staff, December 12, 2011 Tom Dienhart talked about the college bowls, the latest coaching news, and he even touch on some Big Ten hoops in his latest online Q&A. Read the transcript below and check back in with Dienhart all week on his mailbag page.

Dienhart: You all ready to go?

Big Ten Network: Hey Tom welcome! Any opening thoughts?

Dienhart: I wasn't shocked by the Heisman voting ….

Dienhart: I had Griffin 1, Luck 2 and Richardson 3.

Big Ten Network: Nailed it. It was a wild year in football, which means the bowls should be awesome. Here's our first question….

Comment From HoosierDaddy: Is it possible to build a truly competitive football team at Indiana?

Dienhart: I think it can be done, but it's difficult. …

Dienhart: I saw Bill Mallory up close do it in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He did it by finding hidden gem recruits in Indiana and Ohio….

Dienhart: He always had some solid defenses. And on offense, his team's were tough and could run the ball….

Dienhart: Remember Anthony Thompson? Vaughn Dunbar? Brett Law? Alex Smith? You always knew what Mallory's teams were about. They had an idenity.

Big Ten Network: It's amazing how the state of Ohio always get mentioned when new coaches start new jobs at Big Ten schools. So much great high school football there. On that note …

Comment From Larry: Is the B10 ready for Urban Meyer

Dienhart: Ha! I hope so. He will raise the coaching quotient of the league….

Dienhart: It will be fun to watch league defenses adapt to defending his multiple offense that does a bit of everything. ….

Big Ten Network: Urban Meyer, always a popular topic…

Comment From Derek: Hi, Tom. How dominant do you see this Ohio State program becoming under Coach Urban Meyer?

Dienhart: It will be fun to watch Hoke and Meyer battle on and off the field. It could be a reprise of Bo and Woody, perhaps. Two great programs.

Dienhart: But remember, this was a program that had won, what?, 7 Big Ten titles in a row under Tressel and been to 3 national title games. OSU already was pretty dominant before Meyer.

Dienhart: I think Meyer could make Ohio State dominant ….

Big Ten Network: Here's a question that has come up in the past and we know what the answers were back then. Tom, tell us what you think…

Comment From Bill Casebolt: Will Kirk Ferentz leave iowa?

Dienhart: Will Ferentz leave Iowa…..

Dienhart: I don't think he will. I think he will finish out at Iowa City. He may have one move left in him, and we seemingly here rumors about him perhaps taking another job …..

Dienhart: But he has a good thing going at Iowa and his family enjoys Iowa City and the university…

Dienhart: I wonder who he will hire as DC. My bet would be he will promote Phil Parker to DC.

Big Ten Network: This next question is in reference to your All-Freshman Team…

Comment From BR: Bradley Roby started all 12 games. He had 41 tackles (31 solo and 10 assist), 3 TFL for 23 yards, 3 INTs, 5 pass breakups and 1 Forced Fumble. He also was selected for the Freshmen All American team. How is this honorable mention in the BIG TEN?

Dienhart: Yes, he very well could have been on the team. He had a heck of a season for a defense that did a great job and carried its weight all season. ….

Dienhart: There were many good frosh DBs in the Big Ten this season, and Roby was one of them.

Comment From Larry: After all is said and done who has the best recruiting class this year in the B10?

Dienhart: It is still VERY early, but it looks like Michigan may be in line to have a very nice class. But don't discount Urban Meyer. You know he is doing what he can right now as we speak to line up a great class. ….

Dienhart: So I think come Signing Day in Febrary, Michigan probably will be on top with Ohio State No. 2. Nebraska also does a good job…….

Dienhart: I wonder what Penn State's class will look like.

Big Ten Network: On that note …

Comment From Derek: Are there any front-runners (if any) regarding the Penn State HC position?

Dienhart: Not at this point ….

Dienhart: It looks like Penn State is moving slowly in the process. ….

Dienhart: The names that intrigue me the most are Charlie Strong, Mark Richt, Kyle Whittingham, Chris Petersen…..

Dienhart: All are good coaches who stand for the right things. An interesting name that's emerging is Mike Munchak. A long shot, but who knows?

Comment From Rick T.: I read what you wrote about Tim Beckman and Illinois. Can he do it? Can he build something that sustains?

Dienhart: I think he can. I always love coaches who cut their teeth in the MAC….

Dienhart: Beckman has a background that has helped him, working for Tressel at OSU and Meyer at BGSU and he comes from a coaching family…..

Dienhart: And the last Toledo coach who went to a BCS school was Gary Pinkel to Mizzou. And I see a lot of Pinkel in Beckman. Tough guys who can coach.

Comment From Finn: I think it's just hard to wrap my ahead around Bielema and Fitzgerald are now No. 2 and No. 3 in seniority on the Big Ten coaching ladder. Nobody saw this coming right? I mean, even in a volatile profession like coaching.

