The Michigan-Michigan State rivalry, celebrating its 100th game, won't be the same this year according to former Spartans coach George Perles.
The reason is that former Wolverines coach Bo Schembechler died last November at age 77.
``In this rivalry, what changes is that Bo's gone,'' Perles said this week in anticipation of Saturday's game at Spartan Stadium. ``He was a good friend. It won't be quite the same for me.''
Part of what makes the in-state showdown special, Perles said, is enjoying the game with rivals who also have become friends and allies over the years.
That was definitely Schembechler, whom Perles knew long before he became Michigan State coach before the 1983 season. Perles often watched Michigan practices while he was an assistant with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, scouting for draft picks in the 1970s.
When he arrived in East Lansing, Perles said there was mutual respect between the two programs' coaching staffs. His friendship with Schembechler stood the test of time. Schembechler attended Perles' annual golf outing for the Special Olympics just a few months before he died.
Perles, now a trustee at Michigan State, had a 4-8 record against Michigan. He was the Spartans coach from 1983-94.
BRUTUS AS ART: Chicago did a similar art project with cows, Cincinnati with pigs, Cleveland with guitars.
To raise money for renovation of Ohio State's library, as many as 250 Brutus Buckeye statues will be commissioned and placed around Columbus. Artists will personalize each of the 7-foot tall Fiberglas statues, which will then be put on street corners, parks and buildings in Ohio's capital next year.
Sponsoring one of the mascots will cost $10,000 to $20,000, with $2,000 going to the artist/designer who modifies it.
Three prototypes were on display at the announcement on Wednesday: coaching icon Woody Hayes, current Ohio State President Gordon Gee and Christopher Columbus, all as the goofy-looking, bigheaded mascot.
RUNNING MAN: Minnesota freshman quarterback Adam Weber has had an up-and-down season learning a complicated spread offense in his first year facing Big Ten competition.
But Weber has given the Gophers an extra dimension with his ability to run the ball - either while scrambling or on designed option plays.
On 111 attempts, Weber has 430 yards and four TDs rushing. He's also taken his share of hard hits, and he's not sliding to avoid contact, either.
Weber said he watches other quarterbacks on TV and wonders why they do that. He argued that a runner is more likely to be injured when he lets up and doesn't go full speed. It's clear the contact is a part of the game he fully welcomes.
``Quarterbacks are football players, too,'' Weber said. ``When you run into the defense, they've got to bring it, too.''
QUESTIONING FANS: When Ohio State played at Purdue on Oct. 6, thousands of seats were occupied by Buckeyes fans festooned in scarlet and gray. Looking at the stands, it was hard to tell who was playing at home.
Fast forward to Saturday night when more than 110,000 packed into Beaver Stadium for Penn State's game against the top-ranked Buckeyes.
Purdue coach Joe Tiller said the game at Happy Valley led one to question the devotion of Purdue's fans - and whether they sold their tickets to Ohio State followers.
``They (Penn State's fans) are extremely loyal to their team,'' Tiller said. ``There wasn't much red in that stadium, and just as many people went there as came here. There were just as many people walking around with those hundred-dollar bills out there, and nobody was selling.''
FRIENDLY CONFINES: Big Ten teams are 19-10 at home in conference games, a winning percentage of .655. That's the best mark since 2000, when home teams went 30-14 (.682).
Ohio State has won 13 Big Ten home games in a row. Wisconsin has won its last seven. They meet on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
By the way, the Buckeyes' 19-game Big Ten winning streak - home or away - matches the record set by Michigan from 1990-92. Ohio State had won 17 in a row three times before going on its current tear.
RUNNING WITH IT: At the beginning of the season, Illinois coach Ron Zook planned to mix up his running backs, giving significant playing time to juniors Rashard Mendenhall and Daniel Dufrene, as well as freshman Troy Pollard.
``Rashard's done a pretty good job, so we've just let him run with it,'' Zook said.
Literally. Mendenhall has rushed for 1,113 yards, an average of 124 a game, second in the Big Ten to Michigan's Mike Hart.
THE COUNTDOWN CONTINUES: In case you were wondering, only 10 days remain until Minnesota and Iowa play for the bronze pig known as Floyd of Rosedale.
QUICK-HITTERS: The rest of Saturday's schedule has Iowa at Northwestern, Purdue at Penn State, Illinois at Minnesota and in a non-league tilt, Ball State at Indiana. ... Players of the week: Ohio State QB Todd Boeckman on offense, Wisconsin LB DeAndre Levy on defense, Iowa P Ryan Donahue on special teams. ... No. 1 Ohio State has three good teams (Wisconsin, Illinois, at Michigan) left to play, but is the only team in the top five in the conference who plays two of its last three games at home. ... It wouldn't take any mammoth upsets for 10 of the conference's 11 teams to finish with winning records, and for all 10 to be bowl eligible.
AP writers Tim Martin in Lansing, Mich., Cliff Brunt in West Lafayette, Ind., and David Mercer in Champaign, Ill., contributed to this report.

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