Tag:Northwestern
Posted on: December 13, 2010 12:52 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2010 6:24 pm
 

Big Ten updates logo, annouces division names

Posted by Adam Jacobi

With the Big Ten adding Nebraska to the fold earlier this year, the old Big Ten logo with the subtle "11" embedded was suddenly rendered obsolete. The Big Ten's response? A Big Ten logo with a subtle "10" embedded. Here's the new logo unveiled by commissioner Jim Delany on the Big Ten Network today:

As for the division names, yes, they're "Legends" and "Leaders." The announcement was made after a five-minute presentation about alumni of each and every school doing good things, and as the image above indicates, the split is like this:

LEGENDS

  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Michigan State
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Northwestern

LEADERS

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Ohio State
  • Penn State
  • Purdue
  • Wisconsin

There'll be a time and place for editorializing about the new branding, but for now, here's what it all is. Reactions go in the comment section below.



Posted on: December 4, 2010 4:22 am
 

Big Ten schools looking in-conference for coaches

Posted by Adam Jacobi

There are, as of now, two job openings in the Big Ten: Indiana and Minnesota. Those two programs are generally regarded as being among the three worst in the conference (Illinois being the third, but at least the Illini go to a Rose Bowl every now and then), so a head coaching spot at one of these places probably isn't going to be terribly attractive -- or a recipe for success -- unless the candidate in question is familiar with the Big Ten, its style of play, the recruiting grounds, etc., and wants to spend years and years in the conference.

It's no real surprise, then, that both Indiana and Minnesota are reportedly interviewing candidates from other Big Ten schools -- and really, both schools are looking at superb hires. Minnesota has reportedly interviewed Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst. You may remember Wisconsin's offense from such hits as 83-20 over Indiana, 70-21 over Northwestern , and 48-28 over Michigan. Sure, it's not like hiring Chryst is all it takes to get the Gophers dropping 50 on everybody that walks into TCF Bank Stadium, but at least they'd be getting a guy that knows how to do that at this level.

Meanwhile, over in Indiana, the Hoosiers apparently have their eyes on several coaches with Big Ten ties. Michigan State assistant head coach Don Treadwell is going to be the name that's most familiar to Big Ten fans, but watch out for Oklahoma OC Kevin Wilson -- previously Northwestern's offensive coordinator for three very productive years. Treadwell was the de facto head coach for Michigan State while Mark Dantonio recovered from his heart attack, and it's worth noting that the Spartans stayed undefeated while Dantonio was either out or operating in a limited capacity. If Treadwell was auditioning for a head coaching spot, it's hard to imagine he got anything but an A+.

Still, Wilson is considered the leader in this race, for whatever that's worth; if so, Indiana hiring away Bob Stoops' OC would be nothing short of a coup, especially considering Wilson was the winner of the Broyles Award for the top college assistant in 2008. He's got almost 30 years of tutelage under Randy Walker and Stoops, dating back to his college football playing days, and he's still only 49. Frankly, it's something of a surprise that Wilson hasn't been hired already. If he or even Treadwell is seriously considering a Hoosier offer, the future just might be bright in Bloomington. If, however, the interest isn't totally mutual and Indiana's forced to go the route of, say, Iowa OC Ken O'Keefe instead, well, that'd be just a little more depressing, if not exactly surprising.

Posted on: November 29, 2010 10:53 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 11:22 am
 

All-Big Ten Teams Announced, Pryor unhappy

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Big Ten released their all-conference teams on Monday, and clearly both the coaches and media value the play of the individual at each position.  The conference has seen an amazing collection of quarterback performances this season, making the narrowing process difficult for the voters.  But when the ballots were counted, Wisconsin's Scott TolzienMichigan's Denard Robinson and Northwestern's Dan Persa made the first and second teams, with Persa making both lists. 

One quarterback not too happy with the results was Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.  Who, in the same fashion as so many brilliant athletes before him, took to Twitter to say something that will likely be misunderstood and blown out of proportion.  




Obviously Pryor is not going to quit football anytime soon.  But his frustration is somewhat understood.  Pryor is still thought by some to be a longshot Heisman candidate and plays on a team that tied for the regular season title, so conventional wisdom would likely place him atop his other Big Ten counterparts.  But this was not a conventional season at quarterback in the Big Ten.  

