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.
We’ve done it all spring and summer, but now that the first week of football is here, it gets even better. Every morning Monday through Friday BTN.com offers up a quick take on the headlines from around the Big Ten. You can find my Big Ten Daily Links them here in case you miss them, or get them via RSS over here.
Another BTN summer football tour is in the books. On this year’s trek across the Big Ten landscape, we logged 3,035 miles in the span of 17 days, according to the always accurate @BTNStatsGuy. And at each of the 12 stops, the exterior of our tour bus received a significant upgrade, in the form of 12 autographs – one from each of the players spotlighted on the sides of the bus. See a picture of your team’s representative signing his likeness in this post, plus watch our tour interview with him.
Find out more about: Football Tour
The image above is of Le’Veon Bell hugging his mother moments after Michigan State’s heartbreaking loss to Wisconsin in last season’s inaugural Big Ten title game. It’s a moment Bell treasures, and it’s one he’ll certainly never forget. That’s because Bell had the image tattooed on his left arm, with the Bible verse Jeremiah 1:5 under it.
Find out more about: Le'Veon Bell
If you haven’t checked out ESPN.com’s 50 in 50 series, do yourself a favor and click that link. The feature ranks the nation’s 50 most successful men’s basketball programs of the last 50 years, and it includes half of the Big Ten teams. Indiana leads the Big Ten, at No. 7, while Michigan State (No. 11), Michigan (No. 13), Ohio State (No. 15), Purdue (No. 20) and Illinois (No. 33) round out the conference’s representatives.
Find out more about: Big Ten Pros, Rankings
Our annual summer journey across the Big Ten is over, and what a trip it was. From Lincoln, Neb., to State College, Pa., we saw all 12 Big Ten teams practice and had a chance to catch up with all the coaches and players. Read our tour coverage here and watch the video here.
Eleven signatures down, the BTN bus has one more autograph to go. On Wednesday, the BTN crew was in East Lansing, Mich., to take in Michigan State practice. As is tradition on this year’s summer tour, we’re having the players represented on the side of the bus sign their likeness. For Michigan State, that guy was defensive end William Gholston. See a picture of Gholston putting his autograph on our bus in this post.