Big Ten Network Awards - Think of Them as the Midwestern ESPYs

Because it's June and there's a federal limit on game replays that can be shown, the BTN will hand out awards to satisfy RO*TEL and Barbasol.  Here are the categories in which State's nominated, with my predictions of who'll win because wrongness will always be the new black. To see all the nominations, go here.

BREAKOUT PERFORMER OF THE YEAR

NOMINATED:
EVAN TURNER – Ohio State Small Forward
JOHN SHURNA – Northwestern Sophomore Guard
DRAYMOND GREEN – Michigan State Sophomore Forward 
JAMIE PRINTY – Iowa Freshman Guard
ADRIAN CLAYBORN – Iowa Defensive End
KELCI BRYANT – Minnesota Sophomore Diver

I tihink it's a bit weak that Turner's nominated as a breakout performer, given he was very good during the '08-'09 season. Kelci Bryant was in the Olympics in 2008, so I don't consider her a breakout star.  Jamie Printy did have a breakout season; she was the Hawkeyes' second leading scorer.  While Day Day had a very good sophomore year, out of all of these, John Shurna should probably win as he replaced Kevin Coble better than anyone expected.  Unfortunately for Shurna Turner's the big name, so he'll win.

BEST FINISH

NOMINATED:
Michigan vs. Ohio State - Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament
Iowa vs. Michigan State - Football
Michigan State vs. Michigan - Men's Basketball
Michigan State vs. Maryland - NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament
Michigan State vs. Minnesota - Men's Basketball
Michigan vs. Michigan State Football

Holy crap, five MSU games on this list.  Let's whittle this down by process of elimination:

- The MSU v. Michigan and Minnesota basketball games are crossed off, because in comparison, neither of those games can reach the delirium of the Maryland finish.

- Michigan v. OSU is eliminated - NCAA tournament game trumps Big Ten tournament game, even if Evan Turner's shot was more difficult than Lucious's.

- Michigan v. MSU football - also eliminated.  Michigan had a heck of a comeback to force overtime, but after Forcier threw the interception, I think most MSU fans assumed a win - if Caper hadn't scored that touchdown, Swenson all but likely makes a 40-yard field goal.

- Lastly, although the Iowa game had some thrilling plays - the Blair White lateral, Stanzi to McNutt - in the end it's still just a regular season game.  MSU v. Maryland had the craziest continuous final 40-seconds I can ever recall in a basketball game (Green 16 foot jumper, Vasquez drive, Green pass over Delmon to Korie, win), and if that game doesn't win, I will feel sad.

MEN'S COACH OF THE YEAR

NOMINATED:
KIRK FERENTZ – Iowa Football
JIM TRESSEL – Ohio State Football
THAD MATTA – Ohio State Basketball
TOM BRANDS – Iowa Wrestling 
TOM IZZO – Michigan State Basketball
JUSTIN SPRING - Illinois Men's Gymnastics

This probably should be Ferentz, as he helped transform Ricky Stanzi from an inconsistent quarterback into a slightly less inconsistent national legend.  After what's transpired in the past couple weeks though, I think Izzo gets it.  An argument for Tom Brands can be made as he was the only coach that won a title this year, but I think Iowa Wrestling gets honored somewhere else.  Are these arcane methods of deciding winners?  Yeah, but keep in mind that the Oscar for best Costume Design is decided by a ladder golf tournament held in Palo Alto.  In comparison, much worse methods do exist.

WOMEN'S COACH OF THE YEAR

NOMINATED:
RUSS ROSE – Penn State Volleyball
KELLY AMONTE-HILLER – Northwestern Lacrosse
JIM FOSTER – Ohio State Basketball
LISA BLUDER – Iowa Basketball
CAROL HUTCHINS – Michigan Softball
ROLF van de KERKHOF – Michigan State Field Hockey

When in doubt about how to pick these categories, always go with the team/coach that won a national title. Penn State Volleyball is the only national champion in this list, thus Russ Rose gets the...what do the winners get anyway?  Let's just give Russ the Land Grant Trophy and call it a day.

MEN'S TEAM OF THE YEAR

NOMINATED:
Michigan State Basketball
Michigan Gymnastics
Ohio State Football
Iowa Wrestling
Iowa Football
Ohio State Basketball

There's two national champions on this list: Michigan gymnastics and Iowa Wrestling, which makes guessing the winner a bit harder.  The tiebreaker in these cases is sport popularity, and since wrestling will always be more popular than men's gymnastics*, Iowa Wrestling will get the Big Tennie for Men's Team of the Year.

*Exception - anything Ninja Warrior related.

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