Plus Pryor could have possibly won some of the "career honor" type votes if he wasn't so adamant about coming back next season.  Come on Terrelle, work the system baby, work the system. 

Below are the full media and coaches' All-Big Ten squads as reported by the conference.



Click here to enlarge media list
Click here to enlarge coaches' list


Posted on: November 28, 2010 12:02 pm
 

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov 27)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. Wisconsin would run over its own mother if she got in the way.  Not because Wisconsin doesn't like its mother, but because it just doesn't know how to stop.  For the third time this season the Badgers put up at least 70 points, this time against Northwestern.  Though it does seem like Bret Bielema at least learned how to slow his boys down a little bit, as they had 70 at the end of the third quarter and decided not to go for 100.  Which is very considerate of the Badgers.  Of course, most importantly, the win means that Wisconsin should be going to the Rose Bowl.

2. At least I think it does.  Nobody will be sure until Sunday night which Big Ten team is going to the Rose Bowl.  Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State are all tied for first in the conference, and the BCS rankings will decide which team gets to go to Pasadena.  Well, Wisconsin has been the highest ranked of the three for weeks, and it's hard to think that either Ohio State or Michigan State will pass the Badgers after a game in which they just hung 70 points on the board again.  Then again, who knows?

3. Rich Rodriguez is in trouble. What? You think that a coach with a team that's gone 7-5 is safe?  How'd that work out for Randy Shannon this season? Exactly, and Shannon didn't have people calling for his head since the second his name was announced as the new head coach as Rodriguez has.  Getting to 7-5 and going to a bowl game for the first time since coming to Ann Arbor is nice, but beating Ohio State once in a while would be nicer.  Here's a nice little stat for you to consider.  During his three years at Michigan, Rodriguez has won three conference games in the Big House.  Three.  During Jim Tressel's career at Ohio State, he's won four games inside the Big House.  He only gets to play there once every two years.

4. Ohio State is the best program in the Big Ten.  I didn't say they were the best team this season, as I think that title belongs to Wisconsin, but the best program in the Big Ten is clearly Ohio State.  The Buckeyes clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title for the sixth consecutive season, which is hard to do in any conference, let alone the Big Ten.  The last school to win six straight Big Ten titles?  Ohio State of course, from 1972-77.

5. Iowa must be a huge Walking Dead fan.  It's the only explanation for the way they walked through the last month of the season like a bunch of brain dead zombies.  The day before Halloween the Hawkeyes pasted Michigan State 37-6 to improve to 4-1 in the Big Ten and remain in the Rose Bowl hunt.  They then went 1-3 in November, with that one win coming against Indiana, and that game saw Damarlo Belcher drop a game-winning touchdown in the closing seconds.  The Hawkeyes then followed that narrow escape with losses to Northwestern, Ohio State, and Minnesota.  What happened?
Posted on: November 27, 2010 4:36 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2010 4:38 pm
 

Wisconsin smells roses

Posted by Tom Fornelli

With wins by both Ohio State and Michigan State on Saturday morning, Wisconsin came in to its regular season finale against Northwestern needing a win to grab a share of the Big Ten title and possibly punch its ticket to Pasadena.  So far, things are going according to plan.

The game is still early in the second quarter, but the Badgers aren't having any trouble with the Dan Persa-less Wildcats.  Montee Ball has three touchdowns in the first 18 minutes of action, as Wisconsin has jumped out to a 21-3 lead.  Not helping Northwestern's case are the three turnovers that it has already committed.

Illinois gashed Northwestern for over 500 yards on the ground last week at Wrigley Field, and it looks like Wisconsin may be able to top that.

This win is huge for Wisconsin not just because of the Big Ten title, but because if the Badgers do win, they'll likely be bound for Pasadena and the Rose Bowl.  With a three-way tie atop the conference, the BCS standings will be used to determine which team gets to go to the Rose Bowl.  Up until this week Wisconsin has been ahead of both Ohio State and Michigan State, and that's not likely to change considering the way things are currently going in Madison.

Update: As I hit publish on this post, Scott Tolzien hit David Gilreath for an 18-yard touchdown pass.  It's now 28-3 Wisconsin.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2010 12:41 pm
 

Gee comments off the mark

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Particularly for an academic, Ohio State president Gordon Gee has never been shy about expressing his opinions on athletics, popular or not.

