Big Ten

Buckeyes No. 3, five Big Ten teams in first College Football Playoff rankings


Buckeyes No. 3, five Big Ten teams in first College Football Playoff rankings

For the first time this season, we have rankings that matter.

No offense to the fine folks voting in the AP and coaches polls every week, but those rankings no longer have any say in determining who plays for a national championship.

The ones that do, the College Football Playoff rankings, were released for the first time this season Tuesday night.

Ohio State was the highest-ranked Big Ten team, coming in at No. 3 in the first rankings of the season. That's significantly different from the AP poll, which has ranked the Buckeyes No. 1 all season. Ohio State remains undefeated, but many are pointing out that the Buckeyes' schedule has been pretty light so far. That being said, big games against Michigan State and Michigan come later this month.

[MORE BIG TEN: Power Rankings: Big divide between top and bottom halves]

Clemson was ranked No. 1. LSU was ranked No. 2, and the Bayou Bengals would be the Buckeyes' College Football Playoff opponent if these were the final rankings. Alabama was ranked No. 4. Certainly, though, there will be a lot of change in these rankings between now and when the Playoff field is set in December.

The Big Ten's other two undefeated teams were also ranked in the top 10, with Michigan State at No. 7 and Iowa at No. 9. The Hawkeyes were among the lowest-ranked undefeated Power 5 teams in the rankings, the committee apparently pointing out their lack of quality wins.

Michigan, with two losses, came in at No. 17. The Wolverines have quality losses to Utah and Michigan State, two of the top-12 teams in the rankings.

Northwestern was the fifth Big Ten team included in the rankings, ranked at No. 21. The Cats have wins over Stanford and Duke and losses to Michigan and Iowa.

Not included in the rankings were the Wisconsin Badgers, who have two losses to Alabama and Iowa, two top-10 teams.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Buckeyes gear right here]

Here's a look at the entire top 25:

1. Clemson
2. LSU
3. Ohio State
4. Alabama
5. Notre Dame
6. Baylor
7. Michigan State
8. TCU
9. Iowa
10. Florida
11. Stanford
12. Utah
13. Memphis
14. Oklahoma State
15. Oklahoma
16. Florida State
17. Michigan
18. Ole Miss
19. Texas A&M
20. Mississippi State
21. Northwestern
22. Temple
23. UCLA
24. Toledo
25. Houston

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.