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Badgers’ coach wants to keep Lions as season finale

November 21, 2012
By Cory Giger ( , The Altoona Mirror

UNIVERSITY PARK - Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema wants Penn State to remain the final game of the regular season for his team.

The Big Ten additions of Maryland and Rutgers provide the Nittany Lions with close regional opponents to potentially close against, but Bielema hopes that won't be the case.

"Everybody else in the league has got some marquee matchups at the end. ... I'd love to protect that in any way, shape or form," Bielema said Tuesday.

At this point, the new Big Ten division alignment remains unclear. Many people expect Maryland and Rutgers to join Penn State in the Leaders Division, but Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Tuesday that division alignment has yet to be finalized.

Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said he believes "It's fantastic" that Maryland and Rutgers are joining the Big Ten. He then joked, "It's not the Big Ten anymore; it's the Big 14? Something like that?"

Some news and notes from PSU's press conference Tuesday:

n Bill Belton has been the forgotten running back the past few weeks, but O'Brien has not given up on him, saying, "We still see a very bright future for Billy."

n The coach wouldn't provide any details about Michael Mauti's knee injury and said it's too early to determine if PSU can seek a sixth year of eligibility for the linebacker. In question would be whether the four games Mauti played in 2011 before getting injured would fall under the NCAA's 30-percent rule, thereby making him eligible for a sixth year.

n Mauti visited practice Tuesday and was not on crutches. Teammates said he told them Monday not to focus on him, but instead on Saturday's game.

n Win or lose Saturday, quarterback Matt McGloin said, "It has been a successful season no matter what."

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