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This Week in the Big T

August 20, 2012

ONE // big ten puts forth golden effort in london]
The Big Ten Conference brought home a total of 35 medals, which includes 15 gold, nine silver and 11 bronze, at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Over 100 former and current Big Ten student-athletes and coaches participated in this year’s games, representing 32 countries in 24 different sports.  Michigan boasted the most medals with 12 and also the most golds with eight. Former volunteer assistant coach Michael Phelps claimed four of those gold medals, becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 overall medals, including 18 gold. His first-place performances in London included the 100-meter butterfly, 200 individual medley, 4x100 medley relay and 4x200 freestyle relay.  Big Ten student-athletes and coaches have been a part of the Olympic experience on more than 1,370 occasions, including many making multiple trips to the international event. That list of conference standouts has accumulated at least 460 medals, including 243 gold.

[TWO // on the road talking football]
The Big Ten Network’s annual Big Ten Football Preview Tour was on the road once again this past week, making stops at Wisconsin (Aug. 14), Northwestern (Aug. 15), Purdue (Aug. 16), Indiana (Aug. 17), Illinois (Aug. 18) and Ohio State (Aug. 19). BTN’s Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith, along with BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart, have been traveling to each campus to preview the upcoming season.  The Tour comes to a close this week as the BTN visits Penn State (Aug. 21), Michigan State (Aug. 23) and Michigan (Aug. 24).  For a complete recap of the campus visits from this past week, click here.

[THREE // five football teams ranked, part one]
Five Big Ten teams were tabbed among the top 25 in the Sports Illustrated preseason college football poll, including a pair of conference teams among the top 10. Two-time defending Big Ten Champion Wisconsin led the way at No. 6 overall, while reigning Legends Division Champion Michigan State was ranked No. 8 overall. The Badgers and Spartans met in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game last December, with Wisconsin earning the victory and a second-straight trip to the Rose Bowl Game. Other Big Ten programs among the Sports Illustrated top 25 are No. 13 Michigan, No. 19 Nebraska and No. 22 Ohio State.

[FOUR // five football teams ranked, part two]
Five Big Ten schools were tabbed among the top 25 in the preseason Associated Press poll. Michigan led the way for the conference at No. 8 overall. Two-time defending Big Ten Champion Wisconsin appeared at No. 12, while reigning Legends Division Champion Michigan State was rated No. 13. Nebraska and Ohio State rounded out the conference contingent at No. 17 and 18, respectively.

[FIVE // setting the standard in ncaa volleyball]
Speaking of national polls, Big Ten volleyball staked the claim as the nation’s top conference this past week as seven teams, including four in the top 10, were ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll.  Penn State and Nebraska lead the way in third and fourth, respectively, while Illinois sits seventh and Purdue is ninth.  Minnesota enters the season ranked 16th and Michigan and Ohio State sit 23rd and 24th, respectively. 

[SIX // huskers heralded as big ten’s top team]
Defending Big Ten Champion Nebraska was chosen as the conference favorite for the 2012 season as voted on by the Big Ten coaches, it was announced on Thursday. Earning the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Championship last season, the Huskers top the poll for the first time as members of the Big Ten Conference.  Penn State and Purdue, who finished tied for second in the Big Ten in 2011, were voted to finish second and third this season, respectively. Minnesota, who finished fifth last season, was selected to finish fourth this year, while Illinois, which also finished 2011 tied for second, was tabbed fifth in the voting. Ohio State, which finished 9-11 in conference play last year, rounds out the poll at No. 6.  Additionally, conference coaches selected a Preseason All-Big Ten Team, which features two unanimous selections and eight returning members and can be found here along with the complete poll.

[SEVEN // penn state preseason pick on the pitch]
The Big Ten announced its 2012 women’s soccer preseason coaches’ poll and players to watch list last Tuesday, with defending regular season champion Penn State earning top honors among the 12 conference teams. The Nittany Lions enter the season as the conference favorites after winning their 14th straight Big Ten title in 2011.  Penn State compiled a 10-1-0 record in Big Ten play last season en route to the conference crown. Illinois checks in at No. 2 after earning its first Big Ten Tournament title since 2003. Ohio State follows at No. 3 in the poll, jumping four spots from its seventh place finish a year ago. Wisconsin and Michigan come in at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively, while Iowa and Michigan State tied for sixth. The complete preseason coaches' poll along with the 36-player Big Ten Players to Watch List can be found by clicking here.

[EIGHT // let the season begin]
The Big Ten women’s soccer season opened this past weekend with eight conference teams finishing up without a loss.  Illinois scored a 1-0 win over Western Michigan in Friday’s opener, but tied Illinois State, 1-1, on Sunday.  Indiana notched wins over Arkansas State (3-0) and Ohio (4-2), Iowa topped Eastern Illinois (5-0) and North Dakota (3-0), Michigan blanked Fordham (5-0) and Pittsburgh (1-0), Michigan State stopped Bowling Green (4-0) and Fordham (2-1), Penn State upset No. 7 Virginia (3-1) and St. John’s (5-0),  Purdue took out Toledo (2-0) and Eastern Illinois (2-1, OT), and Wisconsin shut out Notre Dame (1-0) and South Dakota State (5-0).  Minnesota fell 3-2 to No. 4 Florida State, but rallied to oust No. 24 South Carolina 2-1 in overtime.  Dropping their opening contests this week were Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State.

[NINE // return of the mac]
Five Big Ten soccer standouts were named to the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy watch list this past Monday.  The MAC Hermann Trophy is the highest individual award in intercollegiate soccer.  Penn State’s Maya Hayes, a 2011 Hermann Award finalist, earns a nod on this year’s watch list along with Illinois’ Vanessa DiBernardo, Indiana’s Erig Zaveleta, Ohio State’s Chris Hegngi and Penn State’s Christine Nairn.

[TEN // soccer shindigz showdown]
Four Big Ten men's soccer teams took park in the 12th annual Shindigz National Soccer Festival this past weekend in Fort Wayne, Ind.  Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State andWisconsin represented the conference in the three-day exhibition event Thursday through Saturday.  The Hoosiers earned an exhibition win over Chivas de Guadalajara with a 4-3 advantage on penalty kicks, following a 1-1 tie.  MSU also earned a 1-1 tie with host IPFW on Friday night, while the Buckeyes took home a scoreless draw against Duke.  Also in action on Friday, Wisconsin fell 1-0 to No. 7 Louisville.   

[ELEVEN // two set for big monday]
Two Big Ten women's basketball teams will appear on ESPN2's 2013 Big Monday schedule, it was announced Thursday, as Penn State and Purdue will square off in State College, Pa. on Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. ET. Ranked in the top 20 in a preseason poll by ESPN.com, No. 7 Penn State and No. 18 Purdue face off in a rematch from last season's semifinal round of the Big Ten Tournament. Purdue knocked out the Lady Lions, the regular season Big Ten Champions, on a last second layup en route to its Big Ten leading eighth tournament crown.

[TWELVE // gophers feeling golden with lucky number seven]
Finally this week, congratulations to the Minnesota Golden Gopher football squad on winning the national championship.  While that headline might grab head coach Jerry Kill’s attention, we are actually going back in time… like more than 100 years!  BTN.com and FoxSportsNorth.com highlighted this amazing story this past week as a project to reorganize the Golden Gophers’ trophy case has actually turned up Minnesota’s seventh national title.  The Gophers have long touted themselves as a six-time national champion since 1960, but the discovery of the 1904 title brings the total to seven.  For more on this story, click here.  

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