This Saturday in Indianapolis Ohio State and Michigan State will square off in the Big Ten Championship game. Before they battle for the Big Ten crown in a game that could send Ohio State to the national championship, Allstate partnered with for Wisconsin Badger and former NFL player Cecil Martin for the 2nd annual “Allstate Big Ten Good Works Day.”
Before unveiling the new mural in Riverside Park that is inspired by Big Ten memories, I caught up with Cecil to learn more about the service project and talk football:
Smith: What made you get involved with Allstate’s community service work?
Martin: When I was in High School I tried to give back because people gave back to me, so I started a community service club. I also gave back during my time at Wisconsin. I earned the Allstate Community Service Award two years in a row. I then was involved with service in the NFL. Now I speak in schools all over the country and internationally. In a way I have come full circle but working with Allstate as they show commitment to the local community. Now we are unveiling a mural inspired by historic big ten memories done by local artists. It’s great to be part of Allstate’s commitment to bigger picture.
Smith: What is your favorite “good hands memory” that you were involved in?
Martin: I have a couple actually. The first one is winning the Rose Bowl in 1999. We were dubbed the worst team to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. We went in and won that game against UCLA 38-31 after being picked to lose by 21. The other one that comes to mind was when Ron Dayne broke the NCAA rushing record. I was playing for the Philadelphia Eagles at the time had blocked for him for two years. It was huge for everyone associated with the Big Ten, it showed how good the Big Ten is. Those would be my favorite memories.
Smith: What are your thoughts on the debate on Ohio State or Auburn deserving a title shot?
Martin: You know, I’m a proud Big Ten man and I’d want the conference to be represented in the national title. It hasn’t worked out before when the conference gets on the big stage so people wonder if Ohio State deserves it. They are 12-0 in a conference that is tough to go undefeated in though and at the end of the day its hard to go undefeated in the Big Ten whether people want to admit it or not.
Smith: Who do you think walks away with the Big Ten Title?
Martin: Michigan State has a defense that’s #1 in yards allowed, rushing yards, and quarterback rating allowed. However, Ohio State has an offense that’s averaging 400 or 500 yards a game. Plus 48 points per game. This one will be a fight but at the end of the day OSU takes it by 3.
Thanks to Cecil Martin for taking the time to share his background with Allstate and give his insight into the Big Ten Championship game Saturday night at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis.