First and Big Ten

Big Ten Bowl Pairings: What Does It All Mean?

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Tim Cary

The pairings for all 34 bowl games are finally official, and seven of them include Big Ten teams.  That means we can finally quit talking about last bowl season's horrible performance by conference teams and start trying to figure out if Big Ten teams will win more than one bowl this winter.

We begin with the matchup everyone already knew about:

ROSE BOWL: OHIO STATE vs. OREGON, January 1
Michigan vs. Ohio State
What it means: The Buckeyes will play in their fifth straight Bowl Championship Series game (but their first Rose Bowl since 1996), and will look to snap a three-game BCS losing streak.  The good news for Big Ten fans...at least the opponent isn't USC. 

Oregon has proven their mettle the last two games, outlasting Arizona in the desert and coming back to win the Civil War game against in-state rival Oregon State.  Jeremiah Masoli, LaMichael James, and LeGarrette Blount should provide a formidable test for an Ohio State defense that comes in allowing just over 12 points per game.


ORANGE BOWL: IOWA vs. GEORGIA TECH, January 5Iowa Hawkeyes v South Carolina Gamecocks
What it means: The conference gets a second BCS team yet again, which is both good news and bad news for Big Ten fans.  The good news is a big-time payout to be divided among the league's 11 schools, while the bad news means tougher postseason matchups for Big Ten teams, since they all "play up" one game.

(The third Big Ten team, not the second, goes to the Capital One Bowl, etc.)  Iowa will hope to reclaim its early-season magic, perhaps with injured quarterback Ricky Stanzi back under center.  On the defensive side of the ball, the Hawkeyes will try to slow down the always-difficult triple option that the Yellow Jackets (the 2009 ACC champions) run to perfection.
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Carrying On About Big Ten Football: The Finale

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Tim Cary

The Big Ten season has concluded, and Ohio State's on top of the standings. 

Again.

Michigan vs. Ohio State

While Illinois and Wisconsin still have some non-conference action to attend to, this past weekend's games marked the end of the regular season for most of the teams in the league, and (sadly) marks the end of another season of "Carrying On".

If you need to step away from your computer to shed a tear or five, now's the time.

Ahem...moving right along...

As always, we start with the spotlight game.


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Ten By Ten: Mike Greenspire And Our Trio Make Their Picks

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Tim Cary

As Ten by Ten winds down, we reach a big rivalry weekend with Ohio State-Michigan and Purdue-Indiana among Saturday's matchups. Week 11 winner Mike Greenspire adds his picks, along with Tim, Kristofer, and Kevin...


1. Predict the winner: Ohio State at Michigan
TC: Ohio State
KG: Ohio State
KP: Ohio State
Mike: Ohio State


2. Predict the winner: Minnesota at Iowa
TC: Iowa
KG: Iowa
KP: Iowa
Mike: Iowa

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Illinois and Ron Zook Understand Each Other, How to Lose

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Kristofer Green

CHAMPAIGN--Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald was three years old when Illinois coach Ron Zook began his coaching career at Murray State, five years old when Zook left Murray State for Cincinnati, and 8 years old when Zook took over as defensive coordinator at Kansas.


Before Fitzgerald went on to be a two-time All-American linebacker for the Wildcats, Zook had also worked for Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, and Florida.


In 1997, when Fitzgerald was a rookie with the Dallas Cowboys and Zook was the special teams coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the two teams met at Three Rivers Stadium for the season opener.


Fitzgerald's team won that day too.

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Carrying On About Big Ten Football: November 14

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Tim Cary

It was another busy weekend in Big Ten country, and in honor of "Cup-Half-Empty Day" (a holiday I just invented), here are five disappointments that jumped out at me from Saturday's action.


UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: FIVE THINGS I LEARNED

1.  Michigan is in utter-collapse mode. 
The Wolverines dropped their sixth straight conference game, losing by three touchdowns at Wisconsin Saturday.  After opening the season 4-0, Rich Rodriguez's 5-6 ballclub will have to upset Ohio State in the teams' annual rivalry game to have any hope of going bowling. 
Eastern Michigan v Michigan

The Badgers embarrassed the porous Michigan defense, courtesy of four Scott Tolzien passing touchdowns and 151 rushing yards from John Clay.  If there's anything I've learned from my many years of watching football, it's this: teams that treat defense as an optional endeavor will always struggle...and with the Wolverines allowing 39 points per game in their last four losses, things seem to be going from bad to worse for the Maize and Blue.


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Penn State Football Should Take a "Special" Page Out of Pete Carroll's Book

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Kevin Paul

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - "Misadventures in Happy Valley" - that would be a catchy and fitting title to a new movie starring the Penn State special teams unit.


Well, that and the fact that "Waiting to Exhale" was already taken.


During a season where Penn State football began with many question marks, from offensive line, to wide receivers, to a young and inexperienced secondary, the biggest issue in the end has been special teams.

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Gameday from Champaign: The Battle for Illinois is Sloppy to Start

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Kristofer Green

CHAMPAIGN, Il--On a bright, sunshine filled day in Champaign, the annual battle for bragging rights in the state of Illinois is underway.

Both the Illini and Northwestern are riding high. The Wildcats are coming off an upset victory over Iowa and the streaking Illini have seemingly turned their season around after a horrendous start.

For Illinois, the game is critical to the uphill battle they face in becoming bowl eligible. A loss would mean the Illini are home for the holidys for the second consecutive year.

Northwestern is already bowl eligible, but are fighting for position in a league where every team in still in contention for the postseason.

Yet, at the outset of a game with such importance both teams have sputtered to a very sloppy opening.

Illinois' Arrelious Benn was one stumble away from returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. But even with the good field position, the Illini were unable to move the ball any further and had to punt.

Northwestern was held to a three and out on their first drive after Illinois defensive end Clay Nurse forced a intentional grounding call on Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka.

Illinois, after Stefan Demos shanked a Northwestern punt, was set up around the Wildcats 30 yard line. The Illini drove the ball all the way to the Northwestern three yard line before having to settle for the field goal attempt.

Matt Eller missed.

It could be a long day in Champaign if these teams don't get it together.

FBT's Ten by Ten Picks for Week 11

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Kristofer Green

The Big Ten Conference Champion will likely be decided on Saturday, but the Ten by Ten Champion won't be decided for a couple more weeks.

Here is a look at how Tim, Kristofer, and Kevin see the weekend unfolding in the Big Ten.

Our Ten by Ten answers...
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Debating The Big Ten Title: Ohio State and Iowa Collide... Blogger Style

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Kristofer Green

With the Big Ten game of the year right around the corner, two die hard fans got together to debate the merits of their two teams.

Bret Feddern, a self-admitted Hawkeye Nerd on IowaHawkeyes.net and Bleacher Report Iowa Featured Columnist, will argue for the Hawkeyes. Following Bret's tweets during an Iowa game is fun... give it a shot.

I will be arguing for the Buckeyes (as if they need the help.)

The Hawkeyes and Buckeyes take the field on Saturday and the winner will be off to the Rose Bowl.

We can't match that drama here, but we'll give it a shot.

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Big Ten Teams Batting .500: Where Mediocrity And Bowl Eligibility Collide

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Tim Cary

As the Big Ten football season winds down, all eleven teams in the conference still have hopes of finishing their schedules with the six wins necessary to become bowl-eligible.

(And I thought parity only happened in the NFL.)

While simply having enough victories to qualify for the postseason doesn't automatically ensure a bowl berth, five teams have already hit the magic number and are looking forward to a likely postseason trip: Iowa, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Northwestern.

After that quintet, things get much murkier. Both Indiana and Purdue need wins in their final two games to finish at 6-6, so at least one of the in-state rivals will be staying home for the holidays (the two schools meet in the regular-season finale on November 21).

From there, it's anybody's guess how many six-win squads the Big Ten produces.  Depending on the results of the remaining games, the conference could have as many as ten bowl-eligible programs...or as few as the five listed above.  Most likely, the total number will be somewhere between those extremes.

