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It hasn’t been a great year for Big Ten quarterbacks. Returning stars Braxton Miller, Taylor Martinez and Kain Colter have missed extended periods due to injury, while Devin Gardner has been inconsistent and turnover-prone. Luckily, for the conference, a few first-year starters have exceeded expectations.
This is a light menu for Week 9, as there are just four games. Wisconsin, Michigan, Purdue and Indiana all are off this week. And there is just one marquee game, with Penn State playing at Ohio State looking to end the Buckeyes’ remarkable run of 19 victories in a row. Here’s a look at this week’s games.
Each Tuesday morning during the Big Ten football season, the 12 Big Ten football coaches hold a Big Ten teleconference with reporters from around the country. We post the audio for each segment of the call here, and we do this every Tuesday afternoon.
For years, Big Ten coaches have spouted off clichés about how difficult a grind the conference is week in week out, how there are no off nights, that you’re in for battle in every match, and that there is no margin for error. While accurate in some sense, until the 2013 season, it seemed like a lot of coach speak to pump up the reputation of the league.
Ohio State is still on the outside looking in when it comes to playing in the BCS title game (BCS Standings), but plenty of time remains. Don’t fret, Brutus. The Big Ten has a decent shot to get two teams into BCS bowls, with Wisconsin a good bet to finish 10-2 and claim a sweet postseason slot. In fact, I have the Badgers slotted to be an at-large BCS bowl team in this week’s rankings.
The Big Ten office released its Week 8 Big Ten Players of the Week on Monday, and it includes a pair of first-time honorees. Michigan receiver Jeremy Gallon, the Offensive Player of the Week, highlights the list following his record-breaking 369 receiving yards in a wild win over Indiana. See all the honorees in this post.
With Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Michigan winning—and Nebraska being off—there were no changes to the top of my Big Ten power rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal. But there was plenty of shifting in the bottom half, highlighted (lowlighted?) by Northwestern’s continued descent. It wasn’t long ago that I had the Wildcats No. 2 in the Big Ten. Now? Well, have a look for yourself.