The great American poet Cornell Haynes once posed this existential query:
"What does it take to be #1, two is not a winner, and three nobody
remembers." In slightly more recent history, another local wordsmith
named Kanye West stated "number one can't put nothing above that. You
deserve a verse from me, we're going to party like it's our
Today, the Ohio State Buckeyes, favorites to win the Big Ten and contend for a national title, are living these lyrics. With the South Carolina upset over Alabama, the polls have deemed the Buckeyes the new rulers of college football.
OSU fans, I hope you run these two rap references into the ground, exactly like I did in 2004-05 when Illinois was #1 for most of the basketball season.
Here's what some of the stars of the team had to say about it:
The players may change but the game remains the same. No matter the personnel, the last couple decades have seen Michigan State own September the same way Goldman Sachs owns the United States government. And then MSU starts
losing more in the second half of the season- an eventual certainty.
Just like no matter what political party is in control, Goldman Sachs
will be right there manipulating policy for their own benefit- as
certain as death and taxes.
For Wisconsin, they're greatest collection of talent is at the tailback and offensive line position. Sound familiar?
Both of these undefeated Big Ten teams feasted off cupcakes and lesser competition. However, the bill is now due, and the cost is "undefeated" status.
The last three times Illinois beat Ohio State: 2007, 2001, 1999, it was in Columbus. For some reason, the Illini play the Buckeyes much better in the Buckeye state than they do at home. The last time they beat Ohio State in Champaign, Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer were at the peak of their popularity.
Whenever Illinois is having a good season, they seem to beat the Buckeyes, as they have a 9-11 record against
OSU dating back to 1988. Only Michigan has more victories over Ohio State during the span, posting an 11-10-1
However, this year is not a (as 50 Cent would say) "Champagne Campaign."
There is one thing Illinois can claim over #2 OSU- a character on the ABC sitcom "Modern Family" wore a Juice Williams jersey for an entire episode last season. So until Courtney Cox rocks a kid size Terrelle Pryor jersey on "Cougar Town"- advantage Illini.
Saturday night brings a Homecoming football game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Penn State Nittany Lions. And since that leaves an entire and some of the evening for Iowa fans to tailgate,
wait I should put quotes around "tailgate," the University felt the
need to issue a few important reminders for those who will be in
attending for the team's 2010 Big Ten Conference opener.
Since there will be a lot of insane drunks in attendance, both inside
and outside the stadium, a lot of "think when you drink" style
advisories and warnings are going out.
Here's what the University statement included:
We knew entering this fall that college football's
Heisman race would be as wide open as ever. With Sam Bradford, Tim
Tebow and Colt McCoy gone, and no big name senior quarterbacks to
replace them, the race for the game's most prestigious trophy began wide
open in the preseason.
Given that there have been so few repeat winners, we knew the odds were stacked against Alabama tailback Mark Ingram.
Then he missed the first two games with injury. Still he's averaging
9.3 yards per carry and has four touchdowns in the two games he has
played in. Also injured is Houston QB Case Keenum, who had a solid shot at the award if statistics were the criteria prioritized by voters.
Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett dropped out last week after his two
interceptions and narrow loss to #1 Alabama blew his best chance to make
a true national name for himself.
Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles, second in the nation in receiving yards, is a viable candidate but we all know that receivers rarely win the award.
Right now you have to consider Boise State QB Kellen Moore
(62-95, 873, 8-1, if you're a football geek you'll know what knows those
numbers mean without the respective letters) as much of a candidate as
anyone, along with Michigan QB Denard Robinson and Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor.
Doesn't it feel good to finally have conference season here? Yes, especially after this past Saturday's yawn-inducing "Big Ten-MAC Challenge," in which three different teams played Steve Spurrier style run-up-the-score.
1. Ohio State (4-0) Not only are they the class of the Big Ten,
but they're arguably the best team in all of college football. Had
Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett had a couple throws back, and the Razorbacks
finished off Alabama, the Buckeyes would be the #1 team in the nation.
And on Saturday the 73 points scored by the Buckeyes are the most in the Jim Tressel
era, the most since OSU scored 72 vs. Pitt Sept. 21, 1996 and the ninth
most in school history. Ohio State scored 38 points in the first half,
the most this season in a half and the most since scoring 45 in the
first half against Northwestern in 2007.
Most importantly, no mascots were harmed in the playing of this ballgame.
All the statements reacting to Big Ten realignment
have been released. And you might have guessed all the soundbites and
quotes are of the cheerleading variety; so I figured "might as well have
cheerleaders as the lead pictures for the posts." Here's the Illini reaction from Champaign-Urbana.
