After being named one of the five finalist or the 2011 Heisman Trophy earlier this week, Wisconsin running back Montee Ball won the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football Awards as the best player in the Big Ten. He finished ahead of teammate Russel Wilson and Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins.
Find out more about: Montee Ball
Tim Beckman is the new Illinois coach and arrives from Toledo, where he forged a 21-16 record (16-6 in the MAC) the past three seasons after taking over for Tom Amstutz. Beckman led the Rockets to an 8-4 mark this season and a spot in the Military Bowl against Air Force, the program’s second bowl under his stewardship. Toledo has gone 7-1 in MAC play in each of the past two seasons.
All football season our TV production teams rolled out some special features on the athletes and coaches in the Big Ten. The features aired across many of our programs, including our Saturday pregame show. There was the piece on Indiana’s Duwyce Wilson Jr. who grew up with two deaf parents. We profiled Michigan’s Jordan Kovacs‘ rise from a walk-on player, Illinois’ Jay Prosch and his mother’s battle with cancer, and Dan Persa’s road to Northwestern. Did you know Penn State’s P.J. Byers was in the Navy before Penn State? Want to see what Michigan State’s Arthur Ray Jr. faced down these past few years?
When BTN.com readers come to my BTN.com mailbag page to send their questions and comments, they may think I don’t read them all. But I do, and I answer the best ones each week. This time around many of you wondered when Ohio State will hear from the NCAA, why was Michigan picked for a BCS bowl and Michigan State wasn’t, if the Big Ten title game is a conference game or a non-conference game, and how I decided my Heisman vote order.
Find out more about: Dienhart's Mailbag
Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist recently was granted a release from his scholarship. And there’s a report that says he could have interest in transferring to Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is citing sources familiar with both Notre Dame and Wisconsin in saying Crist could land in Madison. He has one year of eligibility left. And to use it, he would need to enroll in a graduate program not offered at Notre Dame.
Toledo’s Tim Beckman may be the man at Illinois. According to a Thursday morning report in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois is focusing on Beckman to replace Ron Zook, who was fired after seven years in Champaign. I think Beckman would be a terrific hire. He has done a good job at Toledo, forging a 21-16 record (16-6 in the MAC) in three years and leading the school to share of the MAC West title this season. The 8-4 Rockets, 7-1 in each of the last two years in MAC action, will play Air Force in the Military Bowl this month, the second bowl under Beckman.