Daily links: 10 Big Ten stories to read Monday

Well, if you had any doubt if Iowa was legit, yesterday’s win at No. 3 Ohio State should quell that notion. This was the signature victory for the Hawkeyes under Fran McCaffery, who was coming off a one-game suspension for his double-technical/ejection last Sunday at Wisconsin. What a way to announce your return.

It was Iowa’s first win over a top 5 team in 13 years. And the victory stamps the Hawkeyes as a full-fledged Big Ten contender that may be able to make a deep run in March.

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You didn’t think we were done with Iowa, did you? Did you see how Fran McCaffery celebrated Sunday’s big-time upset, his first game back from his one-game suspension? It was pretty classic. Read about it here, and watch the video below.

***

Now, what to make of Ohio State after its second loss in a row?

To begin with, the Buckeyes have to cut down on the turnovers. And most vital for Ohio State if it wants to get back on track: LaQuinton Ross needs to play with consistency. An air ball and consecutive turnovers late by Ross doomed the Buckeyes. Please, come back, LaQuinton.

***

Penn State introduced James Franklin as head coach on Saturday. And, it all went off in spectacular fashion. David Jones of Pennlive.com came away impressed by Franklin, who has that impact on people.

From a personality aspect, Franklin is the polar opposite of Bill O’Brien. Fans will enjoy that. But, even more important: Franklin looks to be O’Brien’s coaching peer. Ben Jones of StateCollege.com equates Franklin with a mysterious guy in chick flicks who gets you to ride a motorcycle.

By all accounts, Franklin’s first meeting with his players went well. They all were present. Lastly, get this: Franklin met with Christian Hackenberg and his father to go over Franklin’s vision of the program and how he plans to operate the offense. The franchise player can command an audience like that.

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When legendary Tom Osborne speaks, I listen. And, he recently said that the coming playoff may spark more anger than the BCS.

“I guarantee you: If you’re not one of the top four, you’re still going to have some pretty good argument that you ought to be there,” Osborne said. “A number of teams will feel that way. It’ll be analyzed and scrutinized more heavily than any selection committee ever has been.

“You have such a small number right at the top.”

Hey, wanna reduce the heat a bit? Make it an eight-team playoff instead of four. Dump these silly bowls that mean nothing and cost teams money to play in. I don’t think it will take long for the powers-that-be to realize four teams are too few. Or, at least that’s my hope.

***

Chris Collins did it: The rookie Northwestern coach notched his first Big Ten win. And, it came at the expense of rival Illinois. Even sweeter.

I thought there was a chance this NU team wouldn’t win a Big Ten game. Boy, was I wrong.

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If Michigan State fans are feeling exhausted on this Monday, forgive them. They have had to live through two harrowing wins. First came a triumph over Ohio State on Tuesday in which MSU blew a 17-point second-half lead before prevailing in overtime. Next came a home victory vs. Minnesota in which the Spartans rallied from a double-digit deficit, blew a late lead, and then won in OT. The injuries are impacting the Spartans.

Adreain Payne was out vs. Minnesota with a foot injury; Travis Trice has been ill; Branden Dawson is dealing with something that makes him feel dizzy at times; Gary Harris has been dealing with an ankle sprain. And on it has gone.

***

More MSU: WR Bennie Fowler won’t be back. He could have sought a sixth year of eligibility but apparently didn’t think he had a good case to make. So, he’s off.

Fowler ranked as the leading receiver this season in yardage (622), touchdowns (six) and yards per catch (17.3), and his 36 catches were third on the team. He will be missed. Wednesday is the deadline for players to declare.

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Ohio State can breathe easier knowing Braxton Miller will be back for his senior year. But the mere thought of the sensational quarterback turning pro has caused Buckeyes fans to look at the future at quarterback sans Miller. Kinda scary.

If Miller had bolted, OSU would have turned to Cardale Jones, who has hardly played, and J.T. Barrett, who has barely played. Also, true freshman Stephen Collier already has enrolled.

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With Mitch McGary hurt and Tim Hardaway Jr., and Trey Burke gone, Glenn Robinson III has stepped up his game.

“You just watch what he’s going to do here as he get more comfortable with the role we want him to play,” John Beilein said after Robinson scored 19 in a win at Nebraska on Thursday. “We finally see who he is.”

Check this out: Through eight games, GR3 was averaging 11.6 points per game on 41.3 percent shooting. The lack of production stirred criticism. In the last seven games, the sophomore is averaging 16.3 points on 63.3 percent shooting. He’s scored 17 or more points in five of the contests.

TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: An apt comparison.

My take: Probably the best collection of coaches in the nation.

My take: Too many shooters never is a good thing.

My take: Shows how good the defense has been in Columbus in recent years.

My take: This is part of Illinois’ issue during a two-game slide.

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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2 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (2 Comments)
theotherbigone on 1/13/2014 @ 11:30am EDT Said:

Sure took long enough for a post re Iowa win over OSU. And please quit making excuses for those teams who have injured players – all teams have injured players at some time during the season. OH yeh – it’s MSU.

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