A pair of the Big Ten's biggest stars won't be suiting up for their teams this bowl season, albeit for two drastically different reasons.
After Brady Hoke's press conference Monday indicated that Michigan was likely to start true freshman Shane Morris at quarterback in Saturday's Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Devin Gardner's chances at playing in the game looked slim. And that was all confirmed Thursday, when reports followed by Gardner's own tweet indicated that the junior QB would be on the sidelines Saturday night.
Gardner's been battling turf toe after taking a beating all season along, including during a terrific performance in Michigan's 42-41 loss in the season finale against Ohio State. Monday, Hoke said he'd need to practice by Wednesday at the latest to be able to start in the bowl game. But he was deemed unfit to play.
"Yes, (Shane Morris) will start the football game," Hoke said at a Thursday press conference. "He's had a really good preparation. We tried to see if Devin could go, and it just wasn't possible."
But Gardner isn't the only star of a team from the Great Lakes State who won't be joining his teammates in the postseason.
Conference champion Michigan State released a statement late Christmas night that senior linebacker Max Bullough was suspended and wouldn't even be making the trip to the Rose Bowl due to a violation of team rules. Bullough is one of the captains of the nation's best defense and was named a Third Team All America earlier in the month, not to mention a First Team All Big Ten selection. He ranked third on the Spartans defense with 76 total tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss.
News of Bullough's suspension came as quite a surprise to many, as he is a team leader. Not surprisingly, the statement include no information as to why Bullough was suspended, but there's no doubt the loss of Bullough is a big one on the field for Michigan State.