Big Ten

No. 1 no longer: Buckeyes bumped from top spot in AP poll


No. 1 no longer: Buckeyes bumped from top spot in AP poll

For the first time this season, Ohio State is not the top-ranked team in the AP poll.

The latest top 25, released Sunday afternoon, had Clemson dethroning Ohio State atop the top 25, with the Buckeyes dropping down to No. 2.

Ohio State remains undefeated on the season, 9-0 after beating Minnesota on Saturday night. But those wins have not always come in the overly dominant fashion that pollsters like to see.

Also, when the meaningful College Football Playoff rankings debuted for the first time this season last week, Clemson was No. 1, with Ohio State at No. 3. The shift in the AP poll could be just as much a result of the playoff rankings as an actual change in perception.

Elsewhere in the AP top 25, Iowa climbed to No. 8, up two spots after improving to 9-0 with a win over Indiana on Saturday. The Hawkeyes likely won't do much more impressing with a weak trio of teams remaining on the regular-season schedule, but their ranking could improve as undefeated and one-loss teams ahead of them continue to lose.

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Michigan State fell out of the top 10, down a whopping eight spots from No. 6 to No. 14 following its upset loss at Nebraska on Saturday night. That loss came in controversial fashion, but pollsters deemed the Spartans' performance poor enough to warrant that massive drop.

Michigan sits right behind its in-state rival at No. 15. The Wolverines improved to 7-2 with their crushing of Rutgers on Saturday. Michigan is likely out of the College Football Playoff picture with two losses, but there is still a way it could win the Big Ten East Division championship and play in the conference title game.

Two more Big Ten teams reentered the top 25 this week after not being ranked a week ago. Wisconsin is the new No. 23 team in the country after improving to 8-2 with a win over Maryland on Saturday, while Northwestern is back in the rankings at No. 24 after moving to 7-2 with a win over Penn State. The Cats were ranked in last week's College Football Playoff rankings. It remains to be seen whether the Badgers will join them there this week.

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.