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Big Ten media poll picks Ohio State to win league, Wisconsin to capture West Division

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The Big Ten conference office turns their nose up at doing an official media poll to pick the winner of the league like all of their other peers in college football but the fine folks over at Cleveland.com have been filling in the gap for the past several years so fans, coaches and others can get a sense at which teams are the favorites to hoist the trophy at the end of the year.

The site just released the latest edition of their annual media poll and (surprise, surprise) Ohio State was picked by 29 of the 38 voters to win the Big Ten this season, including 34 first-place votes for the Buckeyes to capture the rugged East Division title. Penn State drew seven first place votes while Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan squad received just one person’s confidence in winning the division.

Wisconsin was the heavy favorite to represent the West in Indianapolis with 31 first place votes, followed by Northwestern (five) and Nebraska (two). Fittingly,  22 media members from around the league picked the Buckeyes to beat the Badgers in the conference championship game, compared to just three who reversed the outcome. Not surprisingly, 34 of the 38 voters said at least one Big Ten team will make this year’s College Football Playoff, with Ohio State being the overwhelming pick to represent the league with 26 votes.

A word of warning however as Cleveland.com notes that the poll has never successfully picked the Big Ten winner in six preseason polls and Ohio State has only ever won the conference when they were not the choice by the media.

Doak Walker Award watch list highlighted by 2016 semifinalists Barkley and Pettway

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A watch list of the top running backs in the nation has been released by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum on Thursday. The Doak Walker Award watch list is full of great players, including 2016 Doak Walker Award semifinalists Saquon Barkley (Penn State) and Kamryn Pettway (Auburn).

Among those included on this year’s initial Doak Walker Award watch list (more players can be added at any time) are LSU’s Derrius Guice, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, LJ Scott of Michigan State, Mike Weber of Ohio State, and Bo Scarbrough of Alabama, Washington’s Myles Gaskin, and Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin.

D’Onta Foreman of Texas beat out both Barkley and Pettway last season for the award. The Doak Walker Award has been presented to the nation’s top running back annually since 1990. Among the winners over the years have included Ricky Williams, LaDainian Tomlinson, Reggie Bush, and Montee Ball.

To be included on this watch list, the university athletic department must submit a nomination.

2017 Doak Walker Award Watch List

Josh Adams, Notre Dame
Ryquell Armstead, Temple
Kalen Ballage, Arizona State
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Alex Barnes, Kansas State
Jamauri Bogan, Western Michigan
D’Angelo Brewer, Tulsa
Nick Chubb, Georgia
Jordan Chunn, Troy
Justin Crawford, West Virginia
Damarea Crockett, Missouri
Rico Dowdle, South Carolina
D’Andre Ferby, WKU
Kendrick Foster, Illinois
Jarvion Franklin, Western Michigan
Myles Gaskin, Washington
James Gilbert, Ball State
Derrius Guice, LSU
Damien Harris, Alabama
Kyle Hicks, TCU
Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
Jon Hilliman, Boston College
Justin Jackson, Northwestern
Chris James, Wisconsin
Ty Johnson, Maryland
Ronald Jones II, USC
Ray Lawry, Old Dominion
Phillip Lindsay, Colorado
Tonny Lindsey Jr., Utah State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Sony Michel, Georgia
Dedrick Mills, Georgia Tech
David Montgomery, Iowa State
Jamal Morrow, Washington State
Ryan Nall, Oregon State
Jacques Patrick, Florida State
Kamryn Pettway, Auburn
Demario Richard, Arizona State
Diocemy Saint Juste, Hawaii
Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
Jordan Scarlett, Florida
LJ Scott, Michigan State
Bradrick Shaw, Wisconsin
Armand Shyne, Utah
Justin Silmon, Kansas State
Ito Smith, Southern Miss
Rodney Smith, Minnesota
Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky
Terry Swanson, Toledo
Shaq Vann, Eastern Michigan
Akrum Wadley, Iowa
Mark Walton, Miami
Warren Wand, Arkansas State
Tre Watson, California
Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt
Mike Weber, Ohio State
Braeden West, SMU
Devwah Whaley, Arkansas
Aeris Williams, Mississippi State
Shaun Wilson, Duke
Marquis Young, Massachusetts

Reigning Big Ten offensive player of the year, two-time QB of the year among those NOT going to B1G media days

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The Big Ten released the names of the 42 players who will be attending the conference’s annual media days on July 24th and 25 and — surprise! — many of the league’s biggest names will be staying home for the event.

That includes three trendy Heisman Trophy favorites in Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley, as well as star Ohio State signal-caller J.T. Barrett. The Nittany Lions tailback was the Big Ten’s offensive player of the year in 2016 while Barrett narrowly beat out McSorley to earn his second conference QB of the year award last season. Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight and Iowa’s Akrum Wadley are also some notable no-shows on the list.

Coaches and administrators all have different strategies when it comes to picking players to represent their school at media day but it certainly is disappointing to not see some of the conference’s bigger names after what was a banner year for the Big Ten last season. That’s not to say there won’t be a ton of good players at the event in Chicago though, as the full list below will show.

INDIANA: CB Rashard Fant, QB Richard Lagow, LB Tegray Scales

MARYLAND: LB Jermaine Carter, RB Ty Johnson, WR D.J. Moore

MICHIGAN: OL Mason Cole, DT Maurice Hurst, LB Mike McCray

MICHIGAN STATE: OL Brian Allen, LB Chris Frey, RB Gerald Holmes

OHIO STATE: DE Tyquan Lewis, OC Billy Price, LB Chris Worley

PENN STATE: S Marcus Allen, LB Jason Cabinda, TE Mike Gesicki

RUTGERS: CB Blessuan Austin, DL Sebastian Joseph, OL Dorian Miller

ILLINOIS: OL Christian DiLauro, DB Jaylen Dunlap, WR Malik Turner

IOWA: LB Josey Jewell, WR Matt VandeBerg, OL Sean Welsh

MINNESOTA: LB Jonathan Celestin, DT Steven Richardson, RB Rodney Smith

NEBRASKA: CB Chris Jones, QB Tanner Lee, LB Chris Weber

NORTHWESTERN: S Godwin Igwebuike, RB Justin Jackson, QB Clayton Thorson

PURDUE: LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, QB David Blough, LB Danny Ezechukwu

WISCONSIN: LB Jack Cichy, LB T.J. Edwards, TE Troy Fumagalli

TE Jovani Haskins leaving Miami to ‘get fresh start somewhere else’

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A month and a half or so before Mark Richt kicks off his second summer camp at Miami, attrition has again hit the Hurricanes’ roster.

The U announced via a press release Tuesday afternoon that Jovani Haskins is no longer a member of the football program.  No specific reason was given for the tight end’s move away from Coral Gables, although it appears to be a mutual decision.

“I talked to Jovani and we both felt it was in his best interests to get a fresh start somewhere else,” the head coach said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”

A three-star member of UM’s 2016 recruiting class, Haskins was rated as the No. 19 tight end in the country and No. 10 player at any position in the state of New Jersey.  Prior to signing with The U, Haskins also held offers from, among others, Boston College, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. He took official visits to the latter two schools before committing to Miami a few days before National Signing Day.

The 6-4, 240-pound Haskins took a redshirt his true freshman season.

Ex-Illini football player who claimed abuse settles for $250,000

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Simon Cvijanović played a rather sizable role in Tim Beckman losing his job at Illinois.  A couple of years later, the former Fighting Illini football player has cashed in for his troubles.

As posted to social media, the former offensive lineman and the university have reached an agreement that resolves “all potential claims arising from Cvijanović’s participation in the Illinois football program.” In exchange for the resolution, Cvijanović will receive a one-time payment of $250,000.

Said payment will “compensate [Cvijanović] for injuries and medical expenses he sustained during his time as a football player at Illinois.”

In a thermonuclear Twitter attack in May of 2015, Cvijanović accused Beckman of, among other things, misuse and abuse of power as well as attacking a former teammate of Cvijanović’s.  After initial support from the athletic department hierarchy, Beckman was fired a week before the 2015 season opener.

Not long after it was reported in August of 2016 that Beckman would serve as a volunteer assistant at North Carolina, Beckman stepped down from that volunteer position amidst a public outcry.

At least in any type of official capacity, Beckman has been out of the sport at this level ever since.