Big Ten

Buckeyes at the White House: President Obama talks Playoff, shrugs like Joey Bosa

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Buckeyes at the White House: President Obama talks Playoff, shrugs like Joey Bosa

One of the biggest thrills for national champions is visiting the White House.

That's where the national-title victory lap took the Ohio State Buckeyes on Monday afternoon, with President Obama honoring the first-ever winners of the College Football Playoff.

It was that postseason model which took the bulk of the light-hearted attention Monday, as President Obama reminded the Buckeyes and the assembled fans that he was one of the many pushing for a playoff. His position obviously made him one of the most notable advocates for ditching the BCS in favor of the CFP.

"I can say, it was about time. I cannot claim full credit. I will point out that I pushed for a playoff system in 2008," Obama joked. "I'd say I threw my weight around. Politifact, which keeps track of whether politicians keep their promises, this is a promise kept by me. So you're welcome, America. It was a great playoff."

[MORE BIG TEN: Buckeyes make Urban Meyer Big Ten's highest-paid coach]

That line drew laughs, though Urban Meyer taking to the mic to thank Obama for his playoff push earned bigger ones when the president reacted.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for being a strong supporter of sports and collegiate athletics, wanting to recognize that you were an early supporter of the creation of the College Football Playoff," Meyer said.

Obama followed that by tossing his gifted game ball in the air, catching it and saying, "Just sayin'."

[MORE BIG TEN: Running back Dre Brown latest Illini to go down with ACL tear]

The president had plenty of good lines while honoring the team's star players, for example thanking crop-top-wearing running back Ezekiel Elliott for tucking his shirt in.

But his calling out of defensive end and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Joey Bosa played the best on social media. Obama referenced Bosa's shrug celebration after sacks and even imitated it.

 

[SHOP BUCKEYES: Get your Ohio State national championship gear right here]

Doran Grant and Curtis Grant presented the president with a game ball from the national championship game and a No. 44 jersey. And the president had some serious remarks to congratulate the national champs.

"In all seriousness, this was a team of true character, of true resilience," Obama said. "As I said to them when I got the chance to shake the hands of all the players, everybody's going to go through ups and downs in life, and how folks handle it, how the quarterbacks on this team supported each other, that's what every organization wants to see is people stepping up for each other."

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.