Best self-critique: Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald. Taking over the Northwestern program at age 31 after the sudden death of Randy Walker, Fitzgerald admitted he struggled to delegate. The Wildcats went 4-8 in 2006.
"I was slowing our staff down," Fitzgerald recalled, "like, 'What are we doing? When are we doing it? Why are we doing it? How are we doing it?' Just pop, pop, pop. I'm micromanaging instead of trusting them. That's how I failed initially and that's why we stunk. As long as I don't screw 'em up, we'll be all right."
Best slogan: Michigan State. Spartans players are adopting the acronym "P4RB," or prepare for the Rose Bowl. They got the idea from Wade Salem, the brother of MSU running backs coach Brad Salem, who runs an organization called Coaching 4 Life that helps teams and organizations develop character qualities. Wade Salem met with Spartans players in February and said everything they do should be directed toward a trip to Pasadena.
"I go out to the Manning camp this summer, I go to the Elite 11 in California, I'm doing summer running with our team, summer lifting, all the winter workouts, spring ball," quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "We're not just doing that for no reason. We're doing it to prepare for a Rose Bowl."
Best bragging right: This season, Michigan will try to maximize the talents of defensive tackle Mike Martin, even using the 299-pound senior in pass coverage. Martin hasn't dropped back much during his career but caught on quickly in practice this spring. He even recorded an interception against star quarterback Denard Robinson.
"I give Denard a bit of crap," Martin said. "It was actually only my third time dropping back and I got it."
Best dressed/accessory: Minnesota quarterback MarQueis Gray and Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema. While no one topped Nick Toon's getup from Thursday, Minnesota's Gray looked dapper in a navy blue suit and gold tie. Bielema, meanwhile, sported a sizable silver ring commemorating Wisconsin's first Big Ten championship in 11 years.
"What happens is if you lose the [Rose Bowl], you put the Rose Bowl emblem on the side," Bielema said. "If you win it, you put it [in the middle]. This is called a Big Ten championship ring. We don't call it a Rose Bowl ring."
Best memory: Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt. The Hawkeyes senior still gets asked about his game-winning touchdown catch on the final play against Michigan State in 2009 to preserve an undefeated season. Iowa trailed 13-9 when Ricky Stanzi found McNutt on a slant route in the end zone with no time left on the clock, setting off a raucous celebration.
"They always ask me, 'How did it feel?'" McNutt recalled. "I say, 'I really couldn't feel anything. I couldn't breathe.'"