Sept. 21, 2009
FACES OF THE BIG TEN: JAMMIE KIRLEW, INDIANA
Jammie Kirlew has embraced the student-athlete experience in his time at Indiana. A three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Kirlew has given much of his free time to the community. Kirlew is active in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program and has volunteered his time at the Bloomington Boys and Girls Club. Additionally, he volunteered for the Obama campaign, helping to register voters for the 2008 Presidential Election. The Orlando, Fla., native also took advantage of IU's study abroad program, spending the summer of 2006 studying in Italy.
BIG TEN. BIG NEWS.
Big Ten Title Chase Begins: The 114th season of Big Ten football kicks off on Saturday with 10 of the 11 teams opening conference play. Parity has reigned over the Big Ten landscape for the last decade (1999-2008) with eight different teams winning the conference title either outright or as co-champions: Illinois ('01), Iowa (`02, '04), Michigan (`00, '03, '04), Northwestern (`00), Ohio State (`02, '05, '06, '07, `08), Penn State ('05, `08), Purdue (`00) and Wisconsin (`99). The title has been shared by at least two teams five times in this span, with a three-team tie in 2000 and two teams atop the standings in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2008. Last season, Ohio State earned a share of its fourth straight Big Ten title while Penn State collected its second conference crown in the last four years. The Buckeyes have now won 33 Big Ten crowns, which ranks second only to the 42 titles earned by the Wolverines.
Big Ten Leads Country with Five 3-0 Teams: Through three weeks of play, the Big Ten is the only Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conference to feature five 3-0 teams. Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin have all opened with three straight triumphs. Overall, 28 FBS programs are undefeated, including 21 schools standing at 3-0. The SEC tops all conferences with six undefeated teams, including a pair of 2-0 squads, followed by the Big Ten with five schools with perfect records. The Big 12 ranks third with four unbeatens while the Big East and Pac-10 both feature three undefeated programs.
Breaking Down the Unbeatens: The Big Ten's undefeated teams include two programs that have already matched their win total from a year ago. Both Indiana and Michigan have won their first three contests after posting 3-9 records last season. The Hoosiers are off to a 3-0 start for the second time in three years, including winning their first three matchups in 2007 on the way to earning an Insight Bowl berth. Indiana's last 4-0 start was during the 1990 campaign. The Wolverines have won their first three games for the first time since sprinting to an 11-0 start in 2006 on the way to the Rose Bowl. Iowa boasts a 3-0 record for the second straight year and the third time in the last four seasons, including a 4-0 start in 2006. Penn State has jumped out to a 3-0 record for the third straight year and fourth time in the last five seasons, including a 9-0 start last season. Wisconsin has started the season with three straight triumphs for the sixth straight year, including a 5-0 start in 2007.
Matchup of Unbeatens: Four of the Big Ten's undefeated teams will square off on the opening Saturday of conference play, including Indiana playing at Michigan and Iowa facing a primetime game on the road at Penn State. Wisconsin will also look to continue its unblemished start by hosting Michigan State.
Buckeyes Look For Fifth-Straight Title: Ohio State has won at least a share of the last four Big Ten Championships and will look to become the first school in conference history to win five or more straight crowns on multiple occasions during the 2009 campaign. The Buckeyes shared the crown with Penn State in 2005 and 2008 and ended the 2006 and 2007 seasons alone atop the standings to compile a Big Ten mark of 29-3 over the last four years. OSU is the first conference team in over 15 years to claim four straight titles since Michigan won at least a share of five consecutive championships from 1988-92. Ohio State has clinched four consecutive crowns for the first time since posting a Big Ten-record six straight titles from 1972-77. Michigan and Ohio State are the only two teams in Big Ten annals to post four or more consecutive first-place finishes on multiple occasions, accomplishing the feat a combined seven different times.
Tressel Targeting Rare Coaching Fraternities: In his ninth season on campus, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel is aiming to join an elite group of coaches to claim five straight Big Ten titles and six championships in his first nine campaigns. In the previous 113 years of Big Ten football, only one coach has finished atop the conference standings in five or more consecutive years, as the Buckeyes' Woody Hayes earned six straight crowns from 1972-77. In addition, only two coaches have earned six or more titles in their first nine years with a Big Ten institution. Michigan's Bo Schembechler holds the Big Ten record by finishing first in seven of his first nine campaigns from 1969-77 while Minnesota's Bernie Bierman won six titles from 1932-40.
