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Big Ten links: NFL draft entrants, Iowa basketball & much more

It was not a big shock to see Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg turn pro (or DT Austin Johnson, for that matter). But it did raise eyebrows when Hackenberg thanked myriad people as he left—but he omitted mentioning James Franklin. Interesting. I wish Hackenberg would have handled it better. Here is a look back at Hackenberg’s largely unfulfilling career at Penn State. Don’t you wonder how he would look now if Bill O’Brien had never left? *** Nice story on Ohio State’s Darron Lee, who arrived in Columbus having been a high school QB. Now, two years later, Lee was

Big Ten links: Purdue football complex, Michigan's new DC & more

Good news at Purdue, where the Board of Trustees approved funds for a much-needed football performance complex. The state-of-the-art football performance complex will significantly enhance the football student-athlete experience. In addition to the first-class amenities, having all of them located in one facility will result in more efficient use of the student-athletes’ time. Currently, football-related facilities are housed in multiple buildings. *** Never thought I’d look to the Minnesota punter for holiday inspiration. But Peter Mortell sets quite a standard. Last December, all Minnesota players received a $452 Best Buy gift card for playing Missouri in the Citrus Bowl. Mortell

Big Ten links: Assistant hires, hoops updates & much more

According to reports, it looks like Michigan has a new defensive coordinator in sage Don Brown. notes that Brown was running the defense at Boston College. His style? He ran a 4-3 scheme in Chestnut Hill last season, and has been known historically as a blitz-heavy coach. The 60-year-old Brown led a Boston College defense that ranked No. 1 nationally with 254.3 yards per game allowed in 2015. BC’s rush defense allowed 83.2 yards per game (No. 2) and its pass defense was ranked No. 8 (171.2). The Eagles gave up 15.3 points per game last season, which ranked

Big Ten links: Catch up on Friday's football & basketball headlines

Our interview with new Rutgers football coach Chris Ash tops off Friday's Big Ten headlines roundup. Also, read how Kirk Ferentz's long-term contract wound up being great for Iowa, see a video that shows off one Big Ten receiver's amazing hands, and catch up on a report about a possible Big Ten basketball doubleheader in Chicago. Dive in and read all of the links.

Big Ten links: How would this 68-team football playoff shake out?

What if college football had a 68-team tourney like basketball? Ah, it’s fun to dream, isn’t it? Well, Athlon Sports has put together a bracket if we all lived in Fantasy Land. I don’t need a full-blown fantasy 68-team tourney. Still, Look at what the four-team playoff has done to drive weekly debate. Have a look at one publication's projections, the catch up on the rest today's news from around the Big Ten.

Big Ten links: Bo Ryan reaction, bowl updates & much more

Shocking news across hit the wire last night with Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan announcing his retirement. Talk about big shoes to fill. You wonder if the Badgers can continue their run of excellence that has seen top-four finishes in the Big Ten each season under Ryan since he arrived in 2001-02, as well as Final Four runs the last two years. Gonna be difficult to follow that act. *** Whoa, daddy: ESPN launched its often confusing BPI (Basketball Power Index, for the uninitiated). And guess who is No. 1? Purdue. Yes, Purdue. The Boilermakers are the top team in the nation

Big Ten links: Darrell Hazell's staff, Rose Bowl trophy & more

While staffs at Penn State and Ohio State have filled openings, Purdue still has yawning holes at offensive and defensive coordinator. But, it sounds like Darrell Hazell has a timeline for these oh-so-critical hires that probably will make or break his tenure. No pressure. *** Hey-yo! Rutgers has a new offensive coordinator/QB coach. His name: Drew Mehringer. Who is this guy? Dan Duggan of has the low-down. Mehringer and RU coach Chris Ash never have worked together. But each has worked with Houston coach Tom Herman. In fact, Mehringer was WR coach at Houston last year. *** The Rose

Big Ten links: Spartans honor 2000 champs, football hires & more

It was neat to see Michigan State recognize the program’s 1999-2000 national title team. It’s difficult to believe this is the last time the Big Ten has won a national championship. “The memories, they take you back to a special place,” Mateen Cleaves said. “As you get older, it gets better and better. The more and more I think back, I’m just happy to be part of something that was very special.” The group came back as Michigan State is ranked No. 1 in the country, with realistic hopes of becoming the next Spartans team to win a title. ***

Big Ten links: Catch up on these football, basketball headlines

Maryland and Michigan appear to have lined up key new additions to their football staffs. Michigan hoops could use a spark. What about Nebraska vs. Kansas State in football? And here's one writer's look at the season of QB play at Ohiop State. Get your Thursday Big ten headlines in this post.

Big Ten links: Heisman finalists, Rose Bowl tickets & more

The Heisman finalists have been announced. And, there are no surprises: Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, Alabama RB Derrick Henry and Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey. I was hoping Navy QB Keenan Reynolds could get an invite. OU QB Baker Mayfield, too. Didn’t happen. Too bad. I have a vote. But, I can’t tell you what my ballot looked like or the Heisman police will seize my vote. *** Did you ever wonder what the office of Penn State coach James Franklin looked like? Take a gander. Pretty nice digs. *** No, Michigan didn’t win the Big Ten in title in Jim