And it's a safe bet that the opinions he expressed today in an interview with the AP are going to be most decidedly unpopular in Boise and Fort Worth. Writing off entire conferences as the "Little Sisters of the Poor" isn't particularly becoming for the president of the nation's largest university, and criticizing TCU and Boise for their schedules is more than a little hypocritical when one advanced rating puts the Buckeyes' schedule strength barely above the Frogs' or Broncos' and both non-AQ teams have played a more challenging nonconference slate than the Buckeyes' lineup with Marshall , Eastern Michigan , and Ohio .

But as infuriating as Gee's viewpoint might be to those who'd agree the non-AQ teams are far more deserving this season than the 10-1 Buckeyes (whose best win until last week's triumph at 7-4 Iowa was a home win over either 7-4 Penn State or 7-4 Miami ), at the end of the day it's just another warmed-over rehashing of the same arguments that have surrounded Boise and TCU all season (and for much of the past two). Where Gee is really, truly wrong is in his comments on expanding the football postseason to ensure that we don't have to have these same tired debates:

Gee, long an admirer of the BCS and the current bowl system, said he was against a playoff in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

"If you put a gun to my head and said, 'What are you going to do about a playoff system [if] the BCS system as it now exists goes away?' I would vote immediately to go back to the bowl system," he said.

He said the current system is better for the student-athletes.

"It's not about this incessant drive to have a national championship because I think that's a slippery slope to professionalism," he said. "I'm a fan of the bowl system and I think that by and large it's worked very, very well."

Gee isn't just arguing that Boise and TCU don't deserve a title shot this year; he's arguing that college football should entrench a postseason system that would ensure that they never got that title shot. What his argument (and similar diatribes against "playoffs") misses is that college football already has a playoff; it selects a number of teams, pairs them off, and the winner is automatically declared the champion. Where the BCS playoff differs from every other playoff in existence is that it only includes two teams. To frame the debate in terms of some nebulous future "playoff" against a current BCS system that varies from that bogeyman only in terms of the number of teams involved is to rig the debate permanently in the BCS's favor.

Gee's desire to preserve what amateurism and respect for academics remain in college football is admirable. But there's a point at which even those concerns have to give way to basic fairness. And surely the permanent exclusion of the TCU's and Boise's of the sport from national title consideration represents that point; what Gee proposes is to draw a line between college football's haves and have-nots, one based on conference affiliation, and declare that the latter can never cross it. It's elitism and snobbery of the highest order.

Now, a show of hands: who's in favor of Wisconsin blowing their season finale against Northwestern and setting up a showdown between Gee's Buckeyes and either the Frogs or Broncos in the Rose Bowl ? Is that everyone (Badger fans excluded)? Yes, we think that's everyone.

Posted on: November 23, 2010 4:29 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 5:02 pm
 

Caldwell on the hot seat at Vandy?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If there was ever a head football coach that deserved some patience, you'd think Vanderbilt 's Robbie Caldwell would be him.

He took over as head coach just weeks before the start of the Commodores' season when Bobby Johnson stunningly resigned. He inherited a team with a highly suspect offensive philosophy and a major talent disadvantage against nearly every team on its SEC schedule. He was given essentially no shot at implementing his own staff or schemes in the miniscule timeframe allotted. He is in his first season. And, just once more for emphasis, he is the coach at Vanderbilt . You could argue that the 'Dores 2-9 record is actually better than you'd expect from Caldwell, since his team has played a difficult nonconference schedule (featuring bowl-bound UConn and Northwestern ) and have been major underdogs in 10 of those contests.

And still, to hear Caldwell tell it, none of that might matter to his bosses in Nashville :

Caldwell is hopeful Saturday night's season finale with Wake Forest isn't his last game as Vanderbilt's football coach.

But if it is, Caldwell said he understands ...

"If it is my last game, well, I'll be sad because I've enjoyed my time here at Vanderbilt," Caldwell said. "Hopefully it won't be. But if it is, I understand. It's the life of a football coach, unfortunately, this day and time."
Caldwell may understand, but frankly we don't. What, exactly, was the Commodore brass expecting after the chaos of Johnson's retirement? Why, after years of conservatism when it comes to hiring and firing, are they suddenly getting an itchy trigger finger with a coach who's done almost nothing to desrve it? If they were always intent on giving Caldwell just one season at the helm before going after a bigger fish, then why remove the interim tag from his title in the first place?

