Posted on: September 1, 2010 7:26 pm

Big Ten confirms new divisions

Posted by Adam Jacobi

On a scheduled special broadcast on the Big Ten Network tonight, Jim Delany announced his conference's plans for two new divisions. They are as follows:

A: Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana

B: Michigan, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern, Michigan State

Each team is guaranteed a crossover rivalry with the team opposite in the list: OSU-Michigan, Penn State-Nebraska, etc.

Moreover, Michigan-Ohio State will remain the regular season finale for both schools. Delany said that despite rumors, the only other destination discussed for The Game was a mid-November date instead--nothing as early as October. Whether that's any consolation to Michigan and Ohio State fans is something you'll have to ask them.

All in all, most teams have little if anything to complain about; the vast majority of rivalries are now protected, and as Delany noted, each conference member now has six protected games instead of two. Certainly, Iowa probably won't be pleased to see Purdue as a protected rival (and vice versa), and Indiana-Michigan State makes little more sense, but these aren't deal-breaking problems.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 5:16 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 5:19 pm

VIDEO: Iowa lineman sent flying in car crash

Posted by Adam Jacobi

On Monday, reports came out that Iowa offensive lineman Josh Koeppel was involved in a traffic accident in Iowa City, briefly hospitalizing the senior center. While that's harrowing in and of itself, a recap of the details isn't nearly as frightening as the video of the crash itself, in which Koeppel looks awfully lucky just to be alive and well.

The footage of the crash comes from a police cruiser that happened to be near the intersection, via the Cedar Rapids Gazette. And yes, the crash is amazing for several reasons:

1. All 270 pounds of Koeppel flipping through the air.
2. Koeppel's shoe reaching at least 20 feet in altitude.
3. Koeppel gets up almost immediately, because he is not human.

He has been ruled out of play this weekend for Iowa's season opener, but there are no apparent injuries other than basic road rash and soreness. We expect Kirk Ferentz to buy his entire defense a fleet of cars for these types of drills, at which point the NCAA will nail Iowa for improper benefits, sending the Hawkeyes into a death spiral of sanctions and forfeitures. Maybe. Okay, probably not.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 5:01 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 5:30 pm

How Nike's new Pro Combat uni's help recruiting

Posted by Chip Patterson

Sure.  There is ton about Nike's new Pro Combat gear that makes perfect sense for the elite athlete.  It's light weight, it's durable, and thanks to new technologies a Nike Pro Combat uniform soaking wet is supposedly still lighter than a normal dry uniform.  

On Wednesday, Nike revealed the newest line of Pro Combat uniforms in college football.  The line will begin with ten schools, with the motto: "Ten Storied Programs, Ten Game-Changing Uniforms."

The ten schools to debut the uniforms in 2010 will be TCU, Alabama, Miami, West Virginia, Boise State, Oregon State, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Florida, and Virginia Tech.

Nike Uniforms

But all the technology aside, let's get down to it: this is all about fashion, and fashion is just another tool in recruiting.

Face it, these jerseys are cool.  They look sleek, yet many of them (particularly Florida and Ohio State) have a throwback feel.  They utilize the "alternate colors" that have become so popular these days.  They are the kinds of jerseys that the players want to wear.

They are the kinds of jerseys that high school players want to wear too.  These are the programs that will be on nationally televised games, in front of millions of eyes.  Thousands of those eyes are the best high school football players in the nation, and those impressionable teenagers are absolutely going to think these new jerseys are cool.  

Which jersey is your favorite?  Let us know in the comments below.  Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing Virginia Tech bust out these new black uniforms on Monday against Boise State. (Photo Credits: Virginia Tech, Nike)

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Posted on: September 1, 2010 3:40 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 4:32 pm

UNC's Marvin Austin suspended indefinitely

Posted by Chip Patterson

marvinNorth Carolina star defensive tackle Marvin Austin was the first Tar Heel under fire when the NCAA began investigating the North Carolina program earlier this summer.  Now he is the first one to receive a punishment.

However, head coach Butch Davis says the suspension is not related to any of the allegations regarding agents or academic improprieties.  

"The decision is not a result of the ongoing NCAA review," Davis said.  "Marvin has violated team rules and neglected his responsibilities to the team."

No time table has been set for the suspension, but he will not play against LSU on Saturday in Atlanta.

We will update the story further as more details are revealed.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 3:39 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 3:42 pm

ESPN: Sources reveal Big Ten division members

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Remember the clues the Big Ten may have been dropping about their new conference alignment? Yeah, maybe not. ESPN is citing multiple conference sources in this report about the new Big Ten divisions:

• Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern and Minnesota.

• And Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and Illinois.

