Big Ten

Three Big Ten teams in top 10 in College Football Playoff rankings

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Three Big Ten teams in top 10 in College Football Playoff rankings

Ohio State hung onto the No. 3 spot, Iowa kept the No. 5 spot, and Michigan State moved back into the top 10 with the No. 9 ranking when the latest College Football Playoff rankings were announced Tuesday night.

A total of six Big Ten teams were ranked in this week's rankings by the selection committee. Ohio State remained the No. 3 team in the country, and Iowa stuck at No. 5. Michigan State returned to the top 10, up from No. 13 to No. 9. Michigan jumped up two spots from No. 14 to No. 12. Northwestern dropped two spots, from No. 18 to No. 20. And Wisconsin stayed at No. 25.

There were thoughts that undefeated Oklahoma State might jump Iowa given the Hawkeyes' poorly thought of strength of schedule, but Iowa hung onto the spot just outside the final four, on the cusp of reaching the College Football Playoff.

The top four in the rankings stayed identical to last week: No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Notre Dame.

[MORE BIG TEN: Spartans' Connor Cook: 'I'm going to be ready to go' vs. Buckeyes]

The Buckeyes are 10-0 after last weekend's 28-3 win over Illinois. Ohio State has its toughest tests yet in the regular season's final two weeks, hosting Michigan State this weekend before the season-finale against Michigan. A win in both would give the Buckeyes a Big Ten East Division championship and a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game, likely to face Iowa.

The Hawkeyes are also 10-0, most recently defeating rival Minnesota, 40-35, to win back the Floyd of Rosedale. Iowa will be heavily favored in its final two games of the season against Purdue and Nebraska, needing just one win to clinch a Big Ten West Division title.

The Spartans — at 9-1 after beating Maryland, 24-7, this weekend — can still claim a Big Ten East title, needing a win this weekend against Ohio State and a win the season-finale against Penn State. Lose this week, and Michigan State is eliminated from the Big Ten title chase. But with the Spartans back in the top 10, there's even extra excitement added to this weekend's game.

Michigan can also get its hands on the Big Ten East Division crown. At 8-2, the Wolverines need Ohio State to beat Michigan State this weekend, then they'll need to beat the Buckeyes in the season-finale. Of course, all that can only happen with a win this weekend against Penn State.

Northwestern and Wisconsin, both with 8-2 records, face off against each other this weekend. The winner will still have a shot at a 10-win regular season. The Cats close their season against Illinois, and the Badgers will play Minnesota for Paul Bunyan's Axe.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Buckeyes gear right here]

Here are the complete top-25 rankings:

1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Ohio State
4. Notre Dame
5. Iowa
6. Oklahoma State
7. Oklahoma
8. Florida
9. Michigan State
10. Baylor
11. Stanford
12. Michigan
13. Utah
14. Florida State
15. LSU
16. Navy
17. North Carolina
18. TCU
19. Houston
20. Northwestern
21. Memphis
22. Ole Miss
23. Oregon
24. USC
25. Wisconsin

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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USA TODAY

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

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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.