Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, June 11, 2012

Feeling blue? Perk up! I?ve linked to all of the best Big Ten football stories. See, life isn?t so bad.

YEAR 1 IN THE BIG TEN: With one year in the Big Ten in the books, Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne looks back on an academic year that produced three women?s Big Ten titles and none in men?s sports.

For the most part, I think the Cornhuskers? first lap around the conference was good. The football team more than acquitted itself but has work to do-mostly, on defense. After playing those spread offenses in the Big 12, Nebraska needs to alter its personnel for more of a physical style in the Big Ten. And Bo Pelini already has begun the transformation, particularly at linebacker.

The best is yet to come for the Cornhuskers, who may have a shot to win the tough Legends Division this fall if the passing game develops under Taylor Martinez and the defense develops some playmakers.

Here are some highlights of the piece Tweeted by author Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star:

WORKING AT RECEIVER: We heard rumblings in the spring about it. Now, a video may be more evidence of what many suspect: Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner is moving to receiver–perhaps. The video shows Gardner wearing Roy Roundtree?s old No. 12 after previously wearing No. 7.

Coaches had a formation they used last year that included Gardner taking snaps with Denard Robinson split out. And it was a successful wrinkle. But there may be a desire to get Gardner and his ample athletic skills on the field on a more regular basis. And doing so at receiver would make sense.
Bottom line: stay tuned. The Devin Gardner watch continues!

DOWNPLAYING RECRUITING RANKINGS: Speaking of Michigan, coach Brady Hoke questions media coverage of recruiting.

"You can take all these stars and the way all these guys are rated and all that, and that's great for the fan base and the public," said Hoke.

And that?s just it: The stars and rankings are for the fans, they are for the public.

If coaches don?t like them, ignore them. But, golly, I see a lot of coaches embrace the rankings when they favor their school-and they rip the rankings when they don?t reflect favorably on their school.

BELL'S TIME: Will there be a better running back in the Big Ten this season than Le?Veon Bell? Maybe not. I just love the guy.

Bell ran for 948 yards last season and seems like a cinch to exceed the 1,000-yard barrier-and then some-in 2012, especially after Edwin Baker turned pro early.

But Bell will be a marked man early on, with defenses focused to stop him while the overhauled Spartan passing game led by new quarterback Andrew Maxwell and a reworked receiving corps gains its footing.

The great David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News is back with another video. This time, Jones looks at Reason No. 1 why Penn State can win the Leaders Division: Matt McGloin will significantly improve.


I guess McGloin could be improved. But I?m of the belief that by the time a player is a senior, he is what he is. Yes, McGloin could be better, but I don?t know if it will be significantly better. And any improvement because of experience and maturity could be abated by the fact McGloin is learning a new offense.

Then again, I could be wrong on all of this. It has happened before.


My take: This is great news for recruiters-and one less thing for schools to have to monitor. But, honestly: Is any kid gonna choose a school based on texts? In fact, I would get annoyed by incessant texting by a school. So, text lightly, coaches.

My take: If Larry Caper isn?t able to carry a full load in the Spartan backfield, it will put more pressure on Nick Hill. He?s a diminutive sophomore who likely couldn?t carry a big load for very long behind Le?Veon Bell. 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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