The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

July 25, 2013

Big Ten on brink of major changes

CHICAGO — Going into the upcoming college football season, there appears to be significant change on the horizon.

The Big Ten Conference held their first day of the annual media days on Wednesday at the Chicago Hilton, and judging from the coaches in attendance, they all seem to be on the same page that college football will be vastly different once these changes take effect.

This season marks the final season for a 12-team conference, as Maryland and Rutgers are set to join the league next July ahead of the 2014 football season.

“It brings three large markets into the conference, those being the New York City area, as well as the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. areas, not to mention the entire state of New Jersey,” Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman said.

Two new coaches will enter the fray in the conference this season, under entirely different circumstances. Gary Andersen takes over at Wisconsin for Bret Bielema, who bolted for Arkansas and the SEC, while Darrell Hazell assumes control over at Purdue for Danny Hope, who was let go last season, despite the Boilermakers appearing in a bowl game.

Andersen, who previously coached at Utah State for the past four seasons, takes over in Madison and inherits a team that has had quite a bit of success over the past few years.

“No matter where you coach, you have two priorities; number one is to take care of the kids, and number two is you have to be able to recruit,” Andersen said. “You need to put your own stamp on the program, and not really be concerned what was different in past coaching staffs.”

Hazell, who takes over a Purdue team that went 6-7 in 2012 with a loss in the Champs Sports Bowl 24-7 to Maryland and wants to change the vision of Boilermaker football.

“Purdue was always a team that’s perceived in the middle of the Big Ten, and we want to change that philosophy and put this program to national prominence for a long point in time,” Hazell said.

Collectively, the conference should be strong once again, with the usual suspects adorning the top spots in the league preseason standings. Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska will look to contend in the Legends Division, but don’t count out Northwestern, who is trying to forge a brand new attitude of their program in Evanston.

“We are simply not content just playing in bowl games any longer,” Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “Our expectation is to win championships and contend year after year in the Big Ten”.

The Wolverines have two players on the preseason watch list in quarterback Devin Gardner and offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, while Michigan State had one player on that list, linebacker Max Bullough.

Nebraska, who has a rich tradition in football, expects to contend in the Legends Division, and will do so with a veteran quarterback in Taylor Martinez, who will become a four-year starter. Northwestern running back Venric Mark is the other player from the Legends Division to make the preseason watch list.

Rounding out the Legends Division are two programs that are headed in different directions. Minnesota finished the 2012 season with a 6-7 record, losing in the Meineke Car Care Bowl 34-31 to Texas Tech. Golden Gophers coach Jerry Kill hopes to improve on in 2013.

Iowa, on the other hand, endured a disappointing 4-8 campaign in 2012.

“We encouraged our players to turn the page and wanted to get them looking forward and then go back to work, and that’s pretty much what we’ve done,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We try to do that after every season”.

In the Leaders Division of the conference, Ohio State appears to be the clear favorite to represent in Indianapolis in December, but Penn State and Wisconsin hope to have something to say about that.

The Buckeyes have three players on the preseason watch list, but have some internal issues that took center stage when coach Urban Meyer took the podium to address the media.

Quarterback Braxton Miller, cornerback Bradley Roby, and linebacker Ryan Shazier are the players to watch for the Buckeyes, but all eyes will be on the program for an entirely different reason.

Roby, who was banned from attending media day for his role in an incident in Columbus, was arrested last week and his future with the Buckeyes remains unclear.

Already suspended to start the season is running back Carlos Hyde, and there is an ongoing investigation before that decision will be amended.

Meyer, who fielded more questions about his team’s off the field activity, simply said that “there were a few bad decisions made by some stupid people, and they are being handled internally.”

Meyer, who seems to attract controversy wherever he goes, tried to defend his program as best as he could.

“To have a couple of knuckleheads make some decisions that reflect the entire program, that’s not us. It’s something that bothers me, bothers our players, and we work very hard to avoid with our players,” Meyer said.

Penn State, who had plenty of attention themselves off the field a year ago, has seemed to elude the spotlight this season, and will attempt to get back on track and contend in the Leaders Division.

A large part of that task will fall on wide receiver Allen Robinson, who is the Nittany Lions’ lone player on the preseason watch list.

Coach Bill O’Brien, who endured a lot of controversy himself last season, appears to have eluded the spotlight, and will get back to the task of polishing the Nittany Lion image that was tarnished in the wake of the Joe Paterno/Jerry Sandusky scandal. Even though Penn State is not eligible for the postseason for a couple more seasons, O’Brien wants to get the Nittany Lions back to the competitive brand of football that they had in the past.

Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland is the other player to watch in the Leaders Division, and with good measure, because Borland is one of the better players at the position in the conference, if not the country.

