Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, May 18, 2012

Delivered my usual Big Ten news analysis and links this week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Now, it"s Friday. So before you try to cut out early to avoid this guy asking you to come to work over the weekend, check out these extra-super-terrific Big Ten grid links. Your life will be changed forever.

The wrapping paper on a proposed four-team playoff hasn?t even been ripped off, but that hasn?t stopped the great Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal from proposing that an eight-team playoff should be the endgame. And, you know what? I think Oates is right.

The bottom line is this: I don?t think there is any way this new playoff will stay at four teams. I know some honchos want a ?long-term? TV deal to lock the format in place for up to 10 years. Doesn?t matter. I think once we all get a taste of this, we will want more. It?s who we are as humans. Embrace.

Then, the question will beg: Would an eight-team playoff be enough? How about a 16-team playoff?

Talk amongst yourself.

QB moves: Three of Nebraska?s top quarterback recruiting targets for the Class of 2013 have told the Cornhuskers ?Thanks, but no thanks.? Ouchy!

What makes that O-fer sting even more is the fact the three quarterback targets all have opted for other Big Ten schools: Ohio State, Illinois and Northwestern.

But, fear not, Big Red Nation: The next set of targets is very promising, writes Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald.
And, know this: How often are these recruiting services accurate? Exactly. In the end, I expect the Cornhuskers to land a nice quarterback prospect to start grooming to replace Taylor Martinez, who has two years of eligibility remaining.

Just … watch it:  Think your workouts are tough? Check out this video of a Penn State summer conditioning session. WARNING: keep a sweat towel, salt tablet and bottle of water close by.

Take it easy: Ohio State has reported 46 violations in various sports-football included. Go ahead and groan.

But, before your punch your computer, Brutus, let me finish: They are ?secondary? violations. And, no, none of them are a result of that dirt-digging story by Sporting News? ace writer Matt Hayes.

Read all the nitty-gritty, nitty-picky details of the violations at

Now, after reading through the list of ?violations,? I can?t help but shake my head. No, I?m not soft-selling the violations. I understand that rules are rules. But ? really?

Saying ?hello? to a recruit? An assistant coach dipping Skoal? This is all you got?

If sleuths had looked closer, maybe they could have spotted a coach who was eating lunch with his elbows on the table. Or perhaps a player neglected to wipe his perspiration off the bench press after using it. Or maybe Meyer wore white after Labor Day. Did anyone check on that?

Leadership points: On a more Ohio State positive note, here are comments from Urban Meyer about the recently released Ohio State two-deep depth chart.

One Meyer quote in particular caught my eye: "Talent will get you seven or eight wins. Discipline gets you to around nine. Leadership is when the magic starts happening."

Tired yet? If you aren?t suffering from ?Playoff Discussion Fatigue Syndrome? yet-it?s reaching epidemic proportions–check out this nice read from Kyle Meinke of Kyle is flummoxed and baffled by the Big Ten?s insistence on including the bowls in a playoff.

And, I can?t say I blame Meinke. I, too, am flummoxed and vexed by the position. As Meinke so astutely points out:

?A semifinal in Ann Arbor? Or at the 'Shoe? Camp Randall or Happy Valley?

?It seemed to be the great equalizer, after Big Ten teams played virtual road games for decades by heading south and west to face the SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12 in bowl games.?

And, he goes on to wonder: ?Why isn?t the Big Ten thinking about what?s best for the Big Ten??

Look, I don?t pretend to know all the economics concerning bowls, but I just don?t see the fascination with them in lieu of giving up potential home playoff games. Why is it so critical to keep bowls alive? They are over hyped non-conference games at the end of the season that mean ? well, they mean nothing.

And, please, tell me that ?tradition? isn?t the reason why bowls continue? Tradition is the WORST reason to keep any practice in place.

I know why coaches like bowls-more of them get to end the season with a win and trophy to show their bosses and alums. But does Joe Six Pack really care about bowls more than a playoff conducted in a normal playoff fashion?

Some people act as if college football would cease to exist if the bowl system vanished.

It wouldn?t. Trust me.

My Take On Their Tweets!/swmckewonOWH/status/202427821509984257

Something else to file under ?This sure is stupid.?!/chengelis/status/203482627276144641

All together now, Go M Blue Nation: Gulp.!/chengelis/status/203469882350780418

Does anyone disagree with this? Anyone? Bueller?!/ChrisEmmaScout/status/203267412198555651

Why does this irk rivals? It?s not like Northwestern claims to be ?Champaign?s Big Ten team.? Oh, well. I always love it when rivals get irked. senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at, and you can subscribe to it all via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.

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