Phil Miller's Big Ten short takes

  • Updated: November 8, 2012 - 7:12 PM

• Curt Phillips will finally make his first start as Wisconsin's quarterback on Saturday, and his is a cautionary tale about how the future is not guaranteed. Phillips was a highly touted quarterback of the future as a freshman in Madison -- four seasons ago. He was the backup to Scott Tolzien in 2009, then tore a ligament in his right knee three times, costing him the entire 2010 and 2011 seasons. He's a fifth-year senior now, stepping in for redshirt freshman Joel Stave, who broke his collarbone last week.

• Apparently football fever is slow to develop in Indiana. With a chance to set up an unlikely run at the Leaders Division title by beating Iowa, only 40,646 showed up to watch in Bloomington, the Hoosiers' smallest crowd of the season. But Indiana --which can make itself the frontrunner for a championship-game berth by beating Wisconsin at home on Saturday -- expects a packed house this week.

• Iowa's iconic (and Steelers-like) look will be missing Saturday for its game against Purdue. The Hawkeyes will wear silver helmets, rather than the usual black, and silver pants, according to the school, as a tribute to America's armed services. And replacing players' names on their jerseys will be the names of the five branches of armed services.

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