Big Ten links: Bo Ryan reaction, bowl updates & much more

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten links: Bo Ryan reaction, bowl updates & much more

Shocking news across hit the wire last night with Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan announcing his retirement.

Talk about big shoes to fill. You wonder if the Badgers can continue their run of excellence that has seen top-four finishes in the Big Ten each season under Ryan since he arrived in 2001-02, as well as Final Four runs the last two years. Gonna be difficult to follow that act.

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Whoa, daddy: ESPN launched its often confusing BPI (Basketball Power Index, for the uninitiated). And guess who is No. 1? Purdue. Yes, Purdue.

The Boilermakers are the top team in the nation after they won their first 11 games, including three games against BPI Top 30 opponents by double digits. I will be fascinated to see where Purdue ends this season. Despite being billed as a “basketball” school, the program hasn’t been to the Final Four since 1980. Can this team break that drought? We will see. It’s only December.

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Now that Chris Ash is running Rutgers, how will he handle the quarterback spot?

NJ.com notes that departed coach Kyle Flood stubbornly stuck with Chris Laviano despite the first-year starter’s struggles, refusing to give backup Hayden Rettig a legitimate shot. With an offense that ranked 85th nationally, Rutgers posted a 4-8 record in 2015. With Flood gone, all of the quarterbacks will start with a fresh slate with Ash. It will be fun to watch his unfold.

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Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com has a good mailbag. He has some interesting comments on the potential future of co-OC/QB coach Tim Beck.

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The bowl season is all about measuring one league vs. another. And no measurement is watched more closely that the one between the Big Ten and SEC. Mlive.com takes a look at the highs and lows for the Big Ten vs. the SEC in bowl games.

I still like the 2000 Orange Bowl, when Michigan beat Alabama, 35-34. The QB that day for the Wolverines? Tom Brady.

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Michigan State’s allotment of 13,000 tickets for the Cotton Bowl are gone. You aren’t shocked, are you? Mlive.com says Baylor fans bought up some of Michigan State’s 13,000-ticket allotment for last season’s Cotton Bowl, which did not have College Football Playoff implications.

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This is pretty cool: Mike Griffith of Mlive.com has compared the recruiting rankings of Alabama and Michigan State players. Let’s just say Bama has an edge.

The 247sports recruiting class rankings:

2011
Alabama – No. 1 (26 signees, three 5-stars)
Michigan State – No. 32 (21 signees, no 5-stars)

2012
Alabama – No. 1 (26 signees, three 5-stars)
Michigan State – No. 33 (23 signees, no 5-stars)

2013
Alabama – No. 1 (26 signees, six 5-stars)
Michigan State – No. 35 (19 signees, no 5-stars)

2014
Alabama – No. 1 (29 signees, six 5-stars)
Michigan State – No. 25 (22 signees, one 5-star)

2015
Alabama – No. 1 (24 signees, six 5-stars)
Michigan State – No. 22 (21 signees, no 5-stars)

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More on new Penn State OC Joe Moorhead, who once worked for Randy Edsall at UConn.

Ben Jones of StateCollege.com has some advice for James Franklin on what not to do with Moorhead that he did with John Donovan, the coordinator Franklin fired: Let him talk to the media. For Franklin though it makes sense to mute assistants. No assistant coaches after games means that nobody can get the message mixed up. Franklin sits down, tells it like he sees it and that’s the official word. But, let the coordinators explain themselves after games. C’mon.

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There is a chance Maliek Collins and Vincent Valentine both could go pro. Who would step in as the leader up front for Nebraska’s d-line if that happens? Rich Kaipust of the Omaha World-Herald says Kevin Maurice could be the man.

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InsideNU.com is handing out end-of-season grades for Northwestern football players. Here are the QB grades. What grade would you give Clayton Thorson? InsideNU.com gave him a C+. I’d give him a B-. That’s just the type of guy I am.

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Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

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, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.

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