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Friday, October 19, 2007

BTC Midseason Awards

Most Impressive Player:
Mike Hart - Michigan
Through seven games Mike Hart has rushed for 1,078 yards, scored 12 touchdowns, and earned a spot among the nation's Heisman Trophy hopefuls. Hart has rushed for over 100 yards in each of Michigan's seven contests and has scored in every game except the Wolverines 39-7 loss against Oregon September 8th. After dropping their first two games, Michigan has now won 5 straight and sits atop the Big Ten standings with Ohio State thanks in large part to the play of RB Mike Hart.
Honorable Mention:
Rashard Mendenhall - Illinois
Javon Ringer - Michigan State
C.J. Bacher - Northwestern

Mid-season Coach of the Year:
Bill Lynch - Indiana
Bill Lynch was named the Hoosiers head coach prior to this season after the tragic death of Terry Hoeppner and has led Indiana to a surprising 5-2 start. Lynch has built on the foundation laid by the late Hoeppner, and has the Hoosiers ready to make their first appearance in a bowl game since 1993.
Honorable Mention:
Jim Tressel - Ohio State

Surprise Team:
Illinois Fighting Illini
Despite last weekends loss at Iowa, nobody can say they expected to see the Illini towards the top of the Big Ten standings and ahead of teams like Wisconsin, Penn State, and Purdue at the halfway point. One cannot doubt the talent that Ron Zook has assembled in Chaimpaign, but it seemed that this kind of success was still a year or two away. Thanks to the sudden stardom of RB Rashard Mendenhall and freshman WR Arrelious Benn, the Illini have found themselves back in the Big Ten hunt.
Honorable Mention:
Indiana Hoosiers

Biggest Disappointment:
Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa finally snapped their eight game conference losing streak last Saturday with a 10-6 win over Illinois, but the Hawkeyes still stand 3 more wins way from finishing .500. Iowa is last in the Big Ten in scoring this season, averaging just 16.3 points per game, thanks mostly to injuries and inexperience in the passing game. The lone bright spot has been the Hawkeye defense, but it is very difficult to win when your offense has scored more than 21 points just once this year, a 35-0 victory over Syracuse on September 8th.
Honorable? Mention:
Minnesota Golden Gophers

Circle Your Calendar For:
Ohio State at Michigan - November 17th
Well, duh. As if this game wasn't already circled on the calendar's of every college football fan in America, but once again the Big Ten Championship, and possibly a trip to the BCS Title Game, will come down to this rivalry. Should Ohio State be able to take care of their home field down the stretch and escape Happy Valley with a win on October 27th, this year's trip to the Big House will mean much more than just bragging rights. The Buckeyes need to go undefeated to earn another shot at the BCS National Title. One loss and they will almost certainly be jumped in the BCS Standings by any number of one-loss teams.
Other Games to Watch:
October 27th - Ohio State at Penn State
November 10th - Michigan at Wisconsin