This Week in the Big Ten

This past Wednesday, Purdue's Ariel Turner was named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player fo the Week.

Dec. 2, 2012

[ONE // all things rosy for the badgers]
Congratulations to the Wisconsin Badgers on claiming their third-straight Big Ten Football Championship for the first time in program history.  The Badgers defeated Nebraska 70-31 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., on Saturday night to earn the conference’s coveted bid to the Rose Bowl Game.  B1G legend Archie Griffin of Ohio State fame presented the Big Ten Football Championship Game Grange-Griffin MVP Award to Wisconsin running back Montee Ball. The Badger back finished the game with 21 carries for 201 yards and three touchdowns. Ball averaged 9.6 yards per carry, helping the Badgers to 539 yards rushing in the game.  For complete coverage of the Big Ten Football Championship Game, including a game recap, in-game blog, notes, quotes, and pictures, click here.

[TWO // big ten is bowl bound]
The Big Ten will send seven conference teams to bowl games this season, marking the 14th straight year that six or more Big Ten programs have earned postseason berths. Big Ten Champion Wisconsin will take part in the Rose Bowl Game for the third straight season, conference runner-up Nebraska heads to the Capital One Bowl, Michigan will play in the Outback Bowl, Northwestern travels to the Gator Bowl, Michigan State competes in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Minnesota heads to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas and Purdue will play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.  For a complete look at the Big Ten’s representation in the postseason, click here.

[THREE // and the awards go to…]
The Big Ten on Monday announced the 2012 All-Big Ten teams as well as 10 postseason individual award winners, as voted by the conference's coaches and a select media panel. This season marks the second year of the Big Ten's postseason awards process that honors teams, coaches and student-athletes. The Big Ten's biggest individual honors each bear the names of one or two former standouts. The Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian and Ford-Kinnick Leadership awards were announced two weeks ago, 10 individual trophies were announced Monday, and the remaining five trophy winners were on Tuesday.  Ohio State’s Braxton Miller was named the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year, Ohio State’s John Simon was tabbed the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year, Penn State’s Deion Barnes was recognized as the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year, and the Nittany Lions’ Bill O’Brien was named the Hayes-Schembechler and Dave McClain Coach of the Year.

[FOUR // penn state falls in ncaa women’s soccer championship final]
The top-seeded Penn State women’s soccer team fell to second-seeded North Carolina 4-1 in the NCAA Championship match Sunday afternoon. The Tar Heels scored in the second minute of the game to take an early 1-0 lead, but Taylor Schram found the back of the net for the Nittany Lions off of a Christine Nairn assist in the 19th minute to knot the score at 1-1. UNC got on the board again early in the second half to take a 2-1 lead and never looked back. The Nittany Lions concluded their season with a 21-4-2 record.

[FIVE // hoosiers still in search for the eighth star]
The 16th-ranked Indiana men’s soccer squad defeated No. 9 North Carolina 1-0 in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Friday night in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championship. Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Eriq Zavaleta scored the lone goal for the Hoosiers in the 60th minute off of a rebound header. The tally proved to be the difference as the Indiana defense held its ground for the final 30 minutes to defeat the defending national champions. The Hoosiers move on to the national semifinals in the NCAA College Cup and will face No. 12 Creighton on Dec. 7, in Hoover, Ala.  Indiana is a seven-time NCAA Champion, signified by the seven stars the Hoosiers wear on their jerseys.  IU will look to add an eighth star and another title this upcoming week.

[SIX // six soccer standouts earn all-america accolades]
Six women's soccer standouts have earned 2012 NSCAA/Continental Tire All-America honors, it was announced on Friday. Penn State's Maya Hayes and Christine Nairn were named to the first team, while Michigan's Haley Kopmeyer and Ohio State's Tiffany Cameron garnered second-team recognition. Illinois' Vanessa DiBernardo and Minnesota's Taylor Uhl were named to the third team. All players were first-team All-Big Ten selections this season, while DiBernardo, Hayes, and Nairn were each repeat All-America honorees.

