The two coaches who will lead their teams in this weekend's Big Ten Championship Game received Big Ten Coach of the Year honors on Tuesday.
Wisconsin's Paul Chryst and Penn State's James Franklin were named the conference's coach of the years picks by the coaches and media, respectively, when the league announced the first half of its annual awards on Tuesday evening.
Chryst led the Badgers to their latest Big Ten West Division championship in his second season as the head man in Madison. Wisconsin boasts a 10-2 record, a six-game winning streak and the No. 6 ranking in the College Football Playoff rankings heading into this weekend's title game in Indianapolis. A win there could lead to a spot in the Playoff.
Chryst is the first Wisconsin winner since 2006, when Bret Bielema was the conference's Coach of the Year.
Franklin, in his third season as the head coach at Penn State, is taking the Nittany Lions to their first appearance in the Big Ten title game. Penn State has a 10-2 record — including that epic upset win over Ohio State — an eight-game winning streak and the No. 7 ranking in the College Football Playoff rankings. A win this weekend could punch the Lions' ticket to the Playoff.
Franklin is the first Penn State winner since 2012, when Bill O'Brien was tabbed the Coach of the Year by both the coaches and the media.
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.