It's nice to be writing about football during Thanksgiving week and beyond:
- All Big Ten honors for the Hoosiers: Kellen Lewis (second team QB by the media and coaches); James Hardy (first team WR by the media and coaches); Greg Middleton (first team DL by media and coaches); Austin Starr (first team by media, second team by coaches); Tracy Porter (first team by media, second team by coaches); John Sandberg (honorable mention by both). Josiah Sears was the IU sportsmanship honoree.
- Austin Starr is one of three finalists for the Lou Groza award, along with Thomas Weber of Arizona State and Jose Martinez of UTEP. Starr finished 19-21 on the season. Interestingly, one of Starr's two misses, a 42 yarder in the fourth quarter that would have given IU a 17 point lead, set up the 49 yard game-winner against the Boilers. That kick, which was splashed all over Sportscenter, probably enhances Starr's chances of winning the award, but never would have happened but for the earlier miss. None of this should be taken as a criticism of Starr, IU's finest kicker since Pete Stoyanovich. Starr's emergence as an automatic kicker has been quite pleasant. I'm now more confident about field goals than I was for extra points for most of the last decade.
- Even if he thinks we bloggers are a bunch of jobless losers (or at least the Nittany Line is), I'll give some grudging credit to Stewie Mandel: first, unlike many of his national media colleagues, he has read and understands the bowl eligibility rules; second, he makes me believe that Illinois really could snag a BCS at-large bid. If Illinois gets a BCS bid, IU is nearly guaranteed a warm weather bowl (unless the Champs Sports Bowl or Insight Bowl covets Purdue).