News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 29, 2011

RAMBLIN' RECK: Big Ten-ACC challenge gets under way tonight

Tom Reck
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Conference championship football games and challenge action in basketball will make for a busy week for college teams.

Wisconsin and Michigan State will meet in the very first Big Ten football championship Saturday at Indianapolis. Kickoff is 8 p.m. and the action will be carried by Fox.

Michigan State nipped the Badgers in the regular-season contest at East Lansing. We like Wisconsin to win and earn a trip to the Rose Bowl.

Other games and picks:

SEC — LSU over Georgia on Saturday

Mid-American — Northern Illinois over Ohio U. on Friday

Pac-12 — Oregon over UCLA on Friday

ACC — Virginia Tech over Clemson on Saturday

Conference USA — Houston over Southern Mississippi on Saturday

Western Kentucky will not play for a championship but the Hilltoppers won seven of their last eight games to finish with a winning mark. That’s the same team that lost to Indiana State, you will recall.

Meanwhile, the hiring and firing already has begun with Urban Meyer coming out of retirement to accept the job at Ohio State. That was a no-brainer.

Illinois is bowl-eligible but Ron Zook is out. Ditto for Turner Gill at Kansas and apparently Dennis Erickson at Arizona State.

In basketball, the first games in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge will be played tonight. The biggie tonight is Duke at Ohio State. Miami of Florida is at Purdue and Illinois plays at Maryland.

On Wednesday, Indiana is at North Carolina State, Wisconsin is at North Carolina and Michigan State goes to Florida State.

Indiana State is at Boise State on Saturday for a Missouri Valley-Mountain West Challenge game,

It was fun and gratifying to be able to watch the Sycamores on national television as they took third in the Old Spice Classic. The team got tons of favorable publicity and comments from the three games.

And what a game for Jake Odum and his triple-double. Wow.

• White honored — Taylor White of Casey has earned academic all-state honors in Illlinois football.

White was one of the top players at linebacker and fullback and was one of the captains on the team but did not play as the Warriors lost to Morrison in the Class 2A title tilt.

He was sidelined by injury in the game against Marshall and underwent surgery.

The Warriors gave Morrison all it wanted in the final game, concluding another banner season for coach Keith Sinclair and the team.

Nice work, Warriors.

• Tom-Cattin’ It — Carmel was the only public school to win a prep football championship in Indiana and was impressive in its 54-0 victory over Penn in the 5A finale.

Other winners — all private schools — were Lafayette Central Catholic in A, Fort Wayne Luers in 2A, Indianapolis Chatard in 3A, and Indianapolis Cathedral in 4A.

• Sullivan puts its undefeated girls basketball record on the line tonight at West Vigo. Its victory over Terre Haute South last week was its first over the Braves since 1992.

• Terre Haute North grad Steve Weatherford, now punting for the New York Giants, was featured in a nice story in The New York Times on Monday.

He was singled out for his conditioning program and called the strongest player pound for pound — at 210 pounds — on the team that met the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.

• Jim Rathmann died last week at 83.

He won the Indianapolis 500 in 1960, edging Rodger Ward in a race in which there were a record 29 lead changes.

Rathmann also was runner-up in the race in 1952, 1957 and 1959.

• Flora has been tabbed by one newspaper as the preseason pick to win the Little Illini Conference boys basketball championship and to make it to the Final Four.

The Wolves play Marshall, off to a 3-1 start, next week.

Tom Reck may be contacted by telephone at (812) 232-3231, by email at or by mail at 4284 South 5th Street, Apt. 3, Terre Haute, IN 47802.