Big Ten links: What's next for Penn State?

There is no rest for Penn State coaches, who in addition to recruiting prep players also must fight to retain their current players, who can transfer to other schools without penalty up until the start of training camp next August. Read about that and other Big Ten grid news in my daily links.

Bob Flounders of the Harrisburg Patriot-News identifies the most inviting targets.

  • WR Allen Robinson
  • DE Deion Barnes
  • TE Kyle Carter
  • DB Adrian Amos
  • TE Jesse James
  • OT Donovan Smith
  • RB Zach Zwinak
  • LB Mike Hull

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There is no sugar coating Nebraska’s 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. It was mind numbing. It was the third time in 2012 that the Huskers looked horrible on defense after allowing 653 yards at UCLA and 63 points at Ohio State. But Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal Star thinks Huskers coach Bo Pelini deserves the benefit of the doubt.

I agree with Sipple, who points out why you should still believe in Pelini. Why? Let’s count the ways:

Because of the obvious discipline in the program.

Because of the wealth of high-character athletes and coaches.

Because Nebraska is among only four programs that have won at least nine games per season since 2008. The others are Boise State, Alabama and Oregon.

Because Pelini guided Nebraska to Big 12 North Division championships in 2009 and 2010 before NU captured the Big Ten Legends Division this season with a 7-1 record.

Because, entering Saturday’s game, Nebraska — when you combine statistics from the past four seasons — ranked second in pass-efficiency defense, third in pass defense, eighth in scoring defense and ninth in total defense.

Nebraska entered Saturday 15th this season in total defense.

There is ample evidence that indicates Pelini knows what he is doing and is a good head coach with the potential for greatness.

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The Champaign News-Gazette had a nice Q&A with Illinois A.D. Mike Thomas, who last week said he will retain Tim Beckman after a 2-10 season. Among other things, Thomas says Beckman’s status for next season never was in doubt. He addresses that and other topics. Good read, Chief.

***

Turns out Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl opposing coaches Mark Dantonio and Gary Patterson are tight.

The two competed when TCU and Cincinnati were in Conference USA, and Dantonio was still with the Bearcats. They also are two of the nation’s top defensive minds. What’s it all mean? This could be one of the better non-BCS bowls.

***

TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: Two tough, physical teams that wanna pound the rock. Gonna be fun. Really.

My take: Rabinowitz has a great point. So, brace for a potentially difficult postseason, Big Ten fans.

My take: A well-deserved honor!

My take: This gives you an idea of how tough Michigan’s schedule was.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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