Big Ten Championships for Current Coaches: Three current conference coaches have earned at least one Big Ten crown in their careers. The complete list is below:
5 - Jim Tressel, OSU (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
3 - Joe Paterno, PSU (1994, 2005, 2008)
2 - Kirk Ferentz, IOWA (2002, 2004)
Preseason Picks: Media members attending the Big Ten football media days selected four-time defending conference champion Ohio State as the preseason favorite while Penn State was tabbed to finish second and Michigan State was dubbed the third pick (the Big Ten only releases a top three poll). Buckeyes' quarterback Terrelle Pryor was chosen as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year while Spartans' linebacker Greg Jones was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Two More Trophy Games: In a conference with 15 traditional trophy games, two more will be on the line on Saturday when Illinois and Ohio State battle for the Illibuck and Purdue and Notre Dame square off for the Shillelagh. The Illini and Buckeyes have met 82 times for the Illibuck since 1925, making it the second-oldest trophy game behind only the battle for the Little Brown Jug between Michigan and Minnesota, which started in 1909. OSU currently holds a 57-23-2 advantage in Illibuck games, including reclaiming the trophy last season. The Boilermakers and Fighting Irish have played for the Shillelagh since 1958, with Notre Dame holding a 33-19 edge in those games, including a victory last season.
Big Ten Schedule Announced for Oct. 3: The following schedule has been confirmed for games on Saturday, Oct. 3. Final determination of television for Wisconsin-Minnesota and Arkansas State-Iowa will be made following the contests on Sept. 26.
Arkansas State at Iowa, 11 a.m. CT, ESPN Classic or ESPN2
Michigan at Michigan State, Noon ET, Big Ten Network
Northwestern at Purdue, Noon ET, Big Ten Network
Wisconsin at Minnesota, 11 a.m. CT, ESPN or ESPN2
Penn State at Illinois, 2:30 p.m. CT, ABC (regional - ESPN outer-market)
Ohio State at Indiana, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
More Big Ten Notes: Additional Big Ten notes were posted last week on the Big Ten football blog at www.bigten.org/blog/fb_blog.html, including a recap of top week one NFL performers from the Big Ten, the Ohio State-USC game becoming the most-viewed college football game in ESPN history and national honors for Michigan's Tate Forcier and Minnesota's Nate Triplett.
OTHER TOP PERFORMERS FOR SEPT. 19
IND RB Darius Willis: Recorded career highs with 15 carries and 66 yards (4.4 avg.) and scored his first career TD at Akron.
IOWA RB Adam Robinson: Posted first career 100-yard effort with 101 yards on 18 carries (5.6 avg.) with two TDs against Arizona.
MSU QB Kirk Cousins: Completed 23-of-35 passes (65.7 pct.) for 302 yards and a TD at Notre Dame, setting career highs for completions, attempts and passing yards.
MINN WR Eric Decker: Surpassed 100 receiving yards in a school-record fourth straight game with 119 yards on eight receptions (14.9 avg.) with two TDs, while also tossing a seven-yard TD pass; Became school's all-time leader with 204 receptions, which is tied for seventh in Big Ten annals.
OSU WR Dane Sanzenbacher: Caught five passes for a career-high 126 yards (25.2 avg.) with a career-best two TDs against Toledo.
PSU RB Evan Royster: Recorded first 100-yard game of the season and seventh of his career with 134 yards on 19 carries (7.1 avg.) with a TD.
WIS QB Scott Tolzien: Completed 15-of-20 passes (75.0 pct.) for 159 yards and two TDs vs. Wofford.
IND S Austin Thomas: Picked off a pair of passes and returned both inside the Akron 20-yard line to set up two TDs while posting a solo tackle.
IOWA DE Adrian Clayborn: Recorded six tackles (three solo), three QB hurries, one sack (-8 yards) and first career forced fumble against Arizona.
MICH LB Kevin Leach: Posted a team-high and career-best 10 tackles (three solo) in first start.
NU LB Ben Johnson: Collected a career-high two sacks (-10 yards) and added four tackles (three solo) and a fumble forced and recovered.
OSU LB Brian Rolle: Led team with eight tackles (two solo) with two QB hurries to help Ohio State shut out Toledo.
WIS LB Culmer St. Jean: Set career highs with 15 tackles (seven solo) and two TFLs (-7 yards) while also recovering the first fumble of his career.
IND KR Ray Fisher: Returned two kickoffs for 109 yards (54.5 avg.), including a 91-yard TD on the opening kickoff at Akron.
MICH PK Jason Olesnavage: Scored a career-high nine points against Eastern Michigan, including six PATs and a 37-yard field goal.
MSU P Aaron Bates: Booted three punts for 135 yards (45.0 avg.), including two inside the 20-yard line against Notre Dame.
MINN P Blake Haudan: In first collegiate game, recorded seven punts for 295 yards (42.1 avg.) with two inside the 20-yard line against California.
PSU P Jeremy Boone: Registered four punts for 191 yards (47.8 avg.) with two inside the 20-yard line and a long of 51 yards against Temple.