Monday links: Which B1G coach nearly lost 200 pounds?

Salaries for assistant coaches have been rising across the nation. Have you seen some of the figures for SEC coordinators? Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart makes $1.2 million; LSU DC John Chavis makes $1.1 mil. Well, Ohio State is trying to keep pace.

Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch says for the first time, the Buckeyes will have three assistants this year making at least $500,000: defensive coordinator Luke Fickell ($600,000), co-defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Everett Withers ($580,000) and offensive coordinator Tom Herman ($550,000). Hey, it’s not a cool mil, but it’s getting close.

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There have been rumblings for a while about Penn State possibly playing a game in Ireland. Those rumblings soon may become reality.

The game would be in 2014. And details could be finalized in the next week or two. The foe? It sounds like it could be UCF. On the subject of scheduling, it was great to read that Bill O’Brien would like to play Pitt every year. The schools will meet from 2016-2019. They last played in 2000.

“Pitt-Penn State, who can forget those games back in the day, usually late in the season, snowing?” says O’Brien. “I think it’s great for college football.”

Amen.

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From the “anything-is-possible” department, I bring you this inspiring story on Minnesota offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover’s journey from 403 to 235 pounds over the past year. Limegrover did it with gastric bypass surgery and embracing a new eating and exercise lifestyle. It’s truly remarkable. He’s still every bit as smart as ever—but he’s also slimmer, healthier and better. Someone make this man a head coach!

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Attention, Michigan fans: Incoming stud quarterback recruit Shane Morris is set to arrive in Ann Arbor next week. And he’ll wear Devin Gardner’s old No. 7.

Morris picked No. 7 to pay tribute to former Wolverine signal-callers like Rick Leach, Drew Henson and Chad Henne. Let’s hope he’s more like Henne and Leach than Henson.

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Check out these photos, as Michigan football and hoop players pay tribute to their mothers. Sweet.

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With the Big Ten finally settled on divisions, Michigan coach John Beilein would like to see them applied to hoops. Up until now, the divisions have just been used for football.

“I think it makes sense,” Beilein told Mlive.com. “It depends on how big (the league gets eventually), but the rhyme or reason of who you play and when you play is difficult. If you knew you were playing everybody (in your division) twice, I think that’d be helpful.”

I agree. One, big 14-team league is unwieldy. But two seven-team divisions? That helps with organization and familiarity.

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The great Mike Carmin of the Lafayette Journal and Courier has a nice story on Purdue’s Darrell Hazell. Turns out, he made quite an impression on former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, for whom Hazell served seven seasons as an assistant.

No doubt, Hazell is as no-nonsense at Tressel. And, make no mistake about it: The Boilermakers need a healthy dose of “no-nonsense.”

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Here is an insightful Q&A with Nebraska A.D. Shawn Eichorst by Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald.

Eichorst is bright mind and a real rising star in A.D. circles as he follows the great Tom Osborne. There are many great resources in Lincoln to succeed, which helps Eichorst. But also know this: To whom much is given, much is expected. Eichorst will deliver.

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When the prime-time TV games were announced by ABC/ESPN and BTN, Iowa was the lone Big Ten school that was awarded none. Kirk Ferentz’s challenge to his players: If you want night games, “go win.”

King Kirk has a point. Glad to see him look inward for a solution, too, instead of blaming others—as many do for problems. This will be the first time since 2008 that Iowa won’t have any prime-time kickoffs.

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News that Iowa has agreed to play Northern Illinois in 2018 and 2019 in Kinnick may elicit yawns. But it’s further indication of how Iowa will build its non-conference schedule moving forward when the Big Ten goes go nine league games beginning in 2016.

Here is the formula for 2016 and beyond, according to Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette: Iowa State, a MAC team and another lower-level team at home during seasons with four conference home games. Iowa State on the road and two MAC-type home games when Iowa has five Big Ten home games. Look for the Hawkeyes to offer invitations to teams that are currently transitioning or will transition to FBS and are seeking big paydays. Like Old Dominion, Georgia Southern and Appalachian State.

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By 2014, Spartan Stadium should be a palatial palace following a $20 million renovation. The plan calls for a two-level building at the north end of the stadium. On the first level will be locker rooms for both teams and coaches, a locker room for officials, an equipment room and a media center. Check it out.

A.D. Mark Hollis continues to do a great job making MSU a great place. Is there a better A.D. in America?

TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: The Badgers are really spreading their wings.

My take: This is very impressive, as Brady Hoke continues to stockpile talent. The future continues to get brighter.

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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