Is there anyone having a better summer than Illinois product Deron Williams? Honestly, in the matter of two months, the guy made Team USA for the second consecutive Olympic games, agreed to a $99-million contract with Brooklyn, traveled to London for free and became the first Big Ten men’s basketball player to win multiple gold medals. To top it all off, he’ll play golf with 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson at this week’s Barclay’s Pro Am at Bethpage.
Former Ohio State quarterback and current ESPN lead football analyst Kirk Herbstreit released his 12th annual Herbie Awards on Tuesday morning. The Big Ten, as expected, is well-represented in the popular piece. Herbstreit ranks the nation’s top 5 players/coaches/teams in 25 categories, and the Big Ten received four No. 1 selections. See all of Herbie’s Big Ten honorees in this post.
Find out more about: Rankings
When sports fans see something new and odd on the shelves of their local grocery store, it’s almost become tradition to take a picture of it and tweet it to ESPN Sports Business Reporter & Business Correspondent Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell). Rovell tweeted a couple of the latest Big Ten-related items he’s had sent his way Monday. One was a bottle of Ohio State ketchup, which happened to be on sale, and the other was Michigan branded Pop-Tarts.
Find out more about: Gone Viral
The BTN bus heads back west, trekking toward East Lansing, Mich., where on Wednesday we will check out a white-hot Michigan State program that has won 11 games in each of the last two seasons. Watch the Michigan State Preview Show at 10 p.m. ET Thursday.
Find out more about: Football Tour
After taking in Penn State practice Monday, we’re headed back west. To East Lansing, Mich., to be exact. We have two stops remaining on our annual tour, and it will be great to see Michigan State and Michigan. You can find all of my tour previews and recaps over here. I’m also providing updates via Twitter. Don’t forget to check out my colleagues @BTNDaveRevsine, @GerryDiNardo, and @HowardGriffith, too. Now, let’s get to my Tuesday links.
The Big Ten announced its 2012 men’s soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll and Players to Watch List on Tuesday, with the conference’s last two regular-season champs tied at the top. Northwestern, fresh off its first Big Ten title, and 2012 champ Indiana were picked as the conference favorites.
Are you a Purdue fan, perhaps one who also dabbles in social media? If so, the Purdue athletic department has a cool new feature. It’s called Boilermaker Social Rewards, and as the title indicates, it rewards Purdue fans for being social. The more Purdue fans use social media, the more points they earn and the more cool prizes they receive. If interested, sign up now; it’s fast and easy.