As you know Big Ten Conference office announced tonight (Sept. 1) the football division alignments and conference schedules for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
The University of Michigan will compete in a division that features Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern.
The other division consists of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn
State, Purdue and Wisconsin. Each school will play the five institutions
within its division and will face three teams from the other division,
including one cross-division matchup guaranteed on an annual basis.
Michigan's protected cross-divisional rival is Ohio State. "The Game,"
regarded as college football's greatest rivalry, will continue to be
played as the final contest of the regular season.
Well, I guess there's no point in watching the Big Ten Network division announcement show now? The divisions are already leaked:
- Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern and Minnesota.
- Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and Illinois
The Big Ten Conference will announce football division alignments to begin with the 2011 season tonight at 6 p.m. CT.
Illinois' Mikel LeShoure, Wisconsin's John Clay, and Notre Dame's Armando Allen (click their respective names for profiles/exclusive interviews with each running back) have been named to the list of 49 candidates for the Doak Walker Award, presented annually to the nation's top college running back.
Clay, the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, led the Big Ten and ranked eighth in the country with 1,517 rushing yards in 2009. His 18 rushing touchdowns also led the Big Ten and tied for seventh in the nation.
Clay who has also been named to the preseason Watch Lists for the Walter Camp Award and Maxwell Awards. He was also selected as a Playboy All-American. It's the second straight year he's been named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List. Ron Dayne is the only Wisconsin player to win the Doak Walker Award, bringing home the trophy in 1999. Dayne was also a finalist for the award in 1998 while Anthony Davis (2001), Brian Calhoun (2005) and P.J. Hill (2006) have all been semifinalists.
On Monday, a formal announcement of the coming together of the four most-storied college basketball programs in the state of Indiana will be made. Athletic Directors from the four programs: Barry Collier of Butler, Fred Glass of Indiana, Jack Swarbrick of Notre Dame and Purdue's Morgan Burke will convene in the lobby of Conseco Fieldhouse to formalize a doubleheader event in Indianapolis.
The four A.D.s will descend upon the site of last year's Final Four
and Big Ten Tournament to sign the "Memorandum of Understanding" and
announce the matchups for the inaugural Indianapolis event to be held
sometime in 2011.
More details will be made public on Monday.
Written by Paul M. Banks, President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune's blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru
As Conference Commissioner Jim Delany noted at Media Day, BIG changes are on the way in the Big Ten.
There will be a conference championship game in 2011, a nine game
conference schedule will be here soon, and we'll need to split into two
divisions in order to make that happen. So how will be go about forming
these two divisions?
As I went through my Big Ten Media Day audio and transcript of legendary Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno, I thought "wow, some of my media brethren are ghouls. There's a lot in here about death and illness."
And this is very important because the 83-year-old Paterno is THE "get" of Big Ten Media Days. He's like a college football version of Yoda, Jackie Mason and Rodney Dangerfield combined.
He summed up the day's theme best at the dais:
"what did Mark Twain say, the rumor of my death has been
over-exaggerated or something, I forget. I used to know a little bit
more about those. I really ?? I didn't lose any time. I had, as I said,
the problem I had was not having control of some things, and I had to
be careful that I didn't get myself in a position where I would
JoePa was so detailed about his "ailments," because the media fixated on it.
The USA Today/Coaches poll, the lesser of the college football polls was released this morning. Alabama leads the way at #1, and four Big Ten squads (Ohio State is #2) are ranked among the top 25. The Big Ten leads all conferences with four teams ranked in the top 15 and the conference joins the Big 12 and SEC in featuring multiple teams in the top 10. The SEC has six teams in the top 25, the Big 12 has three, and the ACC four. Florida, Texas and Boise St. round out the top 5.
Rose Bowl winning Ohio State enters
the 2010 season ranked second overall after finishing with an 11-2
record and securing its fifth straight Big Ten Championship last season.
Ohio State knocked off Oregon (ranked 11th in the 2010 preseason poll) in last year's Rose Bowl
Game and was voted as the preseason favorite to win the 2010 Big Ten
title. The Buckeyes aim to match the record of six straight conference
crowns, first accomplished by Ohio State from 1972-77.
Today, the Big Ten
Conference announced that Lucas Oil Stadium in
, home of the Colts, has been chosen as the proposed site for the inaugural Big
Ten Football Championship
Game, to be played in December of 2011.
conference office now begins a 30-day period to negotiate a one-year
agreement with Indiana Sports Corp and Lucas Oil Stadium
to host the
game. Once the 2011 agreement is in place, the conference office will utilize the next year to determine location
of the Big Ten Football
Championship Game in 2012 and beyond.
While the coaches were guilty of a lot of your typical coach-speak -- interjected with humor and frivolity too, though
-- the heavy hitters at the first day of Media Day were certainly Bill
Carollo (the Big Ten Coordinator of Officials), Mark Silverman (The Big
Ten Network President) and Jim Delany (the Big Ten Conference commissioner).
Carollo and Silverman were two of the most interesting guests of the
entire two-day process, and when Delany wasn't busy talking about
expansion and the Big Ten Championship Game (coming to you live from
somewhere in December of 2011!), he had some other nuggets as well.
Some of the more interesting tidbits below the jump.
Ohio State- Yes, it's kind of boring that the 5 time consecutive
conference champion is the overwhelming favorite yet again. But this is
not a boring team, they're a legitimate national title contender. Half
their secondary is nominated for the Thorpe Award (nation's best
DB), half their DL should be taken in the first couple rounds of the NFL
Draft, They have the two best LBs in the Big
Ten...well you get the idea. Because it's the same story on the
other side of the ball too. The
Big Ten is once again there's for the taking.
Check out that snazzy graphic above. Study it. Love it.
And then realize that this is the last year that it will be relevant and current.
Much like conference expansion dominated the news after the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the Big Ten's expansion to add Nebraska was the dominant topic of Big Ten Media Day 1.
It got a little tiresome, quite frankly.
Perhaps the fate of University
of Illinois football coach Ron
Zook DOES lie in this year's performance. But he's not feeling the
pressure to win now.
"No, I don't, to be honest with you," Zook said at Monday's media day
press conferences. "I think everyone that stands up here today has got
pressure. Obviously some of us have more than others. I think the
thing that you try to do is the best you can do."
The problem with that statement is that over the last couple of
seasons, Zook's best hasn't nearly
been good enough
It's Big Ten Media Day! The first of two actually! You know what that means: football season will soon be here! So let's talk shop.
By Paul M. Banks
1. Terelle Pryor, Ohio State. No surprise here. You know all about this kid. But seriously, WHY DIDNT THEY BRING HIM TO MEDIA DAY???
2. Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin. Has little to no NFL
potential, and he's about as exciting and flashy as Ben Stein, but he
commanded last year's number one offense, and scoring offense, in the Big Ten. As good as he was last year, he still needs to cut down on big game interceptions.3. Kirk Cousins, Michigan State.
His early season position battle with Keith Nichol seems to have really
faciliatated his development. He's a true dual threat. Trying to stop
him this fall will be like hitting on a woman out at a bachelorette
party- your outcome will just not be favorable.
"Even Chicago's got one or two hillbillies,"
sang Rascal Flatts lead vocalist Gary LeVox during his band's
promo video for Big Ten
Network football broadcasts. During this lyric in the music video, Northwestern
football players appear, great symbolism of the wide-range
marketing campaign (the first in school history) Northwestern
Athletics is launching next week.
And LeVox is right, Chicago does have a few hillbillies
(unfortunately, I can show you exactly where). College
Football has long been a rural passion. It's the perfect platform
for country music fueled promotions; as they share the same demographic.
That's why the Rascal Flatts-BTN fusion works, just like ESPN
teaming up with Big & Rich.
is focused on marketing college
football in the big city, not out in the sticks. And the campaign, "Northwestern,
Chicago's Big Ten
Team," launches Monday.
The Big Ten
Conference announced today that
ESPN's Rece Davis
will serve as emcee for the 39th Annual Big Ten
Kickoff Luncheon, which will take place Tuesday, August 3, at the
McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. Festivities are set to
begin at 10 a.m. CT with the annual players and coaches autograph
session for fans attending the luncheon. The luncheon will begin at
11:30 a.m. CT.
Now that Nebraska is a part of the Big Ten, the Big 10 is actually a 12 team league, while the Big 12 now truly has ten teams. Which of course makes a ton of sense. Like the 1995-2001 NFC West division in the NFL. It contained the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, St Louis Rams and New Orleans Saints. Yes, nothing says "west" like two teams in the Eastern time zone, and two more in the Central.
Anyways, illogical naming aside, having NU in the Big 10 means 12 teams which=championship game. That means boku bucks, and it could start in 2011 or 2012. But where? The home of the Chicago Bears? Green Bay Packers? Indianapolis Colts? Cleveland Browns?
Last year, I was pretty shocked when I saw the list of players coming
to Big Ten
media days. At least the Ohio
State portion of the list. All that NFL level
talent, and the reigning preseason offensive player of the year, Terrelle
Pryor left in Columbus, and instead they brought their 7th,
15th, and 25th best players to Media Day. Why did they do that in
Well, I guess the school realizes that getting more
"I know everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals
from me, whatever" type of soundbites from Pryor in circulation
wouldn't help much. But once again, Pryor is THE player to watch in the Big Ten
this fall; the guy EVERYONE wants to talk to, and of course talk about.
