Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, September 17, 2012

A stay at the hospital provided Nebraska coach Bo Pelini with a new perspective. The pressure to win can be incredible in college football-especially at a place like Nebraska. Especially coming off a horrible defensive effort at UCLA. But when Pelini was taken away to the hospital during the game last Saturday against Arkansas State to be examined after not feeling well-the game didn?t seem so important. This got me thinking.

Last year, Minnesota?s Jerry Kill was taken from the field after suffering a seizure related to ongoing health issues. Ohio State?s Urban Meyer experienced severe health issues while at Florida that caused him to resign and change his habits. Michigan State?s Mark Dantonio suffered a mild heart attack in 2010 after a big win, and since then, he has changed his habits, too.

Let?s hope Pelini takes care of himself. No football game is that important.

QB battle? The season is just three games old, but a quarterback controversy may be erupting in Wisconsin. This is the last things a struggling Badger offense needs after undergoing the tumult of having offensive line coach Mike Markuson fired last week. But that?s just what Wisconsin might have, after redshirt Joel Stave took over for junior Danny O?Brien last Saturday at halftime in a sluggish win over Utah State. And Stave played well. So, here we go.

Injury update: The Gophers saw quarterback MarQueis Gray go down with injury last week. No problem, as Max Shortell took over and played well. But, when will Gray be back? No one is sure, as he must overcome a left high-ankle sprain.

A visit from Syracuse is next. But with the way Shortell played in a win over Western Michigan last week after taking over in the second quarter, Minnesota may be OK without Gray, who some speculate may be out two-four weeks.

Nifty Lions: Bob Flounders of the Harrisburg Patriot-News tells us to expect the unexpected from Penn State.

No doubt, the 34-7 pasting of Navy was impressive-and no doubt surprising. How wild and crazy has Bill O?Brien been the first three week? He often opts to go for it on fourth down, and he?s willing to use just about any player, anywhere at any time. Witness using linebacker Gerald Hodges to run back kicks and nose guard Jordan Hill playing some tight end on the goal line. Hey, a coach has to be innovative if he?s going to win with this roster. Credit O?Brien.

Teamwork: If we?ve heard it once, we?ve heard it a thousand times: Michigan needs to find some players to lessen the offensive burden on quarterback Denard Robinson. Well, it looks like some players are stepping up.

Devin Gardner continues to emerge at wideout, showing great athletic ability and a knack for getting into the end zone. Another exciting player who is coming on is true freshman tight end Devin Funchess, a rangy athlete who has shown good hands and proven to be a weapon in the red zone. This, of course, all is great news with a big showdown looming at Notre Dame on Saturday in what is the Big Ten?s last chance to impress against a quality foe in the non-conference.

Rank & file: With another week in the books, the great Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette offers his latest Big Ten power rankings. And Hawkeye fans may not like where he has the home team. But, sometimes, the truth hurts.

Here they come: Illinois is coming off a 44-0 romp over Charleston Southern. But the Illini better not be over confident. Louisiana Tech is coming to town-and the Bulldogs are good, really good on offense.

Tough 'Cats: There is a lot to like about this Northwestern team that is off to a 3-0 start. Among other things, this Wildcat club appears to be a bit grittier than usual.

This Northwestern team is strong in the trenches on both sides of the ball. And that?s why the Wildcats-who in the last four years have gone 9-4; 8-5; 7-6; 6-7–may be a real factor in the Legends Division. Why not? Does any team look great in the Legends?


My take: I wonder if we look back and say that this is the play that ended up saving the Badgers season? Hmmmm.

My take: Yet another reason to cast doubt on the Coaches? Poll-as if we needed more reason.

My take: This seems like an excessive drop to me. I have a feeling the Spartans will climb back up the poll-quickly.

My take: Interesting point. No doubt, McGloin has been the better of the two. And I never would have guessed that. senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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