Big Ten: Robert Bruininks
- The quarterback position is back in the spotlight around the Big Ten, Andrew Logue writes in the Des Moines Register.
- Dream a little, Michigan State fans, and put the Spartans and "undefeated" in the same sentence, Bob Wojnowski writes in The Detroit News. Life is good in East Lansing right now, Phil Miller writes in the Star Tribune.
- Ohio State's Brandon Saine has accepted his new role in stride, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch. The Buckeyes need a little craziness on special teams, Rob Oller writes in The Dispatch.
- Wisconsin safety Jay Valai is excited for a hostile environment Saturday, Tom Mulhern writes in the Wisconsin State Journal. Badgers defensive tackle Jordan Kohout is likely out for the Iowa game, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Iowa's Adrian Clayborn and Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi have mutual respect heading into Saturday's matchup, Marc Morehouse writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Forget the Heartland Trophy; it's all about the Rusty Toolbox this weekend in Iowa City.
- Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget once wrestled an alligator, Bob Asmussen writes in The (Champaign) News-Gazette. Loren Tate takes a look at the Illinois-Indiana series.
- Despite a strong pass game and a weak run attack, Northwestern seeks offensive balance against Michigan State, Teddy Greenstein writes in the Chicago Tribune. The Daily Herald's Lindsey Willhite talks about the Wildcats heading into the MSU showdown.
- Joe Paterno needs to turn things around quickly for Penn State, Bernard Fernandez writes in the Philadelphia Daily News.
- Is Indiana any good? Andy Graham answers in The (Bloomington) Herald-Times (subscription required). Former Indiana player Ray Fisher often was offered money by agents, but never accepted, Justin Albers writes in the Indiana Daily Student.
- After Tim Brewster's dismissal, Minnesota will take a carefree approach to Saturday's game, David Jones writes in The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News. Minnesota president Robert Bruininks is talking again, this time to the (St. Paul) Pioneer Press' Marcus Fuller. Expect some gridlock around TCF Bank Stadium, as President Obama is in town.
- Purdue defenders once again lock in on Terrelle Pryor, Mike Carmin writes in The (Lafayette) Journal and Courier.
- Michigan linebacker Kenny Demens faces a lawsuit for allegedly not paying his rent, annarbor.com's Lee Higgins writes.
- The Star Tribune has an extensive interview with Minnesota president Robert Bruininks about the coaching search and the program (good stuff, and here's the whole thing). A lot of Gophers fans want Marc Trestman, but the program might not be able to land him, Marcus Fuller writes in the (St. Paul) Pioneer Press.
- A National Guardsman used his uniform to sneak into the Michigan-Michigan State game, despite toting two unloaded M-16 rifles. Wow.
- The Big Ten Network's Dave Revsine goes inside the numbers for Week 8 in the Big Ten.
- Bowl projections from Rivals.com, including Iowa to Rose and Ohio State to Fiesta. Which Big Ten team pulls off the most upsets? AOL FanHouse's Brett McMurphy examines a very interesting topic.
- Power football is back in the Big Ten at the top of the league, Tom Mulhern writes in the Wisconsin State Journal.
- Michigan State's unity council has been a big part of the strong start, Drew Sharp writes in the Detroit Free Press. First-year assistant Brad Salem makes an immediate impact on the Spartans' run game, Chris Solari writes in the Lansing State Journal.
- The Iowa-Wisconsin series should resume in 2013, but with a cost elsewhere, Scott Dochterman writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Former Iowa star Tim Dwight talks about DJK breaking his team receiving record, Pat Harty writes in the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
- Wisconsin coaches challenged running back John Clay to get back to his 2008 form before last week's game, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Ryan Kerrigan becomes Purdue's superman on Saturdays, Bill Rabinowitz writes in The Columbus Dispatch. Boilers safety Logan Link, a Columbus native, knows all about Ohio State, Mike Carmin writes in The (Lafayette) Journal and Courier.
- Jay Paterno writes about Eric LeGrand and recalls the Adam Taliaferro situation at Penn State. The Lions aren't sure what to expect from wild-card Minnesota on Saturday, Cory Giger writes in The Altoona Mirror.
- Rich Rodriguez says don't rush to judgment on Michigan this year, Bob Wojnowski writes in The Detroit News.
- Illinois is certainly aware of Indiana's dangerous quarterback, Herb Gould writes in the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Last year's Purdue loss marked a turning point for Terrelle Pryor, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
- Patience is paying off for Indiana running back Trea Burgess, Terry Hutchens writes in The Indianapolis Star.
- Northwestern has been fortunate on the injury front to this point, Colin Becht writes in The Daily Northwestern.
To me, these topics carry far more weight than deciding the name of the conference. But there's significant interest among fans and others about whether the Big Ten will still be the Big Ten when Nebraska joins in 2011. You've heard the jokes about the Big 11 for two decades, and as lame and unoriginal as they are, they're not going anywhere if the league keeps its name.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has gone on record as saying he was willing to change the league's name when Penn State joined in 1990. He's still open to a change, but the decision rests solely with the Big Ten presidents and chancellors.
And it sounds like those folks have no plans to scrap the Big Ten brand.
Here's Minnesota president Robert Bruininks in a recent Q&A with The Minnesota Daily:
Any talks of a name change?
Bruininks: No, I think it’s quite certain that we will keep the brand of the Big Ten, and that’s a historic reference to a conference that has been remarkably stable.
Longtime Michigan sports broadcaster Tim Staudt recently talked with Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon, the chair of the Big Ten's Council of Presidents/Chancellors, who had this to say:
She does believe the name Big Ten will stand no matter how many schools are in the field eventually. She doesn't say it's 100 percent certain but she thinks the branding of the name will keep it "Big Ten."
The marketing community seems to agree with the Big Ten keeping its name, despite the mathematical inaccuracy in number of members.
Chuck Piper, who was a longtime vice president in charge of strategic services for Bailey Lauerman marketing agency, said the Big Ten brand has established too much equity to change names now.
“I think it really has nothing to do with how many teams are literally part of it,” Piper said. “You can’t be changing the brand every time you add or subtract. The Big Ten brings to mind a certain kind of entity, and that entity remains intact even though the players might change from time to time.”
I tend to agree. There's so much history in the Big Ten brand name, and you would lose something if it changed. Not to mention that the league's greatest new asset, a television network, has the Big Ten brand attached to it.
The logo has to change, but the brand shouldn't.
"The 'Ten' signifies an ideal, a way of conference life, more than it suggests the number of schools in the league. A name change is unnecessary."
Let the tired and annoying jokes continue, and keep the name in place.
- Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany tells ESPN that Michigan had a proactive response to the NCAA's allegations, Angelique Chengelis writes in The Detroit News. An excellent breakdown of similar allegations and outcomes for college teams from mgoblog. I completely agree with Dave Curtis' take on the Michigan situation, so you should read it, too.
- Word to the wise: Don't ask former Ohio State kicker Aaron Pettrey about his knee today, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
- According to Michigan defensive backs coach Tony Gibson, Donovan Warren will have a long NFL career, annarbor.com's Dave Birkett writes.
- The attorney for Michigan State cornerback Chris L. Rucker, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault Thursday, says his client has been reinstated to the team, George Sipple writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- An interesting breakdown how former Wisconsin running backs Ron Dayne and Michael Bennett fared in the NFL, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Minnesota president Robert Bruininks weighs in on football coach Tim Brewster's contract extension in this interview with the Minnesota Daily.
- Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick deserves more NFL hype than he's getting, Bob Flounders writes in The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Minnesota announced Tuesday that non-premium seating at the new TCF Bank Stadium has sold out, leaving only a small number of seats in the indoor club and suite sections of the venue.
According to the school, more than 10,000 season-ticket accounts were processed during the six weeks after seat selection began on March 30. The student section is sold out except for the 2,000 tickets held for incoming undergraduate, transfer, graduate and professional students, which will go on sale Aug. 15.
The stadium opens Sept. 12 when the Golden Gophers face Air Force.
The university's Board of Directors is expected to approve an alcohol ban throughout TCF Bank Stadium at its meeting Wednesday. University president Robert Bruininks reluctantly recommended the stadium-wide alcohol ban after a new state law required Minnesota to sell alcohol throughout the facility or nowhere at all. Minnesota wanted to serve alcohol only in premium seating areas.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
University of Minnesota president Robert Bruininks will reluctantly recommend Friday that the school's Board of Regents make all athletic venues alcohol free on game days. This includes TCF Bank Stadium, which opens Sept. 12 for Minnesota's football game against Air Force.
Bruininks' recommendation comes in the wake of a new state law that would require alcohol sales throughout the stadium or nowhere at all. Minnesota's original plan called for alcohol sales only in premium-seating areas (luxury suites, club boxes).
"From the beginning of this project, we planned to sell alcohol only in controlled-access, premium seating areas of the stadium, consistent with the practice of the vast majority of college campuses," Bruininks said in a prepared statement. "This was the plan we shared publicly and with the legislature three years ago, and the plan that our business model was based upon.
"Unfortunately, this new legislation leaves us with only two options: to become the only Big Ten campus in the country to sell alcohol throughout its football stadium, or to not sell alcohol at all. Our values do not change, even if our plans must. We have never sold alcohol at student-oriented events in the past, and I do not recommend we start now."
Bruininks will propose Friday that the Board make TCF Bank Stadium, Williams Arena and Mariucci Arena dry for games. The Board is expected to rule during a June 24 meeting.
The lack of any alcohol sales will have financial repurcussions for Minnesota, and I agree with The Sporting News' Dave Curtis that the new state law is misguided. If people want to shell out big bucks to drink in a controlled setting, let them. But a school simply can't sell alcohol at the regular concession stands, even if many of the students will be drunk anyway.