With eleven Big Ten teams earning preseason recognition in the first AVCA coaches’ poll, it’s going to be another competitive season. The Big Ten’s eight top-25 teams is the most for any conference in the country. Defending NCAA Champion Penn State earned the preseason #1 ranking, followed by Nebraska at #5, Illinois at #8, Minnesota at #12, Purdue at #13, Ohio State at #21 and Michigan at #24. Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern and Wisconsin each also received votes in the preseason poll. Watch now as Kara Lentz takes a look at each Big Ten team heading into the 2011 volleyball season.
Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith visited Michigan practice during our BTN Football Tour this August. After three unsuccessful seasons under Rich Rodriguez, who went 15-22, the Wolverines hired Brady Hoke, a Michigan man. Hoke turned around San Diego State and Ball State at his last two stops, and that’s what he hopes to do at Michigan. The Wolverines will switch to a pro-style offense, but the coaches swear they won’t stifle Denard Robinson. Michigan opens the season Sept. 3 against Western Michigan. Watch all of our Michigan Preview video inside.
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Michigan field hockey coach Marcia Pankratz can say something no other coach at the University of Michigan can: she recorded the first women’s national championship in school history. The year was 2001, and under Pankratz’s guidance, the Wolverines stormed their way to the national title. Pankratz left the Wolverines three seasons later, only to return in 2009. Don’t miss our video that takes you inside a Pankratz-led Michigan practice.
Ever walk from the Michigan football locker room and onto iconic Michigan Stadium? We had the opportunity to do so during our annual BTN Football Tour earlier this month. It’s a pretty cool experience — even when there’s no gameday atmosphere whatsoever. I can’t imagine what it would be like on a fall Saturday when 100,000-plus fans are screaming their heads off waiting for the Wolverines to run out and hit the “Go Blue” banner.
Throwing a softball underhand is something few men have attempted. BTN host Mike Hall found out just how difficult the process was when he went to Ann Arbor last spring for some pointers from Michigan ace and All-America Jordan Taylor. As great as Taylor is in the circle, she didn’t stand a chance at helping our host. Hall tried and tried, but his motion was awkward, his delivery was inconsistent, and his fastball featured quite a loop, bringing laughter to Taylor.
Michigan’s run of dominance at the Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championships was in serious doubt until the very end of the 2011 meet in Minneapolis. The Wolverines (196.600), however, finished strong on the beam and floor to edge out Penn State (196.375) and Illinois (196.075) en route to claiming their fifth straight Big Ten crown. The fact the victory was so close and that it came down down to the very end made it all the more rewarding, Michigan coach Bev Plocki said: “That makes it that much sweeter, because they did it under pressure.”