Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, July 16, 2012

Start your week off right with some of the latest Big Ten football stories. I post my daily links every weekday morning, and you can see the complete archive here. Have a worthy link? Send it to me in the comment box at the bottom of the post or tweet it to me (@BTNTomDienhart). Enjoy Monday's sampling!

SO LONG PAC-12 AGREEMENT: I was disappointed to see that the plug has been pulled on the scheduling agreement set to begin in 2017 between the Big Ten and Pac-12.

With the agreement, the Big Ten squads could have remained with eight conference games while adding a quality Pac-12 foe to each team?s schedule to enhance each program?s playoff resume. Now, there is talk that the Big Ten will consider adopting a nine-game conference schedule, a format which previously was adopted before the alliance with the Pac-12 was hatched. Some coaches don?t like the format because it requires league teams to play five conference games at home in some seasons-and just four in others. Still, a nine-game league schedule will bolster each school?s schedule-and give them one less non-conference game to have to schedule. The Pac-12 has been doing it for a while and hasn?t seemed to suffer for it, right?

MORE SCHEDULING: Speaking of scheduling, there are plenty of soft spots in Big Ten non-league schedules, as 13 of 48 non-conference tilts will come vs. MAC foes.

In fact, the Big Ten has more games vs. FCS opponents (eight) than vs. BCS leagues. Still, there is plenty of heavy lifting on Big Ten non-league schedules compared to other ?power? conferences.

With that, Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald ranks the Big Ten non-conference games from 1-48.

I have just a couple of quick quibbles. Nebraska at UCLA is No. 4? Ahead of Boise State at Michigan State, which is No. 6?

And why the excitement over Wisconsin at Oregon State at No. 5? The Badgers beat the Beavers, 35-0, last year. And Oregon State doesn?t look any better this season.

Lastly, Iowa State at Iowa at No. 12? Hello? McFly! That is WAY too low.

MAKING MONEY: David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News had an eye-opening piece on the money machine that is Penn State football.

Because of that massive dollar figure, Penn State football doesn?t figure to be ?shut down? in the wake of the Sandusky scandal-despite the cries of many–says Jones. In fact, it was that massive profit margin that ?caused so many intelligent men to rationalize their inaction.?

And, Jones is right.

Amid all the ugly headlines emanating from Penn State, Bill O?Brien marches on as the Nittany Lions? ?rock.?

O?Brien has promised that the program won?t forget the victims-while also pushing forward. What can we expect from Penn State this season? I think the Nittany Lions will have a strong defense led by a front seven that teems with potential. The key will be the offense. If quarterback Matt McGloin proves to be a capable triggerman and the line develops after losing four starters, Penn State could win seven-maybe eight-games.

Still, it seems funny to even worry about the fortunes of the football team given what has transpired in State College, Pa., in recent months.

WHAT TO MAKE OF MICHIGAN: Yes, Michigan is good. But is it national championship good? Two outlets are drinking the Maize and Blue Kool-Aid, here and here.

But Bruce Feldman isn?t chugging it.

If the Wolverines want to rub shoulders with the likes of Alabama and LSU, Feldman says, their defense must take another step. Yes, the unit made great strides in 2011, but Notre Dame still notched over 500 yards, Michigan State ran for over 200 yards and Ohio State tallied 34 points-as Feldman points out.

Can a unit that is rebuilding its line be better in 2012? I guess I have my doubts, too.


My take: Given the sordid revelations of the Freeh Report, how could anyone feel differently? See the next Tweet.

My take: In a word: sad.

My take: I think that?s something worth discussing. I guess I am in favor of it. 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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