Big Ten links: Most watched 2015 games, Big Ten tributes & more

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten links: Most watched 2015 games, Big Ten tributes & more

What were the most watched Big Ten football games in 2015? Dave Jones of Pennlive.com has them.

No shocker that Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska were prominently involved in many of these highly viewed games. The No. 1 most watched? MSU at OSU. Shocked? A close finish between highly ranked teams that produced a monster upset fueled ratings.

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Ohio State’s already strong staff just got stronger with the addition of Joker Phillips, who at one time was head coach at Kentucky. He will be an offensive quality control assistant for Urban Meyer. Phillips was WR coach of the Browns last year.

Ohio State has also hired former Ohio University head coach Brian Knorr as a quality control assistant. Knorr worked as defensive coordinator at Indiana the past two seasons. The rich get richer, right? Not every school can afford to hire quality control coaches—let alone ones of this quality.

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How will Indiana replace all-time great Yogi Ferrell, who led IU to two Big Ten titles, finished No. 5 all-time in scoring and set the school standard for assists? Well, the Hoosiers hope Josh Newkirk is the answer at point guard.

Newkirk transferred from Pitt and sat out last year as recovered from a knee injury.

“I feel good. I still do my knee rehab. I’m working in practice,” Newkirk told Pete DiPrimio of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. I had a full year of practice, so I feel I’ll be ready.”

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More IU hoops: Josh McRoberts’ brother, Zach, is walking on at Indiana.

The younger McRoberts has been a student at Indiana for two semesters after playing hoops for a season at Vermont, which announced his departure on July 6, 2015, saying he planned to enroll in Bloomington but would not play basketball that fall. The 6-6, 185-pound McRoberts is an Indianapolis-area native who averaged 4.2 points and 4.4 rebounds for Vermont as a freshman in the 2014-15 season. He suffered a knee injury at the beginning of the season and missed the first seven games but averaged 20 minutes the rest of the way. Doubt he has much impact for Tom Crean.

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Jim Harbaugh’s recent offer to an eighth-grader ignited the debate once again: How young is too young when it comes to making scholarship offers?

It’s all silly, isn’t it? The offers are non-binding for either party. But, if you want to put a minimum on making offers, I think schools should have to wait until after a kid’s sophomore year. Enough with the publicity stunts.

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Former Michigan QB Rick Leach thinks Jim Harbaugh is the reincarnation of Bo Schembechler. Now, can Jimmy Ballgame do something Bo never did: win a national title.

“I said if there’s ever a reincarnation of Bo Schembechler, to me, it’s Jim Harbaugh,” Leach said this week at a camp. “I think he’s even taking it to a different level.

“Could I see Bo Schembechler doing 38 camps in 30 days around the country to teach kids and to promote Michigan in football? No.”

Leach has known Harbaugh since before his teen years and played for Schembechler from 1975-78.

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Good podcast from Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, who remembers iconic Iowa broadcaster Bob Brooks, who recently passed away.

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Speaking of tributes, here’s a good one to former Northwestern coach Randy Walker.

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With Andrew White gone, Nebraska coach Tim Miles is looking to fill a spot on his roster. Finding a quality replacement this late in the game will be a challenge.

“We’re in a difficult position because it is late — really late,’’ Miles told Omaha.com. “But our staff is regrouping as we speak.’’

Nebraska knew in recent months it was possible White would leave. Still …

“But it’s hard to attract anybody we would want when there’s so little room on the roster,’’ Miles said. “Now that we have an attractive roster spot open, we hope it gets some attention.’’

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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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