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California, here comes the Big Ten! Later today, the Big Ten will announce agreements to send teams to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco, beginning with the 2014 season. The Pac-12 will be the foe in each bowl. The Big Ten had a tie-in with the Holiday Bowl from 1986-94. Illinois played in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl after the 2011 season.
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Big doings yesterday in State College, Pa., Penn State coach Bill O’Brien got his deal re-worked. And, I think he’s worth every penny of his revised deal. Yes, it’s good to be O’Brien, who received a $1,000,000 raise, which pumps up his total compensation to $3.28 mil per year. No need for him to hesitate when asked if he wants extra meat on his Subway sandwiches. Ya, O’Brien can afford it.
Perhaps the most intriguing quarterback battle in the Big Ten will take place in State College, Pa. But the great David Jones of PennLive.com says Penn State fans shouldn’t expect massively hyped incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg or junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson to be the equal of Matt McGloin this fall.
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The Big Ten is moving away from games vs. FCS foes. That’s something we all can stand and cheer about! But, many “tomato cans” remain on the schedule in 2013. In fact, a few made this list of the “15 most shameful games matchups of 2013.”
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I’m leading Daily Links with baseball. Yes, that’s right: Baseball! It’s all a celebration of Indiana’s trip to the College World Series, the Big Ten’s first entrant in the grand event since 1984. The Indianapolis Star has a neat photo feature that looks at over 20 of the best all-time MLB players produced by Big Ten schools.
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If experience matters, Wisconsin is in good shape for 2013. According to Phil Steele, the Badgers will have the most experienced team in the Big Ten in terms of having the top percentage of returning lettermen.
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Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez has progressively gotten better each year in Lincoln. It’s no accident. A reason for that improvement has been his offseason work with quarterback guru Steve Calhoun in southern California. Well, Martinez is still working with Calhoun, looking to punctuate his Cornhuskers career in style. And, hopefully, the program’s first league title since 1999.
Marc Morehouse of the Cedar Rapids Gazette has a nice look at the alternate uniform craze. As he notes, the zany and garish togs aren’t about fortysomething fans; they are about the kids and recruiting.
The NFL draft wasn’t that long ago. But, it’s always fun to look forward And that’s exactly what Audrey Snyder of PennLive.com is doing in a piece that examines the most intriguing Penn State NFL prospects. You never can have enough NFL-caliber players, right?
The struggles of the Michigan State offense in 2012 are well-documented. Aside from sticking the ball in the gut of running back Le’Veon Bell, nothing else worked with much consistency. In particular, the play of quarterback Andrew Maxwell came under scrutiny. That caused some to wonder if he’d keep his job. Well, repeat after MSU coach Mark Dantonio: There is no quarterback question. Nope. Dantonio says Maxwell is the guy—for now, at least.
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JC transfer Tanner McEvoy is primed to begin competing for the Wisconsin quarterback job. And, I can’t wait to check out the kid, who began his career at South Carolina. The dual-threat McEvoy is supposed to be a great fit for the Badgers offense.
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How about a little hoops talk for the last day of May? Well, here you go. The great (and I mean GREAT) Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News and BTN has his early, early Top 25 for 2013-14 out. And, it’s right here. Yes, the Big Ten is well-represented.
The SEC meetings are going on. So, you know some juicy stuff is going to come out. Well, here’s some: Alabama’s Nick Saban was asked how Ohio State would have fared in the SEC last season, when the league had six teams—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina–in the top 11 of the final BCS standings before bowl season. How many of those teams would the 12-0 Buckeyes have beaten, Nick?
So far, so good for new Purdue coach Darrell Hazell. He’s still 0-0. Optimism bubbles. The honeymoon continues. Purdue A.D. Morgan Burke seems very pleased with his hire. In fact, he thinks Hazell has answered every key question up to this point. I’m not gonna argue with that. Hazell has impressed. He also has built a good staff and energized the players. This is my first link in today’s daily Big Ten headlines.
The struggles of the Michigan State offense last season are well-documented. Points were difficult to come by for an attack that lost five games by a total of 13 points. All the while, quarterback play came under scrutiny. Michigan State quarterbacks coach Brad Salem says the competition between Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook is “pretty even.”
The age-old question is being asked again: Should college football have two signing periods? One in, say, July or August, and the other in February. I’d love for there to be two signing periods. Let Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads tell you why he doesn’t think two signing periods will happen.
Iowa is coming off a 4-8 season, the program’s worst since 2000—Kirk Ferentz’s second season in Iowa City. That has some fans antsy. Bryce Miller of the Des Moines Register sat down with the Hawkeyes boss to discuss a variety of topics for a program that has seen its win total fall from 11 to 8 to 7 to 4 each of the last four seasons.