No. 18 Iowa won the Big Ten West by mucking things up for everyone else. The Hawkeyes’ strategy failed them Saturday. While the defense did its part by holding one of the nation’s best offenses to two touchdowns and four field goals, their offensive struggles resurfaced in a 26-0 loss to No. 2 Michigan — their second conference title-game loss to the Wolverines in three years.
Iowa defensive end Joe Evans spent six years defying the odds, going from walk-on linebacker to all-conference defensive end. Now Evans wants to close out his career with one more memorable moment — helping No. 16 Iowa upset No. 2 Michigan in Saturday's Big Ten championship. The Wolverines are seeking an unprecedented third consecutive outright league title and a second straight playoff bid. And they are a 22 1/2-point favorite. But Iowa hasn't forgotten its 39-point loss to Michigan in the 2021 title game and is embracing the underdog role.
Michigan State has hired coach Jonathan Smith away from No. 15 Oregon State. The school has announced the move. Interim coach Harlon Barnett was 2-8 in place of Mel Tucker, who was suspended and later fired. The 44-year-old Smith was 34-35 over six seasons at Oregon State, including an 8-4 mark this year to help the program to at least eight wins in consecutive seasons for the first time in more than a decade. Smith had six years remaining on his contract, worth $31.2 million through 2029.
Toledo will have a lot on its plate a day after Thanksgiving. The Rockets, who are ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2015, can keep themselves in the conversation for a coveted spot in the New Year's Day bowl lineup with a win at Central Michigan. No. 23 Toledo has won 10 straight since losing at Illinois in the season opener on a last-second field goal. The Rockets have already clinched the MAC West title and will face Miami for the conference title next week. First, though, they'll have to handle the Chippewas, who can become bowl eligible with an upset.
Back in the AP Top 25, Toledo will have a lot on the line when it visits Central Michigan on Friday. The Rockets have won 10 straight since losing the season opener at Illinois. If they can avoid an upset this week and win the MAC title game on Dec. 2 against Miami, the Rockets can earn a spot in a New Year's Bowl game. Toledo has lost its last two trips to Central Michigan. The Chippewas have to win to become bowl eligible.
No. 11 Penn State has plenty to play for when it faces injury-riddled Michigan State on Friday in the regular-season finale at Ford Field in Detroit. The Nittany Lions (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) cannot afford a loss, needing a win to solidify their chances for a New Year's Six bowl game. A Penn State loss to Michigan State (4-7, 2-6) would likely knock the Nittany Lions out of contention for a bid to the Peach, Fiesta or Cotton bowls. The game could be Harlon Barnett's last as Michigan State's head coach. Barnett was named interim coach on Sept. 10, when the school suspended, and later fired, Mel Tucker.
Tyson Walker scored 21 points, including 16 in the first half, and A.J. Hoggard added 14 to lead No. 18 Michigan State to a 74-54 victory over Butler in the Gavitt Tipoff Games. Malik Hall scored 12 for the Spartans, who moved to 4-0 in the Gavitt Games and have won four of the last five meetings with the Bulldogs. Michigan State avoided starting the season 1-3 for the first time since 1976. Jahmyl Telfort scored 15 points for Butler. Pierre Brooks, who transferred from Michigan State following last season, had 13 points.
Saturday's game between border rivals Michigan State and Indiana may seem meaningless since both teams will not be bowl eligible. That's not how these teams see it, though. The Hoosiers are trying to build on the momentum of stringing together their three best games of the season. The Spartans, meanwhile, are trying to finish this unexpectedly challenging season with their first road win of the year. And the winner heads home with the rivalry's prized trophy — the Old Brass Spittoon.
Fifth-ranked Washington's last six wins have all been by 10 points or less. If the Huskies are going to make it to 12-0 they’ll probably have to keep winning close ones. Next up is a visit to No. 10 Oregon State followed by perhaps the final Apple Cup game against Washington State. The other Top 25 matchups have No. 1 Georgia visiting No. 21 Tennessee. The Bulldogs will be looking to stay in the top four of the College Football Playoff standings. No. 16 Utah is at No. 19 Arizona for a meeting of teams jockeying for best bowl position.
The opening week of the college basketball season had one marquee game, No. 3 Arizona’s win at No. 9 Duke. Week 2 will have two on the same night at the same place. The opening game of the State Farm Champions Classic in Chicago Tuesday night will feature No. 9 Duke against No. 18 Michigan State. The nightcap at United Center will pit top-ranked Kansas against No. 17 Kentucky. That’s some night of hoops. No. 4 Marquette also will face No. 23 Illinois and No. 24 James Madison will play as a ranked team for the first time.
Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 15 points and No. 25 Illinois went on a 16-5 run to end the game to turn back upset-minded Oakland 64-53. Quincy Guerrier and Dain Dainja were forces inside for the Illinois. Guerrier had 13 points and a team-high 10 rebounds and Dainja had 10 points and seven rebounds. Ty Rodgers also had 10 points for Illinois. Trey Townsend had 19 points and team-best 10 rebounds for Oakland. Oakland took an early 8-0 lead before Illinois went ahead for the first time 17-15 and led by just one at halftime.
Facing a rapidly shifting landscape in college sports, the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten and Pac-12 have agreed to work together to create stability during volatile times.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio announced his retirement Tuesday, ending a 13-year run in which he guided the Spartans to heights they hadn't reached in decades.
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