Big Ten Rumblings: Andre Ware Bashes Michigan, No More "Arch-Rivalry"

Kristofer GreenSenior Writer IJune 2, 2009

Andre Ware Lays Down the Smack on Michigan Football

ESPN's "College Football Live," as part of their 50-state tour, made their first stop this week in Michigan. 

Analyst Andre Ware had plenty to say about the state of the Michigan Wolverines' football program.

Ware, a former Houston Cougars and Detroit Lions quarterback, said he doesn't see Michigan beating Ohio State anytime soon and even hinted that Rich Rodriguez might not ever see that day.

"Jim Tressel has that program humming on all cylinders. Taking care of Michigan hasn't been a problem. They've won five in a row and seven of the eight the last couple of seasons," Ware said in response to an e-mail question about when the Wolverines will beat the Buckeyes.

"You look at it, and I think it's going to be another few seasons—and maybe even another head coach—before it happens, before Michigan is able to overcome Ohio State on the field."

That was enough to get the proud Wolverine fan base fuming, but Ware wasn't done.

Referring to UM's losses to Appalachian State in 2007 and Toledo in 2008, when asked to predict the state's top college football storyline this fall, he said, "Who upsets Michigan this year?"

"This year, it's Western Michigan and Tim Hiller, one of the better quarterbacks, best-kept secrets in the country. They might do it in the opening game of the season." 

Michigan will host Western Michigan on September 5. 

Ware also called Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour the state's best player.

Alright, Wolverine fans.  Let him have it.

Staying Home—Illinois Will Suspend "Arch-Rivalry" Game with Mizzou

Officials at Missouri and Illinois have announced that they will suspend the football series between the universities after the 2010 season, allowing both to pursue an additional home game.

Since the neutral-site rivalry was renewed in 2007, both teams have been able to play only six home games.

"We're disappointed the game won't continue beyond 2010," said Frank Viverito, president of the St. Louis Sports Commission, which promotes the game. "But we certainly understand there are issues the schools deal with that impact their decision about how to put the football schedule together."

The Tigers and Illini will open the 2009 season September 5 and play their final game of the current series to open the 2010 season.  Both sides said they might revisit the rivalry in the future but do not have a timeline.

"Our decision to suspend this series after the game in 2010 is simply a decision to take a break in playing each other," Missouri athletics director Mike Alden said.  "I believe both schools are committed to maintaining a rivalry in football, so we'll take a look at it when the time is right."

Missouri and Illinois have met six times in St. Louis, with Missouri claiming the last five meetings. The teams met at campus sites from 1976-80, 1983-84, and 1991-94.

Michigan Basketball's Grady to the Football Team?

Kelvin Grady left the Michigan basketball team two months ago, announcing his decision to transfer to another school.

The transfer might not be necessary.

As Grady continues to evaluate his options, one of them is playing for the Michigan football team, and he has spoken with Michigan coaches about the opportunity.

Grady, a 5-foot-10 standout running back/receiver in high school, amassed more than 2,000 yards and scored 28 touchdowns as an all-state running back his senior season and would seemingly be an ideal fit in Rich Rodriguez's offense.

If Grady were to switch to football at UM, he would be eligible this season with three years of football eligibility remaining.

Grady spoke with the previous football coaching staff—who recruited his brother, Kevin, now a senior running back on the team—about playing football around his basketball commitments. 

Eventually, Grady decided to focus on basketball, which was his initial passion.

No More Media Guides at Three Big Ten Schools

In a cost-cutting move, three Big Ten schools have decided to stop printing media guides of their sports teams.

Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin announced on Thursday that they will stop printing the guides immediately. Instead, the information will be available on the Internet.

Michigan and Ohio State issued a joint statement that said the schools estimate that together they will save more than $250,000 per year, and in a separate announcement, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said that the move will save his department up to $200,000.

This is a good move for the universities, and other Big Ten schools should follow suit.  Not only is a huge cost saver, but it is environmentally friendly.  A double win.

Joe Pa Is a Millionaire—Shocker!

Records released Friday by Penn State University show that Joe Paterno, PSU's octogenarian Hall of Fame coach, is the university's highest-paid employee.

Joe Pa made more than $1.03 million last year, including his base salary plus any bonuses.  That figure does not include compensation from outside the university that top coaches typically collect.

Paterno's salary, once one of college football's most closely-guarded secrets until his base salary of roughly $500,000 was made public two years ago, is still considerably lower than Ohio State's Jim Tressel ($3.5 million), Iowa's Kirk Ferentz ($3 million), and Michigan's Rich Rodriguez ($2.5 million).


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