Big Ten

Penn State returning to no names on backs of football jerseys

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Penn State returning to no names on backs of football jerseys

For the past three seasons, Penn State, with good reason, bucked tradition and put players' last names on the backs of the classic blue-and-white football jerseys.

Well, tradition is coming back.

Penn State announced Thursday that there will be no names on the backs of jerseys in 2015 and beyond.

The reason the names were there in the first place was thanks to former head coach Bill O'Brien, who wanted to recognize and honor the players who stuck with the program during the Jerry Sandusky scandal during the 2012 season. With many of those players on the team the past two seasons, as well, the names stuck.

But now current head coach James Franklin, who's entering his second season with the Nittany Lions, is restoring the nameless look, which Penn State boasted for well more than a century.

[MORE BIG TEN: Penn State's DaeSean Hamilton, three other B1G receivers on Biletnikoff watch list]

"For 125 years Penn State proudly followed a very simple idea: 'Black Shoes. Basic Blues. No Names. All Game,'" Franklin said in a statement. "In 2012, for the first time in the program's history, names adorned the back of the jersey to forever identify the men who stayed loyal, sacrificed and chose to play for this institution during the most difficult of times. The 2012 team, permanently recognized in Beaver Stadium, will hold an enduring place in our program's history. Their commitment will never be forgotten. However, it's time we bring back the tradition that represented Penn State for 125 years. We are a strong family, playing for one goal, one university, and there is only one name that truly matters, Penn State."

While perhaps inconsequential to some, Penn State fans are pretty serious about how the Lions look on the field. Tradition has an odd place in college football, sometimes honored to great extents and other times thrown out the window. The Penn State uniforms and fans' feelings about them certainly fall into the former category. Surely, Franklin will be cheered extensively for this decision.

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.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.