Big Ten

Buckeyes are unanimous No. 1 in preseason AP poll


Buckeyes are unanimous No. 1 in preseason AP poll

In the least surprising news of college football's preseason, Ohio State was the unanimous No. 1 in the AP top-25 poll when it was released Sunday.

The reigning national champions, the Buckeyes enter the season with almost all their top contributors back on both sides of the ball and are being projected by many to repeat as the national champs in the second season of the College Football Playoff.

It means all 61 first-place votes went to Urban Meyer's crew in the first edition of this season's AP poll, the first team ever to be a unanimous preseason No. 1.

Ohio State was joined in the top five by another Big Ten team, as Michigan State debuted as the nation's No. 5 team. The Spartans are coming off their second straight big-time bowl win and their second straight top-five finish. This season, they'll start in the top five, as well.

[MORE BIG TEN: Huskers lose De'Mornay Pierson-El for six to eight weeks with foot injury]

The top 10 looks like this: 1. Ohio State, 2. TCU, 3. Alabama, 4. Baylor, 5. Michigan State, 6. Auburn, 7. Oregon, 8. USC, 9. Georgia, 10. Florida State.

One other Big Ten team landed in the top 25, as Wisconsin is ranked No. 20 to start the season. The Badgers are the reigning champs of the Big Ten West, and even though they have to replace last season's national leading rusher, Melvin Gordon, his successor, Corey Clement, has big expectations to be Wisconsin's next top back.

Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan also received votes in the poll.

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.