Wisconsin is off this week. And that’s undoubtedly a good thing when you consider it needs to replace quarterback Joel Stave, who is out for eight weeks with a broken left collar bone suffered in the loss to Michigan State on Saturday. Read about what the Badgers are thinking and other hot topics in my daily links.
Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin, among others, all possess defenses that are compiling stingy numbers. Which unit is the best in the Big Ten, though? Before you blurt out “Michigan State!” realize that Michigan lands in the top 15 among FBS teams in five categories, including No. 1 in passing yards (1,162). Or that Penn State is ranked in the top 20 in four categories and Wisconsin two. Watch Howard Griffith and Chris Martin debate it now and cast your vote inside.
There is a dearth of marquee matchups, but it is Little Brown Jug week. That may not mean much to you, but it does to Minnesota and Michigan. It’s an iconic college football trophy that the schools first played for in 1903. But it has been a lopsided rivalry, with the Golden Gophers winning just twice (1986 and 2005) in the last 30 seasons.
The date was Nov. 8, 1997, otherwise known as the day Daydrion Taylor and Bob Stephenson’s lives forever changed. In the first quarter of a Michigan-Penn State game at Beaver Stadium, Taylor, a Michigan safety, delivered a bone-crushing hit on Stephenson, a Penn State tight end, near the sideline. The collision was so fierce it ended both players’ careers.
The bowl picture got a bit jumbled after a topsy-turvy weekend. The big winner was Nebraska, which moved into the Rose Bowl slot with its triumph over Michigan. The Legends Division is the Cornhuskers if they win out, which could set up a likely clash with Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. The Huskers beat the Badgers, 30-27, earlier this season.
Find out more about: Bowl projections
It’s time for my latest Big Ten Player Rankings. There’s one name making its debut on this week’s installment. What other movement was there? Find out in this post. Remember, this feature ranks the Big Ten’s top six offensive and defensive players. So, consider offense the Legends Division and the defense the Leaders Division, or vice versa.