Every week during the college football season, Brent Yarina posts his latest Big Ten Power Rankings. Week 4 saw the Big Ten go 8-2, including wins from Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin, all of which will bring perfect records into the first week of conference play. As for the power rankings, they are not meant to mimic the Big Ten standings. What fun would that be? They aren’t scientific, either. They’re simply Brent’s thoughts on where each Big Ten team stands after its latest game and entering its next contest. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina.
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The votes are in, and our fans selected Illinois’ narrow victory over Western Michigan on Saturday as the “Big Ten Game of the Week.” Catch the re-air at 8 p.m. ET Sunday on BTN. This one came down to the wire as the Illini, who rallied from a 13-10 halftime deficit, were able to stop the Broncos and prevent them from attempting a potential game-tying field goal in the final seconds. With the win, Illinois moved to 4-0, the first time its been perfect after four games since it won the national title in 1951.
(AP) Troy Pollard carried the ball for a career-high 133 yards and No. 24 needed all three of Derek Dimke‘s field goals Saturday to survive Western Michigan, 23-20. The Illini trailed at the half 13-10 and the game was tied 20-20 with less than nine minutes to play. Booing Illini fans recalled a 23-17 loss to the Broncos (2-2) the last time the teams met in 2008. Pollard’s 49-yard burst midway through the fourth quarter set up a 21-yard Dimke field goal that gave the Illini (4-0) the three-point lead they wouldn’t give up. Western Michigan quarterback Alex Carder was 30 of 48 with two touchdowns, 306 yards and one interception. Read the full AP recap, check out the box score and see our Big Ten scoreboard.
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The No. 9 Golden Gophers controlled the first set against the No. 3 Fighting Illini, but Illinois ended up winning the match 3-2 (20-25, 25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 15-10).
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Tonight on BTN Live: What’s the reaction to Luke Fickell’s move to Braxton Miller? We’ll assess the Big Ten’s overall performance thru three weeks and play your “ReJoice Mail.” Also, should the Wolverines and Huskers be concerned this week? Which one-loss team will still be standing as a contender at season’s end? Come vote in our polls, tweet to our show @BTNLive, comment on the post, and send us an email.
I said at the beginning of last week’s Numbers that the Illinois game excited me the most of any one on the Week 3 slate, and the Illini did not disappoint. Their 17-14 win over then-No. 18 Arizona State turned the nation on to something Howard, Gerry and I believed when we saw them in the pre-season: The Illini are for real. The numbers I gave last week were related to their offense, but the real story of the game was the “D.” So that’s where we’ll begin this week.
Get ready to be excited. The last full week of nonconference football is Saturday, and that means more competitive, entertaining and meaningful games are on the horizon. Week 4 also gives us the Big Ten’s first open weeks, with Northwestern and Purdue both off this weekend. BTN will air five Week 4 games, including Michigan hosting San Diego State, Brady Hoke’s old team, at noon ET. Use our GameFinder to find your BTN game, hear your coach’s latest teleconference, and track all of Saturday’s action on our Big Ten scoreboard.
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