The Big Ten heavyweights spent the first three weeks of the season beating up on lesser opponents while climbing the rankings. With five teams in the top 15 of The Associated Press Top 25 , more than any other conference, its time for the Big Ten to get to work.The schedule on Saturday is full of big-time matchups. Third-ranked Ohio State visits No. 14 Oklahoma, No. 4 Michigan hosts improving Colorado, No. 12 Michigan State travels to No. 18 Notre Dame and Nebraska hosts No. 22 Oregon.In the new playoff era, meaty matchups like these in the nonconference may become more common. One of the main components in the selection process for the four-team playoff is strength of schedule, so power programs can no longer afford to pad the first month of their schedules with no-name schools that get paid to take a beating.I think youll see more and more of it, Nebraska coach Mike Riley said. It looks like a unique way, different way, that people are starting their season with their non-league games, like were playing and like we saw right from the first weekend. I think it adds a lot of intrigue and excitement to it.And there are more than just playoff implications.When the Buckeyes go to Norman on Saturday, the Sooners will be hosting several sought-after recruits that Ohio State coach Urban Meyer would love to land as well. Come out of the game with a win in front of some of the most talented high school players in the country, and they could win more than just a game.Our performance in this game, theres going to be a lot of people watching, and that certainly is important, said Meyer, whose Buckeyes outscored Tulsa and Bowling Green by a combined 102 points.And finally, games like these help teams gear up for the grind of the conference season that looms just around the corner.This will be a great game for our team to see where we are against a team thats nationally ranked and has been a national team for a lot of years now, Riley said. It will be really good for the Huskers in preparation for what were going to see as the season goes on.Other notes from around the Big Ten:IOWAS CHALLENGEThe Hawkeyes are facing an FCS team this weekend. So they can relax with another tuneup, right? Not so fast.North Dakota State is coming to town on Saturday. The Bison have won five straight national championships and are 8-3 in their last 11 games when they step up in weight class to face an FBS opponent. And they are not afraid.My experience is the biggest difference is just depth and overall numbers, coach Kirk Ferentz said. But the guys they put out there are just tremendous players. Theyve got a lot of guys that look like guys we play with that may have gotten overlooked a little bit in recruiting.CLAEYS APPROACHWhen Minnesota scored late to go up 30-23 against Oregon State on opening weekend, coach Tracy Claeys got some attention for his decision to go for 2 points to make it a two-possession game. Claeys has long believed that if the conversion fails and his team still only leads by seven, most teams would kick the extra point if they scored a late touchdown to try to force overtime rather than go for the win with a 2-point conversion.The Gophers handled Indiana State with ease on Saturday. But Claeys said if they had been in a similar situation against the Sycamores, he would have kicked the extra point for an eight-point lead.A smaller school, an underdog on the road, if they would have went down and scored, they probably would have went for 2, Claeys said. The majority of teams, we will go for 2 down there.STRUGGLING WILDCATSNorthwestern is 0-2 on the season, with eyebrow-raising losses to Western Michigan and Illinois State. They are 211th in the nation in offense, and coach Pat Fitzgerald said Northwestern needs better play from its offensive line if things are going to start turning around.Id love to tell you its an easy fix, Fitzgerald said. Its guys doing what theyre supposed to do when theyre supposed to do it and coaches coaching them better. Its not rocket science here. Its roll your sleeves up and get better. Thats what we did today and hopefully we can do it again tomorrow. Tony Perez Jersey
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. -- Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson asked his players a simple question during Fridays morning shootaround: How many of them had ever been on a team 14 games over .Aston Villas relegation to the Championship has been confirmed after a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford. Marcus Rashfords seventh goal of the season, turning in Antonio Valencias low cross on 32 minutes, proved the winner in Villas 24th defeat of the season, which leaves them an insurmountable 15 points short of safety with four games left.The West Midlands club end their 28-year stay in the top-flight with one of the poorest campaigns from any Premier League side - and they went out with a wimper. The fall and fall of Villa Aston Villas fall has been years in the making, but how did it happen? Substitute Rudy Gestede went closest late on when he hit the post from a corner but United should have scored more, with Memphis Depay hitting the post in stoppage time, as Wayne Rooney made his first start in over two months after injury. Aston Villa caretaker manager Eric Black says it is a difficult day for the club after his side were relegated to the Championship Villas fate has appeared a foregone conclusion for some time, with the club sitting bottom of the division since November 2 and winning just three games all season, but that will do little to soften the blow to one of Englands biggest clubs.With victory, meanwhile, United move to within a point of the Champions League spots, with fourth-placed rivals Manchester City playing Chelsea on Saturday Night Football on Sky Sports 1HD, and they deserved their win. Marcus Rashford scored his seventh Manchester United goal of the season The hosts were buoyed by the return of Rooney, making his first start since February 13 as one of five changes to the side that won at West Ham in midweek, with boss Louis van Gaal mindful of another game against Crystal Palace on Wednesday and an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley next weekend.Rooney was lively and influential from the start and his side bossed the opening 20 minutes, with Marouane Fellaini and Chris Smalling both heading wide from corners before Juan Mata danced into the area and should have found the target from 12 yards. Juan Mata says hes delighted Wayne Rooney has returned to the Manchester United line-up following their 1-0 win over Aston Villa At the other end, Jordan Ayew and Kieran Richardson smashed speculative efforts over the bar from distance as Villa struggled to cope with Uniteds movement, and Valencia found space on the right to pick out Rashford for a well-taken opener.Villa had a debatable case for a penalty as Ayew was brought down in the box, but got nothing, and thee forward continued to be a rare live-wire for the away side, almost finding the net on the stroke of half-time when a close-range shot was blocked by Smalling.dddddddddddd Wayne Rooney made his first start in over two months following injury United then had their own shout for a penalty when Rashford was brought down by Alan Hutton, but got nothing either, before the young striker got up and was put through by Mata to flash a shot wide of the near post.Depay and Daley Blind flashed excellent crosses in front of the Villa goal as United hunted for a second, but they were fortunate not to draw the game after Gestede emerged from the bench to cause problems.The goal was gaping as the forward tried to turn home Ayews cut back, but his shot was blocked, before he volleyed against the upright with six minutes left.But Villa had to win to have any hope of embarking on a great escape and, as they have done for most of the season, they fell short of what is required to win a Premier League football match.Soccer Saturday verdict - Charlie Nicholas Charlie Nicholas says Aston Villa were no threat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, despite only one goal seperating the teams I thought it was a stroll in the park for Manchester United. They didnt pass it quick enough, didnt get the ball into Rashford early enough. Rooney came back and enjoyed pinging the ball about but never really looked a threat in front of goal. For the first 20-25 minutes he did not really link up with Rashford and it was all a bit slow and deliberate. But, once he started spraying the balls around, you could see he was starting to enjoy it. He comfortably felt his way back into the game. The fourth spot is vital for Manchester United and I thought they could have filled their boots today but they just strolled through the game.Villa looked like a team who need the season to end now, understandably so. They had a little bit of fight, when Gestede came on. He hit the post and he should have scored just before that. Ayew up front gave United a bit of work. Looking at the group they have that might be saleable, I think Ayew would be an asset, but they have got big decisions to make defensively. They have got a lot to do in a short space of time Louis van Gaal wasnt pleased with the tempo of Manchester Uniteds football, despite beating Aston Villa 1-0 Player ratingsMan Utd: De Gea (7); Valencia (7), Smalling (7), Blind (7), Rojo (6); Schneiderlin (6), Fellaini (6), Mata (8), Rooney (8), Depay (7); Rashford (7)Subs used: Martial (6), Lingard (6), Fosu-Mensah (6)Aston Villa: Guzan (6); Hutton (6), Lescott (6), Clark (6), Cissokho (6); Bacuna (5), Westwood (5), Gana (7); Richardson (6), Ayew (7), Sinclair (5)Subs used: Gestede (7)Man of the Match: Wayne Rooney Discount NFL Jerseys Cheap Stitched Jerseys Disocunt Football Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys China NFL Jerseys From China Wholesale Stitched Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Store
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