Wednesday's links: Recruiting dollars & retired numbers

Wanna make your Wednesday even better? Get over the hump in your week by surfing to these 100 percent guaranteed links to awesomely good Big Ten football content.

MONEY TO SPEND: Which Big Ten school had the fattest 2010-11 football recruiting budget? It’s Michigan, which spent $577,663, according to ESPN.com.

Below is a breakdown of what each Big Ten school spent wooing talent. Northwestern and Penn State aren’t obligated to share financial information. Nebraska didn’t join the conference until this past season.

The first number is for 2010-11. The second is for 2009-10.

1. Michigan $577,663 ($489,412)
2. Illinois $545,363 ($537,773)
3. Purdue $428,805 ($528,095)
4. Michigan State $383,448 ($390,289)
5. Minnesota $348,609 ($615,063)
6. Ohio State $320,938 ($297,342)
7. Iowa $307,226 ($207,117)
8. Indiana $270,134 ($272,625)
9. Wisconsin $204,181 ($230,227)

A quick glance reveals a few things:

- Wisconsin sure does get a lot of bang for its buck. The Badgers have won the past two Big Ten titles with a roster assembled on the cheap. The $204,181 the Badgers spent in 2010-11 was the lowest of any school over the two years studied. Must be a lot of Southwest Airlines flights with connections through Tulsa and Louisville. And instead of stopping a Ruth’s Chris for dinner during trips, assistants must swing through the drive-through window at Burger King for the Whopper Combo Meal. Can’t say I blame them.

- The numbers at Illinois and Purdue are surprising. I never would have thought they spent so much on football recruiting. Kudos to those athletic departments for giving their staffs resources to compete.

- Tim Brewster’s lavish spending—$615,063 in 2009-10, more than any other school in the two seasons studied–didn’t reap the desired reward of myriad talent. But, again, it’s good to see school administrators willing to give their coaches the resources to try to succeed. And it all begins with assembling talent on the recruiting trail.

BIG MAN ON CAMPUS: You name the preseason accolade, and Michigan State defensive end William Gholston probably has earned it. All-American … All-Big Ten … Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year … stud … monster … BMOC.

But Gholston is keeping an even keel amid the hype. And the hype hasn’t just stopped with Gholston. The entire Michigan State defensive line has been getting heaped with praise, even with star tackle Jerel Worthy off to the NFL.

In addition to Gholston, MSU’s front will feature Anthony Rashad White, James Kittredge, Tyler Hoover and Marcus Rush, among others.

Here is how I rank the Big Ten d-lines.

PRESTIGIOUS NUMBERS: Like it or not, Michigan is bringing back the retired numbers of three of its greatest gridiron gods: Gerald Ford (48), Ron Kramer (87) and Bennie Oosterbaan (47). The jerseys will feature a “Michigan Football Legend” special patch on the upper left chest. Desmond Howard’s 21 also has similar treatment. No word yet on Tom Harmon’s No. 98 and the No. 11 that the three Wistert Brothers wore.

I’m a little lukewarm on the idea, but it is a great way to bring more awareness to past great players. With the jerseys “in action,” so to speak, younger generations will have a better chance to learn about these Michigan luminaries than they would if the numbers just hung from a rafter or were painted on a stadium façade.

While we are on the subject of Wolverines greats and their numbers, can we just go ahead and put a “Michigan Football Legend” patch on Denard Robinson’s No. 16 jersey?

REASON FOR OPTIMISM: The great David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News offers yet another reason why Penn State could win the Leaders Division title this season—Russell Wilson no longer is Wisconsin’s quarterback.

No doubt, losing Wilson will hurt the Badgers. But I still think their latest quarterback transfer—Maryland’s Danny O’Brien—will be a reasonable facsimile of Wilson. Will O’Brien pass for 3,175 yards, 33 touchdowns with just four picks and a stupefying 72.8 completion percentage like Wilson did in 2011? Probably not. But O’Brien will do just fine, especially with Montee Ball still taking hand offs behind him to deflect attention.

GENERAL CONSENSUS: The college football preview magazines have hit newsstands with a Gael force. And the great Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette has perused each—Hey, someone has to do it–to see how the various publications size up Illinois under first-year coach Tim Beckman.

The consensus: A middle-of-the-pack finish with a middle-of-the-pack record.

Sounds about right. There are too many questions on offense (Who will run the ball? Who will catch it?). And can the Fighting Illini adequately replace defensive stars like end Whitney Mercilus and safety Tavon Wilson?

Bottom line: Just getting to a bowl will be nice feat for Illinois this season.

TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: I agree 1000 percent with the great Tim May. The next decade will be the closest we have come to replicating the Bo-Woody years of this uber-intense rivalry. Just sit back and enjoy it, people!!!

My take: Two-hundred-and-thirteen scholarship offers!? I’d love to have some context here. How does this compare to other schools, I wonder?

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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buckshotmike on 6/13/2012 @ 11:56am EST Said:

I get what Michigan is doing but it defeats the purpose of having a number retired. There isn’t a more prestigious honor other than the HOF and Michigan is taking that away from a football player who became a President. I didn’t like Brady Hoke much, hell of a coach, but this makes me like him less. Michigan is all about tradition. This is the opposite in my opinion.