Pillow Pets are not a new item this holiday season, but the expanded selection of sports pillow pets certainly is. While NFL and MLB team mascots are available in all teams, the college licensing process is not so simple, but the Big Ten is well-represented in the world of college Pillow Pets. The Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes and Wisconsin Badgers are joined by the conference’s newest member, the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the early going for Big Ten schools with Pillow Pets available. Of course more Big Ten school mascots are expected to be added over time, but for fans looking for the best holiday gifts for sports fans, the arguably top schools in the Big Ten along with many of the top schools in the world of college football being already available is a treat.
Coming into the day on Saturday, November 5th, the Big Ten Legends Division was poised for a day to show us what each team was made of. With the three top team in the division playing the three bottom teams, on paper it should have been a day of favorites winning, but when the dust settled the division became a muddied mess.
Michigan began the day struggling to stop Iowa. The Hawkeyes led almost the entire game and when the Wolverines were unable to catch a break from the officials on the final drive, Iowa was able to hang on for a 24-16 win.
In East Landsing, Michigan State appeared to be a much better team on paper, but Minnesota had other plans as they led 24-21 heading into the 4th quarter. But MSU outscored Minnesota 10-0 in the 4th for the 31-24 win and sole possession of 1st place in the Legends Division.
Finally, the Nebraska Cornhuskers found that no week is an easy one in the Big Ten as the Northwestern Wildcats came into Lincoln 1-4 in Big Ten play and left with a 28-25 win.
After the dust settled, the Big Ten football standings in the Legends Division now looks like this:
- Michigan State - 4-1
- Michigan - 3-2
- Nebraska - 3-2
- Iowa - 3-2
- Northwestern - 2-4
- Minnesota - 1-4
With their newly-named Legends and Leaders Divisions the Big Ten raised a few eyebrows this season. While many of those eyebrows were raised at the peculiar naming of divisions and overall lack of geographic common sense, combined with a poor, at best, logo design, it’s time to talk football as the Big Ten’s Legends Division has a busy day on today’s Big Ten scoreboard. The match-ups start with Michigan (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) at Iowa (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten) in what is, at least on paper, the most closely matched game of the day. Nebraska (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) hosts Northwestern (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten) while Michigan State (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten) hosts Minnesota (2-6, 1-3 Big Ten). With all three teams tied for first in the Big Ten Legends Division all in action this afternoon, we could know more by the end of the day on how the race will play out.
Another weekend of play in the Big Ten has the conference on it’s head. With Michigan State losing to Nebraska and Ohio State’s upset of Wisconsin, along with Michigan and Penn State winning again, the Big Ten now boasts 5 teams in the BCS Top 25 wit all 5 ranked from 10-20. A look at the Big Ten football standings shows an undefeated Penn State sitting atop the Leaders Division at 5-0 ahead of Wisconsin, Ohio State and Purdue who each have a 2-2 conference record. Meanwhile in the Legends Division, Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska each have 3-1 records in the conference with Iowa a game behind at 2-2. The intra-conference parity has the bowl projections showing just one Big Ten team in a BCS bowl game this season, something rarely seen in the past given the conference’s (sometimes unfounded) reputation as a top-tier football conference.
The Big Ten season is officially underway for the Michigan Wolverines and Minnesota Golden Gophers, but for Minnesota it seems they forgot to show up. Michigan has jumped out to a 28-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter with the Minnesota defense having no answers for Michigan’s play calling and speed. Wearing their throwback helmets, the Wolverines have been led by Denard Robinson who has both a passing and rushing TD while Smith is the real star of the first half with a passing, rushing and receiving Touchdown. Michigan, the #19 team in the nation, is looking to start the season at 5-0 which has obviously caused a major increase in sales of Michigan Wolverines apparel & jerseys and fan interest on the many Michigan message boards. With Brady Hoke at the helm the Wolverines are seen once again as a contender in the Big Ten, a conference that they have not performed well in over the past three years.
