Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, August 1, 2012

Hope your week is going well. If not, here are some of the best Big Ten links that I found from around the web. Get to reading!

RALLYING AROUND TEAM: If there?s any doubt that the NCAA sanctions have not galvanized the Penn State Nation, they likely were erased during a recent ?Rise and Rally? event in State College.

While I admire the spirit, I still think people are missing the point why Penn State is being penalized. To me, it sends the wrong message to rally and act vengeful in response to the Penn State sanctions. Don?t forget: The school is being penalized for enabling a child rapist for years in what?s the most egregious and heinous scandal in the history of college sports.

The more defiant I see Penn State, the more I think the program should have been shut down for a year or two so there would be no team to ?rally? around. With no football, maybe fans/alums would have better been able to focus on what went wrong and why it went wrong. In the meantime, I wish those in and around the program were more contrite about the situation and went about their work humbly and quietly. Penn State isn?t a victim.

REACTION ON TWITTER: On the subject of Penn State, August 6th is the deadline for its players to decide if they will transfer or remain. A handful of players already have opted to bolt, including arguably the team?s best player: running back Silas Redd, who is headed to USC. Here is some Twitter reaction to Redd?s decision from Penn State players past and present.

Redd shouldn?t be criticized for his decision to leave for USC, a legit national title contender this year. Any haters need to remember why Redd and other Penn State players have this opportunity to leave and remain eligible this fall-it?s the fault of the school leaders. Blame the school brass. Don?t rip Redd or anyone else who opts to leave.

Losing Redd will be a massive blow to an already-iffy Penn State offense. Here?s one man?s view on which running backs must step up and answer the call with Redd off to La-La Land.

VIDEO PREVIEW: Lee Barfknecht and Sam McKewon of the Omaha World News have a nice video preview of the upcoming season.

These guys are spot on with their analysis. But, that?s not a shock.

STILL BATTLING: The moment Danny O?Brien announced he was transferring from Maryland to Wisconsin, most assumed he instantly would be the starter with Russell Wilson gone. But maybe we all are being a bit hasty to bestow that honor upon O?Brien.

Look, I understand the need to keep every quarterback interested so competition is strong in camp, but I still will be shocked if O?Brien doesn?t win the job. The top two competitors to O?Brien have issues. Curt Phillips is coming off a knee injury (that?s three total on his right knee) and Joel Stave is a redshirt freshman and former walk-on who is more potential than production. Joe Brennan? He?s a long, long shot.

MINNESOTA FIELD TRIPS: If Minnesota struggles this fall, it won?t be because the coaches failed to broaden their knowledge by taking field trips.

The offensive staff visited Baylor to see how the Bears used Heisman winner Robert Griffin. Defensive coaches visited Mississippi State. And Minnesota?s director of recruiting and head of player personnel visited Oklahoma State. Even Jerry Kill got in on the action, visiting with former Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick, who is an all-time great.

I have a feeling Minnesota is about to make a big move. Not just because of these trips but because Kill and his staff have proven time and again they know what they are doing.

CRAVING THE ROSES: There are a lot of reasons to like Michigan State to win the Big Ten. The Spartans have a great defense, terrific offensive line, standout running back and strong coaching staff-among other assets. And, perhaps best of all, Michigan State is motivated to play in the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1987 season. Where were you in 1987? Me? I was still in college, walking to class in a foot of snow.

The only Big Ten teams (excluding newcomer Nebraska) that have longer Rose Bowl droughts than Michigan State: Minnesota and Indiana.

Amazing, huh?

SOLID NEW STAFF: Nebraska coach Bo Pelini loves his new staff members. Me, too.

Luring defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski from Iowa was a coup and one of the most underrated assistant coach hires of the offseason. New secondary coach Terry Joseph arrives from Tennessee and will enhance a defense that needs to show improvement under new coordinator John Papuchis, who was promoted to coordinator after Carl Pelini left to be head coach at Florida Atlantic.

Pelini has a nice staff. Now, it?s time to deliver big-time results.

THE KEY TO RECRUITING: Speaking of Nebraska, Pelini thinks the key to recruiting success is staying as local as possible.

But staying ?local? won?t cut it. The Huskers must recruit nationally, and that can be a hard sell at times for a program that?s looking to regain its 1990s swagger.


My take: This may have been Brady Hoke?s biggest accomplishment in the offseason. Really. Ask Bret Bielema or Kirk Ferentz.

My take: This, ladies and gentlemen, is what they call a good news/bad news predicament.

My take: This has to make you laugh out loud. And, it?s good to laugh. At least that?s what my doctor tells me. 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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