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.
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.
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.
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.
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.