Big 10 Power Rankings 12-17

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By Paul M. Banks

1. Purdue (9-0)
Their nucleus has an excellent mix of NBA level athletes, college talent that excels in their system, and tough hard-working role players. In other words, they have the blue print in place that you need to go far in March in today’s college game.

2. Michigan State (8-2)
So this a typical (H to tha) Izzo team? That redeems themselves later in the year for their early preconference missteps? Remember, a few months before they won the national title, they lost to Wright St. Yes, Wright St.

3. Northwestern (8-1)

I can’t say this high a ranking will last, but no team in the conference below them has a more impressive body of work. And look out for the freshman from Naperville Drew Crawford. When he blew up for 35 points on Sunday, it was a new high for a Big Ten player this season. NU shot 20-47 from behind the arc in that game, both conference records.

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Vote Early, Vote Often for Illini Cheerleader


By Paul M. Banks

Although this isn’t “an election year,” there are a couple key congressional and gubernatorial elections today. Here’s another place to cast your ballot today. The Illini obviously won’t make a bowl game this year, but they could win another prize. I’ll let the Illinois Sports Information Department take it from here:

University of Illinois Senior Cheerleader Up For Spirit Award:

Vote for Kristina Anderson in Athlon’s Sideline Spirit Contest

Athlon Sports has selected University of Illinois senior cheerleader Kristina Anderson to represent her school, community and the Big Ten category in round four of this year’s Sideline Spirit contest. Voting for round four will begins on Saturday, October 31st at 12 a.m. and will run through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 20th. Those wishing to vote must have an Athlon Sports account. Voting is limited to 20 times per day per account.

The Athlon Sports Sideline Spirit Contest is entering its seventh year and has proven to be one of the most popular programs on our website. At least thirty two spirit contestants from across the country will be chosen to participate in this contest, which runs from the beginning of the college football season in September until the bowl season starts in December.

The program is broken up into four rounds, featuring seven cheerleaders or dancers in each round (one from each BCS conference and one non-BCS representative). Visitors to the Athlon website get the opportunity to show their school spirit by voting for their favorite spirit contestant. Lively message boards bring out the very best in school spirit and the rivalry of college sports. At the conclusion of the regular season, spirit contestants will advance to the championship round. They can advance to the championship round by either obtaining the most votes in her round OR securing the most votes in her conference. The winner of the championship round is titled the overall winner of the contest.

The winner will be featured in the 2010 Athlon Sports College Football annuals and her squad will receive $2,000, plus a JVC HD Everio Camera and a JVC Micro System with iPod dock!

For more information and to place your vote, visit here