Rounding out the Leaders Division are Illinois, Indiana and Purdue, all of whom performed at less than expected levels in 2012.

Illinois won just two games last season, but second year coach Tim Beckman has 33 new players on the roster for the 2013 season, including several junior college players that will give the Illini some depth, as well as some experience for a very young group of players.

Indiana, who finished 4-8 last season, have quite a few starters returning from that team, which leads coach Kevin Wilson to keep his optimism level high.

“We’ve got 19 starters back, and that is on both sides of the ball. We also have our punters and kickers back as well, plus our long-snapper is a big-time player as well,” Wilson said.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany also spoke about several issues, including the idea being explored by Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby that the “Big 5” conferences (Big 10, Big 12, ACC, Pac 12 and SEC), should consider forming a fourth division of the NCAA or their own federation.

The main focus behind this idea is that some of the smaller conferences cannot afford some of the amenities that the larger conferences have, and that is creating some conflict. Also discussed was the idea of giving student athletes some sort of a stipend to help defray some of the costs of attending college.

With college football going to a playoff system in the 2014 season, these and other questions will certainly resurface in the weeks and months ahead.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPT- CN0419 - Bis-Henn Baseball photo 1 Taylor slows Blue Devils BISMARCK -- After a perfect game from Ross Learnard on Tuesday, the Salt Fork baseball team received another outstanding pitching performance on Friday from Cole Taylor, who struck out nine and allowed only one hit over five innings as the Storm beat

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - CN0419 - Danville softball photo 1 Danville blasts three homers to beat Westville WESTVILLE -- Danville coach Corey Pullin knew it was just a matter of time until junior Alissa Peelman and sophomore Lindsey Lowenstein started seeing positive results at the plate. On Friday afternoon, the duo of Peelman and Lowenstein gave the Viki

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Danville girls track wins Raider Invitational BLOOMINGTON -- The Danville girls track team picked up four wins as they were able to beat the pack at the Lady Raider Invitational on Friday. Sadie Elliott won the 3,200 in 11 minutes, 51.75 seconds for Danville, while Aariona Graham won the long ju

    April 19, 2014

  • Friday's Local Scores PREP BASEBALL At Bismarck Salt Fork 15, Bismarck-Henning 0 Salt Fork 040 0(11) -- 15 14 0 Bis-Henn 000 0 0 -- 0 1 8 WP -- Cole Taylor. LP -- Dustyn Ingram. Two or more hits -- SF: Ross Learnard 3, Max Stutsman 3, Garrett McFadden, Lane West

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT- Cn0418 - Covington softball photo 2 Trojans cruise to victory COVINGTON, Ind. - The Covington softball team had a big first inning as they scored five runs on their way to defeating Attica 11-1. Attica threatened to score in the first, getting Karrah Pattengale to second, but they were unable to drive her home.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lunger steps up for Buffaloes GEORGETOWN -- In only the second start of his career, Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman pitcher Tyler Lunger pitched a five-hit complete game as the Buffaloes defeated Milford 8-2 on Thursday in Vermilion Valley Conference action. "I feel I threw well

    April 18, 2014

  • SPT - CN0418 - Danville boys tennis photo Maroons blitz young Vikings DANVILLE -- In the process of gaining experience, the Danville boys tennis team has taken a few lumps in the first few weeks of season. On Thursday afternoon, the Champaign Central Maroons delivered a few lessons to the younger Vikings with a 9-0 vic

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peelman pitches no-hitter as Vikings beat Maroons CHAMPAIGN -- Alissa Peelman pitched a no-hitter as the Danville High School softball team beat Champaign Central 11-0 in five innings on Thursday in Big 12 Conference action. Peelman was also 3-of-4 with three RBIs for the Vikings while Mackenzie Kin

    April 18, 2014

  • Thursday's Local Scores PREP BASEBALL At Georgetown Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman 8, Milford 2 Milford 101 000 0 -- 2 5 10 GRFC 200 141 x -- 8 8 3 WP -- Tyler Lunger. LP -- Clayton Rieches. Two or more hits -- GRFC: Dylan Bina, Ethan Silva. 2B

    April 18, 2014

  • SPT - CN0417 - Andy Bott photo Better late than never for Bott BISMARCK -- Marshall golf coach Matt Grobe completely surprised Bismarck-Henning standout Andy Bott with an e-mail earlier this year. Bott, who is a three-time all-stater for the Blue Devils, was preparing to attend Illinois Wesleyan in the fall. "Ou

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

E-edition
NCAA basketball
NJCAA Tourney Photos 2014


Check out the action at the NJCAA Division II National Men's Basketball Tournament March 18-22 at DACC. Buy photos from the Commercial-News here: http://smu.gs/1iCWKnP

Must Read
AP Video
Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday