BIG TEN ICONS COUNTDOWN:
The Big Ten Network has named Minnesota’s Bobby Bell and Ohio State’s Howard “Hopalong” Cassady as Big Ten Icons numbers 40 and 39, respectively. Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover, is the network’s most ambitious multi-platform initiative to date. The program is counting down the top 50 student-athletes in Big Ten history on www.BigTenIcons.com based solely on their collegiate playing careers.
Bell, a Minnesota offensive and defensive end from 1960-62, was such a dominating force on both sides of the ball that he finished third in the 1962 Heisman Trophy voting, an almost unheard of accomplishment for a lineman. After playing six-man high school football in Shelby, N.C., Bell came to Minnesota, twice earned All-American honors, won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman and led the Golden Gophers to a pair of Rose Bowls. In an essay for www.BigTenIcons.com, former Chicago Tribune sports editor Dan McGrath writes, “Bell was too quick and too strong for college linemen to block.” To read the entire essay and watch a video feature on Bell, visit his Big Ten Icons locker at www.bigtenicons.com.
Cassady was an electrifying two-way player at Ohio State from 1953-55. Nicknamed “Hopalong” for the way he bounced across the field like a cowboy, he became one of the most accomplished players in college football history. The Columbus, Ohio, native, was a two-time All-American and a Heisman Trophy winner with a national championship and two Big Ten titles under his belt. As a senior in 1955, Cassady won the Associated Press’ Male Athlete of the Year Award. In an essay for www.BigTenIcons.com, McGrath writes Cassady was “so shifty, elusive and quick that (Woody) Hayes once pulled him out of practice and admonished him to slow it down. He was hitting the holes so fast that his linemen didn’t have a chance to open them.” To read the entire essay and watch a video feature on Cassady, visit his Big Ten Icons locker at www.bigtenicons.com.
Icons 50 through 21 are being unveiled through Sept. 16 at www.BigTenIcons.com. The website also features essays, video and other key facts about each student-athletes’ career. Viewers can also participate in the “Talk of the Locker Room” contest with a chance to win the $10,000 grand prize. Weekly winners will take home a 55-inch Phillips HD television.
The television show, hosted by legendary college sports broadcaster Keith Jackson, debuts Sept. 18 following a Big Ten Network football telecast in which Icon No. 20 will be revealed. The countdown continues at 9 PM ET every Tuesday night through the end of football season and into the spring. The No. 1 Big Ten Icon will be revealed around the 2011 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament.