Dec. 27, 2008
[ONE // badgers fall in big ten bowl opener]
The Big Ten football bowl season opened Saturday as Wisconsin took part in the first of seven conference bowl games. The Badgers fell 42-13 to Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl, which was held at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla. UW running back P.J. Hill led the Badgers with 140 yards on the ground. Wisconsin finished the 2008 season with a 7-6 mark, while the Seminoles improved to 9-4.
[TWO // spending christmas on the gridiron]
The remaining six Big Ten squads will compete in their postseason bowl games this upcoming week. In preparation for those games, several teams practiced over the Christmas holiday at their respective sites. Kirk Ferentz, whose Iowa Hawkeyes practiced in Tampa, Fla., for the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day, spread a little holiday cheer throughout the day by donning a black and white Iowa Santa hat. Michigan State left temperatures below 20 and seven inches of snow on the ground to travel on Christmas Day to the Orlando area where the weather reached the upper 70s. MSU will also play New Year's Day in the Capital One Bowl. And while Northwestern prepared for the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio and Minnesota did the same for the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., Ohio State and Penn State continued looking ahead at their respective BCS matchups. The Buckeyes play Texas in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., while the Nittany Lions will do battle in Pasadena, Calif., with USC in the Rose Bowl.
[THREE // big ten boasts two of three award finalists]
Florida State's Bobby Bowden may have gotten the best of Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl Saturday, but two Big Ten players are in prime position to return the favor. Illinois Ryan McDonald and Ohio State's Marcus Freeman are two of three finalists for the Bobby Bowden Award, which is presented to an NCAA Division I football player who "epitomizes the student-athlete ideals -- a young man who conducts himself as a faith-based model in the community, in the classroom and on the playing field." The nominees also must have at least a 3.0 grade-point average and the backing of their athletic director and head coach. The award will be presented at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes breakfast on Jan. 6, 2009 in Miami in conjunction with the BCS championship game. Congratulations and best of luck to Ryan and Marcus!
[FOUR // hoops trio named among men's naismith trophy nominees]
Three Big Ten men's basketball players were named this past week to the 2008-09 Naismith Trophy preseason watch list. The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Michigan State's Raymar Morgan and Purdue's Robbie Hummel and E'Twaun Moore were selected to the list of 40 of the nation's top players. The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2008-09 college basketball season. In February, the Naismith Trophy voting academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, will narrow its early season list to the top 30 players in the nation. Those players, and others who distinguish themselves throughout the season, will be eligible for the final ballot in March.
[FIVE // four women's stars named to naismith watch list]
Speaking of the Naismith Trophy, congrats goes out to four Big Ten women's basketball stars for being named to watch list for the annual women's trophy. Among the list of national candidates were Illinois' Jenna Smith, Michigan State's Allyssa DeHaan, Northwestern's Amy Jaeschke, and Ohio State's Jantel Lavender. The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T will be awarded at the 2009 NCAA Women's Final Four in St. Louis, MO.
[SIX // men's basketball standouts named to head of class]
It seems as if the honors just keep rolling in for Big Ten basketball players. This past week 30 senior male NCAA college basketball players, including Penn State guard Danny Morrissey and Wisconsin forward Marcus Landry, were announced as candidates for the 2008-09 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, presented annually to an NCAA Division I student-athlete in nine sports. Based on criteria focusing on the "Four C's" of classroom, character, community and competition, the award winners will be selected by national balloting of head basketball coaches, national media and college basketball fans. From each of the two lists of 30 nominees, a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in February 2009. Those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote. In addition to voting by Division I head basketball coaches and national media, college basketball fans will also be able to submit ballots by text voting or on-line at www.seniorclassaward.com.
[SEVEN // men's soccer stars earn another type of "class" honor]
We're staying with the awards theme, but moving from CLASS to the CLASSROOM. This past week three Big Ten men's soccer players were among 11 first-team selections named to the NSCAA/adidas Scholar All-America team. Congratulations to Indiana midfielder Brad Ring, Michigan defender Michael Holody and Michigan State forward Doug DeMartin. The Scholar All-America selections are invited to be recognized at the annual All-America Luncheon, to be held in St. Louis, Mo., on Saturday, Jan. 17, as part of the 2009 NSCAA Convention.
[EIGHT // three women's soccer standouts honored as well]
Three conference women's soccer standouts were also tabbed NSCAA/adidas All-American Scholars this past week. Named to the 2008 NSCAA/adidas Women's College Scholar All-America Second Team was Illinois midfielder Marti Desjarlais and Penn State midfielder Zoe Bouchelle and defender Jessie Davis. Bouchelle was one of 11 repeat selections and was also selected the NSCAA/adidas Girls High School Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2003. Similar to the men's honorees, the Scholar All-America selections are invited to be recognized at the annual All-America Luncheon, which will be held in St. Louis, Mo., on Saturday, Jan. 17, as part of the 2009 NSCAA Convention.
[NINE // pair of baseball preseason all-americans hail from the big ten]
From the classroom to the baseball diamond, two Big Ten All-American distinctions were handed out this past week by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Indiana catcher Josh Phegley (.438, 15 HR, 20 2B, 80 RBI) was named to the 2009 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American First Team, while Michigan pitcher Chris Fetter was selected to the second team. Best of luck in the upcoming season to Josh, Chris and all other Big Ten ballplayers.
[TEN // michigan baseball named in preseason baseball poll]
The Michigan baseball team was recently voted by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper to the "Fabulous 40" preseason poll. The Wolverines will open the 2009 campaign ranked 29th overall, after finishing the 2008 season with a 46-14 record and their third straight Big Ten title. Ohio State and Purdue were both listed as receiving votes outside the poll.
[ELEVEN // big ten closes out final volleyball poll in style]
Finally this week, the American Volleyball Coaches Association put an end to the 2008 college volleyball season by releasing its final poll of the year. Penn State, which successfully defended its national title this season and posted a perfect 38-0 record, was a unanimous No. 1 selection, having earned all 60 first-place votes. Illinois (26-8) finished the season ranked 11th, followed by No. 14 Minnesota (27-7), No. 15 Purdue (26-9) and No. 17 Michigan (26-9).