Half of the teams ranked in the top six of the latest AP poll are Big Ten teams.
Iowa moved down a spot to No. 4, but Michigan State moved up a spot to No. 5 and Ohio State jumped two spots to No. 6, giving the Big Ten three of the top six spots in the top-25 rankings, which were released Sunday afternoon.
The Hawkeyes completed a perfect regular season at 12-0 with a win over Nebraska on Friday, while the Spartans improved to 11-1 and clinched a Big Ten East Division championship with a throttling of Penn State on Saturday. Iowa and Michigan State will meet in this weekend's Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis, the winner likely earning a spot in the College Football Playoff.
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The Buckeyes rebounded from their loss to the Spartans in spectacular fashion, wrapping their regular season at 11-1 with a pounding of rival Michigan. Ohio State still has a very good chance of making a New Year's Six bowl game and perhaps even an outside shot at reaching the Playoff should chaos break out this weekend.
Elsewhere in the top-25, Northwestern moved up four spots from No. 17 to No. 13 after finishing its regular season at 10-2 with a win over Illinois on Saturday at Soldier Field. The Cats have 10 wins in a single season for just the fourth time in program history and could win 11 games for the first time in program history with a victory in the bowl game.
Michigan plummeted seven spots, down to No. 19 from No. 12 after getting beat up by Ohio State. And Wisconsin was back in the top 25 at No. 25 following a 9-3 regular-season finish with a Saturday win over Minnesota.
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 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.