Big Ten links: Harbaugh, rankings & more in Friday's news digest
Good column from the great Nick Baumgardner of Mlive.com, who says Jim Harbaugh calling Nick Saban a hypocrite is something the Big Ten should embrace. No doubt, he’s correct in his assessment.
Instead of Saban worrying about if satellite camps will be on the up-and-up and good for college football (they have been going long before Harbaugh took them to another level, by the way), he should just tend to the issues within his own program. And there are some issues concerning the NCAA. Long story short: Just mind your own business. It’s advice we all heard as children. But, many forget it. Saban is just worried about his recruiting turf being invaded.
That’s all. Don’t believe any other spin.
It’s Friday, so here are two scoops of Harbaugh: Watch him speak at a camp in Atlanta with Hank Aaron and Kirby Smart.
The top linebacker in the nation is … Northwestern’s Anthony Walker? That’s what Sports on Earth says. No doubt, Walker is good. But America’s best? Oh, well, let’s go along with it!
After getting drubbed in the bowl games, Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz is making a change. Guy has to try something, right? Ferentz’s move: Shorten the duration in bowl paradise.
Wait. Isn’t a big part of the reward of a bowl hanging out in the bowl region? But I digress.
“Kind of treat it more like an extended business trip, if you will — or an away game with an extension on it,” Ferentz told Chad Lestikow at HawkCentral.com.
In each of their last two bowl trips, Iowa arrived eight days ahead of the game and got thumped right out of the gate.
Bet you didn’t know this: Jordan Westerkamp is the highest graded returning receiver in college football, according to Pro Football Focus. You can win some bets with this factoid down at your local overpriced coffee shop. Westerkamp is part of what should be the top wideout corps in the Big Ten.
The site — which focuses heavily on advanced metrics to grade players in both the NFL and college — has the Nebraska wideout as the highest-graded pass-catcher returning for the 2016 season. PFF editor in chief Jeff Dooley wrote this recently about Westerkamp: “This one likely comes as something of a surprise, as Westerkamp isn’t showing up on a lot of lists of the best receivers in college football. But he was quietly one of the most productive in 2015, and given the amount of star receivers who have moved on to the NFL since the end of last season, it leaves Westerkamp as the top-graded returner among (Power Five wideouts).”
PFF notes that Westerkamp had 2.40 yards per route ran, which ranked second among returning Power Five receivers. He also had a deep ball catch rate of 52 percent, good for fourth.
Interesting Tweet from Sam McKewon of Omaha.com. Turns out, Tommy Armstrong’s numbers aren’t too bad compared to other recent starting Nebraska starting QBs.
Cleveland.com has a fun quiz on Ohio State College Football Hall of Famers. Who’s a Hall of Famer? Who isn’t a Hall of Famer? It’s a challenge. Good luck!
Looks like Michigan State’s Javon Bess will land at Saint Louis University to play for new Billikens coach Travis Ford. Not a bad place to land with a program with some upside. After playing two seasons with the Spartans, Bess will now sit out one season and have two years of eligibility remaining for the Atlantic 10 school, starting in 2017-18.
Much is made about who will QB Rutgers this fall: Chris Laviano or Hayden Rettig? Well, don’t totally count out freshman Tylin Oden.
“I don’t think I’m going to be red-shirted, if you ask me,” Oden said. “But who knows?”
Rutgers coach Chris Ash told NJ.com that no decisions on redshirts will be made until after training camp. And Ash is leaving the door open for Oden to compete for the starting job. Still, hard to envision Oden winning the job. Maybe he will take over late in the season if things are going sideways.
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