One of the great parts about Big Ten Football Media Days is that it gives us the chance to conduct a player poll that spans the conference. This year, we took that opportunity to ask players the two most important questions of our time: who has the best looking uniforms and what stadium presented the toughest environment.
We spoke to all 42 players in attendance – three from each school – and asked them to pick a favorite uniform and hardest road venue with the condition that they were not allowed to choose their own school's uniform or stadium.
Six points were awarded for each vote, which allowed us to award three points for two-way ties and two points for three way ties for the handful of players that had trouble picking just one uniform or stadium. Here's what we found.
Best Looking Uniform in the Big Ten
|MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS||36|
|PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS||30|
|OHIO STATE BUCKEYES||21|
|RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS||12|
|ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI||6|
|MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS||0|
Maryland's array of Under Armour uniforms surprisingly – at least to most of us – took honors as the Big Ten's best uniforms, with their kits honoring the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry garnering especially high praise.
A few of the responses:
“I'm a big fan of history and I loved their helmets.”
“I like what they're doing over there. For a minute I thought we were going to Under Armour and I was hyped because Adidas doesn't give us anything.”
“Maryland's uniforms are the best in the Big Ten. It's not even close.”
While Maryland's flash took first, two schools with a simple, classic look as part of their regular uniforms finished second and third. Michigan State and Penn State both received high marks for keeping it clean, with one Penn State player going as far as saying he liked Michigan State's uniforms because they reminded him of his own uniform.
Nebraska earned points for black helmets, Ohio State received some love from a Penn State player for the school's use of Buckeye leaf helmet stickers and Iowa evoked thoughts of the Steelers to two players polled.
Toughest Road Venue in the Big Ten
|BEAVER STADIUM (PENN STATE)||65|
|OHIO STADIUM (OHIO STATE)||57|
|MEMORIAL STADIUM (NEBRASKA)||39|
|KINNICK STADIUM (IOWA)||30|
|MICHIGAN STADIUM (MICHIGAN)||18|
|CAMP RANDALL STADIUM (WISCONSIN)||17|
|SPARTAN STADIUM (MICHIGAN STATE)||15|
|TCF BANK STADIUM (MINNESOTA)||9|
|MEMORIAL STADIUM (ILLINOIS)||0|
|MEMORIAL STADIUM (INDIANA)||0|
|BYRD STADIUM (MARYLAND)||0|
|RYAN FIELD (NORTHWESTERN)||0|
|ROSS-ADE STADIUM (PURDUE)||0|
|HIGH POINT SOLUTIONS STADIUM (RUTGERS)||0|
Penn State's Beaver Stadium took honors as the league's toughest venue, piling up 65 points to second place Ohio Stadium's 57. Several players said it's as tough to play in as anywhere in the country, including all three Ohio State players – Joshua Perry, Adolphus Washington and Taylor Decker.
A few responses on Beaver Stadium:
“It's loud. They're rattling the chain link fence when you're making your way out and they're in your face.”
“When we lost there in overtime, I just wanted to get off that field as fast as I could.”
“That's what they do. They make noise.”
Nebraska's Memorial Stadium finished third in the poll, but not for the reasons you'd expect. As Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun and several other players pointed out, the fans are too nice and it throws players off their game.
Iowa's Kinnick Stadium finished a strong fourth mainly because fans are closer to the visiting team's bench than any other stadium in the league. Here's Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave on what it's like:
So there you have it. According to the 42 players at Big Ten Football Media Days, Maryland looks the best on Saturdays, while Penn State is the road trip they dread making most.