Jim Rossow's Big Ten report: Hail to the ...

Jim Rossow's Big Ten report: Hail to the ...

Sports editor Jim Rossow's weekly look around the league:

THE STANDINGS
LEADERS DIVISION
TEAM                  LEAGUE   PF  PA  OVERALL   PF    PG
Ohio State    2    0    80    54    6    0    231    123
Penn State    2    0    74    35    4    2    162    96
Wisconsin    1    1    58    44    4    2    144    115
Purdue    0    1    13    44    3    2    183    127
Indiana    0    2    56    75    2    3    164    139
Illinois    0    2    21    66    2    4    127    170
LEGENDS DIVISION
Iowa    1    0    31    13    3    2    113    87
Michigan    1    0    44    13    3    2    158    105
Northwestern    1    1    72    68    5    1    197    142
Michigan State    1    1    47    44    4    2    131    91
Nebraska    1    1    68    90    4    2    262    166
Minnesota    0    1    13    31    4    1    132    98


THE SCHEDULE
Want to know which of Saturday’s games are worth your time? Here’s the dope from sports editor Jim Rossow, who is hearing it from boosters after a 3-2 week:

Iowa at Michigan State
11 a.m., ESPN

Hard to believe it’s the Hawkeyes’ first true road game this season. Just as hard to buy that walk-on Mark Weisman is Iowa’s best player (seven touchdowns in his last three games, a feature in this week’s “The Journey” on BTN).
Rossow’s pick: Michigan State, 24-10

Northwestern at Minnesota
11 a.m., ESPN2

Count on some fingernail chewing among fans (four times since 2007 the game has been decided in the fourth quarter) and the Wildcats singing whatever their fight song is afterward (the road team has won three of four). Illinois fans, now’s the time to turn away: A win would make Northwestern bowl eligible for the fifth consecutive season.
Rossow’s pick: Northwestern, 31-30

Wisconsin at Purdue
11 a.m., BTN

Bret Bielema was a fit-and-trim linebackers coach at Iowa the last time the Badgers lost at Ross-Ade Stadium (1997). He was in his first year on Barry Alvarez’s staff the last time Wisconsin lost anywhere to Purdue (2004 in Madison). Today, he’s a happy outcome away from tying College Football Hall of Famer Phil King for second on the school’s all-time wins list at 65.
Rossow’s pick: Wisconsin, 21-17

Illinois at No. 25 Michigan
2:30 p.m., WICD (ABC)

Already the Big Ten’s all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks, Denard Robinson likely will take over the NCAA lead sometime this month. He ranks fourth with 3,905 yards and trails only Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick (4,112), Missouri’s Brad Smith (4,289) and West Virginia’s Pat White (4,480). On Saturday, he’ll likely join Mike Hart (5,040), Anthony Thomas (4,472), Jamie Morris (4,393) and Tyrone Wheatley (4,178) as Michigan’s only 4,000-yard rushers.
Rossow’s pick: Michigan, 35-21

No. 8 Ohio State at Indiana
7 p.m., BTN

Something to make Taylor Zalewski and Justin DuVernois very nervous ahead of the Illini’s trip to Columbus on Nov. 3: Urban Meyer’s teams like to block kicks. They’ve done it three times this season and 54 times in the last 131 games.
Rossow’s pick: Ohio State, 42-10
Bye: Nebraska, Penn State

LOOKING AHEAD

Coaches like to take it one game at a time. Not us:
OCT. 20
Minnesota at Wisconsin    11 a.m.
Indiana at Navy    2:30 p.m.
Penn State at Iowa    7 p.m.
Purdue at Ohio State    TBA
Michigan State at Michigan    TBA
Nebraska at Northwestern    TBA
Bye: Illinois

THE LISTS
ILLINOIS MVP

ILLINI    PREVIOUS
Michael Buchanan    —
Nathan Scheelhaase    3
Ryan Lankford    4
Jonathan Brown    —
Upcoming bye week    —
Rossow’s take: Crack UI researchers point out that Buchanan is the only defensive lineman in the nation with at least five passes defended this season (the 6-foot-6 future NFLer has six).

IN THE PENTHOUSE
(Big Ten MVP)


PLAYER, SCHOOL    PREVIOUS
Braxton Miller, Ohio State    2
Matt McGloin, Penn State    3
Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin    —
Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State    —
Venric Mark, Northwestern    —
Rossow’s take: Al Toon Jr. (that’d be Abbrederis) is the first Badger since 2001 with three consecutive 100-yard receiving games (he’s averaging 135.3 yards in that span to take the Big Ten lead at 103.2). At this pace, he’ll crack into the Big Ten’s single-season top 10 (former Illini David Williams is 10th at 1,278 yards).

IN THE DOGHOUSE   (FAN NON-FAVORITE)

GOAT    AFFILIATION
Top 25 poll    Coaches
Defense    Nebraska
Offensive line    Illinois
Quarterbacks    Purdue
Kickers    Penn State
Rossow’s take: Let’s hope Tim Miles’ first Nebraska basketball team plays better defense than Bo Pelini’s tackling-challenged gang. A group that starts eight seniors ranks 92nd in run defense (189 yards per game), 73rd in scoring defense (28 points per game) and 49th in total defense (367 yards).

COACH OF THE YEAR

COACH, SCHOOL    PREVIOUS
Bill O’Brien, Penn State    3
Urban Meyer, Ohio State    2
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern    1
Jerry Kill, Minnesota    —
Danny Hope, Purdue    4
Rossow’s take: Meyer might not be Coach of the Year in his own state. Ohio’s eight Division I-A football programs are 32-13, including three unbeatens: Ohio State, Ohio and Cincinnati. The only losing team is Akron ... which doesn’t need to care about football as long as hometown hero LeBron James is tearing it up.

BOWL LINEUP

TEAM    BOWL
Wisconsin    BCS
Michigan    Capital One
Nebraska    Outback
Michigan State    Gator
Northwestern    TicketCity
Rossow’s take: The last time the Big Ten failed to win a bowl game was 1977, when Michigan (Rose), Ohio State (Sugar) and Minnesota (Hall of Fame) came up empty. With the league’s two best teams ineligible, another 0-fer is entirely possible.
 

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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