It’s been a few years since Ricky Stanzi became a cult hero. If you don’t remember the exact moment, it happened when the former Iowa QB gave Fox’s Chris Meyers this quote following the 2010 Orange Bowl: “There is nothing better than being American. This is the greatest feeling. If you don’t love it, leave it. USA, No. 1.” The quote reads great, but it’s even better when you hear it.
It’s been a tough week or so for a couple Illinois standout athletes. Last week, defensive lineman Michael Buchanan broke his jaw in a Champaign altercation, and on Thursday, star guard Brandon Paul suffered the same injury during open gym. Paul, the winner of BTN’s 2012 “Most Dominating Performance,” is coming off a junior season in which he averaged 14.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
Find out more about: Brandon Paul
Coming up with 25 national candidates for the Heisman Trophy is difficult enough, so it’s easy to understand what Athlon Sports must have gone through while compiling its Big Ten’s 25 Heisman Trophy Contenders. Twenty-five, really?! Let’s focus on the top 5, what do you say? Here it is: 1. Denard Robinson; 2. Montee Ball; 3. Rex Burkhead; 4. Braxton Miller; 5. Taylor Martinez.
Find out more about: Rankings
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article that breaks down which colleges produced the most minutes in the NBA during this strike-shortened campaign. Duke, to no surprise, landed at No. 1, with 21,609 minutes. But what about Big Ten teams? Ohio State (7,903 minutes) came in 13th to lead 10 Big Ten teams. See the breakdown and the players who contributed the minutes in this post.
Find out more about: Big Ten Pros
ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan posted a story Thursday offering his 10 potential breakout players for 2012-13, and the list features one Big Ten player: Michigan State’s Keith Appling. Here’s a sampling of Brennan’s thoughts on Appling: “With the team’s do-everything leader Draymond Green gone, and a batch of younger, less experienced players rounding out the rotation, Appling has a chance to evolve from a nice complementary piece into one of the Big Ten’s bonafide stars.”
Ice baths are as much a part of high-level football as in-depth scouting reports. Former Illinois running back Kevin Jackson (1991-94) routinely took said cold dips, and on more than one occasion, he probably did so with his nose buried in one of those scouting reports.
The Iowa football team will have a new indoor practice facility when it opens practice in August. The 100,000-square foot, fixed-roof facility is a vast improvement over “The Bubble” that the team has used the past 27 years. With August fast approaching, @HawkeyeFootball tweeted a few pictures of the facility, which is the first of a two-phase, $50 million project. See the photos in this post.
Find out more about: Big Ten Tweets
It’s anyone’s guess what the future of college football’s postseason holds. Will there be a four-team playoff? A plus-one? Or will it be the status quo? Whatever it may be, CBSSports.com’s Brett McMurphy posted an interesting article that ranks the nation’s top teams using final BCS Standings since 2007. Where do Big Ten teams land over the last five seasons? Find out in this post.
Find out more about: Rankings
When BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and I decided to debate 2012 Big Ten football statistical leaders a couple months ago, we made it a point to let Big Ten fans have a say, as well. We did so by including a poll and incorporating relevant tweets in each statistical debate. The 11-series installment now complete, check out who Big Ten fans predict to lead the conference in categories ranging from scoring to sacks.
Find out more about: Debate It
Remember the uberly successful beanie babies promotional giveaway the Chicago Cubs launched in 1997? Chances are Kevin Schneider does. Schneider, like many hardcore sports fans, looks forward to any and every promotional giveaway. You might even say he circles his calendar for such days around the Chicago area.
On Friday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina hit email to debate the 2012 Big Ten sack leader, the 10th in our series of Big Ten statistical predictions. Up next: Tackles. Who will lead the Big Ten in 2012? See Tom and Brent’s email thread in this post and vote for your leader, too.
Another season, another new look for the Breslin Center floor. @MSU_Basketball tweeted a photo Friday afternoon of the school’s redesigned basketball court, its third look in as many years. If you recall, Michigan State introduced this court last season — a change made partly because of Nike’s new Michigan State logo — after playing several years on this court. See the picture in this post.
Perhaps you heard BTN entertained Michigan State coaches Wednesday in our Chicago studios. Mark Dantonio, Tom Izzo and the rest of the coaches were in town as part of the athletic program’s Michigan State coaches tour. What better way to spend the day at BTN than give the coaches a chance to do what we do on a daily basis, we thought? Yep, we had the coaches put on a live show. From production to graphics to makeup artists to analysts, everyone had a role. Watch MSUSpartans.com’s behind-the scenes video of the experience now.
