Monday's Links: Quick Spin Around Today's Stories

Is there a better collection of running backs in the Big Ten than Michigan’s assemblage of talent? Also, come meet Iowa’s new left offensive tackle. And which team wants a real strong non-conference football schedule? All that and more in Monday’s Big Ten football headlines.

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Backing it up: Is there a better collection of running backs in the Big Ten than Michigan’s assemblage of Fitz Toussaint, Justice Hayes, Vincent Smith and Thomas Rawls? Maybe not. And toss in the running skills of quarterback Denard Robinson, and you can see why the running game in Ann Arbor is so strong. Star offensive tackle Taylor Lewan knows all of this.

“They are just unreal athletes,” Lewan told the Detroit Free Press. “They can find the hole, they have great vision and, from what I can tell, they’re doing a great job.”

Toussaint is the unquestioned No. 1 after a 1,000-yard effort in 2011. Hayes is the fastest and Smith the toughest. Rawls? He’s a big, physical runner.

Hello there: Meet Iowa’s new left offensive tackle, Brandon Scherff in this profile from the Cedar Rapid Gazette. He also soon may be a millionaire, as in recent years the Hawkeye left tackle slot has produced high NFL draft picks like Robert Gallery, Bryan Bulaga and Riley Reiff, who went No. 23 overall in the April draft.

To prep for the role, Scherff has lost some fat to become more nimble. But that hasn’t impacted his strength. Check out this photo Tweeted by Iowa’s strength and conditioning coach.

Not bad for a former high school quarterback.

More line updates: While I’m on the subject of offensive line, keep an eye on Ohio State’s. The unit is taking shape under Ed Warinner and could be one of the Big Ten’s best.

Warinner is an Ohio native who is thrilled to be in Columbus. And he likes what he has to work with up front. He knows left tackle Jack Mewhort—formerly the right guard–and center Corey Linsley are the leaders of a front that lost tackles Mike Adams and J.B. Shugarts, as well as center Michael Brewster.

And Warinner has Andrew Norwell at left guard. Marcus Hall is the right guard. The lone wild-card spot: right tackle, where converted tight end Reid Fragel, ex-defensive lineman Darryl Baldwin and early-arriving true freshman Taylor Decker are battling.

The holdovers also must adapt to a new skill set that requires more nimbleness to block in space as opposed to being primarily a mauler, which was the top trait under the former staff.

Play the best…: Playoff or no playoff, Michigan State A.D. Mark Hollis wants the Spartans to play a strong non-con schedule, the Detroit News writes.

I knew there was a reason why I liked this guy.

Check out MSU’s non-league menu this fall. It opens with Boise State and includes a visit from Notre Dame. And future Spartan schedules include games with Alabama, Oregon and Miami (Fla.). Hollis wants the football team to be great. And, to be the best, you have to beat the best.

How refreshing.

I and the rest of College Football Nation thank you, Mr. Hollis. Please, follow him on Twitter: @MSUAD

Getting ready: The fact Ohio State can’t win the Big Ten or play in a bowl this season because of NCAA probation has sharpened the focus of the Buckeyes’ season. Michigan’s season-ending visit to Columbus on Nov. 24 for all intents and purposes will be Ohio State’s bowl game, as ESPN.com points out.

I can’t wait. I was at last year’s game, and the environment was great. The game? It was a beaut. Well, maybe too many points were scored in the 40-34 Wolverine victory that ended Ohio State’s seven-year run of dominance.

Now, factor in the arrival of Urban Meyer at Ohio State along with the rising fortunes of Michigan under Brady Hoke … well, this rivalry looks like it’s headed for a golden era.

“This year’s Michigan game is going to be like the national championship game,” Buckeyes tight end Jake Stoneburner said. “It will be important for Coach Meyer because it’s his first Michigan game. It’s our Senior Day. It’s our Super Bowl.”

See what I mean?

The Washington Redskins have tabbed Robert Griffin III to start at quarterback over Kirk Cousins. Please, tell me you aren’t surprised by this. Even Kirk Cousins’ mom has to agree with this decision, right?

My Take On The Their Tweets

My take: Look, I know we all are entitled to our opinions and points of view, but I think Brown did the right thing by not testifying. I’ll just leave it at that.

My take: The point: Some freshmen can play—especially defensive backs. Not a shock. Coaches always say: The farther from the ball, the better the chance a freshman has to play.

My take: Among other things in here are some predicted ACC-Big Ten hoop matchups. I like some of the games being suggested.

https://twitter.com/#!/TeddyGreenstein/status/199503470418599936.

My take: Teddy nailed this. Marinatto always struck me as paranoid/insecure. Was surprised he was the guy the Big East tabbed to take over for Mike Tranghese, who was a great Big East commish. Oh, well.

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, and all of his work is at btn.com/tomdienhart. Send questions to his weekly mailbag, subscribe to his RSS feed, and check out his video Q&A.

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