Thursday's links: Rivalries & Hero Encounter
All the Big Ten football news that’s fit to link to is below.
ENEMY TERRITORY: Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was standing right smack-dab in enemy territory when he said it: “We will” get recruits from Michigan.
But, honestly, this shouldn’t be a big revelation and Wolverine fans shouldn’t be too rankled. In fact, over the years, Michigan has made a living wooing some of Ohio’s best talent up to Ann Arbor. A few notables: 1991 Heisman winner Desmond Howard (St. Joseph High in Cleveland) and 1997 Heisman winner Charles Woodson (Ross High in Fremont, Ohio).
So, no complaining, Michigan fans.
MEETING A HERO: What man or woman doesn’t dream of meeting a childhood hero? Me? I always wanted to meet Evel Knievel, but it never happened. Still, that didn’t stop me from building ramps in the street and jumping the wagons of neighborhood kids with my Huffy.
But when you are the Ohio State football coach, you kinda get to live a lot of dreams. And Urban Meyer did just that recently when he threw out the first pitch at a Cincinnati Reds game and met Pete Rose—his boyhood hero.
THE LEGEND OF JAMES: We’ve all read or watched “James and the Giant Peach,” right? Well, perhaps one day there will be a book and movie called “James and the Giant Bear.” It seems we all can’t get enough of the tale about Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg slaying a 350-pound black bear.
Read more. Oh, and enjoy.
EMBRACING RIVALRIES: Michigan coach Brady Hoke doesn’t run away from the notion of rivalries. He embraces them. And that’s why he’s a great coach.
Just listen (or, in this case, read) to Hoke:
“We have three unbelievably great rivalry games and we’re blessed to do this. We have the opportunity to play Notre Dame, that’s a great national rivalry in many ways. So we cherish that, those opportunities. When we play an in-state rivalry game with Michigan State, of course they have kicked our ass for the last four years and there’s no other way of looking at that, it’s been an ass-kicking. Just being honest with you. Pardon me about my language but it’s the truth.”
And, what about the Ohio State game?
“Then we play the greatest rivalry in sport against Ohio (State.) There’s nothing like that football game. There’s nothing like the respect. The guys who have played that game and coached in that game understand about that game understand the respect the guys have for each other. When you play in that kind of rivalry the last Saturday in November it’s important. And for us, as it is with Ohio, it’s important to us, their alumni, their graduates and their players. It’s important for us in all those areas.”
I can’t wait for Brady vs. Urban, Round One.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: One of the things that make a college football coaching job good, average or tough is proximity to talent. Does the school sit in a state that is a hot bed for talent? If so, it makes that school’s football job more desirable.
Schools in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas and California all have that built-in advantage. But Nebraska?
While it has great facilities, fans and tradition, the school isn’t in a state where there is a lot of blue-chip, BCS-level talent for Bo Pelini. That means his Cornhuskers must recruit nationally to fill out their roster. And that’s not always an easy thing.
GET YOUR PREVIEWS: The college football preview magazines are here! The college football preview magazines are here! (I’m using my best Navin R. Johnson voice.)
The great Mike Carmin of the Lafayette Journal Courier took the time to stop by Marsh’s on Teal Road (or maybe it was Payless on Sagamore Parkway) to flip through them. And what did he find to be the consensus about prognosticator’s opinions of Purdue?
None of the mags (Athlon, Lindy’s Phil Steele, USA Today) have the Boilermakers finishing higher than fourth place in the Leaders Division as Danny Hope is set to embark on his fourth season as head coach with what purportedly is his most talented team yet.
It’s difficult to pick Purdue much higher at this point, but I could see the Boilers finishing third in the division. I just don’t see Purdue being better than Wisconsin or Ohio State in the Leaders, but the Boilermakers can finish ahead of Penn State, Illinois and Indiana.
The outlook for defensive tackle Kawann Short is much better, as he is picked as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year by Lindy’s.
That’s not a crazy notion, when you consider many NFL scribes think Short will be a first-round NFL draft pick in April.
TWEETS THAT MATTER
My take: And, yet: Frazier isn’t in the College Football Hall of Fame. Go figure.
My take: No real shockers here. Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan and Penn State are ranked 1, 2, 3, 4. In other news, water is wet. One-hundred years from now, these rankings will look largely the same. Take it to the bank, people.
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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