Happy Thanksgiving!

Whether you’re visiting family, family is visiting you, you’re having a Friendsgiving or you’re sitting by yourself with a bottle of Wild Turkey and eating Lunchables in a darkened apartment, there’s something to be thankful for this year.

The same is true for every Big Ten fanbase. No matter how your season has gone, we like to think there’s at least one thing to be thankful for.

Illinois: Bret Bielema

Unfortunately, the Illini need a Christmas miracle to come early if they are to reach their first Big Ten championship game. But the fact Bielema had Illinois in position to win the West in his second year is proof that Illini fans should be ecstatic that he’s leading the formerly listless program.

Plus, if you had to be invited to any Big Ten coach’s house for Thanksgiving, Bielema’s would probably be at the top of the wish list. That’s a guaranteed good meal and good time.

Indiana: Jaylin Lucas

Lucas brings serious Devin Hester vibes to the Hoosiers — an electrifying reason to pay attention to a team that is offensively challenged.

The freshman is the only player in the country with 2 kickoff return touchdowns this season. He also ranks second nationally with 29.5 yards per return.

Ideally, Indiana will find a new offensive coordinator who comes up with creative ways to use Lucas next year. And the NIL money to make sure Lucas doesn’t do that elsewhere.

Iowa: Jack Campbell

Clearly Iowa fans should also be thankful for defensive coordinator Phil Parker, who has the Hawkeyes allowing their fewest points per game since 2008.

But part of that success is derived from having the best middle linebacker in program history. Campbell is the Big Ten leader with 110 tackles, and perhaps also the leader in big-time plays. His forced fumble and interception against Minnesota almost single-handedly won the game and kept the Hawkeyes in front of the Big Ten West.

Maryland: Taulia Tagovailoa

This certainly isn’t the 8- or 9-win season Maryland fans were hoping for. But outside of back-to-back struggles against Wisconsin and Penn State, Tagovailoa’s been the Big Ten’s second-best quarterback. His performance against Ohio State was an example of stepping up on the biggest stage. And if he comes back next year, perhaps it’ll be a taste of what we can expect to see on a more consistent basis.

Michigan: The Minnesota Vikings

Last February, Jim Harbaugh went to the Twin Cities with every intention of becoming the Vikings’ next head coach.

Sports Betting in Big Ten Country

There is big news coming to the upcoming 2022-23 Big Ten football season (and NFL season). Ohio online sports betting and Maryland sports betting are on the way.

At some point in the interview, the Vikings realized Harbaugh wasn’t their guy, and Harbaugh realized the NFL wasn’t his fit. The precise genesis of that vibe hasn’t been revealed, but it’s working out for both sides.

The Wolverines are 11-0 for the first time since 2006 and in position to win their second straight Big Ten title. The Vikings are cruising toward an NFC North title.

Everyone has reason to be thankful!

Michigan State: Basketball season

No need to pretend there’s anything redemptive about this football season. It’s a disaster from top to bottom, though beating Penn State for the Land Grant Trophy would at least provide a warm-and-fuzzy heading into 2023.

But enough about football. Tom Izzo appears to have Michigan State basketball back in its proper place. The Spartans have yet to lose indoors this season, including wins over Kentucky and Villanova.

Minnesota: Mohamed Ibrahim

If Ibrahim wasn’t tucked away in Minnesota, or the Gophers were in position to play for the Big Ten title, he’d be getting the Heisman hype he deserves.

Instead, Minnesota fans will settle for being thankful for witnessing one of the greatest running backs in the history of a program that’s had quite a few studs at the position.

With 4,527 career rushing yards and 52 touchdowns, Ibrahim is one for the ages.

Nebraska: Scott Frost is gone

Whatever may happen from here, the worst football coach in Nebraska history is gone. And that’s even better than grandma’s green bean casserole.

Northwestern: Evan Hull

Don’t let the putrid nature of this season distract you from the greatness of running back Evan Hull. If anything, the lack of talent around Hull serves as reason to appreciate just how special he is.

Hull is fourth in the Big Ten with an average of 124.8 scrimmage yards per game, and his 513 receiving yards lead all running backs nationally. Hull has produced 38.7% of Northwestern’s total yards this season.

Ohio State: Jim Knowles

A year ago, the Buckeyes were 38th nationally in scoring defense and 59th in total defense. This year the Buckeyes are 10th in scoring defense and 9th in total defense.

That’s the Jim Knowles difference. And because of it, Ohio State is favored to beat Michigan and win the Big Ten.

Penn State: The freshman class

The current Penn State freshman class, anchored by running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen as well as linebacker Abdul Carter and quarterback-in-waiting Drew Allar, will carry the Nittany Lions to the College Football Playoff in 2024.

Purdue: Charlie Jones

Choo-Choo Charlie is everything you could ask for and more from the transfer portal.

The Biletnikoff Award semifinalist is the Big Ten leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. And the jolt Jones has given Purdue’s offense has the Boilermakers alive for their first trip to the Big Ten championship game.

Replacing David Bell was Purdue’s biggest challenge of the offseason, and Jones has proven to be just as good or better.

Rutgers: Adam Korsak

The bad news, of course, is that things can’t be going that well when you’re thankful for the punter. So just imagine how much worse they would be without Korsak.

Korsak leads the nation with 29 punts downed inside the 20, and incredibly only 2 of his 65 punts have been touchbacks.

An even more remarkable stat: opponents have returned just 5 Korsak punts for a combined total of minus-10 return yards.

Only 3 Scarlet Knights have ever been named consensus All-Americans, with the most recent being tight end Marco Battaglia in 1995. Their Aussie punter will almost surely be the next.

Wisconsin: Jim Leonhard

Badgers fans have long been thankful for Jim Leonhard — first as a player, then as a defensive coordinator, and now as an interim head coach.

They’ll be even more thankful when AD Chris McIntosh removes the interim label from Leonhard’s title.

Any day now, Chris.