Dec. 5, 2010
[ONE // big ten teams ready to go bowling]
The Big Ten office announced Sunday night the bowl destinations for eight conference football programs, matching the league record for most bowl berths in a single season and sending a pair of teams to Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games for the 10th time in the system's 13 years. Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin each earned a share of the 2010 Big Ten Championship and will take part in January bowl contests. The Badgers secured the Big Ten's automatic bid to the BCS based on posting the conference's highest ranking in the final BCS standings and will return to the Rose Bowl Game for the first time since 2000. The Buckeyes also collected a BCS berth and will take part in the Allstate Sugar Bowl for the first time since 1999. The Spartans will play in the Capital One Bowl for the second time in the last three seasons. In addition, Penn State was selected for the Outback Bowl, Michigan was chosen for the Gator Bowl, Iowa will take part in the Insight Bowl, Illinois will travel to the Texas Bowl and Northwestern will play in the TicketCity Bowl.
[TWO // handful of football teams earn major conference awards]
The Big Ten announced Monday the 2010 All-Conference football teams and individual award winners as selected by the coaches and a media panel, with four different schools sharing the individual accolades. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year by coaches and media while Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan was selected as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year by coaches and media and the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year by coaches. Wisconsin collected two individual accolades as offensive tackle Gabe Carimi was tabbed the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year by coaches and running back James White was honored as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year by coaches and media. Michigan State's Mark Dantonio was named the Dave McClain Coach of the Year by the media. Among this year's All-Big Ten first-team selections, 12 were members of the first or second team from a year ago, including nine first-team selections from 2009 who are on this year's first team. The Big Ten also recognized Sportsmanship Award honorees from each team. A complete look at those selections, along with all postseason honorees, can be found by clicking here.
[THREE // leading the way with football all-americans]
The Big Ten leads all conferences with six members of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-America teams, followed by four honorees each from the ACC, Big 12 and SEC. Big Ten standouts named Monday to the AFCA Coaches All-America Team offense were Penn State offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski and the Wisconsin duo of offensive lineman Gabe Carimi and tight end Lance Kendricks. Conference players named to the AFCA Coaches All-America Team defense were Iowa defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn, Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones and Purdue defensive lineman Ryan Kerrigan. Jones is the nation's only player to earn AFCA honors in back-to-back seasons.
[FOUR // hail to the victors: michigan is college cup bound]
Congratulations to the No. 10 Michigan men’s soccer squad on defeating No. 2 Maryland, 3-2, in double overtime Saturday to advance to its first NCAA College Cup. Fabio Pereira put away the game-winning goal in the 104th minute, giving the Wolverines the win and a trip to the national semifinals. Maryland scored the first goal of the game, tallying in the 17th minute to take a 1-0 lead. Michigan then reeled off two unanswered goals to take the lead in the second half, with Jeff Quijano scoring in the 50th minute and Justin Meram notching his tournament-leading fourth goal in the 60th minute. The Terrapins knotted the score at 2-2 in the 79th minute, sending the match to overtime. After a scoreless first overtime period, Pereira came through with the game-winner for the Wolverines early on in the second. Michigan will take on No. 3 Akron on Dec. 10 at 11 p.m. ET in Santa Barbara, Calif.
[FIVE // buckeyes conclude women’s soccer season at college cup]
We also extend our congratulations on a wonderful season to the third-seeded Ohio State women’s soccer team, which fell to No. 4 Notre Dame, 1-0, in the NCAA College Cup semifinals on Friday afternoon. The Fighting Irish scored the lone goal of the match in the 83rd minute, holding the Buckeyes scoreless to earn the win. The teams went back and forth in the first half, resulting in a 7-4 Notre Dame edge in shots. The Fighting Irish out-shot the Buckeyes, 15-2, in the second half, connecting on a shot from just inside the 18-yard box by Mandy Laddish with just over seven minutes remaining to take the lead for good. Buckeye goalkeeper Katie Baumgardner made 10 saves in the loss. Ohio State closed out the 2010 season with a 17-5-2 overall record.
[SIX // the big ten’s big six left among 16 in ncaa volleyball championship]
With a 3-1 victory over Cincinnati on Saturday night, Illinois became the sixth Big Ten volleyball team to reach the round of 16 in the NCAA Championship. The Fighting Illini opened the tournament with a 3-0 sweep over Austin Peay. Indiana went the distance in both matches with five-set thriller wins over Miami (Ohio) and Tennessee, marking the Hoosiers’ first trip to the round of 16. Minnesota will join IU after 3-0 sweeps of North Dakota State and Creighton. Ohio State earned a 3-1 victory over Lipscomb and a 3-2 win over No. 14 Dayton. Penn State swept Niagara in the first round and did the same to Virginia Tech in round two. Purdue opened with a 3-1 victory against Kentucky and then advanced following a 3-1 result over Louisville. Northwestern knocked off Arizona 3-1 in the first round, but fell 3-1 to Missouri on Saturday. Michigan closed out the 2010 campaign on Thursday with a 3-0 loss to Washington. Click here to view all Big Ten results at the conference’s Tournament Central. Third-round and quarterfinal action takes place Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10-11.
