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Wilton Speight confirms restrictions placed on transfer from Michigan

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One of a few players who has decided to part ways with the Michigan football program of late, Wilton Speight has shed some additional light on his move away from Ann Arbor.

In late November, Speight announced that he had decided to transfer from the Wolverines. There was some question as to whether Speight would remain with the team through the postseason, as well as what if any restrictions were placed on his transfer.

On social media Friday, Speight clarified those two areas of concern.

So, in addition to the six other teams in the Big Ten East as well as 2018 cross-divisional foes Nebraska, Wisconsin and Northwestern, the quarterback will also be barred from transferring to 2018 non-conference opponents Notre Dame, Western Michigan and SMU.

As the Virginia native is leaving U-M as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2018 if he opts for another FBS school. Next season will be Speight’s final year of eligibility.

J.T. Barrett’s third QB of the Year award headlines B1G football honors

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It’s award season in college football, with the Big Ten the latest to hand out postseason football honors.

Thursday, the conference announced the winners of 15 awards, ranging from Punter of the Year to Defensive Back of the Year.  Headlining the announcements was Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett being named the Quarterback of the Year, the third time in his career he’s received that award.  In fact, an OSU quarterback has won that honor in five of the last six years it’s been given out — Barrett, in 2014 and then again in 2016 and 2017, and Braxton Miller in 2012 and 2013.

Penn State’s Saquon Barkley was the recipients of a pair of awards, Running Back of the Year and Return Specialist of the Year. Barkley was also named as the B1G’s Offensive Player of the Year, while Iowa’s Josey Jewell claimed defensive honors.

Paul Chryst of unbeaten Wisconsin’s was named as the league’s Coach of the Year.  Chryst’s workhorse running back, Jonathan Taylor, earned Freshman of the Year accolades.

Below are all of the recipients of this year’s awards.

Purdue vs. Indiana means Big Ten guaranteed to have eight bowl teams

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At the conclusion of Saturday’s schedule, the Big Ten had seven teams that had already clinched their bowl eligibility for the 2017 season. Though no new bowl tickets were punched on Saturday, Purdue’s upset win at Iowa and Indiana’s home rout of Rutgers assured the Big Ten of getting to eight bowl-eligible teams this season.

Purdue will host Indiana this week in one of the more important games in the rivalry in recent years as the winner will become bowl-eligible this season. That would be great news for the Big Ten, a sit would essentially guarantee the conference will manage to fill all of their partnered bowl spots for this season, although that could come up just short if one of the conference’s teams reaches the College Football Playoff. With Wisconsin still undefeated and Ohio State being discussed as a possible long shot to reach the playoff, this remains a realistic scenario. In addition to the Badgers and Buckeyes, the Big Ten also has bowl-eligible teams in Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, Northwestern, and Iowa.

Here’s a look at the Big Ten’s bowl partners for the 2017 season, not including the Rose Bowl as it is being used as a College Football Playoff semifinal this year;

  • Orange Bowl: The highest-ranked team available from the Big Ten, SEC, or Notre Dame will play a team from the ACC. Wisconsin or Penn State would appear to be in line for a possible invite.
  • Outback Bowl: Vs. SEC
  • Holiday Bowl: Vs. Pac-12
  • TaxSlayer Bowl or Music City Bowl: The ACC and Big Ten split these bowl games, with each taking on a team from the SEC
  • Pinstripe Bowl: Vs. ACC
  • Foster Farms Bowl: Vs. Pac-12
  • Quick Lane Bowl: Vs. ACC
  • Heart of Dallas Bowl: Vs. Big 12

Because the Purdue vs. Indiana game must produce a six-win team, the Big Ten looks to be in great shape to fill out its bowl lineup. The only setback would be not being able to send any additional teams to other bowl games to fill in a spot where needed, unless five-win teams end up coming into play.

Minnesota is the only other five-win team on the Big Ten map right now with a chance to break through to a bowl game, but that may require beating Wisconsin for the first time since 2003 this week in order to hit the six-win requirement. Minnesota has reached a bowl game with five wins before, and it could still be in play under that scenario.

Injury likely forcing Illinois to go back to Jeff George Jr. at QB

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The signal-calling merry-go-round continues for Illinois, with the Fighting Illini apparently set to go back to the past for its starter this weekend.

According to reports coming out of the area, head coach Lovie Smith indicated to fans and boosters in attendance at an event earlier in the day Friday that Jeff George Jr. will likely start Saturday’s game against Indiana at quarterback.  George Jr. will replace Cam Thomas, who is suffering from an unspecified injury.

Chayce Crouch started the first four games of the 2017 season before being benched in favor of George Jr. in early October.  For the Week 10 loss to Purdue, George Jr. was benched in favor of Thomas, who made his first career start against the Boilermakers.

Collectively, the Illini’s 100.0 pass efficiency rating is currently 124th out of the 130 teams at the FBS level; just one Power Five team, Rutgers (98.5, 125th), is worse.  That poor quarterback play is a significant reason why the Illini has lost seven games in a row and will miss out on a bowl game for the third straight season, the last two on Smith’s watch.

Homicide charge dropped against Ex-Indiana RB Camion Patrick, but not his “Last Chance U” brother

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Former Indiana running back Camion Patrick was charged in connection with a fatal stabbing of an 18-year old man in Tennessee in September. Now, Patrick has had the charge dropped by a county judge.

A Blount County judge dismissed the homicide charge filed against Patrick after prosecutors failed to prove probable cause against Patrick during a preliminary hearing. While Patrick may have escaped the homicide charge, three others did not. Among the three is Patrick’s brother, Isaiah Wright. Two other suspects, Kewshawn Lonnel Hopewell and Itiq Tivone Green, remain on bail with Wright. All three will see the case move to a grand jury to determine if indictments will be made against them.

Both Patrick and Wright played JUCO football at East Mississippi Community College, the program featured in the Netflix series “Last Chance U.” Patrick transferred to Indiana, where he was on a medical hardship at the time of the incident. He was later suspended by the school as well in light of the charge filed against him.