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Boilermakings welcomes Donnie Hale

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I'm slightly distracted today, as it would have been my grandmother's 92nd birthday if she had not passed away last September before the Notre Dame game. She was a true Boilermaker fan, even if only by marriage since my dad married her daughter. I was the first person on her immediate side of the family to graduate college, so what better place to do that than Purdue?

Donnie Hale commits for class of 2010 - What we lost with Jeff Robinson not making it is replaced a year later with Hale. I honestly think Hale, even though we have to wait a year for him, will be able to contribute before Robinson would have anyway. Hale is a player that will compliment Travis Carroll very well. If JaJuan and Robbie return for their senior seasons they will also provide much needed depth on a team that I think can win the national championship. That team would be absolutely loaded with all the pieces in the right places (unless LewJack gets arrested again).

The BS/Crimson Quarry war - Our good friends over at Boiled Sports recently drew the ire of John over at the Crimson Quarry regarding some, shall we say, questionable moves for some incoming IU basketball recruits. It really is a well thought out argument on both sides. I will say that it does sound fishy, but as John says, Tom Crean would be one of the biggest idiots in the world to do something that blatantly violates NCAA rules right now.

Akin Ayodele wins mental toughness award - I actually had a couple of classes with Akin's ex-girlfriend when I was at Purdue and learned he was a great guy. This is a wonderful story for the current Miami Dolphin and one of our many great defensive ends.

Antavian Edison one of Purdue's top newcomers - Adam Rittenberg points out that he could be a key return specialist for us this coming season. Edison was our first official recruit during this last recruiting cycle. Some view him as a big sleeper because a major knee injury meant he missed his entire senior season. He's had plenty of time to recover though. If he does contribute it could be a huge plus.

Big Ten announces kickoff times for first two home games - No surprise here. The Toledo and Northern Illinois games will be noon kickoffs and be televised on the Big Ten Network. That sets our entire non-conference schedule now, as well as the first two Big Ten games (all times Indiana time):

Sept. 5 Toledo - noon - Big Ten Network

Sept. 12 at Oregon - 10:15pm - Fox Sports

Sept. 19 Northern Illinois - noon - Big Ten Network

Sept. 26 Notre Dame - 8pm - ABC or ESPN

Oct. 3 Northwestern - noon - TBA

Oct. 10 at Minnesota - noon - TBA

Lake The Posts organizes the Big Ten bloggers' preseason football award - As usual, I have a ballot for this. Here are my preliminary picks. Please let me know if you have any suggestions, especially for the individual player awards.

Big Ten Coach of the Year - Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
Best Heisman Candidate - Terelle Pryor, Ohio State
Sleeper Team To Crack The Upper Tier - Illinois
Most Likely to John L. Smith (Lose it) - Rich Rodriguez, Michigan
Shonn Greene Award (Player to come from nowhere to forefront) - Joey Elliott, Purdue
Most Likely to Be Highest NFL Draft Pick - Sean Lee, Penn State
Must See Game of the Year - Ohio State-Penn State
Upset Special - Purdue over Oregon

Also please rank each Big Ten team in order of predicted finish 1 through 11:
1) Penn State
2) Ohio State
3) Iowa
4) Michigan State
5) Northwestern
6) Illinois
7) Purdue
8) Minnesota
9) Wisconsin
10) Michigan
11) Indiana

That's all for today. Go and enjoy Purdue Day on the Big Ten Network!