Big Ten links: New AD at Minnesota, football camp chatter & more

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Big Ten links: New AD at Minnesota, football camp chatter & more

WATCH - Mark Coyle is introduced as Minnesota's new Athletic Director.

If the sun has risen, that must mean Jim Harbaugh has some satellite camp news. Yep, looks like Samoa and Hawaii are now on the tour, along with Australia.

You can’t make this stuff up, people. When is enough enough? If a few satellite camps are good, are more better? Ah, forget it. What do I know?

This is interesting: Coaches from New Jersey prep powerhouse programs are encouraging kids to go to the Rutgers/Ohio State camp in the Garden State, and not Michigan’s.

“Obviously Michigan wants to conspire with Paramus Catholic to do whatever they want to do,” Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic coach Nunzio Campanile told NJ.com. “So I don’t think they’re making friends from that standpoint with a lot of these schools. I really don’t know what to say about it. But it is what it is. They’re obviously aligned with those guys, and if that’s what they want to do, it’s their business.

“But I don’t think Rutgers should let those (Michigan) guys come in here and have their way. I also think that any high school coach in New Jersey who lets their kid go to Paramus Catholic has to kind of re-think what they’re doing. I’m glad that Rutgers is doing it. I’m glad that Ohio State is doing it. And I hope it’s extremely successful.”

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Whoa, looks like Minnesota hoop coach Richard Pitino went a little overboard on using the school’s private jet.

An internal audit of the Gophers basketball teams found that Richard Pitino exceeded his private-jet spending by nearly $200,000 in three seasons as head coach.

I’m guessing new Minnesota A.D. Mark Coyle will deal with this after being introduced yesterday from his gig at Syracuse, where he worked for less than a year. Coyle has a lot on his plate. I hope he can get this athletic department on track, because I think it’s capable of great things.

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Many holes to fill for Big Ten football programs. One of Northwestern’s biggest is replacing Superback Dan Vitale. How does NU do it?

Long story short, it will take more than one guy to do all that this stud did. InsideNU.com has a good look at the task at hand for the Wildcat staff.

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I’ll include this link just … because: A man has sued Nebraska to stop the release of balloons at Husker home games, saying it is dangerous to kids and animals. Since the late 1950s, home-game Husker fans have released thousands of red balloons when the football team first puts points on the board.

Welcome to 2016, people.

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I am asked often who I think will win the Big Ten West. My pick: Iowa. But a look around at early Top 25s shows that the Hawkeyes aren’t always afforded a lot of respect—landing in the lower part of most early polls despite having lots of talent back from a 12-2 Rose Bowl team.

“I wasn’t sure where it’d go, how it’d turn out,” Kirk Ferentz said this week. “But just taking a wild guess, I figured we’d be ranked somewhere. I didn’t know where. It’s usually the byproduct of a decent season, just like when you don’t finish up the way you want to, typically you’re not on those things. It’s really not a big deal either way.”

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The recent struggles of the Penn State offensive line are well-documented, as talent and depth have been big issues. Dustin Hockensmith of Pennlive.com chronicles how the perfect storm of NCAA sanctions and recruiting misses led to the unit’s woes. But, the o-line looks to be getting better. A lot better.

You knew it was coming: Mel Kiper Jr. and his hair have an early 2017 NFL draft big board out, and Michigan State DT Malik McDowell is No. 6, the highest Big Ten player.

Here’s what Kiper had to say about him: “A versatile, highly athletic interior defender who can be moved anywhere along the line, McDowell has length and strength. And he was disruptive last season, piling up 13.0 tackles for loss. Sparty lost a lot of talent on the defensive line to the 2016 draft, so McDowell faces a lot of pressure.”

Defensive linemen ALWAYS have a lot of value at any level of football. It is so difficult to get big guys who can move.

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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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