[SEVEN // penn state and minnesota share major conference volleyball awards]
Penn State and Minnesota claimed individual accolades when the conference office announced Tuesday its All-Big Ten Teams and award winners. After clinching an eighth straight Big Ten Championship, Penn State earned three individual awards. Senior Blair Brown was named the conference’s Player of the Year, while teammate Deja McClendon was honored as Freshman of the Year. Nittany Lion head coach Russ Rose was named Big Ten Coach of the Year by his peers and the media, while Minnesota junior Jessica Granquist garnered Defensive Player of the Year distinction. In addition to the major awards and All-Conference teams, an All-Freshman squad and 11 Sportsmanship Award honorees were announced. For a complete look at all the postseason accolades, click here.
[EIGHT // men’s basketball successfully defends challenge title; women win inaugural challenge]
Big Ten men’s basketball made big news at the beginning and end of this past week, capturing its second-straight ACC/Big Ten Challenge title and cleaning the slate against nine opponents over the weekend. Saturday marked the first time since at least the 1996-97 season that the Big Ten had gone 9-0 or better on any single day. But this past week was all about the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge, which the conference captured by a 6-5 margin. Game winners included Illinois’ 79-67 win over North Carolina, Michigan’s 69-61 victory over Clemson, Northwestern’s 91-71 breakout over Georgia Tech, Ohio State’s 58-44 win over Florida State, Wisconsin’s 87-48 blowout over NC State, and Purdue’s 58-55 overtime thriller over Virginia Tech. On the women’s side, the inaugural Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge resumed this week with the Big 12 holding a 1-0 series edge after Kansas knocked off Wisconsin on Nov. 21. Illinois evened up the series at 1-1 with a 63-59 victory over Colorado on Saturday, and then the Big Ten took over on Sunday. The Big Ten won six of nine contests to clinch the new conference challenge title, 7-4. Purdue will look to extend the Big Ten’s winning margin to 8-4 when it concludes the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge with a Dec. 9 matchup against Texas A&M.
[NINE // start up the soundtrack]
The Big Ten Conference this weekend continued its basketball public service announcements entitled, Big Ten Soundtrack. The PSAs feature musical backdrops by highly regarded artists Public Enemy, De La Soul and Janelle Monae. The musical anthems were chosen for their appeal among all generations and to showcase the Big Ten's basketball excellence to its extensive and diverse audience. The Big Ten will debut a new women's basketball PSA, entitled Tightrope, delivered by Grammy-nominated artist Janelle Monae performing her hit track of the same name. Big Ten men's basketball is continuing both of its PSAs from last year, Public Enemy’s Give it Up and De La Soul's The Magic Number. The Big Ten Soundtrack PSAs are part of the Big Ten's thematic, "Big Life. Big Stage. Big Ten." that was introduced in 2008. The spots can be found below and at www.youtube.com/bigtenconference.
[TEN // honoring academic efforts for the fall]
As the fall term of the 2010-11 school year comes to a close, the Big Ten recognized Thursday a total of 706 fall sports athletes who have been honored with Academic All-Conference accolades. The list of acclaimed student-athletes features 72 men's and 110 women's cross country runners, 60 field hockey players, 190 football players, 51 men's and 152 women's soccer athletes and 71 volleyball players. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher. At least four Big Ten student-athletes have maintained unblemished GPAs in their careers. A trio of women's cross country runners boast 4.0 GPAs in Minnesota's Kathryn Ritter and Purdue's Kara Conflenti and Alice Feslier Holmes. Also with a perfect academic record was Michigan State field hockey student-athlete Elizabeth Helffrich.
[ELEVEN // “N” we’re good….]
Finally this week, after the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors held its winter meetings in Park Ridge, Ill., this weekend, the conference office announced the Big Ten will no longer “be actively engaged in conference expansion for the foreseeable future and does not expect to be proactively seeking new members.” This time last year, the COP/C believed that the time was right for the conference to explore the possibility of conference expansion and Commissioner James E. Delany was asked to provide recommendations for consideration over the next 12 to 18 months. The Big Ten began a thorough, deliberate evaluation and on June 11, 2010, the COP/C unanimously approved an application for membership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Since that announcement, the conference has been actively engaged in incorporating Nebraska, both academically and athletically, into the fabric of the conference and all parties eagerly await the completed integration which will take effect in July, 2011.