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The Next Level: Joe Girardi and Nick Swisher

Life is good when you are the defending World Series champion. BTN spent some time with current Yankees skipper Joe Girardi and Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher to find out how competing in the Big Ten helped shape their careers as competitors. Watch now as Girardi talks about his time as a Northwestern Wildcat and Swisher recalls his days in Columbus as a Buckeye.

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Big Ten Icons: Suzy Favor-Hamilton

“With the exception of the loss of some loved ones, I wouldn’t change a thing about my life—running got where I am today,” Favor-Hamilton said. “But winning titles seems so insignificant in comparison to the other gifts I’ve been given.” Motivation was never an issue for Suzy Favor. She enjoyed the buzz she felt and the adulation she received for “beating all the boys in school” in a quarter-mile race as a fifth-grader in Stevens Point, Wis. With her parents’ blessing, she joined the Stevens Point Area Running Club and began competing in AAU-sponsored age-group races throughout the Midwest. By the time she entered high school she was a serious, committed runner, talented enough to win the Wisconsin state cross country title as a freshman. The achievement was the starting point for a remarkable career, but it came with a price.

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Big Ten Icons: Charles Woodson

The look of bemused surprise on Peyton Manning’s face is one of the enduring images of that December evening in 1997. Manning was an All-America quarterback at Tennessee, the fresh-faced, well-spoken son of an All-America quarterback at Mississippi, the older brother of a fresh-faced, well-spoken future All-America Ole Miss quarterback. Given that pedigree, and an undeniably impressive four-year body of work that attracted reams of national publicity, Manning’s coronation as the Heisman Trophy winner was almost a foregone conclusion as the finalists waited out the vote on that Saturday evening at New York’s posh Downtown Athletic Club.

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Hall: Field Hockey Tutorial

BTN host Mike Hall loves to try his hand at new sports. A collegiate athlete he was not, Hall will try just about anything — and do so in front of cameras. Last spring, he went to East Lansing, Mich., in pursuit of trying to learn how to play field hockey. “The sport’s an anomaly to me,” Hall said before his tutorial. Obviously, Hall found out field hockey is anything but an easy sport. Watch Hall practice with the Spartans in this video.

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Rowing: Sights And Sounds

Rowing, without question, is an under-the-radar sport. For as little as the casual sports fan knows about the sport, it does provide Big Ten student-athletes with one of the more beautiful sanctuaries in collegiate sports. The sights and sounds rowers encounter on a daily basis out on the water are peaceful and calming — you name the adjective. Don’t believe us? Watch this fantastic rowing feature and try to tell us otherwise.

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