Illinois
Fighting Illini

Illini's Mercilus Wins Hendricks Award

Illinois' Whitney Mercilus

Big Ten Blast: Dec. 7th Afternoon Update

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.

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It's getting cold in Iowa

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.

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Singling them out: Big Ten's Best of '11

Michigan State's Denicos Allen

Badgers, Spartans Share Their Hail Mary Memories

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.

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Dienhart: Ranking the Bowls, from 1-35

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.

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Dienhart: Petrino's departure no surprise

It’s no surprise that Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino has rejoined his brother Bobby’s staff at Arkansas. But the timing of the move seems dubious with a bowl game still to be played. Why not stay and finish the job? Even worse for Illinois: There’s a chance Illinois could lose more assistants before the Illini’s Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl vs. UCLA on Dec. 31.

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Big Ten Hoops Power Rankings

Michigan State's Draymond Green

Aaron Craft Gets Fancy

It’s time to release my latest Big Ten men’s hoops power rankings. The rankings are not meant to mimic the Big Ten standings. What fun would that be? They aren’t scientific, either. They’re simply my thoughts on where each Big Ten team stands at that time. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina or leave your comments below.

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