Iowa and Michigan State remained at the Nos. 4 and 5 spots, and Ohio State moved up to No. 6 when the latest College Football Playoff rankings were released on Tuesday night.
The top-five rankings for both the Hawkeyes and Spartans indicate that a Playoff berth will almost certainly be the reward for whichever team wins the Big Ten Championship Game this weekend in Indianapolis.
Last weekend, Iowa topped Nebraska to cap a perfect 12-0 regular season, the first 12-win season in program history, and Michigan State drubbed Penn State to move to 11-1 and clinch the Big Ten East Division championship.
Ohio State beat up on Michigan in their annual rivalry game, moving to 11-1. While the Buckeyes won’t compete for the conference title this weekend, college football chaos could somehow land them in the Playoff, should the results of certain other conference championship games pan out in a specific way.
Elsewhere in the top 25, Northwestern moved up from No. 18 to No. 14 after finishing its season with a win over Illinois to record just the fourth 10-win season in program history. A win in the Cats’ bowl game would mean the program’s first 11-win season ever.
Michigan dropped down to No. 15 after reaching the top 10 last week. The Wolverines were pounded by the Buckeyes in the regular-season finale, finishing Jim Harbaugh’s first regular season at 9-3.
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Here’s the complete top 25:
5. Michigan State
6. Ohio State
8. Notre Dame
9. Florida State
10. North Carolina
13. Ole Miss
17. Oklahoma State
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.