve Stricker and Jeff Overton have been on the course for Team USA while Luke Donald is representing Team Europe. The Big Ten Player of the Year in 1988 and 1989 at Illinois, Stricker is playing in his second Ryder Cup after helping Team USA to the win in 2008. Overton, also a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year at Indiana (2004-05), is one of five Team USA players making their first appearance at the Ryder Cup. Donald, the NCAA individual Champion in 1999, is one of two players in Big Ten history to be named Player of the Year three times. The former Northwestern golfer is in his third Ryder Cup after leading Team Europe to victory in 2004 and 2006. Tom Lehman, a three-time All-American and All-Big Ten honoree at Minnesota, is serving as an Assistant Captain for the USA squad. Current Indiana head coach Mike Mayer is Overton's official instructor for the tournament. For Mayer's daily blog on his Ryder Cup experience, click here. As for the action, Stricker teamed with Tiger Woods in session one to beat Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher 2 up, while Overton and Bubba Watson ousted Donald and Padraig Harrington 3 & 2. In the second session, Woods and Stricker topped Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson 4 & 3, while Donald got his revenge on Overton, teaming with Poulter to beat the Hoosier and Watson 2 & 1. On Sunday, Donald and Lee Westwood toppled Woods and Stricker 6 & 5, while Overton and Watson were defeated 2 up by Jimenez and Hanson. In that round Sunday, Overton made waves in the morning by holing out the shot of the day for eagle, which prompted a boisterous “BOOM BABY!” from him, which has prompted the video to go viral. All three Big Ten reps are in singles action on Monday.
[SEVEN // illinois holds slim lead in big ten volleyball race]
Week two of Big Ten volleyball has come and gone and Illinois remains atop the conference with a 4-0 record following a 3-1 victory over Wisconsin on Wednesday and a five-set thriller on Saturday against No. 25 Northwestern. Four teams – Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern and Penn State – are tied for second place overall with 3-1 records. Fourth-ranked Penn State blanked Michigan State 3-0 on Friday and No. 19 Michigan on Saturday. The Wildcats earned a 3-0 win over Wisconsin on Friday, while the Wolverines captured a 3-1 result over Ohio State. No. 17 Minnesota defeated Purdue 3-1 on Friday and answered with a 3-0 shutout over Indiana on Sunday. The Buckeyes are 2-2 in league play after a 3-0 blanking on Michigan State on Saturday, while Purdue is also 2-2 following a 3-0 shutout against Iowa on Sunday. Prior to the Hawkeyes’ loss to the Boilermakers, they beat Indiana 3-1 on Friday and sit tied with Michigan State at 1-3 in conference play. Indiana and Wisconsin are winless in Big Ten matches this year.
[EIGHT // buckeyes shock akron; big ten network shows two sunday soccer thrillers]
Big Ten men’s soccer had quite the bookends this week, with a outstanding “tie” by Ohio State on Wednesday and a Big Ten Network thriller to close out the week Sunday between Indiana and Wisconsin. Despite the Badgers falling to Marquette 1-0 on Tuesday, UW battled to a 1-1 double-overtime draw against the Hoosiers on the Big Ten Network Sunday. The BTN also televised Michigan defeating No. 24 Penn State 2-1, which gave the Nittany Lions their first road loss of the year. Also on Sunday, No. 19 Ohio State took down 11th-ranked Michigan State, 2-1, and Northwestern blanked Missouri State, 1-0. The action, however, occurred in the middle of the week as all four contests on Wednesday offered some storylines. The Buckeyes fought top-ranked Akron to a 2-2 tie after David Tiemstra forced overtime with a goal with two seconds remaining in regulation. Playing in front of a Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium record crowd of 7,255, OSU became the first opponent to score against the Zips since Nov. 15, 2009 (11 games). In addition, Indiana returned home after a long time away from Yeagley Field to score a 1-0 win over Evansville, while Penn State outlasted Saint Francis 4-3. At a neutral setting at Toyota Park on Wednesday, Northwestern scored a 1-1 draw against Notre Dame.
[NINE // women’s soccer action heats up]
Big Ten women’s soccer action spanned four consecutive days this past week, beginning with a conference upset on Thursday and an overtime thriller on the Big Ten Network to end the week Sunday. No. 15 Minnesota fell 1-0 to Wisconsin to open the week’s action, while No. 21 Illinois ousted Purdue 4-1 and Michigan State blanked Indiana 2-0 on Friday. Michigan and Northwestern were the lone teams in action Saturday, battling to a 1-1 tie. On Sunday, the Spartans defeated Purdue 2-0, Illinois topped Indiana 2-1 and Wisconsin blanked Iowa 2-0. Also on Sunday, Ohio State beat Penn State 1-0 in overtime in a Big Ten Network classic.
[TEN // michigan upset and near-upset highlight field hockey weekend]
Big Ten field hockey was also in action this week, which began with No. 19 upsetting No. 6 Michigan State 2-1 on Friday. On Saturday's slate, Iowa fell 5-3 at No. 15 Penn State and Indiana dropped a home contest to seventh-ranked Ohio State, 4-1. Five non-conference matches rounded out the weekend action on Sunday. Penn State routed Monmouth 7-2 and Michigan State defeated Ohio 6-4, while the Wolverines had their seven-game winning streak snapped in a 4-3 loss to top-ranked Maryland. Also, Iowa lost 4-0 to Lock Haven and Kent State bested Northwestern 2-1 in overtime.
[ELEVEN // ready to run at big tens]
Finally this week, in what could be dubbed as a preview of the 2010 Big Ten Cross Country Championships, nearly all the conference men’s and women’s cross country teams were at Wisconsin on Saturday for the second-annual Wisconsin adidas Invitational. On the men’s side, Indiana claimed the event title with 43 points, followed by runner-up Wisconsin (75). Michigan State (191) was sixth, while Ohio State (256), Illinois (280) and Purdue (308) were ninth, 10th, and 11th, respectively. Iowa (361) placed 14th and Michigan (622) was 20th. Hoosier sophomore Andrew Bayer was the top Big Ten finisher, placing second at 23:29.4. On the women’s side, Michigan State (109), Michigan (113) and Indiana (151) placed third through fifth, respectively, while Purdue (339) and Illinois (339) tied for 13th and Wisconsin (363) was 15th. MSU senior Emily MacLeod was the league’s top runner with a second-pace time of 20:14.8. The Big Ten Championships will take place Sunday, Oct. 31, at the Zimmer Championship Course.