Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, December 20, 2012

I?m gonna kick off daily links with Forbes? list of the most valuable college football teams. See where your team ranks. And while you are at it, also check out Forbes? list of the most powerful head coaches.

On the field, 2012 was a memorable year for Penn State. Few-if any-envisioned the Nittany Lions finishing 8-4, especially after an 0-2 start. Audrey Snyder of the Harrisburg Patriot-News takes a look back at the top moments from the season.

My favorite moment was Michael Mauti?s personal dominance of Illinois in a 35-7 win highlighted by his 99-yard interception return. Check out this YouTube video of Mauti?s highlights from the day he wrecked Illinois. Beautiful stuff.


Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer already is looking ahead to 2013. And he thinks the biggest threats to Ohio State?s run at perfection will be Michigan and San Diego State. Lesmerises breaks down each game-really, and it?s just Dec. 20-and points out Ohio State's 2013 schedule should be even easier than it was in 2012, with Nebraska, Michigan State, Central Florida, Miami (Ohio) and Alabama-Birmingham replaced by Northwestern, Iowa, San Diego State, Buffalo and Florida A&M. In case you are wondering, Brutus, the BCS title game after the 2013 season will be played in Pasadena.


Yes, Philip Nelson turned heads as a true freshman this season for Minnesota, but he is no shoo-in to start in 2013.

Marcus Fuller of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press says that outside of a great first half against Purdue, Nelson's struggles have the Gophers unsettled at quarterback going into spring practice, no matter what happens in the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Dec. 28 against Texas Tech. Nelson will have to fight to keep his starting job, with challenges likely from redshirt freshman Mitch Leidner and incoming recruit Chris Streveler, who appears similar in talent to Nelson and plans to enroll in time for spring drills. This is going to be fun to watch.


The Big Ten is still buzzing from the hiring of Utah State?s Gary Andersen at Wisconsin. The great Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal likes it. Good enough for me.

Oates thinks Andersen?s ability to adapt will allow his to overcome concerns about his offensive style and lack of recruiting connections in the Midwest. Oates notes that based on the criteria that Wisconsin A.D. Barry Alvarez outlined two weeks ago and the things he looked for when he hired Bret Bielema seven years ago, Alvarez's ideal candidate was this: A college head coach with a defensive orientation who understands the culture at Wisconsin and in the Big Ten. A coach who will maintain the status quo schematically and is an energetic recruiter who can bring in good kids and maintain a high-quality program.

On many levels, Andersen fits that description


Lou HensonBob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette has a neat piece that features Illinois coaches sharing their experiences about Braggin? Rights games. Slip on your orange sports coat and have a read.

Bruce Weber, Lou Henson, Lon Kruger and Bill Self all share their memories. And ex-Mizzou coaches Norm Stewart and Mike Anderson even chime in.


Yesterday was the first day JC players who will enroll in January could sign letters-of-intent. And, it wasn?t a good day for Nebraska, as two JCs it thought it would sign opted to go elsewhere.



I didn?t know that. My, how history would be different had Dr. Tom left.

As I suspected, the Badgers may keep some of the recently departed now that they know who the new head coach is. Charlie Partridge? Chris Ash? Hmmm.

Yes, today is the big day we find out about Parker. Sparty can?t wait.

This is big news for Illinois, which needs all the playmakers it can get coming off a horrid 2-10 season.

It would have been nice to have had Spence join Brown back in Champaign.

This will be a good audition for the players in front of their new coach.

About Tom Dienhart 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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