Big Ten

Big Ten poll update: AP voters, coaches place four Big Ten teams in top 10


Big Ten poll update: AP voters, coaches place four Big Ten teams in top 10

If AP and coaches poll rankings are your metric of choice, it's hard to argue that any conference is as good as the Big Ten right now.

Four Big Ten teams landed in the top 10 of both the AP and coaches polls when the new sets of rankings were released Sunday afternoon.

It's important to keep in mind, of course, that these polls have no impact on which teams will compete for a national championship. The rankings that do make their debut Tuesday, when the College Football Playoff selection committee release their first rankings of the season.

Michigan, which scored a hard-fought but still dominant win over in-state rival Michigan State on Saturday, kept its No. 2 spot in both polls. The Wolverines are the Big Ten's lone remaining undefeated team, at 8-0 as they appear to be barnstorming toward a Big Ten East Division title, a spot in the conference title game and a berth in the College Football Playoff. Of course, the regular-season finale with Ohio State will be a determining factor in all of those quests, but right now few teams in the country are playing better than Michigan, which ranks No. 1 in college football in scoring defense and No. 3 in scoring offense.

Aforementioned Ohio State improved to 7-1 with a narrow win over Northwestern on Saturday and ranked No. 6 in both polls Sunday, maintaining its spot in the AP and moving up two slots in the coaches. The Buckeyes are not looking like the dominant force they appeared to be through the season's first few games, clearly needing every last drop to get through the last three games against Wisconsin, Penn State and Northwestern — two wins by a total of 11 points and a loss in Happy Valley. Another huge test awaits next weekend against Nebraska.

Wisconsin, which scored its third win of the season over a top-10 opponent Saturday by beating Nebraska, 23-17, in overtime, moved up three spots from No. 11 to No. 8 in both sets of rankings. The Badgers' defense continues to wow, ranking third in the country in scoring defense and ninth in total defense. Wisconsin has another challenge coming up next weekend, on the road at Northwestern. The Badgers will still need some help from the Huskers to make the Big Ten title game, as the Huskers have just one conference loss compared to the Badgers' two. But Wisconsin should feel good about its College Football Playoff resume, with its lone losses coming to top-six teams in Michigan and Ohio State.

Nebraska is still in the driver's seat of the Big Ten West Division standings despite losing its undefeated season Saturday in Madison. The Huskers dropped in both polls Sunday, down from No. 7 to No. 9 in the AP poll and down from No. 6 to No. 10 in the coaches. If the season ended today, Nebraska would be heading to Indy, but next weekend's trip to Columbus could change all that. Still, the Huskers proved Saturday they're playing championship-caliber football and are definitely still in the running for a Playoff berth.

Penn State was the fifth Big Ten team in the top-25 rankings this week, up from No. 24 to No. 20 in the AP poll and into the coaches poll at No. 23. The Nittany Lions, thanks to a tiebreaker after that win over Ohio State, still sit in second place in the Big Ten East Division standings.

Northwestern and Minnesota both received votes in this week's coaches poll.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.