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Sports Then and Now



Previewing the Big Ten 2011 Football Season: Legends vs. Leaders 12

Posted on February 11, 2011 by JA Allen

The Big Ten enlarged to 12 teams starting in 2011.

The Big Ten Football Conference is dramatically changing its landscape for the 2011 season.

The addition of the Nebraska Cornhuskers brings about a division of teams into two leagues and a conference championship game for the first time in the history of the Big Ten Conference.

The Divisions:

Legends: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern

Leaders: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

Each Big Ten team plays eight conference contests including each team in their respective division plus three conference games outside of their division, crossover contests.

Totally each team in the Big Ten plays twelve games starting on September 3, 2011.

The season concludes with the Big Ten Championship game played on December 3, 2011 in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium.

While most pundits haggle over the names selected, the division of the teams seems equitable to most.

As the 2011 season looms on the horizon here is a first glimpse of the season ahead in the newly aligned Big Ten Conference.

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Newest and Best Rivalry in the Big 10: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers 8

Posted on January 13, 2011 by JA Allen

Hayden Fry began his coaching dynasty at Iowa in 1979.

Iowa has been skirmishing with Nebraska since 1891—mostly on the gridiron.

For the time being, we will forget about the Iowa-Nebraska legal border battles over land left in dispute by the meandering Missouri River. That is another whole story.

Since the two schools began competing, Nebraska has built a double-digit lead over Iowa (26-12-3). It is especially galling to the Iowa faithful that the Hawkeyes have defeated the Cornhuskers only once since 1946.

Fans feel their Iowa football team has played the role of punching bag way too often in this rivalry.

At least there were long periods of time when the Hawkeyes did not have to play their Missouri River border rivals. But that will all change very soon as Nebraska joins Iowa in the Big Ten Conference as a member of the “Legends” Division—more on those unfortunate division monikers later.

The first 10 games played between Iowa and Nebraska were held in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area, with Iowa winning four outright and tying the Huskers twice.

Iowa and Nebraska, along with Kansas and Missouri, were members of the Western Interstate University Football Association from 1892-1897. Iowa’s conference associations varied until it joined the Big Ten Conference in 1899.

Since Iowa lost to Nebraska in its first home contest held in Iowa City in 1903, the wins against the Cornhuskers have been pitifully few. Playing intermittently, the Hawkeyes scored victories in 1918, 1919, 1930, 1942, 1943 and 1946 as non-conference opponents.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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