Chicago Colleges: Grant Sims

Big Ten viewer’s guide: Week 7

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
10:00
AM CT
Week 7 is here, and let’s not sugarcoat it: Big Ten football has looked more interesting on other weekends. This first Saturday of the season without nonconference action lacks marquee matchups. Still, the division races will continue to take shape.

Here’s a look at the five games (all times Eastern):

Noon

Illinois (3-3) and Wisconsin (3-2), ESPN2: Will Melvin Gordon run for 300 yards? If the Badgers wanted it to happen, Illinois’ 119th-ranked rushing defense would likely comply. More of the intrigue in Madison involves the quarterbacks. For Wisconsin, Joel Stave, who returned last week against Northwestern, will see time, in addition to Tanner McEvoy, who might also take a shot at receiver. And with Illinois’ Wes Lunt out with a fractured leg, senior Reilly O’Toole and sophomore Aaron Bailey, who was set to redshirt, have competed in practice this week.

Indiana (3-2) and Iowa (4-1), ESPNU: Indiana has shown it can win on the road in tough spots, handing Missouri its lone loss on Sept. 20. The Hoosiers are more explosive on offense than any foe Iowa has faced. But Indiana still can’t defend well, in particular against proficient quarterbacks. The Hawkeyes are going back to Jake Rudock at the start, but C.J. Beathard will play. How well can Greg Davis manage this? If it’s a disaster, Indiana might just find itself in the right place at the right time for an upset bid.

[+] EnlargeDavid Cobb
Leon Halip/Getty ImagesDavid Cobb and Minnesota can take a big step in their quest for a Western Division crown by beating Northwestern on Saturday.
Northwestern (3-2) at Minnesota (4-1), BTN: Who would have guessed a month ago, as the Golden Gophers fell flat at TCU and the Wildcats sat winless, that this game would have legitimate implications for the West Division title race? It does, with NU in quest of a third straight unexpected win to open league play. Its defense led the charge against Penn State and Wisconsin. Minnesota is simply solid, led by David Cobb, statistically the league’s most valuable offensive player. Minnesota has defended the pass especially well in recent games and will test Northwestern’s Trevor Siemian, 13th in the Big Ten in QBR.

3:30 p.m.

No. 8 Michigan State (4-1) at Purdue (3-3), ESPN2: At least it’s not the best team in the Big Ten against the worst. Purdue escaped the low spot last week with a win over Illinois. And sophomore quarterback Austin Appleby looked good in the victory. Very good, in fact. Back at home, he figures to find a much more difficult situation against the Spartans, who might come in a bit angry after nearly blowing a 24-point, fourth-quarter lead against Nebraska.

7 p.m.

Penn State (4-1) at Michigan (2-4), ESPN2: The visitors from Happy Valley, after an off week, get an opportunity to show that their anemic performance against Northwestern was just a fluke. With an upcoming stretch of three challenging games, no better time exists for PSU to get healthy than at Michigan, trying to avoid its first 0-3 start in the Big Ten since 1965. Against a good Penn State front, the Wolverines must protect Devin Gardner and throw the football, neither of which they’ve done well in recent weeks.

Required reading

Odiase, Sims commit to UIC

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
11:49
AM CT
Homewood-Flossmoor (Ill.) senior power forward Tai Odiase and Bloomington North (Ind.) combo guard Grant Sims committed to UIC on Sunday.

Odiase, a 6-foot-9, 195-pound forward, chose the Flames over Ball State, Kent State, IPFW, Southern Illinois and Valparaiso. Odiase, who is ranked the No. 53 power forward in the country by ESPN, committed to UIC while on an official visit this weekend.

Sims, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound guard, also committed to UIC while on an official visit this weekend. He had offers from Air Force, Miami (Ohio) and UNC-Asheville, among others.

“I was just really comfortable with the coaching staff,” Odiase said in a phone interview on Sunday. “From Day 1, they’ve been recruiting me the hardest. They were the first to recruit me. They really believe in my skill set and feel they can develop me in the next four years. I think they can get me where I need to be in the future.”

UIC assistant coach Donnie Kirksey was the lead recruiter on Odiase. UIC assistant coach Stew Robinson was the lead recruiter on Sims.

Odiase and Sims are UIC’s first and second Class of 2014 commitments. The Flames also recently received a commitment from Class of 2015 combo guard Drew Hackett, who is from Munster, Ind.

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