Big Ten links: Catch up on Thursday Big Ten football stories

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten links: Catch up on Thursday Big Ten football stories

David Jones of Pennlive.com ranks how each Big Ten coach performed at the podium at the recent Big Ten Football Media Days.

Come on. You know who is No. 1. Who was last? A bit of surprise: Lovie Smith.

Speaking of Lovie Smith, there seems to be no love lost between him and Northwestern.

At Media Day, Smith concluded by saying “we feel like we’re Chicago’s team.” He knew the implications of his words, as NU typically bills itself that way.

“We realize there’s two teams in our state and both claim that we’re Chicago’s team,” Smith said. “We have a lot of alumni here in Chicago, quite a few fans here, but Pat Fitzgerald has done a great job with the program and they’re a team that we need to beat, it’s as simple as that.”

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NJ.com looks at the fashions from Big Ten media day. No doubt, no one pulls off the hat with a suit look better than Jim Harbaugh. I like it.

Two players wore bow ties: Purdue WR DeAngelo Yancey and Indiana OT Dimitri Camiel. And Camiel wins, because he tied his box tie; Yancey’s was a clip-on.

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Some are comparing the 2016 Buckeyes to the 2014 Buckeyes, who shockingly won the national title. Are the comparisons legit?

Cleveland.com notes that the 2014 team had a lot of unproven players, just like this year’s club. Very interesting. The Buckeyes are replacing 16 starters and have more than half the players on the 85-man roster who have never played.

Could this be another special season in Columbus? Hmmmm.

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Loren Tate of the Champaign News-Gazette takes a look at Big Ten commish Jim Delany, who is still going strong at 68.

Tate doesn’t feel Delany’s Big Ten will ever catch the SEC in football. But the Big Ten puts forth a valid claim as the best mix of academics and athletics. Delany has led the charge to make it happen with bold and balanced moves.

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Is there one player who embodies his program more than Iowa LB Josey Jewell? Nope.

He has emerged as one of the top LBs in the Big Ten in two short years. And he almost landed at a Division III school instead of Iowa. How could Jewell have been so evaluated so poorly?

And how about this: Iowa athletic director Gary Barta is working on a contract extension with Kirk Ferentz that he hopes brings his football coach all the way to retirement. Ferentz’s current contract, which pays a base salary of $4,075,000, expires in January 2020, when he will be 64.

“In a perfect world, my desire — and I think Kirk would also concur — is to have him finish his career at Iowa. That’s the goal,” Barta said. “He’s proven that he loves Iowa. He’s proven that he can win at Iowa.”

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This was an interesting comment from Purdue coach Darrell Hazell at media days, who noted Purdue will have a more simplified offense in 2016.

“I thought we were coaching over their heads at times over the last couple years,” said Hazell, whose previous coordinator and QB coach was NFL-bred John Shoop. “I thought we needed to coach to them, which has helped us a lot.”

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Michigan State is establishing a scholarship fund in honor of Mike Sadler.

Mlive.com says the fund will award one Spartans football player a scholarship each year in Sadler’s honor. The fund has been created as an endowment and will provide scholarship support for the Michigan State football program in perpetuity.

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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