Big Ten Weekly Football Release - Nov. 8
Nov. 8, 2010
Paterno Hits 400: With a victory over Northwestern last weekend, Penn State's Joe Paterno became the first Football Bowl Subdivision head coach to record 400 career victories. The Nittany Lions mentor is in his 45th season as a head coach and boasts a record of 400-132-3. He has served as head coach at PSU in 535 games, which ranks second in college football history behind only the 578 games for Chicago's Amos Alonzo Stagg. In comparison, the 10 other current Big Ten coaches have been on the sidelines for a combined 610 games at conference institutions with 367 triumphs. Paterno joins John Gagliardi (477-active) and Eddie Robinson (408) as the only coaches in NCAA history with 400 victories. Paterno earned his 400th career win at Beaver Stadium, the same location as his first, 100th, 200th and 300th victories. He has been a member of the PSU coaching staff for 57 percent of the Nittany Lions' games all-time. Since becoming the head coach in 1966, there have been 863 coaching changes at other Division I schools.
Big Ten Title Up For Grabs: With just three weekends of Big Ten play remaining, nine conference teams maintain hopes of earning at least a share of the Big Ten Championship. Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa each boast only one loss in conference action, with the Spartans in sole possession of first place with a 5-1 mark. The Buckeyes, Badgers and Hawkeyes have each won four of their first five conference contests to stand in a three-way tie for second in the standings. Since each of the top four teams could still finish with three losses, five other conference teams still have a chance to end the year in first place in the standings, including Penn State (3-2), Illinois (3-3), Michigan (2-3), Northwestern (2-3) and Purdue (2-3). Michigan State has a bye on Saturday, which means that Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa all have an opportunity to move into a tie for first place. The Buckeyes and Badgers have home games against Penn State and Indiana, respectively, while Iowa faces a road test at Northwestern. In other conference games, Illinois hosts Minnesota while Michigan plays at Purdue.
Breaking Down the Top Four: Among the top four teams in the standings, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin face only one more road game, while Iowa must hit the road for two of its final three contests. The Spartans have a bye on Saturday and then split their final two games home and away, while the Buckeyes and Badgers each wrap up the regular season with two of three games at home. In regards to the remaining opponents' records, the Buckeyes face the most challenging slate as their final three opponents have a combined mark of 9-6 (.600) in Big Ten play, including a road matchup at Iowa. The Spartans' final two foes are a combined 5-5 (.500), the Hawkeyes' last three games are against teams with a combined mark of 6-10 (.375) and the Badgers face three teams with a combined record of 4-11 (.267).
Big Ten Tiebreaker: While every Big Ten team that ends the year atop the conference standings will earn a share of the Big Ten Championship, the conference's automatic representative to the Bowl Championship Series will be determined by the conference tiebreaker. See page nine of this release for the full tiebreaker.
Big Ten Polling Place: The Big Ten leads all conferences with four of the top 13 teams in the latest Bowl Championship Series (BCS) rankings. Wisconsin leads the way after moving up two spots to No. 7 in the latest BCS poll, the Badgers' highest ranking since ending the 2006 campaign at No. 7. After a bye last weekend, Ohio State jumped two spots to No. 9 in the BCS standings. Michigan State and Iowa both climbed three spots in the poll, with the Spartans rated No. 11 and the Hawkeyes ranked No. 13.
Offensive Explosion: Last Saturday at Michigan Stadium, Illinois and Michigan went to triple overtime and piled up 132 points to shatter the record for combined scoring in a conference game. After the two teams concluded regulation tied at 45-45, both squads tallied touchdowns on each of three overtime drives. Forced to go for a two-point conversion after two extra sessions, the Wolverines were successful on their attempt while the Illini were finally stopped to give Michigan a 67-65 victory. The two teams combined for 1,237 yards of total offense, 665 passing yards, 572 rushing yards and 58 first downs in the game. The previous Big Ten record for combined scoring in a conference games was 115 points when Minnesota defeated Purdue, 59-56, on Oct. 9, 1993. The last time two Big Ten teams combined for 105 or more points was on Nov. 4, 2000, when Northwestern defeated Michigan, 54-51. The last college football game to feature more points occurred on Nov. 10, 2007, when Navy defeated North Texas, 72-64. The last game with two teams each scoring at least 65 points was Oct. 14, 2007, when Boise State edged Nevada, 69-67.
