Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
Big Ten football teams play their first conference games this week and a big game will top the schedule.
Nebraska is 4-0 and plays at Wisconsin, also 4-0. In the new divisions, Nebraska is in The Legends and Wisconsin is in The Leaders. In other words, they could meet in the Big Ten championship game to be played in Indianapolis.
In order to gain that tilt, Nebraska will face challenges from Michigan and Iowa while Wisconsin will battle Ohio State, Penn State and surprising Illinois for division honors.
The Illini are 4-0 after turning back Western Michigan 23-20 while Michigan went to 4-0 by beating San Diego State 28-7.
In the Missouri Valley, Indiana State is tied for first with Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois, all 1-0 in the conference. The Sycamores hit the road again this week to meet 1-3 South Dakota State.
In other games, Northern Iowa is at Missouri State and Southern Illinois goes to Western Illinois. MSU and WIU both are 0-1 in Valley games.
In the state, Ball State bested Army 48-21 and is off to a surprising 3-1 start. The Cardinals play at Oklahoma this week.
Purdue takes on Notre Dame this week in its final nonconference contest.
Indiana and Minnesota may battle it out for last place in the Big Ten and don’t meet this season. The Hoosiers host Penn State this week while Minnesota is at Michigan.
• Still perfect — Five Wabash Valley high school football teams remained unbeaten with easy victories last week.
In Indiana, Linton was an 81-20 winner over North Daviess, gaining revenge for a defeat incurred last year, and North Central defeated Eastern 26-7.
The Miners and Thunderbirds meet in the final game of the season.
In Illinois, Marshall handled Oblong 54-0, Robinson whipped Olney 34-7 and Casey was an impressive 48-0 winner over Vincennes Lincoln.
The Lions and Warriors meet in their Little Illini Conference showdown next week, while Marshall and Robinson meet in the final game of the regular season.
In Indiana defensive stats, Dante Rehmel of North Central is at the top of the list in tackles (73 solos) and sacks (14).
• Tom-Cattin’ It — Lake Central senior linebacker Tyler Szczecina tied a national prep football record last when he returned his fourth interception for a touchdown. He can set the record for the season if he does it one more time; two other players share the mark with four for the season.
• Judging by all the good reviews, baseball fans will want to see Moneyball, a new movie about Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland A’s.
• In case you wondered, the new name for Ron Artest is Metta World Peace. Now you know.
• In last week’s USA Today prep football poll, Warren Central was ranked 15th in the country and second in the Midwest Region. Carmel was sixth in the Midwest.
• Indiana State moved up to 164th in the Sagarin college football rankings following its victory at Western Kentucky and should move up again this week after the defeat of Youngstown State, which was in the 140 slot going into Saturday’s contest.
Other rankings include Indiana 107, North Dakota State 89, Purdue 91, Ball State 96, Southern Illinois 122, South Dakota State 138, Northern Iowa 87, Missouri State 180, Illinois State 182 and Eastern Illinois 186.
• NFL games, especially the ones played on Sunday night, continue to top the weekly television ratings.
Tom Reck may be contacted by telephone at (812) 232-3231, by email at email@example.com or by mail at 4284 South 5th Street, Apt. 3, Terre Haute, IN 47802.