Friday Links: Did Vandenberg Get Snubbed Again?

It’s Friday. And you know what that means: The weekend is near. I may be from the old school but working for the weekend never gets old to me. So before you hop in that sweet VW Rabbit, pop this song into your 8-track and drive home, check out my take on the Big Ten football news links in this post. Please.

Snubbed again: The disrespect for Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg continues to roll in. First we find out the mighty Phil “my magazine is bigger than War and Peace” Steele doesn’t even rate the Hawkeye senior as one of the top four signal-callers in the Big Ten.

As you comb over Steele’s 50-pound mag with a magnifying glass—you always need one to decipher the tiny type—you’ll notice Denard Robinson, Braxton Miller, Taylor Martinez and Nathan Scheelhaase all mentioned as all-league quarterbacks. OK, I’ll give you Robinson and Miller. But Martinez and Scheelhaase? Ahead of Vandenberg? Really?

Now comes word that Athlon’s doesn’t ranks Vandenberg is one of the Big Ten’s top three quarterbacks. Like Steele, Athlon’s has Robinson, Miller and Martinez rated 1-2-3. But, no Vandenberg.

Click here to be amazed. Be prepared to shake your head.

Bumped up: Michigan State assistants are rolling in green—literally and figuratively. Every Spartan one of Mark Dantonio’s assistant has a heavier paycheck. That’s what happens when your school wins 22 games in a two-year period.

The big winner: defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, whose base salary went from $233,000 to $500,000.

Being a Spartan assistant sure beats being a ditch digger.

Comparisons: Without a doubt, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer caused a bit of a stir when he called senior defensive lineman John Simon “Tebow-ish.” Most folks thought there was nobody walking the face of the planet worthy of such praise. But, apparently we were wrong.

Meyer associated Simon with Tim Tebow because he feels both are special leaders, elite players whose work ethic, dedication to the game and desire are unmatched.

But, golly, I wonder if Simon is feeling some pressure because of the comparison. I thought Tebow-type players were generational. For Meyer to compare a guy from his first Ohio State team to the almighty Tebow is a mouthful.
Simon must be special.

Extra effort: While I’m typing about Ohio State, it seems the players are dutifully obeying Meyer’s orders to put in extra work in the offseason.

Extra film is being watched … extra weights are being lifted … chemistry is being developed. It’s a beautiful thing.

Bottom line: I think there’s a chance Ohio State could have the best record in the Big Ten in 2012. Really. And I think Meyer will use the fact the Buckeyes can’t win the Big Ten or play in a bowl as extra motivation.

This is gonna be fun, Brutus.

Let’s get it started: The football season is getting closer. Indiana coach Kevin Wilson can feel it. He can sense it. He wants to get started … now. Honestly, the ultra-intense Wilson would have preferred to have started yesterday.

Who can blame the second-year Hoosier coach for wanting to wash away the taste of a 1-11 debut? And Wilson may have a shot for tangible progress in a Leaders Division that is in flux.

Illinois and Penn State have new coaches.

Purdue still is looking for sustained success.

Ohio State is on probation.

Wisconsin? Well, the Badgers are good. Really good.

Still, opportunity seems to lurk for the Hoosiers, if they can improve their passing game and stiffen on defense.

Backup plans: Michigan backup quarterbacks Devin Gardner and Russ Bellomy are works-in-progress.

That’s just as well, as no signal-caller behind Denard Robinson figures to get much playing time. Still, as offensive coordinator Al Borges continues to say, expect to see Gardner on the field more often in concert with Robinson in a “Deuce” package. It’s all about trying to take advantage of Gardner’s ample athletic skills.

That’s why Borges is such a smart man—and well-paid man.

My Take On Their Tweets

My take: In case you missed it—and I’m guessing you did–the Jet Award will debut in 2012 to honor the nation’s top return man. Yes, another college football trophy. Did you think it was possible? I’m still waiting for a trophy for the nation’s top long snapper. BTW: check out the top Big Ten Jet candidate: Purdue’s Raheem Mostert.

My take: This, ladies and gentlemen, is one reason why I love Kirk Ferentz. He’s humble to the core.

You may know this but I’m on Twitter too. I love it because I learn a lot, I can immediately share others’ stories that I find, and I hear from many of you. Here are a few of my tweets from Friday morning – come follow me @BTNTomDienhart and get the news right away.

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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