• Urban Meyer let Ezekiel Elliott, above, off the hook for criticizing the play calling after Ohio State’s loss to Michigan State last week. “This will be an old story,” Meyer said. “If we find a way to win this game [against Michigan], I imagine we won’t be talking about this much longer.”
• Iowa sold out 70,585-seat Kinnick Stadium for six entire seasons ending in 2011, but interest was down entering this year. The Hawkeyes have had a storybook season, but the Gophers game was their only sellout among seven home games. With last week’s snowstorm in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes clinched the Big Ten West title against Purdue before an announced crowd of 62,920. Their average attendance was 63,142.
• Northwestern went 10-3 in 2012, reaching a bowl game for a fifth consecutive year. Pat Fitzgerald’s team suffered through back-to-back 5-7 seasons before bouncing back in a big way this season. The Wildcats are 9-2 heading into Saturday’s Illinois game, two wins from a school record. Northwestern is 7-0 this year in games decided by 10 or fewer points. The previous two years, the Wildcats were 3-9 in those games.