Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, July 10, 2012

It?s hot out there, people. Be careful. Stay inside, and click on these cool Big Ten football links.

HAPPY TO BE IN HAPPY VALLEY: Bill O?Brien has no regrets about taking the Penn State job.

Yes, there are some big hurdles to overcome, but O?Brien is choosing to focus on what he can control while pointing toward the future. There still is a lot to sell at Penn State. The fan base is among the most rabid in the nation, the facilities are quality and the resources are abundant.

And what offensive player wouldn?t want to play for O?Brien, who pushed the buttons on the prolific New England Patriot offense prior to landing in State College? Plus, O?Brien?s defensive staff-led by coordinator Ted Roof, line coach Larry Johnson and linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden-has a lot to sell, as well.

NO EXPANSION HERE: The Big Ten has no plans to expand, says Michigan A.D. David Brandon.

This isn?t a big revelation, as league commish Jim Delany has said basically the same thing time and again. But according to Kyle Meinke of the, Michigan coach Brady Hoke has visions of there being just four ?super conferences? in the future, with Hoke feeling like the Big East and ACC are in peril.

So, who knows what the future holds for the Big Ten and the other three ?major? conferences: SEC, Pac-12, Big 12? Half the fun is speculation about how these leagues may change.

So, go ahead, speculate, have fun playing de facto commissioner and build these leagues!

GETTING TESTED: It?s good to see this story on how Michigan?s drug-testing policy will be comprehensive.

It seems too often we hear about players who tested positive for drugs multiple times while in college-yet faced scant punishment. Maybe Michigan?s policy will lead other schools across the nation to follow a similar plan.

WORKING HARD TO IMPROVE: Go ahead. Criticize Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez. The negative vibes fuel him.

To that end, Martinez has worked hard to improve as a passer. This offseason, he has gone to Los Angeles and worked with a quarterback coach on his footwork, among other things. This summer, Martinez is taking part in the Manning Passing Academy.

Husker coach Bo Pelini has said he wants to pass more often this season. And you would think with defenses geared to stop running back Rex Burkhead that Martinez would have plenty of opportunities to throw to what looks like a strong receiving corps.

Martinez must deliver. If not, Nebraska will be hard-pressed to win the tough Legends Division.

SELECTION COMMITTEE WORTHY? Would Wisconsin A.D. Barry Alvarez be willing to serve on a selection committee that would tab the four teams for a playoff beginning in 2014?

Hmmm. I, for one, think he would be a good candidate, given his expansive knowledge as a former player, assistant, head coach and current A.D. If anyone can spot a playoff team, it?s Alvarez.


My take: Further proof that despite what is happening at Penn State, that it?s a good job. But I don?t agree with this entire list. I think the Iowa job is better than the Michigan State job. And what exactly has Illinois accomplished over the past 20 years that makes it a better job than Purdue? Talk amongst yourselves. 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.

And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.