This Week in the Big Ten

Dayton's Kelly Sheffield was hired Friday as Wisconsin's new women's volleyball head coach.

Dec. 30, 2012

[ONE // spartans rally past horned frogs for “wild” bowl win]
Michigan State gave the Big Ten its first win of the 2012-13 bowl season by rallying from a double-digit deficit to defeat TCU 17-16 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Saturday night.  The Spartans, who finished the season 7-6 overall, were paced by Le’Veon Bell’s 145 yards on the ground and Dan Conroy’s 47-yard game-winning field goal with 1:01 left in the contest.

[TWO // gophers run out of time in meineke car care bowl]
The Big Ten bowl season opened this past Friday night with Minnesota falling late to Texas Tech, 34-31, in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.  The Red Raiders’ D.J. Johnson picked off the Gophers’ Philip Nelson and returned it 39 yards to allow Ryan Bustin to make a 28-yard field goal as time expired to give TTU the win.  A highlight for the Gophers came early in the game, in fact very early, when senior Troy Stoudermire broke the NCAA record for career kickoff return yards on the opening kickoff.  Stoudermire returned the kickoff 26 yards to bring his career total to 3,530 yards. That surpassed the 3,517 yards Houston's Tyron Carrier amassed in a career that ended in 2011.  Minnesota, which was competing in its first bowl game since 2009, finished the season 6-7. 

[THREE // it’s the granddaddy of them all]
After winning its second consecutive Big Ten Football Championship Game, Wisconsin (8-5) heads back to Pasadena, Calif., for the Rose Bowl Game for the third straight season, where the Badgers will face Stanford (11-2) on Jan. 1 at 5:10 p.m. ET on ESPN. Wisconsin becomes the first Big Ten team to go to three straight Rose Bowl Games since Michigan went to Pasadena following the 1976-78 campaigns. The Badgers are undefeated against Stanford, owning a 4-0-1 mark against the Cardinal, including a 17-9 victory in the 2000 Rose Bowl Game. All-time, the Badgers are 6-4 against current members of the Pac-12 Conference in bowl games, including a 3-4 mark in the Rose Bowl.  This season’s edition of the Rose Bowl Game will have a nostalgic feel for the Badger faithful as former head coach and current UW athletics director Barry Alvarez will return to the sidelines as interim head coach. Alvarez, a Rose Bowl Hall of Famer and the winningest coach in college football bowl history at 8-2 (.727), will look to extend his undefeated Rose Bowl mark to 4-0 after earning wins as Wisconsin’s head man in the 1994, 1999 and 2000 Rose Bowl Games.

[FOUR // nebraska preps for another capital one bowl]
Nebraska (10-3) is set to appear in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla., where the Huskers will face Georgia (11-2) at 1 p.m. ET on Jan. 1. The game will be televised on ABC. Nebraska is one of three Big Ten teams boasting 20 or more postseason victories, owning 24 triumphs in bowl contests. The Huskers have met Georgia once previously in their history, a 45-6 victory in the Sun Bowl following the 1969 season. In that Sun Bowl, current Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne was in his first season as the Huskers’ offensive coordinator. He would later go on to coach Nebraska from 1973-97. Osborne will retire from his current post following the 2013 Capital One Bowl.

[FIVE // michigan hoping to top carolina in florida]
Making its 42nd postseason appearance, and third consecutive, Michigan will play in the Outback Bowl for the first time since the 2002 season, where it will face South Carolina on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. ET. The Wolverines, one of three Big Ten programs with 20 or more bowl victories, are 3-1 all-time in games played in Tampa, Fla., including a 38-30 victory over Florida in the 2003 game.  The Wolverines own a 20-21 all-time bowl record and are playing in a January bowl game for the 14th time in the past 16 bowl trips. The 20 victories rank 14th all-time for bowl wins, while the program’s 42 postseason appearances are 11th among BCS conference institutions. This will be the fifth time that U-M plays in the Outback Bowl as the Wolverines own a 3-1 all-time mark in four previous Outback/Hall of Fame Bowl appearances (1988, 1994, 1997, 2003).

[SIX // northwestern readies for gator bowl]
Northwestern will make its first appearance in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., where it will face Mississippi State on Jan. 1 at noon ET. The Wildcats earned their 11th bowl berth, advancing to the postseason for the fifth straight time under coach Pat Fitzgerald. It will be the first meeting between Northwestern and Mississippi State and it is the Big Ten’s eighth all-time appearance in the bowl game.  The 9-3 Wildcats will be looking for their first 10-win season since 1995 and a postseason victory over Mississippi State would also make Fitzgerald the winningest head coach in NU football history. Fitzgerald’s next head coaching win will be his 50th, one better than Lynn Waldorf’s record of 49 set from 1936-45.