Dienhart: I am as shocked as you. Ferentz is No. 1 with 13 years at Iowa. ….

Dienhart: Some unfortunate situations at Ohio State and Penn State hasten the departures of those coaches. And nationwide, we are seeing coaches get LESS time to get it done….

Dienhart: 2-3 year is the new 4-5 years. Turner Gill and Rob Ianello both were fired after 2 YEARS!!!! As money gets bigger, expectations and pressure get bigger. Win now…. or else.

Comment From Larry: Who do you have in Next years B10 Championship Game

Dienhart: I like Michigan from the Legends and Ohio State from the Leaders …..

Dienhart: But if the Maxwell kid at QB is legit for MSU, I may go with Sparty from the Legends. …..

Dienhart: I hate to write off Wisconsin in the Leaders, but it must find a QB. Big issue. I think OSU could be VERY good. But let's see what the NCAA sanctions say when they come out this month.

Comment From Ike: Look into your crystal ball: At the end of their respective collegiate careers who will have become the better QB: Tre Roberson or Braxton Miller?

Dienhart: Miller. I think he's already a better passer. And he will have a big edge in working with better players, which will enhance Miller's numbers and development. But both are special.

Comment From Keith: When coaches hit the road in December to recruit, what are they doing specifically? Are they following up with players they've been tracking all along and looking for fresh faces? How does it work?

Dienhart: A little bit of everything. Coaches always tell me you have to often times recruit a kid harder AFTER he has committed …..

Dienhart: Many staffs have most of their classes filled out, but they always are looking to add more. And kids also come to campus for visits in December to watch bowl practices……

Dienhart: This is a VERY critical month. Schools also look at kids who have committed to a school that had a coaching change. Can they persuade any of them to swich commitments?

Comment From Derek: Has a first year coach ever taken it's team to a BCS bowl game and won? And who do you think wins the Sugar Bowl: Michigan or VA Tech?

Dienhart: Not sure about your first question. I'm guessing a first year coach has won a BCS bowl game. But I would need to research. Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer won BCS titles in their second seasons…..

Dienhart: I like Michigan over Va Tech in the Sugar Bowl. I don't think Va Tech even belongs in the Sugar Bowl. K State or TCU should be their. I like the Michigan D and Denard Robinson. Too much for an over rated Hokie team that beat no one of real note.

Comment From Danny: I have the Big Ten going 7-3 in the bowls. How about you?

Dienhart: Close to that. Let me see ……

Dienhart: I like Wisconsin over Oregon

MSU over UGA

Michigan Va Tech

Purdue over WMU

PSU over Houston

OSU over UF

But I think South Carolina will beat Nebraska

A&M will beat NU

OU over Iowa

UCLA over Illinois

I have 6-4, for now. I may change.

Big Ten Network: OK, Tom. We know you've been cranking it out on the football scene all fall but we got a few men's hoops questions today. Just so everyone knows, we're excited to have Tom covering men's buckets for us full-time once we get through the football bowl games. Of course, our first question here on Dec. 12 is Indiana-related. Of course …

Comment From Kyle: Do you believe Kentucky and Ohio State should be ranked lower and IU should be ranked higher?

Dienhart: It is still early in the season. No, I like where the teams are ranked for now. Ohio State didn't even have Sullinger play last week vs. KU…..

Dienhart: I do love IU and think it could rise higher with time, but I think UK would win 8 of 10 from IU.

Comment From SW: OK, yes, it's waaaaay too early but how many men's teams do you see the Big Ten getting to send to the Big Dance? Seems like there's a chance it could be a banner year.

Dienhart: Some NICE teams. I like the chances of:

Ohio State





for SURE…..

Dienhart: And I think Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota and–YES–even Northwestern have decent chances.

Big Ten Network: And that's our final question and answer. We're going to wrap it up here, everyone. Thanks as always for the questions. We'll archive this chat at shortly. Stay in touch with us and remember we try to do this with Tom each Monday although we'll take Dec. 26 off. We will be chatting live with Tom and others on Jan. 2 as Tom, the lucky duck, gets to go to Pasadena.

Tom, any final thoughts?

Dienhart: Great questions, as usual……

Dienhart: I appreciate everyone coming by. Can't wait for the bowls to start, and hoop season is heating up. ….

Dienhart: See you all next week, and you also can email me questions for my weekly mailbag, too. Take care. And thanks again.

Big Ten Network: Thanks, Tom. We'll do it again next Monday.

Tom Dienhart is a senior writer for Find all of his work at, follow Dienhart on Twitter at @BTNTomDienhart, send a question to his weekly mailbag here, and click here to subscribe to his RSS feed.