In one of the most high profile games of an exciting Saturday, September 10, 2011 in college football, the #3 Alabama Crimson Tide lead the #23 Penn State Nittany Lions by a score of 17-3 at the half. In a first half that was a defensive battle throughout, a Penn State fumble set up Alabama’s last drive of the half and the Crimson Tide offense capitalized to milk the clock and punch in a rushing touchdown with just 35 seconds left before halftime. This game, which will of course shape the opinions of millions of fans across the nation about the strength of the SEC and the lack thereof for the Big Ten, is the big game of the day on the SEC along with Mississippi State @ Auburn and South Carolina @ Georgia. Meanwhile, the Big Ten football scoreboard will also reflect a narrow Ohio State win over Toledo and an important Michigan vs. Notre Dame game that will also impact the Big Ten’s reputation in 2011.
The Ohio State Buckeyes started slowly but made Luke Fickle a winner in his coaching debut in a 42-0 rout of the Akron Zips. With five players suspended from one set of NCAA violations and another three players added this week to the suspension list for another incident this summer, Ohio State had little trouble with the Zips, a team picked to finish near the bottom of the MAC this season.
In State College, PA, the Penn State Nittany Lions returned the opening kickoff 95 yards to set the tone in a 41-7 win over Indiana State. Silas Redd scored two rushing TDs with 104 yards rushing as Penn State had no trouble in their warm-up before hosting Alabama next week.
Michigan also looked good on the Big Ten football scoreboard as they won a weather-shortened game in Ann Arbor 34-10 over Western Michigan. Facing a Broncos team that is actually picked to be worth a darn this year, unlike the opponents of Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State in week one, Michigan fell behind 7-0 early but scored two defensive TDs as Denard Robinson went 9-13 for 98 yards in his new pro style offense. Michigan hosts #16 Notre Dame in week two of the season.
Kirk Cousins completed 18 of 22 passes and threw for 222 yards for Michigan State as the Spartans opened the season with a 28-6 win over Youngstown State on Friday night. BJ Cunningham caught nine passes for 130 yards and a touchdown for No. 17 Michigan State in the game.
MSU, one year removed from a 11 win season that ended with a blowout loss to Alabama in the Capital One Bowl, gave reason for fans to be excited and buy Michigan State apparel & merchandise to support the green and white.
The Spartans continue their killer early season schedule in facing Florida Atlantic on Saturday, September 10th in East Landsing.
The 2011 college football season is almost here and the DFN Sports previews for all 12 Big Ten football teams are now live. Big Ten Fans has once again partnered with CollegeSports-fans.com through the DFN Sports Network to offer complete team previews for the 2011 season for every Big Ten football team including the newest member of the Big Ten, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. With the new Leaders and Legends Divisions set for 2011 and the Big Ten Championship Game, the 2011 season will be a season of many firsts. Check out the entire 2011 college football preview and also be sure to check out the Big Ten standings and Big Ten Football scores throughout the season, as BigTen-fans.com provides weekly updates across America’s greatest College Football Conference!
The Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Kansas State Wildcats in second round NCAA Tournament competition from the McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona. This was a back-and-forth contest between two evenly-matched teams, as one would expect in a 4-5 game. A terrific individual performance from Kansas State guard Jacob Pullen was nearly enough to get the Wildcats to their second straight Sweet 16, but in the end, it was the defensive heroics of Jordan Taylor that sealed the deal for the Badgers. Pullen, who scored 38 points, rose to tie the game with a three-pointer with just two seconds left, only to be denied by a Taylor block. It was an ironic end to a night that had largely unfolded in a different direction up to that point in time. Pullen dominated the individual matchup with Taylor, tossing in shots left and right while his Wisconsin counterpart made lots of bad decisions, including a foul on a Pullen 3-point attempt with 10.1 seconds left in a game Wisconsin led by a 66-63 score. (Pullen made two of the three foul shots, forcing Wisconsin to hit two free throws of its own and make the score 68-65, setting up the final sequence.) However, Taylor redeemed himself and gained the last laugh as his Badgers moved on to play eighth-seeded Butler in the round of 16.
By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer