Only one Big Ten team in action this week, but as always, I've got a few notes and nuggets for you. Thanks to Illinois' sports information office and the Big Ten office for these.
The Illinois defense has forced 16 turnovers in the last five games and has converted those miscues into 69 points (nine touchdowns, two field goals). During that span, the Illini offense has turned over the ball just five times. That has swung Illinois' turnover margin from minus-1 (108th in the nation) to plus-.45 (30th in the nation).
Illinois has played 26 games after a bye weekend in the modern era and is 11-15 in those contests. The Illini have faced Ohio State eight times after an off weekend, going 4-4, including the 24-13 loss to the Buckeyes earlier this season.
The Big Ten has featured multiple champions in five of the last 10 seasons, including Ohio State and Penn State sharing first place in both 2008 and 2005 with identical 7-1 marks. Iowa and Michigan split the title in 2004 with 7-1 records, while the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes shared the championship in 2002 after producing unblemished 8-0 conference slates. The last three-way tie for the Big Ten Championship occurred in 2000, when Michigan, Northwestern and Purdue each finished 6-2 atop the standings.
Ohio State is one of only three Big Ten programs to claim seven or more titles during a 10-year span and the first since Michigan and Ohio State both finished in first place seven times between 1973-82. Ohio State holds the conference record with nine Big Ten championships during a 10-year span, accomplishing the feat from 1968-77. The Buckeyes have also won eight titles in 10 years on three occasions (1972-81, 1970-79 and 1969-78), a streak of success matched only by Michigan (eight from 1971-80 and 1969-78). Minnesota is the only other Big Ten team to finish first seven or more times in a 10-year span with seven titles from 1933-41.
The Big Ten established two more records in 2010 for overall and average attendance for conference games only. In 44 games this season, conference schools welcomed 3,176,509 fans for an average of 72,193 fans per contest. The Big Ten's total and average attendance in conference games breaks the previous records of 3,175,427 total fans and 72,169 fans per contest during the 2005 campaign. The Big Ten also averaged more than 72,000 fans in all games for just the second time in conference history, averaging crowds of 72,106 in 76 games to trail only the average of 72,566 in 2005.