I am predicting the Big Ten Icons for charity

So by now you’ve probably seen the Big Ten Icons series. Its been running all fall and into the winter, after all. Pretty good stuff, right? The kind of thing the Big Ten Network should be producing, no?

About a month ago I got an e-mail from the Big Ten Network asking me to predict the top-eight. There were quite a few of us invited, and the winner would have $5,000 donated in his/her name to their favorite charity. The top-five would get a set of mini-bobbleheads.

Needing a mini-Ron Dayne to complete my living room, I went for it. I picked South Central Community Action Program (a local charity that helps those dealing with poverty and does a lot of good work) as my favorite charity, and went about the task of widdling down the top-eight.

I missed out on No. 8 (It was Ohio State’s Jerry Lucas; I guessed Michigan’s Bennie Oosterbaan), and then again on No. 7 (I went Lucas; it was Iowa’s Nile Kinnick).

I finally got one right this week, though — No. 6, Dick Butkus of Illinois.

Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal and Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette are in the lead. I am tied for third with three others, including Hutch.

I’ll need some help to win — No. 5 is already zero points for me, so I probably need to get my top-four in order (Illinois’ Red Grange at No. 4, Michigan State’s Magic Johnson at No. 3, Ohio State’s Archie Griffin at No. 2, and Ohio State’s Jesse Owens at No. 1) to have a chance.

But, yeah, figured I would let you guys and girls know this is happening.


  1. I agree with your top four in that order. What I don’t like about the Big Ten Icons, however, are the three Penn State football players listed when Penn State was not in the Big Ten when they played. Curt Warner(#42 from 1980-84), Jack Ham(#22 from 1967-70), and John Cappelletti(#16 from 1970-74) are all listed in the top 50 even though PSU was not in the B10 when they played. What this means is guys who actually played in the B10 like Jay Berwanger(first Heisman winner from University of Chicago), Tom Harmon (Heisman winner from Michigan) and IU’s own Don Schlundt, for example will not make the list. I’m not saying that these three would have made it, but there will be three left off who played in the B10 because of the additions of the three PSU players. Is that right??

  2. i agree the pre-big ten penn state athletes should not be considered. and the old super stars from before 1970-80 are a victim of the passage of time. tommy harmon is not on the list? are you sure? he was a rock star when he played and won the heisman. he deserves to be ahead of isiah thomas, who is rated too high at number ten. he only played two years. then again, so did magic johnson, but he revolutionized how the game was played and how we thought about what constitutes a guard. jerry lucas should be higher than dick butkus; lucas was sports illustrated’s sportsman of the year and was the biggest thing to come along nationwide when he burst on the scene. red grange will be two or three; the galloping ghost out of the roaring twenties; he saved the NFL when he left illinois. jesse owens will and should be number one. he set five world records in one day in a track meet in ann arbor and then showed hitler’s aryan racers that they were only good for silver or bronze.

  3. Thanks, Hugh. To get the BTN in Nashville (TN), I have to upgrade quite a bit on my cable, and take it with a bunch of other channels I don’t want, so therefore I don’t have it and have hardly seen any of the series.

  4. johnnycee,

    I am with you that some B10 pioneers are not mentioned(Harmon and the Ghost being the biggest) and some not ranked high enough. Also if Scott Skiles and Walt Bellamy could not break into the 50 then they must be 51 and 52. Maybe the announcements to the remaining spots at least correct some of the omissions.

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