Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, November 1, 2013

November has arrived! And, that?s a beautiful thing. Because, well, you know the saying: The games to remember are played in November. Where to start today?s daily links? How about with this on Carlos Hyde? He has been a revelation since returning from a three-game suspension at the start of the season. Turns out, he wants to carve a spot for himself among the great Ohio State running backs. says Hyde has been remarkable, but he has to have the longevity to go along with his recent ascension to the top. But this is also true - depending on how he finishes the season, both Archie Griffin and Eddie George could see a scenario in which they claim Hyde as their equal. Hard to believe, right? I mean, those guys won Heismans.

?At the end of this season we could talk about it more to see where his numbers come out,? said Griffin, college football?s only two-time Heisman Trophy winner. ?I feel like he probably hasn?t had the carries to be along with the ones you consider really, really great ones.?

?Right now we can?t make that distinction,? said George. ?He is having a great three-week run, but he has to do it over the course of an entire season to really make that distinction. I think by season?s end, we?ll know more about it.?


Fun item here from the Cedar Rapids Gazette, which ranks Iowa?s four trophy games.

Also a nice look at four freshmen who have impacted this season big-time for Iowa. CB Desmond King may be the best of the bunch. On another note: veteran offensive tackle Brandon Scherff is creeping up NFL draft boards. In fact, he?s now on Mel Kiper?s ?Big Board.? Impressive.


Speaking of NFL draft prospects, Minnesota defensive tackle Ra?Shede Hageman is becoming a hot commodity. Check out this video.

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay graded Gophers defensive tackle Ra?Shede Hageman as a potential third-round NFL pick heading into the season. But in McShay?s most recent NFL prospect rankings, Hageman ranks No. 22 overall.

?He?s a beast, man,? McShay said in a conference call. ?I think overall, he?s a player that continues to improve. He?s an excellent combination of height, weight, speed and athleticism. He?s almost 6-6, 310 pounds - in that range - and he moves really well.?


Big Ten standings
Conference Overall
Ohio State 4-0 8-0
Wisconsin 3-1 5-2
Indiana 1-2 3-4
Penn State 1-2 4-3
Illinois 0-3 3-4
Purdue 0-3 1-6
Conference Overall
Michigan State 4-0 7-1
Michigan 2-1 6-1
Nebraska 2-1 5-2
Iowa 2-2 5-3
Minnesota 2-2 6-2
Northwestern 0-4 4-4

Nebraska?s search for a playmaker in the middle of its defense continues.

Jon Nyatawa of notes that just about every linebacker has been demoted at least once, and no one seems to hold on to the coveted first-team spots for more than two weeks at a time. The personnel moves, prompted by failures and inconsistency, are now designed to pinpoint a role specific to each player's skill set. The Husker coaches aren't changing their message or lowering their standard, but they're waiting for someone to emerge.

?We're having guys that aren't performing, so we've got to give the other guy a shot,? linebackers coach Ross Els said. ?Until we get guys that really separate themselves and say, 'I'm this much better than you,' we're going to keep rolling until we find the right fit.?


What has been a key to Wisconsin?s success? Strong starts to the second half of games.

In six of seven games, the Badgers have scored a touchdown on their opening possession, leading to a 65-13 scoring advantage in the third quarter. The exception was at Ohio State, one of their two losses.

?I didn?t realize that,? Wisconsin offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig said. ?It?s huge, guys are doing a good job. That?s a good stat.?


Jerry Kill spoke recently about his health. It sounds like things are going well. Kill said he still plans to coach from the press box coaching booth at Indiana on Saturday, but he has been doing more and more behind the scenes.

"I understand my back's against the wall; I can't afford any setbacks," Kill said. "But I beat cancer, and I'll beat this [epilepsy] eventually."

I?m not betting against him.


Run up the score to impress  BCS voters? Ohio State coach Urban Meyer says he?d never do it.

"I don't really look at winning with style points; I just want our guys to play," Meyer said. "The biggest issue I have is the injury component, that's why we pull them out in the third quarter. Then there's also great coaches on the other side. I've been on that other side at other times. You take those (factors) all into consideration."

OK, then, what chance does Ohio State have to make it to the BCS title game? says it?s 22.4 percent.

Some other good prediction data on here, like this: Ohio State has a 44.7 percent chance of entering bowl season undefeated. That's the third-highest among the remaining eight undefeated teams, behind only Fresno State (58.7 percent) and Alabama (49.2 percent).


Have you ever seen anything more impressive than Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan?s quick recovery from a knee injury? Of course you haven?t.

Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press points out that Ryan played his first game on Oct. 12 at Penn State, less than seven months after surgery. As a comparison, cornerback Blake Countess was six months into his rehab during spring practice and was still held out of contact drills. Ryan was playing against a challenging Big Ten team and was all over the field, albeit in a three-man rotation at strong-side linebacker. Just amazing, isn?t it?


Michigan coach Brady Hoke was asked about the ?little brother? crack made by Fitz Toussaint. He steered cleared. Smart man.

?My first reaction was, ?I think we have a great respect for their football team, and their kids who play and all that stuff,' " Hoke said. "I can tell you we?ve got a great challenge on Saturday. But once the ball?s kicked off, any of those comments or remarks don?t mean a thing."


Great story on Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi by Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press. Consider this the definitive Narduzzi bio. The guy is the hottest assistant in the Big Ten.


My take: Considering the issues at quarterback, this is impressive.

My take: Where would the Husker be without Ameer Abdullah? Kinda scary to think about.

My take: This is funny.

My take: I am impressed that O?Brien knows what an internet chat room is.

My take: Time to step up.

My take: I?m guessing both will play-again. And, why not?

My take: I?m gonna file this under ?understatements.?


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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