Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, April 24, 2013

That recent grant of rights agreement inked by ACC schools apparently has stuck a fork in expansion, Big Ten commish Jim Delany said at an on-going gathering of college commissioners.

Time will tell if conference expansion is over. I think we only may be in a timeout for now. Take this opportunity to catch your breath. As I said earlier, high-priced lawyers in $1,000 suits have a way of magically being able to make legal documents vanish. Bottom line: stay tuned.

Like the NCAA hoop tourney, the college football playoff selection process will be spearheaded with a selection committee-only bigger, despite selecting just four teams instead of 68.

Oh, and a name for the event was unveiled on Tuesday night. Are you ready for this, America? ?College Football Playoff.? I sure hope no one paid a lot of money to some consulting firm to come up with this. But, you know it probably happened. If you want to vote for the logo for the newly christened event with the vanilla name, you can do so right here.

And stay tuned for more big, big news today: ex-BCS honchos will announce where the first playoff championship will be played: at the Cowboys Stadium or Buccaneers Stadium. I have been to both. And my money is on Big D.


OK, draftniks: Here?s a factoid to savor a little over 24 hours from the kickoff of the NFL draft: More USC players have been taken in the first round of the NFL draft than from any other school.

Ohio State ranks second, with 67, followed by Notre Dame (63), Miami of Florida (59), Alabama (44), Florida (43) and Texas, Tennessee and Michigan with 42 each. None of this surprises you, does it?

Over the last 10 years, USC (70), Ohio State (62) and Miami (Fla.) (58) lead for total draft picks. And for first-round picks, USC (17), Miami of Florida (16) and Ohio State (14) are at the top.


Wisconsin has produced a lot of great running backs since Barry Alvarez arrived in 1990-Ron Dayne, Anthony Davis, P.J. Hill, Brian Calhoun, Brent Moss, Aaron Stecker et al. The best pro perhaps has been Michael Bennett, the only ex-Badger back with a 1,000-yard NFL season (Vikings in 2002). But, alas, none have really gone on to be stars in the NFL. Could Montee Ball buck that odd trend? I doubt it. He looks like a role player. And how much tread is left on his tires after nearly 1,000 touches in Madison?


Yes, it?s true: Nebraska likely won?t have any picks in the first three rounds of the NFL draft.

The first Cornhusker pick? It likely will be running back Rex Burkhead in the fourth or fifth round. All together now: ?Wow.?


Here is a nice feature on Illinois offensive tackle Hugh Thornton, who figures to get drafted. The guy has overcome the murders of his mother and younger sister. Tragic stuff.


Here?s a look at where Michigan State players may go in the NFL draft.

Le'Veon Bell looks like the best bet to go first, maybe as high as round two.


Thomas Rawls? Drake Johnson? Justice Hayes? Dennis Norfleet? Yawn, yawn, yawn, yawn. No tailbacks emerged for Michigan during spring practice. But, Michigan staffers aren?t concerned.

Why should they be? Fitz Toussaint wasn?t full go as he continued to recover from a broken leg suffered last year. He will be ready for the fall. Oh, and the Wolverines also will welcome Derrick Green this summer. And he just happens to be considered by most to be the No. 1 prep tailback in the nation. That?s all.


Working out west in Utah, new Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen often recruited Samoan players. Why not? They are good! He plans to continue that practice in Madison.


Nyeem Wartman. Remember the name. He?s a redshirt freshman linebacker for Penn State. And, he has a chance to be good. Really good.


The nine-game Big Ten schedule that?s coming in 2016 will provide some headaches for schools who already have penciled in four non-conference games.

The trick for most schools will be to have seven home games each season for revenue reasons. That would mean playing all three non-conference games at home in seasons when a school has only four Big Ten games at home.


Remember ex-Gophers WR Eric Decker? He?s becoming a reality TV star.

Being engaged to a county music star like Jessie James has proven to be one of the best career moves Decker has made.


We still are waiting on a decision from Michigan State?s Adreian Payne: Is he gonna stay or go?

Payne has until April 28 to decide. He says he won?t take that long. What do I think he?ll do? Go pro.


Check out this video of an inconsolable toddler who is mourning Cody Zeller?s decision to turn pro. Priceless.

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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