Since none of those questions have obvious answers (and since Vandy's athletic department may not be in the kind, it will still be a major surprise if Caldwell is given the boot. But if he is, it'll be the clearest sign yet that the SEC's win-now-or-win-never attitude towards the employment of its head coaches has filtered down to even its lowest -- and most academically-oriented -- rung.

Posted on: November 21, 2010 4:36 am
 

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov. 20)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. Wisconsin fans shouldn't necessarily buy tickets to Pasadena, but they should at least be pricing them. We're sure that Badger fans weren't terribly excited to see their nemeses in East Lansing complete the comeback today, leaving the Big Ten title picture still in some measure of doubt, but Ohio State 's own comeback against Iowa later that day means that barring a sensational boost in the BCS rankings for the Buckeyes, Wisconsin is one win away from the Rose Bowl. Considering Northwestern -- the Badgers' last opponent -- clearly misses injured QB Dan Persa and struggles to stop the run, the likelihood of an upset at Camp Randall seems slim. Famous last words, yes, but still.

2. Don't mention fourth quarters to Iowa fans for a while. Or do if you want to anger them. In the Hawkeyes' game against Ohio State, the Buckeyes weathered Iowa's defense for three quarters before making a heroic drive in the last few minutes of the game to take the lead and win. For the Iowa fans, it was a broken record that desperately needs to stop; in each of Iowa's four losses, the vaunted Iowa defense has given up a go-ahead touchdown with less than five minutes on the clock, at which point the Iowa offense has failed to answer under pressure. In fact, Iowa would have five losses of that exact nature if Indiana wideout Damario Belcher hadn't dropped an easy fourth-down touchdown two weeks ago. It's to the point where "small sample size" just doesn't work as an excuse anymore: the Iowa defense clearly doesn't have the juice to play for 60 minutes, and that painful fact has snuffed out the high hopes of the Hawkeye faithful in Iowa City.

3. The Spartans might not be going to the Rose Bowl, but their season's pretty special anyway. Barring an Ohio State loss to Michigan next week, Michigan State will not be going to Pasadena; the fact that MSU and OSU didn't play each other this season means that their tiebreaker would be BCS ranking, and OSU was already comfortably ahead of the Spartans even before OSU took down a ranked Iowa team while MSU struggled with very-not-ranked Purdue. Michigan State's season-ender at Penn State isn't a gimme, but even if the Spartans lose, this is still just the third time in program history that MSU has hit 10 wins on a season (1965, 1999). The Spartans have never won 11 games in a season, and they have two opportunities to do that now.

The accomplishment isn't that much of a stunner, as the Spartans looked on paper to be at worst a darkhorse contender for the league title. It's just, well, they barely ever do this, so it was hard not to wonder how MSU would screw it all up this year. But credit Mark Dantonio and his staff for keeping the team on track, even through Dantonio's heart attack and other off-field problems, and en route to its best Big Ten record its best conference record in at least 11 (and maybe 45) years.

4. Okay, so football at Wrigley can be pretty cool -- even if one of the end zones is sort of a death trap. The Big Ten got it right when it forbade Illinois and Northwestern to run offensive series toward that now-infamous east end zone at Wrigley, and when Northwestern defensive back Brian Peters took an interception to the house, he had to be tackled by teammates before hitting that wall. No, he wasn't three yards away from certain doom, and the tackle by his pals was also nice and celebratory, but still: he was only about three or four yards away from impact before being taken down as he slowed from his sprint. Running offensive plays (like fade routes) toward that wall would have been just begging for injuries -- and lawsuits.

But past that, the fans in attendance got to see a special occasion, even if Illinois absolutely worked the Wildcats. Wrigley Field is one of the most hallowed sports arenas, and to see its famed scoreboard used to show Big Ten football scores and its marquee painted purple must have been a thrill for Northwestern and Big Ten fans in Chicago. Ron Zook said he'd "absolutely" have his team play there again, and Pat Fitzgerald was equally effusive in his praise of the event. Should the two teams play their rivalry game there every year? Well, that seems like an abuse of the novelty of it all, but have you ever actually seen Memorial Stadium or Ryan Field? Not exactly cathedrals of the sport, those. It might -- just might -- be worth keeping Wrigley on the table going forward.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com