But that raises an interesting question: is it better for the league to produce more bowl-eligible teams or less?  While I want my favorite school to qualify for the postseason, I have to admit ten bowl-eligible teams could be the worst thing to ever happen to the Big Ten--and here's why...
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FBT Power Rankings: Ohio State and Iowa to Battle for the Big Ten

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Kristofer Green

The Big Ten Championship or at least the Rose Bowl participant will be decided when the Iowa Hawkeyes travel to Columbus to face the Ohio State Buckeyes.

An Ohio State win would secure the Buckeyes fifth straight Big Ten title and mark Jim Tressel's first trip to the Rose Bowl. If the Buckeye's win the following week in Ann Arbor, Ohio State will claim it's third outright Big Ten Championship in five years.

An Iowa win would give the Hawkeyes their first Rose Bowl game since Hayden Fry roamed the sidelines and a win over Minnestoa would give Iowa their first outright title since 1985.

Penn State and Wisconsin are still in contention to share the title, but the Rose Bowl dreams for those teams is lost.

The lobbying and jockeying for bowl position is starting to become common place and the Big Ten remains the only conference to have each of its member schools still mathematically in bowl consideration.

For Indiana, Michigan, Purdue, and Illinois the margin of error is very slim to non-existant. While Minnesota and Michigan State most certainly should have the opportuity to win the one they still need.

The Northwestern Wildcats, already bowl eligible, will try to strengthen their case and possible bowl location with two more winnable games.

On to Week 11 Power Rankings...
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Carrying On About Big Ten Football: November 7

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Tim Cary

You may have heard, but Purdue won in Ann Arbor for the first time in forever Saturday afternoon.

Maybe there's hopes for the Cubs winning another World Series after all.


UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: PURDUE 38, MICHIGAN 36

Five things I learned from Purdue's first victory in the Big House since 1966...

Michigan vs. Purdue
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Ten by Ten Week Ten Results: History in the Making

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Kristofer Green

For the first time this season, no one posted a higher score than FBT's Kevin Paul.

FBT should acknowledge the superb effort of Marty Homan who tied Kevin's score of 60 points, but lost on the tie-breaker.

On to last week's results...


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A Topsy-Turvy Day In The Big Ten: Ohio State Now In Control of the Championship

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Kristofer Green

The Big Ten's topsy-turvy day has come to an end.

No. 4 Iowa saw it's magical run come to an end at the hands of the Northwestern Wildcats; Illinois continued its renaissance by holding on to beat the Gophers on the road; Western Michigan was no match for the "oh so close" Spartans; Purdue became the only team to sweep both Ohio State and Michigan this season; and Wisconsin held off a scrappy Indiana team.

Then there was the big game in State College...

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Ten by Ten Week Ten Picks with Guest Pick Tyler Kelly: The Big One in Happy Valley

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Kristofer Green

Hard to believe it, but Week Ten of the college football season is here. This week in the Big Ten there are several interesting match-ups.

Iowa will continue its quest for an undefeated season when the Hawkeyes welcome Northwestern to Kinnick Stadium; The Badgers play a desperate Indiana team that could be dangerous if it could ever put a whole game together; Michigan will hope to rebound against the sputtering Boilermakers in the Big House; The Gophers and the Illini will meet in a battle of dueling momentum; The Spartans get a "breather" against MAC foe Western Michigan.

And those are the noon games! Thanks Big Ten for making it easy to catch all the games!

Then there is the big one. The one that gets it's own time slot. That big 3:30 match-up. (Thanks again Big Ten for not allowing night games past October. We all know Happy Valley is better in the daylight!)

Ohio State will travel to Happy Valley to meet the Nittany Lions in a game that many believed would be the the psuedo Big Ten Championship game. The truth is, that it still could be.

