Iowa basketball legend Don Nelson made a name of for himself in the NBA but he was back at school on Saturday to accept his college degree at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. We touched on this story earlier this week but it’s worth revisiting. Nelson left Iowa in early summer 1962 to pursue his dreams as a professional basketball player but he left 10 credit hours short of a degree in physical education.
For the first time in 103 baseball seasons, the Purdue Boilermakers are at least Co-Big Ten Champions after beating Michigan, 14-3 on Saturday. The 1909 Boilermakers won the seven-team Big Ten with a 7-2 conference record. Purdue has come up short before finishing in second place in 2001, 2005 and 2008.
The No. 22-ranked Michigan softball team is now the first Big Ten team to win five straight conference titles after sweeping a doubleheader with Purdue (8-0 in game one, 8-5 in five innings in game two) on Saturday at Wilpon Softball Complex. Click inside for Saturday’s schedule, links to school team pages, or go to the national softball scoreboard for all the games.
Now I turn my attention to Northwestern as I take a closer look at the 2012 football schedule for the Wildcats. They’ve got two challenging home games and a back-to-back set on the road that rivals any two-game stretch in the Big Ten. I circle the game on the calendar that could be the toughest and easiest for Pat Fitzgerald and his team this fall.
Several Big Ten teams took to the diamond Friday as the Big Ten softball regular season comes to a close this weekend. Illinois softball suffered a pair of losses against Northwestern, falling in game one, 3-2, before dropping the second contest, 7-3. Watch highlights of that game now and jump inside for more, including baseball wrap-ups from Seattle University vs. Ohio State where Aaron Craft made a cameo visit.
The Big Ten will be bolstered by the return of nine starting quarterbacks in 2012. The only schools breaking in new starters under center are Michigan State (Kirk Cousins gone), Northwestern (Dan Persa gone) and Wisconsin (Russell Wilson gone). Without a doubt here, Michigan’s Denard Robinson looks like the top quarterback in the league. Could he become the first Big Ten quarterback to win the Heisman since Ohio State’s Troy Smith turned the trick in 2006?
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Before we get to Friday’s Big Ten news links, let’s review the week. Monday’s post asked , “Which college fo0tball playoff format do you prefer?” On Tuesday and Wednesday we looked at the buzz around next year’s top offensive and defensive stars. And Thursday’s post included a possible college football playoff tweak, next year’s NFL Draft prospects, and a singing coach. My bookmark-friendly weekday links are always here, and you get the RSS over here.