Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, October 23, 2013

Happy Hump Day! You can see Saturday from here, which is a beautiful thing. Let?s begin Wednesday?s links with this little piece from Rick Brown of, who has something he wants to say to critics of Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis: Get off his back!

If you were gonna rip him last year for the offense?s general ineptness, you have to give Davis credit for the attack?s improvement this season. Iowa?s 19.3 points a game last season was the lowest output since 2007 for the program. The 310.4 yards a game were the fewest since 2000. This year?s team is averaging 28.9 points, and 410.9 yards. Not bad. Still, will this team get to six wins in 2013?


Jerry Kill has been spending some time in the office and figures to be in the press box for the Nebraska game this Saturday. But who will be the quarterback? Mitch Leidner or Philip Nelson? Leidner has been ill. If it was up to me, I?d go with Nelson. The team responded better with him at the controls last week at Northwestern.


What?s next for Nebraska? A six-week meat grinder to finish the regular season.

Five games against Legends Division foes, all of whom still have winning records. A sixth game at Penn State, one of the league's toughest road trips and one of Nebraska?s most physical games. This story says it's the same six-week stretch - against the same teams, albeit in a different order - the Huskers faced last year. Nebraska won six straight to end the regular season in 2012. Long story short: This six-game run will determine the Huskers? season. Pretty simple.


What does Penn State coach Bill O?Brien think of the Ohio State defense he?ll face this Saturday? And of Braxton Miller? Check it out in this video.


Diamond Leung of takes a look at Michigan State basketball from A to Z.

Turns out, there is a lot to be excited about in East Lansing.


This is interesting: Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison says he can?t remember the last time one of his defenses played as poorly as Michigan did vs. Indiana.

Mattison's Michigan defense was shredded for more than 500 yards and 47 points against Indiana.

"I can't remember, I can't," said Mattison, who has coordinated defenses at Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida and in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens during a career that began in 1976. "I don't know, probably in the late 70s when I was at Northwestern and we were giving up like 60 or 70 points a game."

Those were some of the worst teams in Big Ten history at Northwestern in the late-1970s.


If you think you have a rough gig, imagine how Indiana defensive coordinator Doug Mallory must feel. His unit has gotten shredded often in 2013. But Kevin Wilson still has confidence in Mallory.

In Saturday?s 63-47 loss at Michigan, the Hoosiers allowed 751 yards, coming within 12 yards of the all-time Big Ten record. Dubious. In three conference games, Indiana has allowed an average of 544.7 yards, ahead of pace to break the all-time record of 523.1 set by Northwestern in 1978. Under Mallory, the Hoosiers have ranked last in the Big Ten in total defense all three years under Wilson. Honestly, I am surprised the Indiana defense is this bad. I thought we?d see some improvement this season with an influx of some good, young players.


The great Tom Oates of says the Badgers? loss at Arizona State is still being felt.

The heinous defeat could cost Wisconsin a spot in a BCS bowl game. Still, a 10-2 mark could be good enough to earn the Badgers a BCS bowl, but not appearing in the first BCS standings was an ominous sign. But, an 11-1 Wisconsin team? Well, a team with that resume-and a win at Arizona State-likely would have made the Badgers a shoo-in for a BCS bowl.


This is pretty cool. Watch Northwestern hoopster James Montgomery receive news that he has earned a scholarship. Good stuff, people.


Remember former Minnesota linebacker Mike Rallis? He?s trying to be a WWE wrestler.


Nice breakdown on what?s wrong with Northwestern from Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune.

Gotta love this quote Pat Fitzgerald borrowed from the late Randy Walker: "Take the nickels and dimes, and the dollars will come."


My take: This is an interesting insight from Pat Fitzgerald as to why targeting may be more an issue now.

My take: So, the Taylor Martinez watch continues.

My take: It?s called ?salesmanship.?

My take: Good, because Michigan will need all the prep it can get for the trip to Michigan State on Nov. 2.

My take: I already am excited for basketball season.

My take: No doubt. No shame in losing to Northern Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State. I mean, c?mon.

My take: The guy is a stud.

My take: BFFs, no doubt.

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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