[SEVEN // purdue puts its heart into dallas bowl]
Purdue makes its second straight postseason appearance, and 17th overall, and will take on Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Jan. 1 at noon ET. The Boilermakers have been victorious in their last two bowl games, having won the 2007 Motor City and 2011 Little Caesars Pizza titles. They have reached a bowl game in 12 of the last 16 years and are 9-7 in their previous 16 bowl games. The Boilers now return to the state of Texas for postseason play for the first time since the 2004 Sun Bowl. Purdue has faced Oklahoma State once previously, a 33-20 Boilermaker victory in the 1997 Alamo Bowl.  The Boilermakers, who are 9-3 all-time against schools that currently call the Big 12 home, finished the regular season with three consecutive wins to become bowl eligible.

[EIGHT // men’s hoops posts 8-0 record in shortened week]
Big Ten men’s basketball posted a perfect 8-0 record in a shortened week due to the holiday break.  No. 5/5 Indiana earned a 93-59 victory over Jacksonville on Friday, while seven teams garnered wins on Saturday.  No. 12/15 Illinois bested Auburn 81-79, No. 2/2 Michigan topped Central Michigan 88-73, Nebraska beat Nicholls State 68-59, No. 10/10 Ohio State defeated Chicago State 87-44, Penn State outlasted Duquesne 84-74, Purdue took out William & Mary 73-66, and Wisconsin handled Samford, 87-51.

[NINE // hawkeyes, upsets headline women’s basketball action]
The Iowa women’s basketball team captured the Maggie Dixon Surf `N Slam Classic title in the Jenny Craig Pavilion on the campus of the University of San Diego this past weekend.  On Sunday, the Hawkeyes overcame an 11-point first-half deficit to defeat host San Diego 83-73.  Jaime Printy poured in a career-high 33 points and tied the school record with seven 3-point field goals, while Morgan Johnson made 8-of-10 field goals and finished with 20 points. Both Printy and Johnson were named to the all-tournament team; Johnson was tournament MVP.  Iowa earned a title bout after upsetting No. 20/21 Texas 86-63 on Friday, one of two upsets on the day.  Elsewhere in the Big Ten on Friday, Illinois dropped No. 6/7 Georgia, 70-59.  Overall, the Big Ten went 10-2 in the final week of non-conference play.

[TEN // illini, two big ten grapplers capture titles at 50th midlands championship]
Congratulations to the Illinois wrestling squad on capturing the team title at the 50th Ken Kraft Midlands Championships, held this past weekend at Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena.  The Fighting Illini finished with 99.5 points, two ahead of runner-up Virginia Tech.  Two Big Ten grapplers earn individual crowns, as Northwestern’s Jason Welch earned the 157-pound title, while Nebraska’s Robert Kokesh garnered first in the 174-pound weight class.  Kokesh also earned the Individual High Point Trophy with 28.5 points earned during Midlands competition.  In addition, two Illini wrestlers, Jesse Delgado (125) and B.J. Futrell (141) were finalists in their respective weight classes.  Committed to covering the nation’s most dominant wrestling conference, BTN aired the finals of the Midlands live on Sunday.  Click here for more BTN coverage or here for complete brackets from Northwestern’s host site. 

[ELEVEN // sheffield named wisconsin volleyball coach]
Kelly Sheffield, the head volleyball coach at the University of Dayton for the last five years, has been named the head coach of the University of Wisconsin volleyball program, Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez announced Friday.  Sheffield becomes the 10th head volleyball coach in Wisconsin history, replacing Pete Waite who resigned in November.  Since taking over the Dayton program in 2008, Sheffield has molded the Flyers into one of the nation’s elite programs. Dayton has won four straight Atlantic 10 Conference championships and has made five straight NCAA tournament appearances. The Flyers won the 2012 A10 title with a perfect 14-0 mark for the first time in program history, claimed the conference tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Dayton ended the season ranked 19th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) top-25 poll after being ranked all season long.  Sheffield was named the 2012 AVCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year as well as the A10 Coach of the Year.

[TWELVE // a canadian champion]
Finally this week, Indiana track and field's Derek Drouin continues to rack up laurels for his historic 2012 season, and Athletics Canada has announced two more. The governing body for track and field in Canada named the current IU senior the winner of both the Cal D. Bricker Memorial Trophy for outstanding performance of the year and the F.N.A. Rowell Trophy for outstanding athlete of the year in field events after he won the country's only track and field medal at the London Olympics, taking bronze in the high jump.