The first week of the season is here! Optimism runs high across the nation, as bowl dreams dance in the minds of fans and coaches from across the Big Ten.
Montee Ball isn’t nicknamed The Bus, but he’s on one in Madison, Wis. Take that, Jerome Bettis. The Wisconsin athletic department put Ball on one Madison bus that will travel throughout the city through the end of September. It’s all part of Wisconsin’s “This Fall Belongs to Ball” campaign that promotes its 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist.
The BTN crew spent almost three weeks on the road travelling over 3,000 miles on visits to every Big Ten training camp. We saw a lot of football, talked to a lot of coaches and ate a lot of bananas and beef jerky on our super-deluxe tour bus that was tricked out with two color TVs, two fridges and Wi-Fi that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t work. Two cases of Red Bull and a box of Twizzlers later, I put a punctuation mark on the 2012 BTN bus tour with a fun look at our circuitous journey from Lincoln to State College—and points in between.
How did Jim Delany get ready for the 2012-13 athletic year? The Big Ten commissioner climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in early August. Delany was part of a group of 10 people, led by 2003 Indiana grad Ben Jones, who reached the summit of the world’s highest freestanding mountain Aug. 8. The group included Kevin Ash and Scott Jenkins from the Rose Bowl and Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky. All 10 members made it to the top under the “Team Rose Bowl” banner.
There are three first-year Big Ten football coaches for the 2012 season, headlined by Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, he of two national championships at Florida. How will Meyer, Tim Beckman (Illinois) and Bill O’Brien (Penn State) fare in 2012? Phil Steele recently offered his thoughts, placing Meyer and Beckman in the “Right Place Right Time” category and O’Brien in the “Tough Shoes to Fill” section. See what Steele says about all three guys in this post.
Here’s an understatement: Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde is a big boy. At 6-feet, 235 pounds, the junior running back can runs with plenty of power and packs a pretty serious punch. Big Ten linebackers might want to take notice, because if not careful, Hyde will bowl them over.
The wait is over, Big Ten fans. Starting Thursday night, the Big Ten football season is here. The Gophers kick of the 2012 schedule late Thursday night at UNLV, Michigan State hosts Boise State on Friday night, and the conference’s 10 other teams get underway Saturday. Before the games kick off, read last week’s top 10 BTN.com stories.