The new setup would also feature the protected "crossover" rivalries that have been expected--Michigan would play Ohio State every year, obviously, and ESPN's sources specifically predicted Wisconsin and Minnesota will have a protected rivalry. If true, that's bad news for Wisconsin brass, who had been lobbying for a protected end-of-year game with Nebraska.

If ESPN's reports are true, they're not terribly surprising; there's competitive balance all around, and where possible, the different tiers of teams are separated east and west (see Michigan and Nebraska staying west, and Penn State and Ohio State east). Expect this alignment (or, at the very least, something similar) to be announced by the Big Ten this evening.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 2:15 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:50 pm

Did Big Ten reveal new divisions in promo photo?

Posted by Adam Jacobi 

Speculation about the Big Ten's new divisional alignment can end soon, as the conference is set to announce the divisions tonight on its Big Ten Network at 7 p.m. ET. 

Such word had filtered through various sources earlier this week, with most pointing to today as the day for the unveiling, so this news isn't a total surprise. But while the date of the announcement has been pretty well known, the specifics of the divisions remains the far more relevant--and unanswered--question. 

So with rumors about the fate of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry flying everywhere--will they join separate divisions or not? When will their rivalry game be played?--it might be worthwhile to look to the Big Ten for a clue. And my my, is there ever one attached to the Big Ten's announcement. 

The arrangement of helmets doesn't seem to be accidental, does it? Michigan and Ohio State are front and center... and opposing each other. Likewise, the duo of Penn State and Nebraska are in opposite divisions, which fits with Jim Delany's model of competitive balance. In the second row, Iowa and Wisconsin are on opposite sides--just like what Barry Alvarez told reporters last week. And there's Michigan State on Michigan's side, which would make sense for their annual rivalry. 

In total, the Big Ten divisions as indicated by this photo are as such: 

MichiganPenn StateWisconsinIndianaNorthwesternMichigan State 
Ohio StateNebraskaIowaIllinoisPurdueMinnesota 

Of course, this could be nothing more than a red herring to throw people off the trail of the real alignment, which is still 5 hours away. But maybe--just maybe--it's a treat the conference left for its sharper fans. We'll find out soon enough.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 12:14 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:50 pm

Texas A&M AD scared of SEC competition?

Posted by Chip Patterson

Okay, so maybe that headline is a little bit unfair.  But it's not far from what Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne said when he was a guest on "Aggie Hour," a weekly radio show on the Aggie Radio Network, earlier this week.

Byrne was candid about several topics, one of which being why the Aggies decided to maintain a holding pattern when given a potential opportunity to move to the SEC earlier in the summer.

"I was concerned with changing conferences that we may not be ready for the level of competition if we decided to leave," Byrne told host Dave South on the weekly show that's part of the Aggie Radio Network. "I was very concerned about trying to take things slowly, and not rush."
Despite being one of the most storied programs in college football history, the Big 12 has not treated the Aggies very well - particularly in football.  The Aggies have not had a conference title since 1998 and haven't finished the season in the Top 25 since 1999.

Obviously the Aggies hope that this season can be the end of at least one of those streaks, and if it's going to happen it will be on the legs and arms of Jerrod Johnson.  The senior quarterback threw for 3579 yards and 30 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions, and will be counted on to do the same and more in 2010.  The Aggies are currently sitting on the outside of the Top 25, but with a schedule that kicks off with Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech, and Florida International; they should have some time to work out any kinks before kicking off conference play.       

Posted on: September 1, 2010 11:30 am
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:21 pm

Minnesota could start a brand new D Thursday

Posted by Chip Patterson

Golden Gopher fans new that they were going to see some fresh faces on the field when Minnesota kicks off their season Thursday night against Middle Tennessee State.  After Tuesday it's very possible they will be starting an entirely new defense.

The Golden Gophers entered the season needing to replace nine starters on the defensive side of the ball, with only safeties Tim Royston and Kyle Theret returning from 2009.  Royston is still rehabbing from a broken leg suffered in spring practice, and his status for Thursday night is unknown.  To make matters worse, on Tuesday Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster announced that Theret would sit out season opener as part of his continued suspension for drunken driving charges in March.

Theret led the team in interceptions and recorded tackles in 2009, and the Gophers could use his experience on the field.  But Brewster says that Thursday's game is an extension of Theret's "indefinite" suspension, and has yet to put a timetable on his return.  Starting offensive tackle Dom Alford was also suspended for Thursdays game for violating unspecified team rules.  

If there is any upside to this story for Minnesota fans, it's that their brand new defense will not have to face Middle Tennessee State's star dual-threat quarterback Dwight Dasher.  Dasher was suspended for the first three games for failing to pay back a gambling debt.
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