Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus won the Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award, it was announced Wednesday. The junior leads the nation in sacks (14.5), sacks per game (1.2) and forced fumbles (9) while ranking sixth nationally in tackles for loss per game (1.6). The award makes Mercilus the first Illini to win a national honor since Dana Howard (1994) and Kevin Hardy (1995) won the Butkus Award in back-to-back years.
It’s been a quiet week so far in Big Ten land, but we did get two interesting games last night. Let’s review the light slate, as well as a couple noteworthy performers to this point of the season.
With Carl Pelini off to replace Howard Schnellenberger as Florida Atlantic coach, Nebraska will need a new defensive coordinator. Pelini, the brother of Husker head coach Bo, won’t coach with the 9-3 Cornhuskers in the Capital One Bowl against South Carolina
Well, that was a fun 2011 Big Ten football season. The new divisions created a lot more drama and intrigue, and the inaugural Big Ten title game was a huge success. Now, we have roughly three weeks to kill before the bowl games kick off (see the bowl schedule). With the regular season behind us, BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina takes a look at the Best from the Big Ten in 2011. Watch our feature on everyone’s Play of the Year now and see Brent’s winners for best pass, best run, best catch, and much more, in this post.
Rodney Williams and Minnesota pulled away from Appalachian State on BTN Tuesday (recap), while Iowa lost at instate rival Northern Iowa (recap). Catch up on all the action on our Big Ten scoreboard. You can also find halftime and final recap stories in this post. And all season long our contributing bloggers, The Big Ten Geeks, offer up their take on the nightly action, so be sure to check out their work. BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina also serves up his Big Ten power rankings every week.
The Poulan-Weedeater Bowl is long gone, unfortunately. But there is no shortage of bowl action. To get you ready for a holiday feast of 35 bowls, following is a ranking of the bowls from best to worst. With so many postseason games, you have to choose wisely with time at a minimum during this busy time of year.