Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema has long been a proponent of playing Big Ten games during the season’s first four weeks, and he’ll get his wish in 2013. Wisconsin announced Wednesday in a press release that it will host Purdue on Sept. 21, 2013 – also known as Week 4 – one week before the Big Ten typically starts conference play.
Big Ten media days kick off on Thursday in Chicago. Get all the latest Big Ten web links in this post.
The Illini basketball team has the state of Illinois outlined at midcourt at Assembly Hall. Many other college arenas do the same with the outlines of their states. The practice, for whatever reason, isn’t as popular in football stadiums across the nation – Indiana does it. Make it two Big Ten teams now. @IlliniAthletics tweeted a picture of the team’s new field design, and it includes the outline of the state of Illinois at midfield. Just like the basketball team. See the photo in this post.
These are high times in East Lansing, as Michigan State has gone an aggregate 22-5 the past two seasons (14-2 in the Big Ten) under Mark Dantonio with a share of the 2010 league crown and the 2011 Legends Division pennant. And Dantonio has taken the Spartans to a bowl in each of his five seasons, as he has the program playing as well as it has since the glory days of the 1960s.
Big Ten media days kick off Thursday in Chicago, so I thought I’d release my preseason Big Ten player rankings. I’m going to do these a little different this year. In previous years, I’d rank the top 10 players, which often became a tough task with all the talent on both sides of the ball. To account for both sides, I’ll rank the top six offensive and defensive players each week.
The NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State rocked the program. And the effects will be felt for years. Scholarship cuts, postseason bans … the list went on. Another aspect of the penalties will allow any player on the Penn State roster to transfer to another school and be immediately eligible. Typically when a player transfers from one FBS school to another, he has to sit out a season. Not so for Nittany Lion players.