These are high times in East Lansing, as Michigan State has gone an aggregate 22-5 the past two seasons (14-2 in the Big Ten) under Mark Dantonio with a share of the 2010 league crown and the 2011 Legends Division pennant. And Dantonio has taken the Spartans to a bowl in each of his five seasons, as he has the program playing as well as it has since the glory days of the 1960s.
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Big Ten media days kick off Thursday in Chicago, so I thought I’d release my preseason Big Ten player rankings. I’m going to do these a little different this year. In previous years, I’d rank the top 10 players, which often became a tough task with all the talent on both sides of the ball. To account for both sides, I’ll rank the top six offensive and defensive players each week.
The NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State rocked the program. And the effects will be felt for years. Scholarship cuts, postseason bans … the list went on. Another aspect of the penalties will allow any player on the Penn State roster to transfer to another school and be immediately eligible. Typically when a player transfers from one FBS school to another, he has to sit out a season. Not so for Nittany Lion players.
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Already debuting new football uniforms for the 2012 season, the Minnesota Gophers also will introduce a pair of new patches to their jerseys. Like the rest of the Big Ten, the Gophers will don the rectangular “B1G” logo patch on their jerseys. Above the conference-wide patch, they will honor late former teammate Gary Tinsley with a black circular patch that reads: “GT 51″. @GopherGridiron tweeted a picture of the patches, and you can see them in this post.
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You may recall a few weeks ago when a band of Big Ten Conference mascots made a spoof video of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” video, the latest in a long line of spoofs. It was funny, it drew plenty of attention, and it all seemed innocent enough. That is, until someone noticed the video didn’t include Purdue Pete and Northwestern’s Willie the Wildcat. And now Pete and the ‘Cat have responded.
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In a world where it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep up with all of the uniform changes going on across the college football landscape, Penn State is a breath of fresh air. With the exception of a minor detail here or there, Penn State’s uniform looks a lot like it did in our grandfather’s day. But with all the changes going on around the school, is this the time for the team to finally alter its look?
Tickets for the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game will go on sale to the general public on Saturday, July 28 at 10 a.m. ET. The second annual Big Ten Football Championship Game will be played on Saturday, December 1, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and will begin at 8:17 p.m. ET on FOX.