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It’s only May 21, but the chattering, speculation, wonderment and anticipation of Michigan’s season-opening game vs. Alabama in Arlington, Texas, already are reaching epidemic proportions. Oh, sure: Michigan coaches can try to put a lid on the fever. But it’s a fruitless proposition.

So, let’s just wallow in the hyperbole of the epic clash between two of college football’s most storied programs that will take place on Sept. 1 in a bigger-than-life game in a bigger-than-life stadium: Jerry Jones World.

Honestly, has there EVER been a bigger season-opening game in the annals of college football history?

Where’s Don King?

HONORING A LEGEND: As if trying to rebound from a 19-catch season following his 72-reception breakout in 2010 wasn’t hard enough, Michigan receiver Roy Roundtree now will have a brighter spotlight on him this fall after switching jersey numbers from 12 to 21. Why is 21 special in Ann Arbor? It was the number of 1991 Heisman winner Desmond Howard, a number that has been designated with “legend” status in Ann Arbor.

If I’m Roundtree, I would prefer to keep things low-key as I try to regain my form. But, that’s just me.

IMPORTANT TIME FOR BUCKEYES: Just because the Ohio State players have made it through winter conditioning and spring drills doesn’t mean it’s time to kick back and play Mario Kart on their Nintendos.

Nope. Now is the time when team leadership is formed. Which Buckeyes will step up? Who will be the leaders? The offseason—when coaches can’t coach—will be critical for Ohio State in Year One under Urban Meyer.

TALKING UNIFORMS: What do former Michigan players think of the school’s alternate uni? You know, these.

Me? I like a little change. And what’s good about the Wolverines’ alternate togs is the fact that aren’t overly garish, like some of the other school’s unis. Yes, I’m looking at you, Maryland.

But, honestly, as long as you don’t mess with that iconic winged helmet, I’m OK.

Bottom line is this: A team looks good in whatever it’s wearing when it wins. Am I right, people?

HELLO, RECRUITS: Check out the early recruiting boards for the Class of 2013, and you’ll see Illinois has nine commitments. Only Michigan (18) and Ohio State (11) have more in the Big Ten. A big reason for Illinois’ surge? Technology, Poindexter.

New Illini coach Tim Beckman is active on Twitter. In fact, of the five Big Ten coaches who have Twitter accounts, Beckman may be the most active.
The lesson? Tweet … or perish in recruiting circles. Keep those thumbs limber, coaches.

ABOUT PENN STATE QBs: The great David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News is back with a video. This time he opines: Can the Penn State quarterbacks improve in their first year under Bill O’Brien?

GET YOUR TICKETS!: Illinois is getting creative when it comes to selling tickets. Scroll down to take a look at ticket prices at each Big Ten school. Ohio State fans better have fat wallets.

WELCOME BACK: Good news, Purdue Pete: Dwayne Beckford, the team’s top linebacker, and receiver O.J. Ross are back!

And that’s a big boost to Purdue. Beckford ranked second on the team in tackles in 2011. Ross caught 33 passes for 356 yards and three scores last year. Both were suspended prior to the Boilermakers’ bowl game last season.

That sound you just heard? It was Danny Hope sighing.

TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: Ah, the obligatory “get to know the new head coach’s wife” story. Enjoy! Wonder if Mrs. O’Brien has a good pumpkin bread recipe.

My take: Always admire these NFL vets who fight to get help for the peers. It’s shameful how the NFL has failed to step up with more help for ailing veterans. Thank you, Joe D.

My take: Go ahead—rejoice. I am. Oh, and start tuning up your grill, checking your cooler for leaks and planning menus. And make sure your giant foam cowboy hat still fits. You’ll look foolish wearing one that’s too small.

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at btn.com/tomdienhart, and you can subscribe to it all via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.

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