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.
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.
Quick, which Big Ten practice is featured in the shot above? You may want to say Indiana – especially if you don’t look at the headline or photo credit – but it’s Wisconsin. On Wednesday, the Badgers practiced in the new red helmets they’ll wear in the Big Ten opener Sept. 29 at Nebraska, and the Wisconsin Football Facebook page snapped this photo.
Athlon Sports released its Top 30 Running Backs for 2012, and a quartet of Big Ten backs made the list. Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, last year’s Heisman Trophy finalist, leads the Big Ten contingent, at No. 2., behind only South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore. Nebraska’s Rex Burkhead comes in at No. 3, while Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell (No. 14) and Michigan’s Fitzgerald Toussaint (No. 26) round out the Big Ten representatives.