Is it possible for the Big Ten’s best football player to be underrated? I ask only because I think Montee Ball is being slighted by media and non-Wisconsin fans alike entering the 2012 season. Yes, I’m saying the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist is underrated. Plain and simple, the senior back who’s fresh off a season in which he scored 39 – 39!!! – touchdowns and ran for 1,923 yards isn’t getting the respect he deserves.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins was the face of Michigan State’s 11-3 season in 2011 that concluded with a win over Georgia in the Outback Bowl. But make no mistake about it: defense was the Spartans’ calling card. Credit coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who is one of the hottest assistants in the nation. Michigan State had the No. 1 defense in the Big Ten—and No. 6 in the nation–last season (277.4 ypg). The unit also led the conference in rushing defense (100.5 ypg), interceptions (18) and third-down defense (.337).
As a dual citizen of the U.S. and France, Indiana swimmer Margaux Farrell is competing for France in the 2012 Summer Olympics. In her latest Big Ten Olympic Journal entry, Farrell details her latest travels, her training, and how she felt was handed her first official Olympic swim cap. “I realized, “This is it,” Farrell writes. “It’s here!” Read her journal entry among others in our Big Ten Olympic section.
Kirk Ferentz knows what it’s like to be the best. He had his Iowa program among the Big Ten’s best from 2002-04, when the Hawkeyes went an aggregate 31-7 with two Big Ten titles. But since then, Iowa has just one double-digit victory season (2009). With that, I present 10 reasons for Iowa fans to be excited about the 2012 season playing in an uber-tough Legends Division. Earlier, I offered up 10 reasons why Illinois and Indiana fans should be excited.
Like many of us, Big Ten products are all over Twitter. They let us into their lives and put their personalities on display in 140 characters or less, and they often delight and enlighten in the process. Our goal is to present these tweets to our Big Ten fans, whether they’re on Twitter or not. See some of our favorite Big Ten-centric tweets from Wednesday in this post.
The Summer of Steele continued Wednesday, as well-respected prognosticator Phil Steele posted his favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. Few things are more meaningless and yet hugely popular than preseason Heisman hopefuls — or preseason polls, for that matter — so don’t treat this as science. Steele’s list of the top 10 candidates, to no surprise, includes Montee Ball and Denard Robinson. See what Steele says about the two Big Ten stars in this post.
The latest update to our Big Ten Olympic Journal is in and it comes from Michigan swimmer and U.S. Olympian Connor Jaeger, who describes the team’s training regimen and one dinner outing during their training stop in France. As one of four Big Ten names on the U.S. swimming team sending back journals, Jaeger follows up on some amusing team introductions from Peter Vanderkaay as well as a funny note from Davis Tarwater.