Is it Halloween already, because I witnessed some freaky stuff on Big Ten pitches over the weekend! Northwestern moved to 3-0-0 in conference play, thanks to a goal that will haunt John Bluem for some time. As a defender, one of the first things you are taught is never, and I mean NEVER, let the ball bounce inside the six-yard box. Central defenders are tall for a reason – it’s their duty to attack crosses with passion and to take responsibility, and that didn’t happen at Lakeside Field.
This shapes up as an interesting week, with two key Legends Division clashes on a Big Ten menu that has six games. The headline clash is Nebraska at Northwestern.
With Week 7 behind us, it’s time for my latest Big Ten Player Rankings. Again, I’m doing these a little different this year. Whereas I used to rank the top 10 players – a practice that was tough due to all the talent on both sides of the ball – I’ll rank the top six offensive and defensive players each week.
Northwestern became the first Big Ten team to reach bowl eligibility with its 21-13 win at Minnesota. Wisconsin also enhanced its bowl prospects with a dominating 38-14 win at Purdue, as the Badgers now look like the clear favorite to represent the Leaders Division in the Big Ten title game.
Basketball is in the air, Big Ten fans. Teams have started practice and there are still a few “Midnight Madness” events to look forward to this weekend. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though, because it’s still football season. See BTN.com’s top 10 most-read stories of Week 7 in this post. Also, watch our terrific “Team Jack” feature, a story that happens to land two spots on this list, now.
My first Big Ten Links of the weeks takes a look at how Wisconsin reloads on the offensive line. Losing star left tackle Ricky Wagner with a knee injury at Purdue hurts, but the Badgers front didn’t skip a beat with left guard Ryan Groy slipping into the spot. The result: Wisconsin ran for almost 500 yards on the Boilermakers.