It’s been a fast handful of years, and on Aug. 30, BTN will officially celebrate its fifth anniversary. Crazy to think, huh? To celebrate – not to mention kill time before the season kicks off – I’m spotlighting some of the great football careers during our existence. I’ll do it in the mold of “Big Ten’s Best,” our popular countdown show that returns this fall for another season of ranking the best in Big Ten history. My second list ranks the top five running backs of the last five seasons, aka the BTN era.
The BTN tour bus just became an even bigger fan attraction. On Monday, the tour hit Madison, meaning it was time for 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball to sign his likeness on our bus. If you haven’t seen the bus, either in pictures or on the road, it features one Big Ten player from every team. Ball, of course, represents Wisconsin, the two-time defending Big Ten champs.
(AP) Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema says star running back Montee Ball won’t be ready for camp after suffering a concussion during a street fight.
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.
Is it possible for the Big Ten’s best football player to be underrated? I ask only because I think Montee Ball is being slighted by media and non-Wisconsin fans alike entering the 2012 season. Yes, I’m saying the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist is underrated. Plain and simple, the senior back who’s fresh off a season in which he scored 39 – 39!!! – touchdowns and ran for 1,923 yards isn’t getting the respect he deserves.
The Summer of Steele continued Wednesday, as well-respected prognosticator Phil Steele posted his favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. Few things are more meaningless and yet hugely popular than preseason Heisman hopefuls — or preseason polls, for that matter — so don’t treat this as science. Steele’s list of the top 10 candidates, to no surprise, includes Montee Ball and Denard Robinson. See what Steele says about the two Big Ten stars in this post.
During an early break in the Northwestern-Wisconsin men’s basketball game Wednesday night, Teddy Greenstein, of the Chicago Tribune, presented Badgers star running back and Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball with the Silver Football, awarded annually to the Big Ten’s MVP. Ball is the eighth Badger to win the prestigious award, voted on by the league’s coaches, and the first since Ron Dayne (1999). The junior running back totaled 2,229 yards, including a nation’s best 1,923 on the ground, and a Big Ten record 39 touchdowns. Watch the entire presentation now.
Wisconsin junior running back Montee Ball is returning for his senior season with the Badgers. Ball made the announcement in a Thursday afternoon press conference in Madison. Ball added he plans to add at least 10 pounds in the offseason to get stronger while increasing his speed in order to raise his stock in the NFL Draft after next season. “I believe I’m making the right decision,” Ball said.
During Monday’s highly entertaining Rose Bowl, Wisconsin running back Montee Ball attempted a potential highlight-reel hurdle of an Oregon defender. He didn’t fully leap over Oregon’s John Boyett and he wasn’t able to continue running when he landed, but the great effort made for a really cool picture. See a series of photos, courtesy of US Presswire’s Richard Mackson, from the hurdle in this post. Also, read the Rose Bowl game recap.
Wisconsin and Oregon are no strangers to the Rose Bowl. The Badgers are making their second consecutive trip to the Granddaddy of Them All, while the Ducks are back for the second time in three seasons. Both teams are fresh off their respective conference title games, and both can score points in a hurry. Like many seasons before, the Rose Bowl should be one of the more exciting bowl games of the year. BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart breaks down the game, gives his keys and offers his prediction. See it all in this post and find the entire 2011-12 bowl schedule.
BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart spent the season covering Big Ten football, and now it’s time for his team-by-team season recaps. For the past 12 days, Dienhart has posted a recap for each Big Ten school, in alphabetical order. Up here: Wisconsin. Watch our feature on the Ultimate Montee Ball Highlight Reel now and read Dienhart’s season recap in this post.
The Big Ten was well represented on the AP All-America team, with nine players tabbed. Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus, Michigan C David Molk, Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy, Penn State DT Devon Still and Wisconsin RB Montee Ball and G Kevin Zeitler were all first-teamers, while Nebraska LB Lavonte David and Wisconsin C Peter Konz earned second-team honors, and Ohio State DT John Simon was a third-team pick. Most impressive, Mercilus, Still and Worthy represent three of the four defensive lineman on the first team. Yeah, it was that kind of year for the Big Ten in the trenches.
Wisconsin running back Montee Ball finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting Saturday night in New York City. Baylor QB Robert Griffin III won the award, with 1,687 total points, followed by Stanford’s Andrew Luck (1,407), Alabama’s Trent Richardson (978), Ball (348) and LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu (327). Ball, who accounted for 2,071 total yards and 39 TDs, including his 25-yard scoring pass to Russell Wilson, received 22 first-place votes, the fifth-most. See tweets and photos from Ball’s trip to NYC in this post.
Andrew Weber- US PRESSWIRE
There was an iconic Hail Mary pass, a brand new championship game, a new school in the club, Legends and Leaders, a smashing debut by a coach, a touchdown machine named “Ball,” and a sordid off-field scandal the likes we never have seen in the history of college sports. Welcome to Big Ten football 2011.
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.
The Big Ten Football Report airs tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET and our crew takes a deep look at Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, one of five finalists for the Heisman Trophy. Tune in tonight as we present a ultimate season highlight reel and discuss his chances of winning Wisconsin’s’ third Heisman, and watch Ball’s Tuesday appearance on The Big Ten Pulse in this post. Also, click inside to vote for your favorite action photo of Ball from the past season.
Turns out a Big Ten single-season record 38 touchdowns is enough to garner an invite to New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation. Wisconsin’s Montee Ball was named one of five finalists for the most prestigious award in college sports Monday night, the announcement coming live on ESPN by former Ohio State star and 1995 Heisman winner Eddie George. Alabama’s Trent Richardson, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu and Stanford’s Andrew Luck join Ball in NYC.
The first meeting between Michigan State and Wisconsin was an epic encounter that most consider to be the game of the year in the Big Ten. The Badgers raced to a 14-0 lead before seeing the Spartans go on a tear to lead 23-14 at halftime. Michigan State pushed its lead to 31-17 early in the fourth quarter before Wisconsin rallied to tie the game, 31-31.
The Big Ten Conference announced on Wednesday the winners of the top five individual awards for the 2011 football season. Wisconsin’s Montee Ball was named the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year, Penn State’s Devon Still was named the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year, and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller was named the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year.
The Big Ten handed out its weekly Football Players of the Week for Week 13, and the final week of the season produced plenty of honorees. Six players were honored, including two offensive and defensive players of the week. See the winners in this post.
The Big Ten Conference released its weekly Football Players of the Week on Monday for Nov 19 games. See the winners in this post.
The Big Ten Conference office released its players of the week for games played Oct. 15 on Monday morning. See all the Week 7 winners in this post.