There are so many story lines in this game it could make your head spin. Here are the highlights:

  • Terrelle Pryor returns to his home state after spurning them for the Buckeyes. His "its too country" quote ringing in their ears.
  • Darryl Clark, an Ohio native, is looking for his first signature win. Remember, it was Pat Devlin who led the Nittany Lions to their fourth quarter scores and the win in Columbus last season.
  • Ohio State still controls their own destiny in the Big Ten title race and must win to make the Iowa game meaningful. (Unless the Hawkeyes blow it against Northwestern.)
  • The Nittany Lions must win to keep their goal of repeating as Big Ten Champs, but they must also hope for an Iowa loss.
  • The series is tied at 12 wins apiece.
  • No team has swept both Ohio State and Michigan in back-to-back years in more than 40 years.
  • Joe Paterno and Jim Tressel are the first coaches to combine for more than 600 wins and met for a regular season game.
If history is any example, the big game today should also be a good one.

On to the picks...
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Top 10 Games in the Ohio State - Penn State Rivalry

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Kevin Paul

Saturday's game at Beaver Stadium marks the 25th time the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes have faced off, and in recent memory, the rivalry has seen a significant spike in growth, especially with the recent drop-off of Michigan football.

The series is all knotted up 12-12, featuring a number of exciting matchups over the years.  To further prove that fact, what better way to do so by taking a look at some of the top moments in recent history between Penn State and Ohio State... specifically the top ten games in the rivalry, featuring - what else - but 5 wins by the Nittany Lions and 5 by the Buckeyes, while including a famous name hat played in the game during that season.

Top 10 Games in the Ohio State - Penn State Rivalry
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FBT's Week Ten Power Rankings: Gearing Up For Another Epic Buckeye-Nittany Lion Clash

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Kristofer Green

The stage is set for another epic showdown in the Big Ten between title contenders Ohio State and Penn State this weekend.

Since 2005, the first year the two schools shared the Big Ten Championship, the teams have each won twice (once at home and once on the road). In both victories by the Lions, the Big Ten Championship was on the line and both times the Lions used a fumble by an Ohio State quarterback to propel them to victory.

In 2005, the Buckeyes were driving late in the fourth quarter, down by seven when Troy Smith fumbled trying to escape a sack. The Nits would run out the clock to preserve a 17-10 lead and secure the league's automatic BCS berth.

In 2008, the Buckeyes were clinging to a 6-3 lead in the fourth quarter and driving when Terrelle Pryor took a quarterback sneak to the edge and was stripped of the ball by a pouncing Nittany Lion defense. The Lions would go on to score 10 unanswered to win the game 13-6.

Saturday's game in Happy Valley is setting up to be another intense, defensive battle.

Joe Paterno's defense is eager to get after Pennsylvania native Terrelle Pryor and ready to prove that an easy schedule isn't the only reason why they are sitting at 8-1 and lead the conference in most defensive statistics.

Jim Tressel's defense sits right behind the Lions on all of those defensive statistic lists and after posting their third shut-out of the season are eager to prove that they are indeed the Big Ten's best defensive unit.

This important battle for position may just come down to another turnover... will the Buckeyes change history?

On to the Week Ten Power Rankings... 
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Ten by Ten Week Nine Results: A Five Way Tie At the Top

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Kristofer Green

Week Nine proved to be more difficult than originally anticipated.

No one who entered the contest got a score higher than 60 (out of 100). But, Marty Homan, Kristopher Fiecke Tyler Kelly, Mike Greenspire, and Paul Swaney all posted that score and for the first time in a few weeks the tie-breaker came into play.

The tie-break question for Week Nine:

How many total yards will New Mexico State have against Ohio State?

The Ohio State defense was as stout as ever last week holding the Aggies to 62 total yards and posted their third shut-out of the season.

Congratulations to TYLER KELLY who won the tie-breaker to become the WEEK NINE WINNER!

On to the results...
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Still Kicking: Devin Barclay Transitions From Major League Soccer to Ohio State Football

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Tim Cary

Saturday's much-anticipated showdown between Big Ten defending co-champions Ohio State and Penn State could very well come down to a high-pressure field goal attempt.

And if it does, Buckeye placekicker Devin Barclay, despite the fact he may be making his first career start in one of the season's most important games, is more than ready.

After all, Barclay has been kicking under pressure for years: the only difference is that he's accustomed to booting soccer balls, not footballs.

Barclay, a 26-year-old former walk-on, joined the Ohio State football program after wrapping up a Major League Soccer career that included stints with the Tampa Bay Mutiny, the San Jose Earthquakes, DC United, and most recently, the Columbus Crew.
Earthquakes v Rapids X

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Carrying On About Big Ten Football: October 31

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Tim Cary

Ohio State-New Mexico State summary, glass half-full edition:
"They had 310 rushing yards, so that's pretty fair." -- Jim Tressel, describing his offense's performance against NMSU.

Ohio State-New Mexico State summary, glass half-empty edition:
"This is the worst 45-point win I've ever seen." -- Ohio State fan on postgame radio call-in show.

Ohio State vs. Minneosta


UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: OHIO STATE 45, NEW MEXICO STATE 0


Just in case the previous two quotes didn't tell you everything there is to know about Saturday's Buckeyes-Aggies game, allow me to add five things I learned from my first trip to the Ohio Stadium press box.


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FBT's Ten by Ten Picks with Guest Picker Molly Cary

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Kristofer Green

Week eight winner Molly Cary joins the guys in picking this week's contest. From the looks of these predictions, we are in for a very ho-hum day in Big Ten action.

1. Predict the winner: Indiana at Iowa

TC:
Iowa
KG: Iowa
KP: Iowa

Molly Cary:
Iowa


2. Predict the winner: Purdue at Wisconsin

TC:
Wisconsin
KG: Wisconsin
KP: Wisconsin

Molly Cary:
Wisconsin


3. Predict the winner: Michigan at Illinois

TC:
Michigan
KG: Michigan
KP: Michigan

Molly Cary:
Michigan


4. Predict the winner: Penn State at Northwestern

TC:
Penn State
KG: Penn State
KP: Penn State

Molly Cary:
Penn State


5. Predict the winner: Michigan State at Minnesota

TC:
Michigan State
KG: Michigan State
KP: Michigan State

Molly Cary:
Michigan State


6. During Week 9, Big Ten starting QB ___________ will have 100+ more passing yards than Big Ten starting QB __________ (Note: Answers must be starters for a Big Ten team during Week 9).

TC:
Terrelle Pryor > Adam Weber
KG: No Big Ten QB will have 100 more yards passing than any other Big Ten QB 
KP: Darryl Clark > Adam Weber

Molly Cary:
Darryl Clark > Juice Williams


7. Tyler Sash of Iowa, the Big Ten leader in interceptions, will add to his pickoff total Saturday against Indiana: Yes or No?

TC:
Yes
KG: No
KP: No

Molly Cary:
Yes


8. Which kicker will score the most points during Week 9: Collin Wagner (Penn State), Daniel Murray (Iowa), or Jason Olesnavage (Michigan)?

TC:
Daniel Murray
KG: Daniel Murray
KP: Jason Olesnavage

Molly Cary:
Daniel Murray


9. How many of these three scenarios will come true on offense during Week 9: a) Terrelle Pryor will accumulate 300+ total yards, b) Juice Williams will have more TD passes than INT's, and c) Indiana's Tandon Doss will be the leading receiver (in yards) during the game against Iowa?

TC:
Two
KG: Two
KP: One

Molly Cary:
Two


10. How many of these three scenarios will come true on defense during Week 9: a) Sean Lee of Penn State will have a double-digit tackle game, b) Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan will have at least one sack, and c) O'Brien Schofield of Wisconsin will have at least one tackle for a loss.

TC:
Two
KG: Two
KP: Two

Molly Cary:
Three


TIE-BREAKER:  How many total yards will New Mexico State have against Ohio State?

TC:
231
KG: 187
KP: 199

Molly Cary:
135


Handpicked Highlights: Zeke And Zug Finally Getting Noticed

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Tim Cary

Zug, Markshausen have taken similar route to Big Ten.  PublicOpinionOnline.com compares the humble beginnings of Northwestern wideout Zeke Marshausen and Penn State receiver Graham Zug, heading into Saturday's showdown between the Wildcats and Nittany Lions.
Indiana vs. NorthwesternPenn State v Ohio State

Craziest headline of the week.  I understand Purdue is enjoying a two-game winning streak, but did you really just mention the Rose Bowl, even in jest?
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Three Reasons Why Purdue Quarterbacks Are Undefeated In The National Football League

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Tim Cary

As the calendar turns from October to November this weekend, there are only three undefeated teams remaining in the NFL: the New Orleans Saints, the Denver Broncos, and the Indianapolis Colts.

