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Phil Miller's Big Ten short takes

  • October 4, 2012 - 8:05 PM

• Barry Alvarez trained quite a few future head coaches during his years running Wisconsin's football team, from longtime Iowa State coach Dan McCarney to former Raiders and Cornhuskers boss Bill Callahan, to former Vikings coach Brad Childress. But now the Badgers athletic director is creating an administration "tree," too. Shawn Eichorst, about to be appointed AD at Nebraska, becomes the second former Alvarez assistant to take over a Big Ten program; Minnesota's Joel Maturi, who retired from the job in June, was the first.

• Congratulations to Northwestern for climbing into the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2008, but the 5-0 Wildcats should beware, too. As pointed out by BTN's Dave Revsine, a Northwestern alum, the Wildcats have lost their past four games as a ranked team. Not since 2001 has Northwestern defended its ranking with a win.

• Wisconsin has muddled its quarterback situation by committing to redshirt freshman Joel Stave -- until the game is on the line. The Badgers, who made Stave the starter after Maryland transfer Danny O'Brien had problems with the offense in the first three games, switched to O'Brien for their final drive, trailing 30-27, at Nebraska last week. O'Brien was better at the two-minute drill, Badgers coach Bret Bielema explained, and the players were aware that the change might be made. O'Brien moved the ball 40 yards to midfield but fumbled away a fourth-down play, ending Wisconsin's comeback. Bielema said he wasn't certain if the Badgers would use the same strategy this week against Illinois.

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