State sports briefs: Badgers, Iowa to be in different divisions of expanded Big TenWisconsin Sports
- Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez says the Badgers and Iowa will be placed in different divisions when the new Big Ten alignment is announced next month.
Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez says the Badgers and Iowa will be placed in different divisions when the new Big Ten alignment is announced next month.
The conference is being split into divisions for the first time with the addition of Nebraska. Commissioner Jim Delany told ESPN that the divisions are set, but next year’s football schedules must still be re-worked. He says the total project is about 80-percent done. Alvarez told the Wisconsin State Journal of Madison that the Badgers and Hawkeyes will be split up. They’re currently “protected rivals,” and they’ve played each other in football every year since 1995. And they could still meet each year in one crossover game that will be protected for each school. Also, Alvarez said the Big Ten will go to a nine-game conference football schedule beginning in 2015.
Wisconsin guard Bill Nagy returned to practice yesterday, after he suffered a mild concussion last Saturday. Offensive line coach Bob Bostad said Nagy – a fifth-year senior – looked a bit rusty, but his conditioning was good. Nagy is trying to win the starting right guard spot held by Kevin Zeitler, who’s coming off a sprained ankle. Zeitler returned to practice this week, and he worked with the number-one offense yesterday. Gabe Carimi and Josh Oglesby are the tackles on the Badgers’ top offense, with John Moffitt at left guard and Peter Konz at center. Wisconsin is getting ready for its season opener a week from Saturday at Nevada-Las Vegas.
Wisconsin running back John Clay is one of 49 candidates for the Doak Walker Award, that’s given each year to the nation’s top rusher. The junior was the Big Ten’s offensive player-of-the-year last season, when he ran for 15-hundred-17 yards – the eighth-highest in the country. His 18 rushing touchdowns led the conference, and tied him for seventh in the nation. Clay is also on the watch list for two other honors – the Walter Camp Award and the Maxwell Award.
Crystal Graff of Madison La Follette High School will come home with a silver medal from the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Her U.S. girls’ volleyball team lost to Belgium three-games-to-one last night in the gold medal match. Graff scored a total of nine points in the finals. Former Wisconsin Badger assistant Rod Wilde coached the American squad.
Former UW-Stevens Point pitcher Jordan Zimmermann will make his first big league start in a year tonight, when the Washington Nationals open a home series against Saint Louis. Zimmermann is coming off Tommy John reconstructive surgery on his right throwing elbow. He went 3-5 as a rookie a year ago, with a 4.63 ERA in 16 starts. One of those was a rocky start against the Cardinals last May, in which Zimmermann gave up three homers including one to Albert Pujols. Zimmermann just had four rehab starts for Triple-“A” Syracuse. He looked sharp in those appearances, with an ERA of just .053. Nationals’ manager Jim Riggleman says Zimmermann is in good health, and he’s as ready as he’ll ever be.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have the most players named to the Midwest League’s post-season All-Star team. Three prospects were chosen from the Milwaukee Brewers’ lower-Class-“A” farm club – second baseman Scooter Gennett, outfielder Khris Davis, and left-hander Jon Pokorny. Gennett entered the week with the league’s second-highest batting average at .321. He was second in hits with 144, and in runs scored with 83. Davis was hitting .284 with 19 homers and 65 RBI’s. And Pokorny had 16 saves with a 4-and-6 record and a three-point-three-two ERA. The Beloit Snappers did not have anyone named to the Midwest post-season squad. Mike Trout of Cedar Rapids was named by the league’s managers as the season’s MVP and the Prospect-of-the-Year. He batted .362 before being promoted from Cedar Rapids in early July. Juan Bustabad of Great Lakes was named the Manager-of-the-Year.
The number-two man in the Milwaukee Bucks’ front office will go to Turkey next week to watch the World Championships. Assistant general manager Dan Weltman says he’ll also show support for the two Bucks’ players who are taking part – Ersan Ilyasova for the host Turkey, and Carlos Delfino for his native Argentina. Ilyasova broke his nose last week in a tune-up game against Lebanon, and he was expected to be out for a few days. The World Championships begin on Saturday. And the Bucks will not have a player on Team USA, after Michael Redd helped the Americans win the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in China. Also, Bucks’ center Andrew Bogut is not playing for his home country of Australia, as he gets over injuries suffered late last season.