Hey, I got him placed into the banner of this site for a reason!
But once again they left Pryor at home.
And once again, OSU,
along with Wisconsin
and Iowa, left a few of their future NFL
Draft picks at school. And it's inevitable when you're only allotted
three players. But there's still some NFL level talent and All-Big
Ten stars coming to Chicago to greet the media on August
Former Ohio State
legend Evan Turner has already completed his first NBA Summer league
, but that hasn't stopped the fans of his old Big Ten
rivals from still talking smack at him online. I guess when you shoot just 33%, and your play doesn't come anywhere close to living up to your hype during the five game NBA
summer season, detractors will come out of the woodwork. Including whomever runs the Twitter account for The Paint Crew
, Purdue's student cheering section.
This is good stuff- enjoy!
Today, we learned the roster of the USA Basketball Select Team
that will train against the National Team during its July 19-24
camp in Las Vegas. Five of the 20 collegians chosen for the Select Team
are from the Big Ten: William
Buford (Ohio State), JaJuan
Johnson (Purdue), Mike
Shurna (Northwestern). These players will help the U.S. National
Team prepare for the upcoming FIBA World Championship. The Big Ten leads
all conferences with it's 5 selections.
The NBA free
agency season has just begun, and trust me- it will be a hundred
times more interesting and exciting than last year's NBA regular
season. I say that without hyperbole.
And if you don't believe
me check out these tweets from Chris Bosh himself,
the third most sought after free agent in this class. Bosh posted them
right before: "I've been watching this clock and it won't speed up!"
after: "The time is finally here. Thank you for all the support. I'm
nervous, but I'm excited and READY! LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!!!!" open
season officially commenced.
And the Chicago Bulls
are premier players in this free agency period. Former Bull Kendall
Gill was added to Comcast SportsNet's studio coverage of the Chicago Bulls as
analyst prior to the '06-'07 season. He also serves as college
basketball analyst for the Big Ten Network.
recently had an exclusive with Gill where we talked Bulls free
Both the Big Ten conference and the conference television network are located here in Chicago; a city home (by a very great measure) to the largest alumni base for all 11 schools. So it makes sense that the Chicago Bandits softball franchise would include a large number of Big Ten alumni as well.
Bandits Big Ten roll call:
Michigan- Nikki Nemitz P, Samantha Findlay 1B, Angela Findlay OF
Iowa- Stacy May 3B
Northwestern- Eileen Canney P, Nicole Pauly OF
If you're rooting for the eventual demolishing of the BCS, in favor
of a new college
football playoff system (meaning you are in fact a human being who
possesses a sense of decency, logic and rationality) then you should be
rooting for Texas to do the right thing and eventually start the seismic change required to get the ball rolling in
the direction of an actual legitimate college football postseason.
can thank the Big Ten
the spark, but the Texas Longhorns are the explosive power mandated
to blow this thing up.
However, if you're a huge proponent of undefeated teams being denied a
chance to play for the National Title, and you LOVE the
Galleryfurniture.com Bowl, as well as the other 30-40 glorified
exhibition games occurring every December-January, then by all means
root for Texas'
decision to save the Big 12 to remain nothing more than a confirmation
of the status quo.
Here's our first ever guest post on Big Ten Guru
. It comes from my neighbor, friend, and Sports Bank
colleague Paul Schmidt
, who covers Illinois Fighting Illini football and basketball for my website
. We usually sit next to each other at press row, and carpool down to Champaign together to cover games during the season.
And he came up with a list of (and rationale for) the next five schools he believes the Big Ten is courting for expansion.
And the first Big Ten
expansion domino falls. Probably. Nebraska is supposed to officially be joining the Midwest power conference by Friday. This news
we receive from Lee Barfknecht (yes, I know that's a very unfortunate looking last name) of the Omaha World-Herald
If you're unfamiliar with the World-Herald, it's the primary daily newspaper of Nebraska, as well as portions of
southwest Iowa and
the largest employee-owned newspaper in the
Barfknecht is a sports reporter/columnist for the World-Herald and author of the World-Herald's immensely popular Cornhuskers' blog Big Red Today.
So if his inside sources are confirming it, this is indeed not a drill.
One of the biggest questions entering
the 2010 Illinois football
season was "who will replace Juice
?" Old #7 had a VERY disappointing senior season, but he
still departed UI the school's all-time leader in total offense. Well,
we have our answer: Nathan Scheelhaase
enter the 2010 season as the Fighting
s starting quarterback.
But is he the best choice? How
do the other options measure up?