Big Ten links: Loaded Big Ten East, Lou Henson health update & more

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten links: Loaded Big Ten East, Lou Henson health update & more

How good could the Big Ten East be in 2015? Pretty good. Mark Podolski of the News-Herald in Ohio thinks the division may be the best in the nation.

The SEC West was college football’s standard bearer. No more. The bottom line is the SEC is in a transition period. After the conference won seven straight BCS national championships — that last in 2012 — it’s been two years since it took home a national crown. Also, the SEC West was 2-4 in last year’s postseason. For those keeping score, the Big Ten East was 5-1 in the postseason. And SEC commissioner Mike Slive, who was instrumental in building the brand of the SEC with its own TV network, is retiring this summer.

It’s a fair argument the Big Ten, most notably the East Division, is trending up, and the SEC West is in a holding pattern. Now is the time for the Big Ten East to lay claim as college football’s top division. The timing couldn’t be any better to dethrone — mythically speaking — the SEC West.

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Always lots of good content on CFB 24/7 on NFL.com. To wit: What school can make the claim to be “Quarterback U” over the last 15 years? Purdue makes the list compiled by Chase Goodbread.

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Prayers for former Illinois coach Lou Henson, whose health has taken a turn.

According to the Champaign News-Gazette, on June 15, Henson checked into Carle Foundation Hospital. He had been in the intensive care unit so as to remain isolated due to possibilities of infection. Since retiring from coaching, Henson battled non-Hodgkins lymphoma and encephalitis.

“He’s very optimistic,” said Mark Coomes, a longtime assistant under Henson at Illinois. “He’s been a fighter with various issues for a long time.”

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Could this be a breakout season for Michigan State receiver DeAnthony Arnett? Maybe.

Arnett has played in 12 career games for the Spartans and has six receptions for 87 yards. Prior to transferring to Michigan State, Arnett played in 12 games as a true freshman at Tennessee in 2011 where he had 24 catches for 242 yards and two touchdowns.

“I’ll just say this,” MSU receivers coach Terrence Samuel told Mlive.com, “DeAnthony is the best he’s ever been.”

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Soon you can drink a beer being brewed in honor of Joe Paterno.

Pennlive.com notes that the beer is being brewed and bottled at Duquesne’s brewery in Latrobe, hometown of Paterno’s widow, Sue. The brewery says it’s working with Paterno’s family on the beer. A portion of proceeds will go to charities they support.

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Rutgers has some holes to fill if it wants to return to the postseason, like finding a quarterback. Another worry: RU will have one of the most inexperienced rosters in the nation in 2015, according to the great Phil Steele.

Rutgers lost six starters on offense and six starters on defense from last season’s 8-5 squad. Kyle Flood will try to fill those holes with a number of young and/or unproven players.

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Lots of good Big Ten quarterback analysis in the West Division from Sam McKewon of Omaha.com.

McKewon notes that if you’re inclined to circle the quarterback as one determining factor for a division title-winner, you may find that whoever emerges with the best season from that five-man cluster — Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong, Minnesota’s Mitch Leidner, Iowa’s C.J. Beathard, Wisconsin’s Joel Stave and Illinois’ Wes Lunt — has the division’s best team, to boot.

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InsideNU.com continues its look at the 10 most important Wildcats for 2015. MLB Anthony Walker is No. 5, a freshman phenom last year who is looking to take the proverbial next step.

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Will Indiana fill its 13th hoops scholarship?

Zach Osterman of IndyStar.com says that question has been floating around for the last three weeks, after Indiana secured a commitment from fifth-year transfer Max Bielfeldt on June 2.

“What it has to be now is someone who would really make sense,” Tom Crean said. “There’s no rush.”

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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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