Jim Rossow's Big Ten report: League ready to rebound

Jim Rossow's Big Ten report: League ready to rebound

Sports editor Jim Rossow's weekly look around Big Ten football:

SCHEDULE

Want to know which of Saturday's games are worth your time? Here's the scoop from sports editor Jim Rossow, who blames last week's 9-3 record on Wisconsin's offensive line coach:

Charleston Southern at Illinois

11 a.m., BTN

Illini have scored at least three touchdowns in all 11 games against Division I-AA competition, reaching 50 three times (vs. SIU in 1990, Florida A&M in 2004 and South Dakota State in '11).

Rossow's pick: Illinois, 50-10

Arkansas State at Nebraska

11 a.m., ESPN2

Fourth consecutive season the Red Wolves have taken on a team in the Big Ten (they're 0-9 all time).

Rossow's pick: Nebraska, 49-0

Eastern Michigan at Purdue

11 a.m., BTN

Hand Cody Webster the Ray Guy Award now. Against Notre Dame, six of his seven punts landed inside the 20.

Rossow's pick: Purdue, 35-7

Cal at No. 12 Ohio State

11 a.m., WICD (ABC)

First of a home-and-home series against the Bears. Other home-and-home deals upcoming for the Buckeyes: Virginia Tech (2014-15), North Carolina (2015 and '17) and Oklahoma (2016-17).

Rossow's pick: Ohio State, 42-3

Western Michigan at Minnesota

11 a.m., BTN

Another chance for Gophers to get it right at TCF Bank Stadium, where they are an unsightly 9-13 since the joint opened in 2009.

Rossow's pick: Western Michigan, 27-21

Northern Iowa at Iowa

2:30 p.m., BTN

Linebacker Anthony Hitchens' 19 tackles last week the most by a Hawkeye since Abdul Hodge's 22 against Illinois in 2005.

Rossow's pick: Iowa, 9-2

Massachusetts at No. 17 Michigan

2:30 p.m., BTN

Wolverines yet to lose at Michigan Stadium under Brady Hoke (9-0).

Rossow's pick: Michigan, 45-14

Navy at Penn State

2:30 p.m., WICD (ABC)

First game against a service academy for the Nittany Lions since 1979. Penn State has struggled against Navy, Army and Air Force (34-27-4).

Rossow's pick: Penn State, 14-10

Boston College at Northwestern

2:30 p.m., BTN

Unlike Illinois, Wildcats are playing multiple quarterbacks — Kain Colter, Trevor Siemian — because they want to. Both have delivered in the clutch during the 2-0 getaway.

Rossow's pick: Northwestern, 21-17

No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 10 Michigan State

7 p.m., WICD (ABC)

Andrew Maxwell is the first Spartans quarterback to win his first two starts since Jeff Smoker in 2000.

Rossow's pick: Michigan State, 28-24

Utah State at Wisconsin

7 p.m., BTN

Badgers outscoring visitors 47.6-14.1 during current 17-game home winning streak, the second longest in school history (25).

Rossow's pick: Wisconsin, 47-14

Ball State at Indiana

7 p.m., BTN

Hoosiers have allowed one sack and committed one turnover. Last season's totals: 31 and 18.

Rossow's pick: Indiana, 21-10

STANDINGS

LEADERS DIVISION

TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL

Indiana 0 0 2 0

Ohio State 0 0 2 0

Illinois 0 0 1 1

Purdue 0 0 1 1

Wisconsin 0 0 1 1

Penn State 0 0 0 2

LEGENDS DIVISION

Michigan State 0 0 2 0

Minnesota 0 0 2 0

Northwestern 0 0 2 0

Iowa 0 0 1 1

Nebraska 0 0 1 1

Michigan 0 0 1 1

ILLINOIS MVP

ILLINI PREVIOUS

Josh Ferguson  —

Jonathan Brown —

Justin DuVernois 4

Earnest Thomas 5

Nathan Scheelhaase —

Rossow's take: Thanks to Ferguson's 101-yard effort, Illinois has had at least one 100-yard rusher in 30 consecutive years.

IN THE PENTHOUSE (BIG TEN MVP)

PLAYER, SCHOOL PREVIOUS

Braxton Miller, Ohio State 4

Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State 1

Venric Mark, Northwestern 5

Denard Robinson, Michigan —

MarQueis Gray, Minnesota —

Rossow's take: Robinson won his eighth Big Ten Player of the Week award to tie Purdue's Drew Brees for second on the all-time list. The leader: Wisconsin's Ron Dayne, who was honored nine times. Kurt Kittner is the most recognized Illini (five).

IN THE DOGHOUSE (FAN NON-FAVORITE)

PLAYER SCHOOL

Sam Ficken Penn State kicker

Defense Nebraska

Mike Markuson Wisconsin coach

James Vandenberg Iowa QB

Backup QBs Illinois

Rossow's take: In the 124 seasons of Nebraska football, only the 1956 Oklahoma Sooners put up more yards against the Huskers than UCLA did (653).

COACH OF THE YEAR

COACH, SCHOOL PREVIOUS

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern 1

Urban Meyer, Ohio State —

Kevin Wilson, Indiana —

Jerry Kill, Minnesota —

Danny Hope, Purdue 3

Rossow's take: Only one active coach in Division I-A — Boise State's Chris Petersen (91.2) — has a better winning percentage than Meyer (82.1), whose September success (36-4) is a big reason why.

BOWL LINEUP

TEAM BOWL

Michigan State BCS

Michigan Capital One

Northwestern Outback

Wisconsin Gator

Nebraska TicketCity

Rossow's take: This season marks the earliest Sparty has cracked the Top 10 since 1979, when it debuted at No. 10 in the preseason poll. It also is the highest Michigan State has been ranked when matched up against Notre Dame since 1979.

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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