Any guesses what they have in common?

(Very good: I was hoping that you'd already read the headline!)

The Saints, Broncos, and Colts rosters all feature ex-Purdue quarterbacks, namely Drew Brees, Kyle Orton, and Curtis Painter.

New York Jets v New Orleans SaintsDallas Cowboys v Denver BroncosPhiladelphia Eagles v Indianapolis Colts


Now, while Painter is a rookie 3rd-stringer who has yet to take a snap in 2009, both Brees and Orton have started every game for their respective clubs.

Purdue University has long been known as the "Cradle of Quarterbacks", turning out such well-known passers as Bob Griese, Mark Herrmann, Jim Everett, Len Dawson, Gary Danielson, etc.

That reputation was continued, if not strengthened, during the Joe Tiller era.  His 12 years at the helm of the Boilermaker football program divided up perfectly into the Brees years (Drew played sparingly in 1997 and started the next three seasons), the Orton years (Kyle took over halfway through 2001 and started the next three seasons), and finally, the Painter years (Curtis became the starter in the middle of the 2005 campaign and started the next three years).
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Lazy Halloween Costumes for Sports Stars: 2009 Edition

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Kevin Paul

In honor of Halloween, I've come up with a list of Halloween costumes that can be easily put together for the sports stars of the world.

Why? Well, plain and simple, they look like them, so each individual can be lazy and basically go as themselves--er...the other celebrity that they look like.

A few come from the Big Ten, to honor the theme of this site, while others are from various other sports.

Without further ado, I give you...

Lazy Halloween Costumes for Sports Stars: 2009 Edition*

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Big Ten Power Rankings: Hawks, Nits, and Bucks Push for the Title

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Kristofer Green

The Hawkeyes got a touchdown with no time remaining to go 8-0 for the first time in school history.

The Nittany Lions, led by another brilliant performance from quarterback Darryl Clark, put the Wolverines in their place... in their place.

The Buckeyes rebounded from rock bottom with a stellar performance from embattled quarterback Terrelle Pryor and emerging star receiver DeVier Posey and still control their own destiny in the title hunt.

Barring some pretty spectacular upsets, the Big Ten race is down to three.

Who gets to Pasadena?
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Ten by Ten Week Eight Results: Congrats to Molly Cary!

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Kristofer Green

For the first time this season, FBT's Ten by Ten Contest has a repeat winner! Congratulations to Molly Cary, who won week eight with an impressive score of 80 points (out of 100).

Molly, who also won the contest in the first week, has also stood atop the leader board all season and now stands an impressive 55 points in front of the closest competitor.

Week Nine questions are now posted! Get in on the fun and become our next weekly winner.

On to last week's results...
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Breaking News: Minnesota's Eric Decker Done For Regular Season

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Tim Cary

Minnesota coach Tim Brewster said today that star wide receiver Eric Decker will miss the rest of the regular season with his foot injury, according to TwinCities.com.
Ohio State vs. Minneosta

Decker has been arguably the best receiver in the conference during the 2009 season, averaging over six catches a game and accounting for five receiving touchdowns.  His loss, obviously, is a massive blow to the Golden Gophers' bowl hopes. 

Minnesota currently sits at 4-4, and assuming a win against South Dakota State and a loss to undefeated Iowa, Brewster's team would need a victory against either Michigan State or Illinois at home to qualify for the postseason.

That task will become much harder with the loss of the Gophers' best player.

Another Blow For Hawkeyes In Injury Department: Richardson and Robinson Out

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Tim Cary

In today's media teleconference, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed what most already knew or suspected after the latest Hawkeye depth chart was released: his undefeated team will have to start getting used to life without offensive lineman Dace Richardson and running back Adam Robinson.

