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Big Ten Notebook: Pelini's upset again, part II

BY JACOB SHEYKO | OCTOBER 22, 2014 5:00 AM

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When the Associated Press released college football’s top-25 rankings on Sunday, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, and Auburn were all ranked among the top-five.

It was the first time in college football history where four teams from the same conference were ranked in the top five.

Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini has no problem with the talent in the South, but he made headlines this week with his comments about the relationship between the SEC and ESPN.

“I don’t think that kind of relationship is good for college football,” he said on Monday. “That’s just my opinion. Anytime you have a relationship with somebody, you have a partnership, you are supposed to be neutral. It’s pretty hard to stay neutral in that situation.”

Pelini focused on ESPN’s relationship with the SEC Network, which began programming this season.

Pelini continued to voice his concerns on Tuesday. He specifically spoke about his concerns when determining teams to compete in the NCAA’s new playoff format.

“You want to be as neutral as you possibly can, and I’m sure they say that they are, but we’re all human,” Pelini said. “Would it worry me if it came down to two teams and a decision?

“Yeah, it would worry me a little bit.”

Michigan and Michigan State prepare for rivalry game

Michigan and Michigan State are two programs in vastly different scenarios.

Michigan still has a head coach who’s somewhat on the hot seat, because the team sits at 3-4.

Recently, the program’s has declined.

Michigan State, meanwhile, has a head coach who’s seemingly going nowhere. The team’s only loss this season came in the second week at No. 6 Oregon, and the program has continued to improve over the last few seasons.

These two programs will face off this week in the battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy.

“It’s one of those games, when you’re playing a rivalry, you’ve got to play your best,” Michigan head coach Brady Hoke said.

While Michigan is primarily known as the state’s most popular football program, the Spartans have won five of the last six contests between the two.

“I think there’s no question we point to this game,” Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said. “It affects your perception day-to-day in this state.”

Minnesota sneaks into coaches’ poll

If Minnesota had handedly defeated Purdue this past week, chances are it might have snuck into the AP top 25.

But the Gophers merely squeaked by the Boilermakers, needing a 52-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to win the game.

While Minnesota might only receive some votes in the latest AP Poll, it is now ranked 24th in the USA Today coaches’ poll.

“We’re building a program here at Minnesota,” head coach Jerry Kill said after the team’s win over Purdue. “… They showed some character and maturity, which is something we haven’t had.”

Kill has a reputation as a program-building coach. He did so previously at Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois before heading to Minneapolis.

Now in his fourth year with Minnesota, Kill has built this resurgence around the running game. The Gophers rush, on average, for 222.4 rushing yards per game, which ranks 27th in the nation.

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald noted that Minnesota had other aspects of Kill in it as well, including, primarily, the hard work and dedication.

“That program has Jerry’s personality all over it,” Fitzgerald said.

Follow @JacobSheyko on Twitter for updates, news, and analysis about the Iowa football team.


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