Big Ten links: Rounding up Thursday's news headlines

Big Ten links: Rounding up Thursday's news headlines

No shock here: Nebraska A.D. Shawn Eichorst and others in the Big Ten favor earlier paid visits and an early signing period for football. It all makes too much sense. But, will it happen? It just may.

“More so than ever, there is optimism,’’ Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst said at the recent Big Ten meetings. “The devil is in the details. I have not heard folks are totally opposed to revisiting the entire recruiting calendar.

“I think you have to. Recruiting has totally changed. This is a national recruiting situation. I get the regional stuff if you are in a region with population, but a majority of us don’t have that. So I think you need to look at it from a national platform.’’

***

Wednesday was D-Day for players to either stay in the NBA draft … or return to class. Indiana’s Troy Williams went pro, as expected.

And, it wasn’t a surprise to see James Blackmon opt to return after missing most of last year with a knee injury.

IU will be a major player to win the Big Ten again with Blackmon in tow along with Thomas Bryant.

***

Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan also is coming back. Smart man. He has a lot to work on if he wants to be an NBA player. He lacks explosiveness to guard big man and quickness to play on the wing. Plus, he’s a spotty shooter.

Yes, A.J. Hammons is gone, but the Boilermakers will make a push for the title with Swanigan joining Isaac Haas, Vince Edwards and Michigan transfer Spike Albrecht, among others. A big key: Better point play. This is where Albrecht should help.

***

Bruce Springsteen, Mr. New Jersey, wearing a Penn State hat? While he recently did a concert in Happy Valley, NJ.com notes that’s probably not a good enough excuse for every person in New Jersey that doubles as a fan of his music and Rutgers football.

Speaking of Penn State, there has been a lot of talk about how tough its 2016 schedule is. But where does it rank in wins and losses?

In the end, the Lions’ schedule ranks No. 34 in the country, according to Phil Steele and numerous other outlets who crunched the numbers. The Lions’ 2016 opponents combined to go 88-67 a year ago, good for a 56.8 winning percentage that gives Penn State the seventh toughest schedule in the Big Ten; Rutgers checks in at No. 33, Michigan State at No. 18, Illinois at No. 14, Ohio State at No. 12, Northwestern at No. 9, and Wisconsin at No. 6. Michigan is listed at No. 78, while the aforementioned Panthers check in at No. 17. Of note, Penn State will face eight teams that went to a bowl game in 2015, but just six of those finished with a winning record.

***

Illinois has granted a release to Kendrick Nunn. New Illini A.D. Josh Whitman has taken a firm stand on domestic violence and Kendrick Nunn has been dismissed from the Illini basketball team because of it. Nunn was booted off the team Tuesday, six days after pleading guilty to a single charge of misdemeanor battery for an incident in March. During testimony, Nunn admitted that he hit a woman in the head, pushed her to the ground and poured water on her after an argument at her apartment.

***

A good podcast “On Iowa” from the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Marc Morehouse and Scott Dochterman break down the Hawkeyes’ basketball lineup with Peter Jok’s return. The duo also discusses the new Hayden Fry statue unveiled in September, the possible changes at Kinnick Stadium’s north end zone as well as Kirk Ferentz’s contract status.

***

Email Tom Dienhart using the form below.

And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.

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.

Advertisement

BTN Plus on BTN2Go

BTN Plus on BTN2Go

all times ET
Today
7:00 PMFlorida Gulf Coast at Rutgers Watch
7:00 PMTemple at Penn St.Watch
8:00 PMSt. Louis at WisconsinWatch
Tomorrow
4:00 PMBowling Green at Michigan St.Watch
7:00 PMSIUE at Ohio St.Watch
7:30 PMButler at IndianaWatch
7:30 PMDetroit Mercy at MichiganWatch
8:00 PMMaryland at IowaWatch

Watch hundreds of live non-televised Big Ten events via BTN Plus on BTN2Go.