[SEVEN // all-americans in the classroom]
Two Big Ten soccer players were honored this past Thursday as Academic All-Americans.  Penn State men's soccer player Julian Cardona earned 2012 Capital One Academic All-America honors, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), it was announced on Thursday.  A second-team All-Big Ten selection, Cardona finished the regular season fourth in the conference in points (14) and third in goals (6), while leading the Nittany Lions to a share of the Big Ten Championship.  On the women’s side, Minnesota’s Allie Phillips earned Academic All-America distinction after tallying four goals and eight assists this season for the Golden Gophers, who finished 11-7-2 overall.  Phillips is majoring in Biology and has maintained an overall GPA of 3.97.  To be eligible for Academic All-America status, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his current institution and be nominated by his sports information director.

[EIGHT // sweet six-teen for big ten volleyball]
What a week it was for Big Ten volleyball as six of the conference’s seven teams competing in the postseason advanced to the Round of 16 in NCAA Volleyball Championship play.  Michigan State beat defending national champion UCLA 3-1 on Saturday night at Pauley Pavilion, Minnesota defeated Creighton 3-1 on the Gophers’ home floor, while top-seed Penn State blanked Bowling Green at home.   Purdue won a five-set thriller over No. 9 seed Florida State, coming from behind in the final set to secure a spot in the Sweet 16 and a regional played at home in Mackey Arena.  Michigan will play in the Round of 16 for the second straight season after knocking off No. 10 Louisville in four sets on Friday at the KFC Yum! Center.  The fourth-seeded Huskers of Nebraska swept Northern Iowa on Friday and now move on to the Omaha Regional next weekend.  Two “conference” matchups will take place in the Round of 16 as Purdue will face Minnesota and Michigan meets rival Michigan State.  Penn State faces Kentucky and Nebraska will do battle with No. 13 Washington.  In other action this past week, Ohio State finished its season with a 3-1 loss to Kentucky in second-round action.

[NINE // retaining the cup]
Earlier in the week, the Big Ten and ACC tied 6-6 in the ACC/Big Ten Men’s Basketball Challenge. The Big Ten retained control of the Commissioner's Cup, having won last year's Challenge.  The six conference teams victorious in the Challenge were top-ranked Indiana (83-59, No. 14/13 North Carolina), No. 3/3 Michigan (79-72, No. 18/18 NC State), No. 21/rv Minnesota (77-68, Florida State), Illinois (75-62, Georgia Tech), Nebraska (79-63, Wake Forest), and Purdue (73-61, Clemson).  For a complete look at the Challenge’s results, check out the Big Ten Men’s Basketball blog.

[TEN // women’s hoops falls to acc in challenge]
Big Ten women’s basketball teams also battled this week in ACC/Big Ten Challenge play, but came up just shy as its rival conference earned a 7-5 victory for rights to the Commissioner’s Cup.  The five B1G programs earning victories in this year’s Challenge included Illinois (95-82, Wake Forest), Indiana (52-49, Clemson), Michigan State (68-51, NC State), Northwestern 67-63), and Purdue (85-73, Georgia Tech).

[ELEVEN // big ten student-athletes honored nationally]
Four B1G student-athletes earned national recognition this past week in the sports of football, soccer and volleyball.  In football, Ohio State football standout and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Braxton Miller was named a finalist for the Manning Award, it was announced on Wednesday.  Speaking of the Manning Award, Purdue quarterback Robert Marve was named among the eight "Stars of the Week" selected by the Manning Award, it was announced on Monday.  In soccer, Illinois’ Vanessa DiBernardo was named one of five finalists for U.S. Soccer's 2012 Young Female Athlete of the Year Award, it was announced on Monday.  On Wednesday, Purdue outside hitter Ariel Turner was named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week after leading the Boilermakers to back-to-back Big Ten wins.

[TWELVE // conference teams earn national recognition]
Finally this past week, two Big Ten football teams were honored nationally.  Penn State was named the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl's National Team of the Week as selected by the Football Writers Association of America, it was announced on Monday.  And for the seventh time since 1998, Northwestern will receive the American Football Association Academic Achievement Award, the organization announced on Monday. Northwestern shares this year's award with Stanford, with both schools achieving a 100 percent graduation rate for football student-athletes that entered school in the 2005-06 academic year. The Wildcats will accept their award at the 90th annual AFCA convention on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 in Nashville, Tenn.