Big Ten Saturday: No Wells for Buckeyes
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Just a quick rundown this morning before I hit the road for West Lafayette, Ind. If you missed it Friday night, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel announced that running back Chris "Beanie" Wells will miss tonight's matchup against top-ranked USC (ABC, 8 p.m. ET).
A steady rain is falling here in Chicago, and weather could be a major factor in several Big Ten games Saturday. Perhaps it slows down Oregon enough to keep Purdue close. And it can't be good for the sputtering offenses of Michigan and Notre Dame.
- Without Wells, Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman must shoulder more of the load tonight, Tim May writes in The Columbus Dispatch. Same goes for a heralded Buckeyes defense, Doug Lesmerises writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer. The sagging Big Ten should be rooting for Ohio State, Drew Sharp writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- Illinois linebacker Martez Wilson is the second coming of "The Freak," Bob Asmussen writes in The (Champaign) News-Gazette.
- Iowa appears settled at quarterback with Ricky Stanzi, but there's healthy competition at several other spots, Marc Morehouse writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. The Cy-Hawk game usually doesn't match its hype, Pat Harty writes in the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
- The Ann Arbor News' Jim Carty sees Notre Dame edging Michigan in a defensive struggle. Despite its early struggles, Michigan's spread offense will test Notre Dame's team speed, Michael Rothstein writes in The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Fighting Irish coach Charlie Weis really needs to win this one, Teddy Greenstein writes in the Chicago Tribune.
- Michigan State's next step is playing its best regardless of the competition, Steve Grinczel writes.
- Freshman running back Shady Salamon should get the start today for Minnesota, and he's up to the task, Kent Youngblood writes in the Star Tribune.
- Coach Pat Fitzgerald wants to see a strong start, more third-down conversions and better discipline from Northwestern today against FBS-slayer Southern Illinois, Jim O'Donnell writes in the Chicago Sun-Times.
- A great look back at the Penn State-Syracuse rivalry from Mark Viera of The New York Times. In case you missed it, no Maurice Evans or Abe Koroma for the Lions again today.
- Purdue running back Kory Sheets wanted the spotlight. He's got it today against Oregon, Tom Kubat writes in The (Lafayette, Ind.) Journal and Courier. Oregon's offense isn't the team's only unit with tremendous speed. Check out the secondary, Stacy Clardie writes in The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.
- Wisconsin's mammoth offensive line knows it needs to be better tonight against Fresno State, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Badgers can expect some harsh treatment tonight at Bulldog Stadium, Tom Mulhern writes in the Wisconsin State Journal.