Michigan and Penn State Give Big Ten Seven Bowl Eligible Teams: Michigan (6-3) and Penn State (6-3) both picked up their sixth victories on Saturday to become eligible for bowl play. Five other Big Ten schools previously secured bowl eligibility, including Michigan State (9-1), Ohio State (8-1), Wisconsin (8-1), Iowa (7-2) and Northwestern (6-3). Michigan ranks second in Big Ten history with 39 bowl appearances and is looking for its first bowl trip since winning the Capital One Bowl after the 2007 campaign. Penn State is targeting a sixth straight bowl trip and 37th postseason contest under head coach Joe Paterno, who is the NCAA's all-time leader in bowl victories (24) and bids (36).
Three More Teams Target Bowl Eligibility: Illinois (5-4), Indiana (4-5) and Purdue (4-5) each maintain hopes of becoming bowl eligible with three games left on the regular season schedule. The Illini are aiming for their second postseason game under head coach Ron Zook and the first since the team played in the Rose Bowl Game following the 2007 campaign. The Hoosiers are targeting a 10th bowl trip and first since Bill Lynch's opening season as the head coach in 2007. The Boilermakers have played in seven bowl games since 2000, most recently with a victory in the 2007 Motor City Bowl, and are looking for a postseason bid in Danny Hope's second season at the helm.
A New Bowl Lineup: The Big Ten has eight bowl tie-ins for the first time in conference history - the Rose Bowl Game/Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game, Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl, Gator Bowl, Insight Bowl, Texas Bowl, Dallas Football Classic and Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. If the Big Ten champion (or co-champion) is ranked No. 1 or 2 in the final BCS rankings, that team will play in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 10, 2011, in Glendale, Ariz.
Ferentz Joins Century Club: In a matchup of two coaches looking for their 100th career victories, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz came out on top with a win over Indiana and head coach Bill Lynch. Ferentz is now 100-78 in his 15th season as a head coach, including a previous stint at Maine. Lynch has compiled 99 triumphs over 17-plus seasons at Butler, Ball State, DePauw and Indiana, and will aim for his 100th career triumph on Saturday at Wisconsin.
Trophy Bye Week: In a conference that features 15 traditional trophy games, no trophies will be on the line on Saturday. Trophy games return to the Big Ten schedule on Nov. 20 when Illinois battles Northwestern for the Land of Lincoln Trophy.
Nation's Best Fans: With 374,934 fans at five Big Ten stadiums last weekend, the Big Ten surpassed the two-million mark in attendance for conference games only. Big Ten teams have welcomed 2,074,707 patrons for 29 games, including 14 full houses. The Big Ten's average attendance of 71,542 per contest in conference games would rank third in Big Ten history behind only the 2005 (72,169) and 2008 (72,099) seasons.
Playing Smart Football: Big Ten student-athletes continue to excel both on the field and in the classroom, as 19 conference standouts were named to Academic All-District first teams presented by ESPN. The conference's list of honorees included Illinois' Anthony Santella, Indiana's Ben Chappell, Adam Replogle and Tyler Replogle, Iowa's Tyler Nielsen, Jeff Tarpinian and Julian Vandervelde, Northwestern's Doug Bartels, Patrick Ward and Kevin Watt, Ohio State's Bryant Browning, Penn State's Chris Colasanti, Pete Massaro and Stefen Wisniewski, Purdue's Kyle Adams, Dan Dierking and Joe Holland and Wisconsin's Bradie Ewing and Peter Konz. To be eligible for the award, a player must be in at least his second year of athletic eligibility, be a first-team or key performer and carry a cumulative 3.30 grade point average. First-team selections will be added to the national ballot and are eligible for Academic All-America honors to be announced on November 23. Last season, the Big Ten topped all conferences for the fifth straight year with eight student-athletes named to the Academic All-America first or second teams in football. The Big Ten also led the way with six first-team selections, matching the third-highest total in conference history behind only the seven first-team honorees in 2008 and the eight first-team choices in 2006. The Big Ten paces all conferences with 43 Academic All-Americans in the sport of football over the last five years, including at least eight honorees every season. Penn State's Wisniewski is looking to earn Academic All-America accolades for the second straight season.
OTHER TOP PERFORMERS - NOV. 6