Today's links: Iowa faces uphill battle

Iowa is off to a rough start in the Big Ten, an 0-3 start vs. three very good teams (Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State). The latest setback was a 62-59 defeat at home to the Spartans that the Hawkeyes had their chances to win. Let’s start the daily links right there in Iowa City, shall we? Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette says it’s more evidence that Iowa isn’t out of the Big Ten lowlands yet.

Now what? I think the best is yet to come for a young Iowa that starts three freshmen in guards Mike Gessell and Anthony Clemmons and big man Adam Woodbury. It’s all about getting tough—or so says coach Fran McCaffrey.

Pat Harty of HawkCentral.com says Iowa now has to finish 9-6 in the final 15 conference games just to finish .500 in the Big Ten. The fact that Iowa already has two Big Ten losses at home only heightens the concern, along with Roy Devyn Marble’s injured ankle that caused him to miss the Michigan State game and may force him to miss the Northwestern tilt.

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Big Ten Standings
Conference Overall
W-L W-L
Michigan 3-0 16-0
Minnesota 3-0 15-1
Indiana 2-0 14-1
Wisconsin 2-0 11-4
Michigan State 2-1 13-3
Ohio State 2-1 12-3
Illinois 1-2 14-3
Northwestern 1-2 10-6
Purdue 1-2 7-8
Iowa 0-3 11-5
Nebraska 0-3 9-7
Penn State 0-3 8-7
View Full Standings

The win by Michigan State at Iowa wasn’t a thing of beauty. In fact, MSU played poorly, but it was the kind of victory that the Spartans can build on. And, it also was the kind of game they couldn’t afford to lose if they want to keep pace with Big Ten heavies Michigan, Indiana and Minnesota, says Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal.

Give credit to point man Keith Appling for taking charge down the stretch and leading the Spartans to the tough road victory.

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The great Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com reached into his mailbag to answer questions. The most intriguing: Who would win a game vs. the 2000 national championship Spartans and this year’s Wolverines’ team? Baumgardner thinks the Spartans would win. And, so do I.

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God I love crash-and-burn, pedal-to-the-metal, no-retreat-no-surrender Mike Bruesewitz of Wisconsin. And, it’s not just because of his mop-top hair.

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Speaking of Wisconsin, new Badgers grid coach Gary Andersen is putting the finishing touches on his new staff. And, it’s a nice-looking collection of coaches who also are familiar with each other.

Three members came from Andersen’s Utah State staff: defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, secondary coach Bill Busch and offensive line coach T.J. Woods. Freshly-minted tight ends coach Jay Boulware coached with Andersen at Utah, as did offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig.

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New Penn State defensive coordinator John Butler says he’s eager to begin his new role after being promoted from secondary coach to replace departing Ted Roof. Butler doesn’t plan to make any major changes to a scheme for a defense that could be very good in the back seven.

The decision for Roof to leave was surprising. But, Georgia Tech is his alma mater and Georgia is his home.

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Everyone loves the Golden Gophers. Why not? They are 15-1, ranked in the top 10 and coming off a big win at Illinois as they prep for a huge—and I mean HUGE—game at Indiana on Saturday. Count esteemed Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse among those fawning over the Golden Gophers.

He caught up with former Minnesota coach Jim Dutcher, who says having good guards is key. And the Gophers have them. Lots of them.

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Got some early, early, early 2013 Heisman contenders right here. Yes, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller is considered a top candidate. So, this story is legit. Thank you.

Who doesn’t love Big Ten power rankings? They rate right up there with rainbows and unicorns on the “like-o-meter.” Well, former Illinois guard and Champaign News-Gazette insider Sean Harrington has his latest version up. Harrington has Michigan No. 1. Hard to disagree. But, I will. I still think Indiana is best.

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Still haven’t had enough of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson? Here is one more kiss blown his way.

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TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: The kid is gutsy. I love him. I just hope he stays healthy.

My take: Yes, this one will sting the Hawkeyes for a while.

My take: Can’t say I blame him. Just try to learn from the Northwestern loss and move on.

My take: Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how the quarterback situation sorts out in Madison.

My take: Agree on this. There are some great teams at the top, but there are some teams at the bottom who are, ahem, struggling.

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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