It’s been a fast handful of years, and on Aug. 30, BTN will officially celebrate its fifth anniversary. Crazy to think, huh? To celebrate – not to mention kill time before the season kicks off – I’m spotlighting some of the great football careers during our existence. I’ll do it in the mold of “Big Ten’s Best,” our popular countdown show that returns this fall for another season of ranking the best in Big Ten history. My second list ranks the top five running backs of the last five seasons, aka the BTN era.
If you subscribe to Sports Illustrated and reside in the Big Ten footprint, chances are, you’ll see Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson in you mailbox this week. The popular magazine is releasing five regional covers to preview the season, and Robinson is one of five quarterbacks featured. He joins Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, USC’s Matt Barkley and West Virginia’s Geno Smith as cover boys. @SInow tweeted a picture of the covers, and you can see it in this post.
Not quite at Justin Tuck’s level yet, Minnesota junior Ra’Shede Hageman’s new facemask is certain to garner its share of attention this season. It won’t be the only thing drawing your eye to the mammoth defensive lineman, though, because he’s a popular breakout candidate. In fact, BTN analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and Tom Dienhart gushed about the 6-6, 301-pound talent when they saw him at Minnesota practice last week. See the picture of Hageman’s new facemask in this post.
Another preseason top 25 poll was released Wednesday afternoon, but unlike previous ones, it doesn’t have Michigan as the highest-ranked Big Ten team. It has the Wolverines ranked third among Big Ten teams, in fact. Evidently, SI.com is higher on Wisconsin and Michigan State, which it has ranked No. 6 and No. 8, respectively. Michigan comes in at No. 13, while Nebraska (No. 19) and Ohio State (No. 22) round out the Big Ten contingent.
Big Ten football players probably think the autograph requests can get a little out of hand at times. Should they feel this way, they need to take a look at a photo taken Tuesday at the 10th annual “Meet the Spartans.” The Michigan State Athletics Facebook page posted a photo gallery from Tuesday’s event, and one of the pictures features a young Michigan State fan looking on in awe as his football is signed. See the picture in this post and view the entire gallery.
Believe it or not, BTN will celebrate its fifth anniversary later this month. The big day is Aug. 30, to be exact. As a way to celebrate – not to mention kill time before the 2012 season kicks off – I’m spotlighting some of the great football careers during our time on the air. I’ll do it in the mold of “Big Ten’s Best,” our popular countdown show that returns this fall for another season of ranking the best in Big Ten history. My first list ranks the top five wide receivers of the last five seasons, aka the BTN era.
As it was announced last week, Penn State is adding nameplates to the back of its jerseys for the first time in program history. The Nittany Lions also will wear a blue ribbon on their uniform to support all victims of child abuse. @PennStateFball tweeted a picture of the road jersey nameplates Tuesday afternoon. See the photo in this post, plus a video of the home nameplates being prepared.
Coaches go to great measures trying to build team camaraderie. Second-year Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill recently approved a fun and enjoyable team building activity that could only make the team grow closer. The Gophers went paintballing Sunday. And goldengophergridiron’s YouTube page has a video from the event. See the full feature in this post.
The BTN tour bus just became an even bigger fan attraction. On Monday, the tour hit Madison, meaning it was time for 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball to sign his likeness on our bus. If you haven’t seen the bus, either in pictures or on the road, it features one Big Ten player from every team. Ball, of course, represents Wisconsin, the two-time defending Big Ten champs.
Suffering from a case of the Mondays? You’re in luck, because former Penn State defensive linemen and current NFL free agent Anthony Adams is here to entertain. In a recently uploaded YouTube video, Adams takes his mammoth figure to the basketball court, where he delights with his self-deprecating humor. The video is part of a series called “Stuff NFL Free Agents Say,” and it’s pretty memorable. Watch the entire video in this post.
It’s the middle of August, the college football season hasn’t started, and ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi has released his first Bracketology. All kidding aside, Big Ten fans will like Lunardi’s prognostications, as he has seven Big Ten teams dancing, which ties the Big East for the most in the field.
Ever since 1940s, Nebraska has released Big Red balloons into the sky following the Huskers’ first touchdown at Memorial Stadium. The tradition will live to see one more day, in the 2012 opener against Southern Miss, but it will be put on indefinite hiatus until a global helium shortage is solved. According to Huskers.com, the team will release 2,000 to 2,500 balloons – compared to the usual 4,000 to 5,000 – if and when the Huskers score their first touchdown Sept. 1 to give fans one last photo op.
Make it two-time gold medal winner Deron Williams. The former Illinois and current Brooklyn Net point guard helped Team USA capture the gold medal with a 107-100 victory over Spain on the final day of the 2012 London Olympics. The gold medal marks Team USA and Williams’ second consecutive Olympic championship, and it makes Williams the first Big Ten men’s basketball player ever to win multiple gold medals. See a photo of Williams and his two gold medals in this post.
It was a hard days work for Illinois football coach Tim Beckman on Friday. Or perhaps, he really felt like bonding with standout linebacker Jonathan Brown. Either way, the first-year head coach capped Friday’s practice with a plunge in the ice bath. No joke. And from the picture @IllinoisFootball tweeted, it sure seemed as though Beckman enjoyed the cold temperatures. See the photo in this post.
Iowa’s Nico Law owns 11 career tackles. Eleven! But with a name like Nico Law and the ability to obliterate opponents, statistics aren’t needed to garner attention. Especially during preseason camp. The sophomore safety has impressed so much this summer, in fact, some in the Iowa football program are comparing him to Iowa legend Bob Sanders. Yes, that Bob Sanders, the three-time All-Big Ten first-team honoree. The comparisons may be a bit premature, but there’s no denying he’s a hard-hitting safety.