Big Ten

Big Ten writers pick Buckeyes over Badgers for conference title

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Big Ten writers pick Buckeyes over Badgers for conference title

The unanimous pick to win the Big Ten this season? It's the Ohio State Buckeyes. And what would be more surprising is if someone didn't vote for the defending national champs.

One hundred percent of the 40 writers polled by Cleveland.com's Doug Lesmerises in his annual media poll picked Ohio State to win a second straight Big Ten Championship Game.

There isn't too much data to pore over, as no one picked another Big Ten East team to represent the division in the league's title game, not even Michigan State, which in the opinion of many will be one of college football's top teams this season. That should indicate just how loaded the Buckeyes are.

These writers also predict a rematch in the Big Ten title game, selecting Wisconsin as the Big Ten West champ. That pick wasn't unanimous, though, as five first-place votes went to Nebraska and three went to Minnesota.

[MORE BIG TEN: Report: That time five Big 12 schools tried to join the Big Ten]

Here's how the writers projected the final conference standings:

East Division

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan State
3. Penn State
4. Michigan
5. Maryland
6. Rutgers
7. Indiana

West Division

1. Wisconsin
2. Nebraska
3. Minnesota
4. Iowa
5. Northwestern
6. Illinois
7. Purdue

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini's Wes Lunt compares himself to Tom Brady in interview]

In addition to picking the final standings and conference champ, the writers voted for Big Ten Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year. More Buckeye dominance, as Ezekiel Elliott was tabbed on offense and Joey Bosa on defense. Here's that voting breakdown:

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
2. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
3. Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State
4. J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State
5. Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin
6. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
7. Ohio State quarterbacks
8. Braxton Miller, QB/WR/H-back, Ohio State
9. Wes Lunt, QB, Illinois

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
2. Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
3. Anthony Zettel, DT, Penn State
4. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
5. Will Likely, CB, Maryland
6. Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
T-7. Vince Biegel, LB, Wisconsin
T-7. Ed Davis, LB, Michigan State
T-7. Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State
T-10. Joe Bolden, LB, Michigan
T-10. Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
T-10. Darius Hamilton, DT, Rutgers
T-10. Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota
T-10. Michael Caputo, S, Wisconsin

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

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USA TODAY

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

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USA TODAY

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.