Big Ten

Big Ten poll update: Three Big Ten teams in top five of AP poll


Big Ten poll update: Three Big Ten teams in top five of AP poll

There's little argument at this point in the season that the Big Ten has been this year's top conference in college football. And the voters in the AP poll have shared their matching opinion.

Three Big Ten teams landed in the top five of the most recent AP top-25 rankings, with Ohio State at No. 2, Michigan at No. 3 and Wisconsin at No. 5. The conference also made up half of the top eight, with Penn State checking in at No. 8. The latter accomplishment was also achieved in the coaches poll, with the Buckeyes second, the Wolverines fourth, the Badgers sixth and the Nittany Lions eighth.

Ohio State's No. 2 ranking in both polls match up with its most recent College Football Playoff ranking, though of course these two polls have no weight on which teams make the sport's final four. The Buckeyes are coming off a narrow 17-16 win at Michigan State this past weekend. This weekend brings a titanic clash with Michigan, where a win — regardless of whether it yields a Big Ten East Division championship — figures to punch Ohio State's ticket to the Playoff.

Michigan, third in the AP poll and fourth in the coaches poll, is fresh off a 20-10 win over Indiana. The 10-1 Wolverines would win a division title and a spot in the Big Ten title game if they take down the rival Buckeyes this weekend. And a win in the conference championship bout would certainly land Jim Harbaugh's team in the Playoff.

Wisconsin moved to 9-2 with a 49-20 victory over Purdue this past weekend, and the Badgers came in fifth and sixth in the AP and coaches polls, respectively. A win in this weekend's rivalry game against Minnesota would win Wisconsin the Big Ten West Division crown and send the Badgers to Indianapolis, where a victory would most likely earn them a spot in the Playoff.

Penn State is also 9-2 after beating Rutgers, 39-0, this past weekend. The Lions, No. 8 in both polls, need Ohio State to top Michigan and a win over Michigan State in their regular-season finale to win the Big Ten East Division championship and travel to Indy. A win in the conference title game figures to send Penn State to the Playoff.

Nebraska was also ranked in both polls this week, the Huskers coming in at No. 17 in the AP poll and No. 15 in the coaches poll.

Iowa and Minnesota also received votes in both polls.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately


Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

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.