Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, August 1, 2013

Well, it looks like Nebraska could replace Iowa with Wisconsin in its traditional season-ending Black Friday clash. Yes, I get it. Iowa is down; Wisconsin is hot.

But I still like the geography of Iowa-Nebraska, as border wars always have more potential for bad-blood feuds. Should the Hawkeyes get dumped in favor of the Badgers, Iowa likely would play Minnesota in its finale, which would be OK.

But know this: Any switch won?t happen until 2018. A lot of things can happen between now and then.

GOOD DAY FOR PENN STATE: There won?t be any formal celebration at Penn State. But, as of today, the NCAA rule put into place following the Sandusky scandal that allowed players to transfer and be immediately eligible expired.

"Emotionally, that's a big chunk out of the way," athletic director Dave Joyner told The football team starts "preseason, the beginning of August, and the transfer rule is not there, so that's one piece done."

PURDUE QUESTIONS: With training camp about to hit full stride, Gold & Black Illustrated takes a look at the biggest questions facing Purdue in its inaugural run under Darrell Hazell.

Question No. 1: Will the Boilermakers play more disciplined? We can only hope. Sloppiness and a lack of attention to detail were consistent issues in the doomed-from-the-start Danny Hope era.

TIME FOR ILLINI TO SHINE: Mark Tupper of the Decatur Herald-Review says this is a big August for Illinois.

Let?s call that a big understatement for a program that?s riding a 14-game Big Ten losing skid.

MINNESOTA QB SITUATION: Minnesota burned the redshirt of quarterback Philip Nelson last season. And he flashed some big things as a true freshman. But it looks like there?s a chance redshirt freshman Mitch Leidner could get some snaps with the starters. In fact, he and Nelson each will get first-team reps when camp opens.

"You don't want your starter getting hit all the time," coach Jerry Kill said at his pre-camp news conference. "If there's a deal where you can sprinkle somebody in there, then that helps you later on down the road."

Marcus Fuller of the St. Paul Pioneer Press says Kill would like to use Nelson and Leidner similar to the way he used Chandler Harnish and Jordan Lynch when he was head coach at Northern Illinois in 2010. Harnish started all 13 games, but Lynch played in nine as his backup. Hey, I?m not gonna argue with Kill. If he can get Minnesota anywhere near where he had Northern Illinois, he should have a statue made of him.

CALLING BATON ROUGE: Coaches always are looking for ideas. To that end, Michigan State?s defensive coaches went to LSU in the spring seeking some new concepts, says Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press.

?I think it was very open,? Spartan boss Mark Dantonio said. ?They got a lot out of it, both ways. Appreciate the opportunity to go down there and see what they?ve got. You bring more ideas back than X?s and O?s, you bring ideas back on everything they do. So we?re constantly trying to better ourselves. We?re trying to raise our level of facilities, our level of players, our level of play, our level of the way we think. I don?t think that ever stops.?

One thing LSU has that MSU will add is a ?nutrition bar,? a place near the weight room for players to hydrate and get healthy snacks. How good would Bubba Smith had been if he had had a nutrition bar back in the day? Scary thought, huh?

ROBY'S STATUS? That status of Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde has been resolved. But, what about CB Bradley Roby? He was arrested in July after an altercation in Bloomington, Ind. His status remains in limbo.

ABBREDERIS' SIDEKICK: Who is gonna complement Jared Abbrederis to give Wisconsin two good wideouts? It?s the biggest quandary facing the Badger offense.

Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the cast of characters hasn't changed since last season. The 2012 team had no senior wide receivers, and Abbrederis and Jeff Duckworth, who had nine receptions for 60 yards last season, are the lone seniors this season. At the end of spring ball the two players who had emerged as potential threats to complement Abbrederis were Jordan Fredrick and Kenzel Doe. Fredrick, who will be a redshirt sophomore, lacks Doe's quickness but compensates with size (6-3, 210). This is gonna be interesting. At least Wisconsin is loaded at tight end. Did I mention that Wisconsin is loaded at tight end?

SHOTS FIRED: Not that Michigan State needs much motivation when playing Michigan, but it looks like it found some in former Wolverine Steve Everitt?s slam of Kirk Cousins and a quote from Michigan A.D. Dave Brandon.

Hey, whatever it takes. But Everitt?s quotes were kinda fun.

RETURN TO REC: Nice video here from Audrey Snyder of, as Pat Chambers, Bruce Parkhill and Tim Frazier discuss Penn State playing a game in venerable Rec Hall this coming season.

I can?t wait. The place reminded me of an Indiana high school gym, with fans standing on the court feet from the action and screaming at players as they tried to inbound the ball. Now, can Purdue schedule a game at old Lambert Field House? Heck, let?s have every school play a game in its old gym, if it?s still around.

KEADY TO HALL: Great to see Purdue icon Gene Keady officially make it into the hall of fame.

Keady coached 25 years at Purdue, winning more games there than any other Boilermakers basketball coach. He was National Coach of the Year four times: 1984, 1995, 1996 and 2000.


My take: That?s an embarrassment of riches. But can you REALLY use five tight ends?

My take: 7-5? Really?

My take: Even if Roby is suspended for two or three games, it won?t matter. Ohio State?s early schedule is soft.

My take: Oh, I am sure it?s coming.

My take: True. But, it?s still fun to hear Spurrier yammer.

My take: No school can match Nebraska?s facilities. Simply stunning.

My take: This is funny. But, let?s get honest: NU has to build a new hoop facility.

My take: This is good. Because, we all know football is won in the trenches.

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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