Today's links: Another football season in the books

Alabama put the finishing touches on the 2012 season with an annihilation of Notre Dame in the BCS championship game. And, never in the history of college football has a 42-14 score been so misleading. Truth be told: It wasn’t really that close. So, that’s three BCS titles in four years for Bama, and then seven in a row for the SEC. Maybe Ohio State can put an end to this SEC dominance in the near future. Until then, let’s kick off the daily links with a gander at the final polls, which still mean something in college football.

Coaches’ Rankings
Rankings as of 1/8/2013
Rank School Votes Prev Rank
1 Alabama (13-1) 1400 (56) 2
2 Oregon (12-1) 1322 3
3 Notre Dame (12-1) 1253 1
4 Georgia (12-2) 1213 5
5 Texas A&M (11-2) 1171 9
6 Stanford (12-2) 1167 8
7 South Carolina (11-2) 1064 10
8 Florida State (12-2) 942 12
9 Clemson (11-2) 916 13
10 Florida (11-2) 886 4
11 Kansas State (11-2) 841 6
12 LSU (10-3) 775 7
13 Louisville (11-2) 772 18
14 Boise State (11-2) 633 15
15 Oklahoma (10-3) 600 11
16 Northwestern (10-3) 580 17
17 Utah State (11-2) 444 20
18 Texas (9-4) 398 25
19 Oregon State (9-4) 366 14
20 Vanderbilt (9-4) 248 NR
21 San Jose State (11-2) 244 24
22 Cincinnati (10-3) 186 NR
23 Nebraska (10-4) 175 21
24 Northern Illinois (12-2) 156 16
25 Tulsa (11-3) 110 NR

In the final A.P. poll, four Big Ten teams are ranked, with Ohio State No. 3; Northwestern No. 17; Michigan No. 24 and Nebraska No. 25. That’s just four teams, and few highly ranked. Indeed, the Big Ten didn’t make much of a dent.

Only Northwestern at No. 16 and Nebraska at No. 23 are ranked in the final coaches poll. Of course, Ohio State isn’t ranked by this poll because it is on probation.

***

It’s good to be new Wisconsin offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, who has doubled his salary with the move from San Diego State to Madison.

Former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said an inability to pay top dollar for assistants was an issue when he was coaching the Badgers. Well, it looks like that won’t be a problem for new Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen.

***

It’s not all about Bill O’Brien and his commitment at Penn State. There also is football to discuss. And O’Brien recently sounded off on several topics, including the quarterback spot.

The chase to replace Matt McGloin will begin in spring drills, with sophomore Steven Bench and JC transfer Tyler Ferguson the lone competitors until touted freshman Christian Hackenberg arrives in August. One blue-chip recruit already on campus: Adam Breneman. He may be the top prep tight end in the nation. How many great tight ends will O’Brien have in 2013? The top four from last season all will be back.

***

Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette had a recent football chat. Here’s the transcript. Among other things, Asmussen discusses new offensive coordinator Bill Cubit. Asmussen also says he doesn’t think all of the changes on the staff are finished.

***

Nice podcast from Marc Morehouse and Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, in which the scribes discuss Iowa’s assistant football coaching situation and Hawkeye hoops.

***

Terry Hutchens of the Indianapolis Star has been impressed with how Indiana has taken care of business in its first two games: at Iowa and at Penn State. Good teams do that. And, make no mistake about it: Indiana is a good team. Beating teams you are supposed to beat shows us how far this program has come under Tom Crean. But the Hoosiers’ next two games—vs. Minnesota and Wisconsin at home—may tell us even more about Indiana.

***

Do you think Minnesota coach Tubby Smith seems more relaxed than ever? So does Amelia Rayno of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Smith trusts this team like no other. He likes this team. It certainly does seem like a special group from a chemistry and leadership standpoint. That all will be put to the test in two big games this week: at Illinois and at Indiana.

***

Michigan is rolling, off to a 15-0 start—which is the second-best in school history. But Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com wonders what will happen when adversity strikes? Oh, it will hit at some point this season. How will the Wolverines react?

How cushy have things been for Michigan? Baumgardner points out that in 560 minutes of action, the Wolverines have trailed for just over 36 minutes. That’s it. But, plenty of tough games that figure to test the team’s resolve remain. Let’s see how a relatively young Michigan team responds.

Speaking of Michigan, Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald likes what he sees in the Wolverines. Who wouldn’t? The Wolverines have big names, big talent and little ego. There’s Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Glenn Robinson III, Nik Stauskas … should I go on? You get the picture. This is a loaded team.

***

Michigan State’s Gary Harris is living up to his hype as a freshman—despite having some cranky shoulders.

***

That Iowa blowout loss at Michigan? It wasn’t a reality check, says Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. It was reality.

But, look on the bright side, Iowa: You have no games left vs. Indiana and Michigan. So, things should get better.

***

TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: I wish we could have seen both games.

My take: This is spot on!

My take: At the least, it would not be a shock if the teams met for the title very soon—maybe even next season.

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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