The Hawkeyes have suffered through more than their fair share of adversity this year, including losing projected tailback starter Jewel Hampton to a knee injury, missing standout lineman Bryan Bulaga for three games due to a thyroid issue, and playing without receiving weapons Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Tony Moeaki earlier because of injuries.

The news about Richardson and Robinson, who are both expected to miss the rest of the season, makes Iowa's chase for a possible national title a little more difficult.  However, Ferentz and company have overcome every challenge so far this year, most notably the injuries and a horrendous road schedule (with wins at Penn State, at Wisconsin, at Michigan State), so let's not count the Hawks out in the title conversation just yet. 

Iowa is averaging 123 rushing yards a game, so with the loss of both a lineman and running back this week, look for quarterback Ricky Stanzi to get some more opportunities to wing the ball around the field as the season progresses.

The schedule features a pair of winnable games against Indiana and Northwestern before the huge showdown in Columbus against the four-time defending champion Ohio State Buckeyes, so Ferentz will have some time to figure out how to best use new starting running back, Brandon Wegher prior to the matchup that could decide this year's Big Ten champion.

It won't be easy for Iowa to finish the season undefeated.

But it hasn't really been easy to this point either.

Iowa v Penn State

Carrying On About Big Ten Football: October 24

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Tim Cary

So far this season, I've watched three Big Ten football games from the comfort of the press box.

I like this.

Especially because press boxes happen to be climate-controlled.

This past weekend, I hadn't applied for any media credentials, and I had visions of enjoying my day off by sitting at home with my two televisions and watching college football all afternoon.

You see, my living room is also climate controlled.

However, I ended up receiving free tickets to the Ohio State/Minnesota game in Columbus at the last minute.  And while watching college football on television is a great way to spend a fall Saturday, watching college football in person is an even better option. 
Wisconsin v Ohio State

Only one small problem.  The Buckeyes tickets, which were generously given to me by my mother-in-law (thanks Betsy!), were in the C deck of the Horseshoe.

And in case you wondered...

...the C-deck is not climate-controlled.

Without any further ado, it's the hypothermic edition of "Carrying On About Big Ten Football".

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EARLY GAME RESULTS: Pryor, Buckeyes Respond With A Dominating Performance

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Kristofer Green

Ohio State 38, Minnesota 7

Embattled Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and his offense responded to two weeks of growing criticism with a dominating second half performance against a suddenly struggling Minnesota squad.

The Buckeyes wracked up 509 yards of total offense and Pryor accounted for 343 total yards and three touchdowns, including two bombs to receiver DeVier Posey who had 161 and the two touchdowns.

The Gophers again struggled to move the ball on offense with any consistency. Adam Weber threw for 112 yards on only 10 completions and had two interceptions. Weber's day seem to unravel when all-everything receiver Eric Decker left in the first quarter with a foot injury.


Northwestern 29, Indiana 28

The Wildcats, down 28-3 to Indiana with 7:32 remaining in the second quarter, finally showed up to play. Quarterback Mike Kafka directed two long scoring drives in the final 4:07 of the first half to get the Wildcats back in the game.

Then the Northwestern defense completely shut down the Hoosier offense in the second half, while the 'Cats defense added a safety, Kafka tossed another touchdown, and Stefan Demos sealed the comeback with a 19 yard field goal with :21 remaining.

Indiana failed to capitalize on a dominant first 20 minutes and the Hoosier defense could not stop Kafka, who picked them apart with ease on his way to a 312 yard day.


Purdue 24, Illinois 14

The Boilermakers used the momentum from last week's upset win over the Buckeyes and another excellent defensive performance this week to beat a reeling Illinois team who is still searching for their first victory over an FBS opponent.

Purdue backs Ralph Bolden and Jaycen Taylor combined for 149 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Joey Elliott added another 62 yards and a touchdown on the ground as the Boilermakers turned in the first turnover free performance of the season.

The Illini used three quarterbacks who combined for 142 yards and and interception. Ron Zook, seemingly in search of a spark on offense, is instead grasping at straws at this point. Using three quarterbacks is not the way to establish consistency on offense.

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