Alvarez coaching home finale for Wisconsin
From Barry Alvarez's final home game at Wisconsin to John L. Smith's hot seat at Michigan State, the Big Ten is covered here.
Indiana hasn't won at Michigan since 1967, when the Hoosiers made their only Rose Bowl appearance. IU is 0-14 at The Big House since then and 1-28 in the series. That's probably why all eight times in which Indiana has played at Michigan since 1985 have been during the Wolverines' homecoming. Coach Terry Hoeppner passed out bracelets reading, "Play 12," to his team in August. The motto signified Hoeppner's desire to get Indiana's seniors to the first bowl game of their careers. That looked promising after a 4-1 start, but IU must win at Michigan and at home against Purdue next week to realize Hoeppner's postseason goal. IU hasn't been bowl eligible since 1994. Wide receiver James Hardy left the loss to Minnesota with a leg injury midway through the third quarter.
Maybe it's a prerequisite of being the head coach at Illinois, or maybe it's just his nature. Whatever the reason, Ron Zook could seemingly spy the sunshine in a thunderstorm. Of the season-low 160 yards his team registered in a 40-2 loss at Ohio State, he chirped, "We're not the first offense that's had trouble against that defense." Maybe not, but Illinois is the only team in the Big Ten that's lost 21 of its last 22 conference games. The Illini appear to be playing at Purdue at the wrong time. The Boilermakers are coming off an upset of Michigan State and have figured things out on defense. Illinois has few apparent answers, given its 276-70 scoring deficit in league games so far. Maybe the worst is over. Illinois has played Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin in consecutive weeks, getting hammered by a collective 144-36 margin. The Illini's only points at OSU came on Kevin Mitchell's 75-yard return of a botched extra point.