Falling short of expectations has led to tension and frustration at Illinois and Indiana.
After starting the year in the Top 25, Ron Zook's Illini (4-4, 2-3) are wondering where they'll find the two or three wins they'll need to earn a second straight bowl trip.
What's gone wrong and how do they fix it?
The question set off Zook this week, who quickly ended a session with reporters Monday.
``I think everbody's got a lot questions of why we're not doing this, why we're not doing that,'' Zook said in another news conference Tuesday, three days after a 27-17 loss at Wisconsin. ``As I said last night in a not very nice tone, I wish I had the answers.''
Meanwhile, Indiana coach Bill Lynch didn't complain when he heard boos last weekend. He joined in.
Lynch said he was just as frustrated by an inexplicable series of pre-snap penalties that killed Hoosiers drives and prompted the home crowd to show its disgust.
hen I was standing on the sideline, and when we were getting booed, I was booing, too,'' Lynch said. ``It's unacceptable.''
Penalties have been a common theme for Indiana this season. The Hoosiers have committed 46 in eight games, and only two Big Ten teams - Minnesota and Illinois - have averaged more than the Hoosiers' nearly six per game.
``They weren't pointing fingers, but they were kind of double-talking and, hopefully, that won't happen again because it's not right,'' Lynch said of his players.
HE PASSED ON ``JOANIE LOVES CHACHI'': Wisconsin's Bret Bielema is certainly going to have to be more careful about filling out random surveys.
The Wisconsin coach got several questions this week about his choices after a profile by The Sporting News that said he liked watching the TV series ``Falcon Crest.''
The show, featuring feuding factions of a family in the California wine industry set in a phony town, had a nine-season run from 1981-90.
``When I grew up, we only had one TV in our home, and as kids, you didn't have much say in the vote. So Pops got to pick whatever he wanted to watch, and ``Falcon Crest'' was on the list,'' said Bielema, who loved music growing up. ``The little orchestra music at the beginning I used to conduct, and I'd get everybody in the house laughing.''
th youngest coach in FBS at 38, acted his age when he listed ``Grey's Anatomy'' as another favorite.
BLOWN CALL: The Big Ten caught a break when Michigan State overcame a badly blown call in its 35-21 win at Michigan.
Early in the game, Michigan's Brandon Minor leaped to make a catch and hit only a pylon before landing out of bounds. The officials on the field correctly ruled he was out of bounds, knowing the rule book clearly states: ``A player or an airborne player who touches a pylon is out of bounds.''
The replay official, however, overturned the call, giving Michigan a tying TD.
Referee David Witvoet recalled what happened on the play, recited the rule verbatim to a pool reporter after the game and deferred further comment to the Big Ten.
Commissioner Jim Delany said the people in the replay booth made a mistake, adding it was unacceptable to him to apply the wrong rule on a review.
Yet if a replay official blows a call again in the future, the referee can't tell him he's wrong.
The Big Ten confirmed when a game is stopped for an official review, the replay official tells the on-field official what the decision is and the ruling of the replay official is final.
The referee can only announce that ruling to the fans - even if he knows the call was just blown.
O: With a bye this weekend for No. 3 Penn State, guard Stefen Wisniewski plans to spend some time at home in front of the television.
``I'm going to enjoy sitting on the couch watching football all day,'' the sophomore said. ``That's the worst part of college football, you miss a lot of great games.''
It turns out a good one is scheduled for Saturday night, when top-ranked Texas visits No. 6 Texas Tech - a game that could have implications on the BCS standings, where the Nittany Lions trail the Longhorns and Alabama.
Who will Wisniewski root for?
``Texas Tech. I think we all are,'' he said. ``But we know the only thing we can control is us.''
SELECTIVE SCHEDULING: Northwestern will play No. 20 Minnesota this Saturday in the Gophers' homecoming game, continuing a recent trend for the Wildcats. Northwestern's last two road games - at Iowa and Indiana - have also been homecoming games.
Schools often try to schedule a win for homecoming and the Wildcats have taken notice.
Northwestern running back Omar Conteh said he and his teammates have been talking about the pattern and see it as a slap in the face.
``Most definitely, because it shows that they have no respect for us,'' Conteh said.
rd to cough up the ball.
``We cannot turn the ball over and expect to win Big Ten football games,'' Fitzgerald said. ``I think we're plus-five in our six wins and we're minus-eight in our losses. There you go. Enough said. End of discussion.''
QUICK-HITTERS: Rounding out this week's schedule, Michigan is at Purdue, Wisconsin at No. 22 Michigan State, Iowa at Illinois and Central Michigan at Indiana. ... Penn State is just the fourth team in the last 40 years to beat Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State in the same season. The other three schools were Purdue (2000), Michigan State (1987) and Illinois (1983), and each of those teams went to the Rose Bowl - which might be a disappointment for the Nittany Lions this season. ... Big Ten players of the week: Michigan State QB Brian Hoyer, Penn State S Mark Rubin, Wisconsin P Brad Nortman.
AP Sports Writers Larry Lage, Michael Marot and Colin Fly, and Associated Press Writers Genaro C. Armas, Joe Esse and David Mercer contributed to this report.

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