UNDATED (AP) — The Big Ten’s tradition of producing elite running backs is alive and well. The conference features the nation’s top two rushers in Illinois’ Chase Brown and Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim. Four others are running for better than 100 yards per game. No other league has more than three. The Big Ten is the only conference the last 10 years that has had at least two players finish the season with rushing averages of 100 yards per game or better. Others averaging at least 100 yards are Nebraska’s Anthony Grant, Penn State’s Nicholas Singleton, Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen and Northwestern’s Evan Hull.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska interim coach Mickey Joseph says he wants a defense that stops the run and pass and gives up no points. The Cornhuskers have shown they have a long way to go to reach Joseph’s goal. Joseph fired defensive coordinator Erik Chinander after the 49-7 loss to Oklahoma and replaced him with Bill Busch. The Huskers have an open date this week before they host Indiana on Oct. 1. Busch has his work cut out for him. The Huskers statistically are one of the worst defenses in the country.
UNDATED (AP) — The College Football Playoff is built to expand. While only three games determine a champion, the current postseason format is seven games: Two semifinals, a championship game and four marquee bowls. To convert a four-team playoff into 12 requires four more games and about three more weeks. Expanding for the 2024 and ’25 seasons largely hinges upon whether the already-scheduled semifinals and championship game can be pushed back. The NFL schedule will play a big role, too. College football fans should be prepared to watch playoff games on weeknights.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin has a new offensive coordinator and a mostly new group of receivers this season. It turns out the Badgers also might have a new version of quarterback Graham Mertz. He has increased his efficiency and decreased his mistakes in his third season as a starter after throwing more interceptions than touchdown passes last year. Mertz is ranked fifth among all Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks in passer rating after finishing 92nd in that category a year ago. Mertz faces arguably the biggest test of his career Saturday when Wisconsin opens its Big Ten schedule at No. 3 Ohio State.
UNDATED (AP) — Purdue coach Jeff Brohm has seen enough. Two days after a flurry of last-minute penalties cost the Boilermakers a victory at Syracuse, Brohm called on his team — even himself — to stop chatting with the refs or opposing players. Instead, he wants everyone to remain focused on making plays. And while Brohm says he disagreed with some of Saturday’s calls, he apologized to players for the flag he drew, instructed his assistants to change their teaching techniques and asked players to clean things up.
UNDATED (AP) — Three weeks into the season and there are still more than few teams ranked in The Associated Press college football poll ranked that have a lot to prove. No. 4 Michigan is the prime example. The Wolverines have scored at least 50 in each of their first three games, but those opponents are a combined 0-9 against other FBS teams. But where it is ranked is based more on faith than accomplishments. Reality check rolls through the rankings this week, looking for mystery teams.
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