first_imgBouncing back and perseverance were the major themes at Tuesday’s Big Ten teleconference, along with the conference’s traditional juggernauts return to prominence.Ohio State has come out determined to get back to the national title game where they were shellacked 41-14 last year by Florida. Returning to form has not been a problem this year as the team started 7-0 and is now ranked No. 1 in the nation after LSU’s home loss last weekend to Kentucky. Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel knows it is still too early to get excited about being No. 1.“The only euphoria about being No. 1 is if you’re that in the middle of January,” he said.Tressel has good reason to be wary of the Buckeyes’ high ranking given how rudely teams in the top 10 have been treated thus far this year. Ohio State also closes out its season against five teams that all are 5-2 right now. Clearly, the road back to the title game will not be easy.“When you’re in a league like ours, everyone knows everybody; everyone knows every step you’re going to take, every route you’re going to run, every everything. You better buckle up,” Tressel said. Also returning to the top of the Big Ten standings is traditional powerhouse Michigan. It has battled back from losing the first two games of the season to win five straight games and return to the national polls at No. 24. A major concern this weekend when the Wolverines travel to Illinois to take on the Illini will be the health of their Heisman candidate, running back Mike Hart. Hart tweaked his ankle in last week’s victory over Purdue, and there are lingering questions about his health this week, but Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr remains optimistic.“What happens on one Saturday can change dramatically toward the end of the next week,” Carr said.Hart’s loss would be huge considering he is currently leading the Big Ten and nation in rushing.The Illini, on the other hand, are using the game against Michigan as an opportunity to bounce back after their heartbreaking loss last weekend against Iowa. The loss to the Hawkeyes was their first of the Big Ten season and will test the resiliency of this young ball club. Head coach Ron Zook says his team must respond to the setback.“It doesn’t get any easier playing in the Big Ten,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to come back after a victory and come back when things don’t go quite so well. How you handle adversity is really going to determine the type of people that you are.”Also among those Big Ten teams looking to rebound is the Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana lost 52-17 to Michigan State. But all isn’t lost. At 5-2, the Hoosiers are only one win away from being bowl eligible for the first time since 1993. They play Penn State this Saturday in Bloomington, Ind.Getting to a bowl game has been Indiana’s No. 1 priority since 2005 when head coach Terry Hoeppner coined the motto “Play 13.” While Hoeppner passed away four months ago of complications from a brain tumor, his tradition lives on.“His stamp is all over this program,” current and first year head coach Bill Lynch said. “Our job is to carry it on and continue to improve each week, which is what he’d want us to do.”Two teams at the bottom of the Big Ten standings with a lot to prove face off this weekend when Iowa travels to Purdue to take on the Boilermakers. Purdue has lost two straight games to Ohio State and Michigan after starting 5-0, while Iowa got its first victory in conference play last week against Illinois. According to Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz, his team persevered to pick up that aforementioned win against a ranked Illini team.“I think it verified for a lot of guys on the team that things can work out,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep pushing and keep working through some issues and challenges.”last_img