In case you were wondering where the most die-hard college-football fans go to school, the answer is, at least this year, the Big Ten.
Big Ten teams call home three of the top-four most-attended stadiums this season. Michigan’s Big House, Ohio State’s Horseshoe and Wisconsin’s Camp Randall are three of the top-attended venues throughout the country.
That’s one of the real bonuses about being in the Big Ten, said Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel.
A combination of alumni involvement, encouragement from school administration and a die-hard student following of the home team is a necessary part of the recipe for packing the stands each Saturday.
Big Ten coaches talk about the popularity of the conference this year as being an advantage to their teams as well.
“That’s one of our greatest selling points when we’re recruiting young men around the country,” said Tressel.
“People in the Midwest truly love football,” said Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr. “They are very loyal to the institutions they support.”
Last weekend, Carr notched his 70th win as coach of the Wolverines. The close proximity of most Big Ten schools to each other allows for many fans to follow their team when they go on the road. This could be a reason why Big Ten football attendance is so phenomenal.
A raucous crowd most definitely provides the home team with an added advantage and is one of the reasons why Big Ten football is so special and widely followed.
Rogers Breaks Record
Michigan State wideout Charles Rogers broke both the Big Ten and NCAA Division I record of consecutive games with a touchdown catch with a score against Northwestern last Saturday. It was Rogers’ 14th straight game with a touchdown pass, dating back to last season.
Rogers passes former Michigan wide receiver and Heisman Trophy-winner Desmond Howard (13 in 1990-91), Marshall’s Randy Moss (1997) and Pacific’s Aaron Turner (1990-91).
“Rogers just continues to play well every week,” said Michigan State head coach Bobby Williams. “He’s only going to get better.”
Rogers was voted Big Ten pre-season offensive player of the year prior to the start of this season.
Banks, Mills Offensive Players of the Week
Iowa quarterback Brad Banks was voted co-offensive player of the week in the Big Ten, along with fellow signal-caller Zach Mills of Penn State. Banks was 18 of 30 for 261 yards and passed for four touchdowns in an overtime win on the road against the No. 12-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions.
Sophomore Mills actually had gaudier numbers, 23 of 44 for 399 yards and four touchdowns, but still fell to Banks and the Hawkeyes. Mills’ 399 passing yards are a new single-game Penn State record.
Senior strong-safety Ralph Turner was voted defensive player of the week. His 23-yard interception for a touchdown helped Purdue beat Minnesota 28-9.