Today's links: Football predictions rolling in

Who doesn’t love predictions? We all do. Well, the great Andrew Logue of the Des Moines Register ranks the Big Ten teamsHe has Iowa No. 10, ahead of No. 11 Purdue and No. 12 Illinois. Who is No. 1? Do you really have to ask? Logue has Michigan No. 2 ahead of Nebraska. This is just wrong. No love for Northwestern.

More predictions. Andy Staples of SI.com has his post-spring Top 25. Feel free to vent, Nebraska fans. You’ll want to after seeing this.

Alabama is No. 1; Ohio State is No. 4. Michigan State is No. 14; Michigan is No. 16; Northwestern is No. 22. Hmmm. Not sure about the love for the Spartans. This basically is the same team as last year’s: great, great defense … but how has the offense gotten better? Is Michigan State REALLY better than Nebraska? Is Michigan? Are the Huskers the FOURTH-PLACE team in the Legends Division? C’mon. Has Staples looked at what the Huskers have coming back? Has he looked at Nebraska’s schedule? He doesn’t even mention Nebraska as another team to watch.

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Here is a nice post-spring breakdown of each Big Ten team from the Champaign News-Gazette.

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Penn State coach Bill O’Brien hasn’t ruled out using players both ways.

“If you have a roster of 65 scholarships and you have all these kids who you think are going to be good run-ons, you’ve got to take a certain percentage of that roster and I can’t mention names right now, but guys that we’ve been recruiting,” O’Brien said on a caravan stop. “Can these guys do anything on the other side of the ball?”

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Someone put a mic in front of Mel Kiper, Jr., and his hair. And neither one thinks Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan’s NFL stock will rise much by coming back for his senior season.

Kiper and his hair are correct. But Lewan didn’t really come back to enhance his stock. He came back to help the Wolverines try to win their first Big Ten title since 2004. Kiper and his hair projected Lewan as the No. 13 overall 2013 prospect and No. 3 offensive tackle on the day he returned to school. Now, Kiper and his hair have Lewan No. 8—and the No. 3 OT. Alabama’s Cycrus Kouandjio is the first tackle, at No. 4 overall, and Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews is No. 6 overall.

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Dick Vitale—yes, THAT Dick Vitale—thinks “this might be the best team that Michigan State has ever had.” Vitale isn’t prone to hyperbole, is he?

My response: wow. I’m not so sure about that. I think some people are soft-selling the departure of big Derrick Nix in the middle. Is there an adequate replacement?

Speaking of Michigan State, the great Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal say the future of Spartans basketball rests with the decisions of four top recruits—three of which are from Chicago.

Couch says that if Jahlil Okafor, Cliff Alexander and Tyus Jones are on MSU’s roster next summer, Tom Izzo will have secured the most revered recruiting class of his tenure, a trio of possible one-and-done NBA prospects that’ll duplicate this season’s expectations, but with substantially more intrigue.

OK, you can stop hyperventilating, Spartans fans.

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BTN’s own Brent Yarina ranked the ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchups yesterday. And he did a top-notch job of it, too.

Here’s another stab at it by CBSSports.com.

Here’s my cliff notes ranking, because I know you wanna know.

1. Michigan at Duke
2. North Carolina at Michigan State
3. Indiana at Syracuse
4. Notre Dame at Iowa
5. Northwestern at N.C. State
6. Wisconsin at Virginia
7. Maryland at Ohio State
8. Penn State at Pitt
9. Illinois at Georgia Tech
10. Miami (Fla.) at Nebraska
11. Boston College at Purdue
12. Florida State at Minnesota

By the way: Wake Forest, Clemson and Virginia Tech weren’t invited to partake in the series. But ACC defector Maryland was. Kinda weird.

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David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News has a lot of nice Penn State hoops info here.

Among the nuggets: Penn State may play a game in old Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions have not played there in 17 years since the opening of the Bryce Jordan Center. This would be so awesome. I walked around Rec Hall last summer. What a cool old gym. Michigan State played a game in old Jenison Field House last season. And it was great. I hope more schools take games to their old gyms.

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TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: So there is that—for what it’s worth.

My take: I think Northwestern should be in there somewhere.

My take: I can’t think of one other person on the globe who also had this thought.

My take: The big guy is gonna be a nice addition to what already is a deep and talented Hawkeyes team.

My take: Gotta think both of these records should continue to improve in coming years.

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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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1 Comment

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (1 Comment)
Matt on 5/21/2013 @ 11:39am EDT Said:

Andy Staples has a hatred for Nebraska that I dont understand. That’s ok, whether Staples ranks us pre-season or not doesn’t matter. We’ll suprise a lot of people this year including Staples.

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