Find out more about: Mark Dantonio, Tom Izzo
BTN will air its fifth annual BTN Awards Show at 7:30 p.m. ET Monday. You also can watch it live on BTN2Go. On the one-hour special, we’ll announce the winners of the Big Ten’s prestigious Suzy Favor Award and Jesse Owens Award, in addition to crowning our picks for several different categories, including “Breakout Performer” and “Best Finish,” to name a couple.
Yesterday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina hit email to debate the 2012 Big Ten interception leader, the ninth in our series of Big Ten statistical predictions. Up next: Sacks. Who will lead the Big Ten in 2012? See Tom and Brent’s email thread in this post and vote for your leader, too.
Other than similar team colors, the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Chicago Bulls have very little in common. Actually, there is another thing: Eric Piatkowski played for both teams. In all seriousness, though, it probably surprises all that the Bulls, an NBA championship franchise, would consult the Huskers, a team without a conference title in more than six decades, about anything basketball related. They did, and it has to do with Nebraska’s impressive Hendricks Training Complex.
On Wednesday, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo spent the day at BTN learning how we put on a live show. On Thursday, Izzo was at Wrigley Field, where he was spotted talking to Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland on the field prior to the first pitch. Oh, to be able to hear the conversation between those two coaching legends. Together, Izzo and Leyland have 2,026 wins and two world/national championships. See the picture of Izzo and Leyland, courtesy of @tigers, in this post.
Find out more about: Gone Viral, Tom Izzo
Brady Hoke is an honest man. What he feels, more times than not, he says. We saw an example of it Wednesday at the Sound Mind, Sound Body camp in Southfield, Mich. Hoke, standing on a stage with other coaches, was talking about rivalries, more specifically Michigan’s three great rivals, and when he got to Michigan State, he offered brutally honest analysis, highlighted by a couple butt-kicking references — he used a different word. Watch the video, courtesy of AnnArbor.com, in this post.
Find out more about: Brady Hoke, Gone Viral
Yesterday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina hit email to debate the 2012 Big Ten reception leader, the eighth in our series of Big Ten statistical predictions. Next up: Interceptions. Who will lead the Big Ten in 2012? See Tom and Brent’s email thread in this post and vote for your leader, too.
Wednesday was an interesting day in the revitalized Michigan-Ohio State rivalry. First, there was an action shot, courtesy of @MikeRothstein, showing Michigan’s Brady Hoke and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer eating ribs together at the Sound Mind, Sound Body camp near Detroit. Then, there was news that Hoke referred to Ohio State — which he always calls “Ohio” — as Ohio State. See the photo of Hoke and Meyer in this post.
Find out more about: Brady Hoke, Urban Meyer
CHICAGO — There was a time when the Chicago Blackhawks games weren’t broadcast locally and the team played in front of a sparsely filled United Center. The season was 2007-08. Four years and one Stanley Cup later, the Blackhawks are one of the hottest tickets in hockey. Much of the credit goes to social media, said Adam Kempenaar, director of new media and creative services for the Blackhawks, Wednesday at the BTN Social Media Summit.
Find out more about: Big Ten Tweets
Yesterday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina hit email to debate the 2012 Big Ten receiving TDs leader, the seventh in our series of Big Ten statistical predictions. Up next: Receptions. Who will lead the Big Ten in 2012? See Tom and Brent’s email thread in this post and vote for your leader, too.
Jeff Goodman, of CBSSports.com, posted his top non-conference contests for the 2012-13 campaign Tuesday, and the Big Ten is all over the 55-game list. In fact, the Big Ten is involved in three of the top 5 games, highlighted by North Carolina at Indiana, at No. 2, and 10 of the top 25. In all, 14 Big Ten contests make the cut. See the entire list here and view all the Big Ten games in this post.
Find out more about: Rankings
Yesterday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina hit email to debate the 2012 Big Ten receiving yards leader, the sixth in our series of Big Ten statistical predictions. Next up: Receiving touchdowns. Who will lead the Big Ten in 2012? See Tom and Brent’s email thread in this post and vote for your leader.
Former Ohio State basketball player Mark Titus loves many things in life. Atop the list are basketball and wrestling, it would seem. The ex-Buckeye nicknamed “The Shark” incorporated those two loves into his groom’s cake, which featured Larry Bird and Shawn Michaels in a wrestling ring, all held up by a basketball with the Ohio State logo. See the cake for yourself in this post.
Find out more about: Gone Viral