Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, November 8, 2013

It?s Football Friday. And, that?s always a good thing–except if you're Oregon. Let?s start today?s links with opining about what the Ducks' loss and Baylor?s win last night mean for Ohio State?s BCS title game hopes. Some interesting thoughts here.

The Buckeyes still need Alabama and /or Florida State to lose down the stretch. And the odds of either stumbling seem slim, especially for the Seminoles. Even if the SEC champ has one loss, there?s a chance it still could finish ahead of unbeaten Ohio State. Sure, Oregon is out of the picture, but Baylor is now in it. The Bears could ease by the Buckeyes if they run the table vs. a strong season-ending schedule that includes Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas.

Bottom line, Brutus: Lots of help is still needed to reach the title game.


Check this out from Andrew Logue of, who wonders if some Iowa fans are too spoiled.

Logue may have a point. He points out that the new millennium brought a rebirth of Hawkeye football, resulting in a 104-68 record and four top-10 finishes in the Associated Press poll the past 13-plus seasons. When the Hawkeyes beat Georgia Tech in the 2010 Orange Bowl, winning felt like a birthright. And some people have been chafing ever since.

But a funny thing happened on the way to dominance. Iowa has posted a 16-18 record the last two-plus seasons, including a humbling 4-8 finish in 2012. But know this:  While Iowa was posting a 28-11 record from 2008 to 2010 - rebounding from a 6-6 non-bowl season in 2007 - Michigan went 15-22. Remember when Iowa went 31-7 from 2002 to 2004? Well, Penn State was in a 16-20 funk in those years.

The lesson: unless you are Ohio State, few schools are immune to a multi-season dip.


Herb Gould of the Chicago Sun-Times has an interesting revelation.

The seven schools that routinely fill giant stadiums not only crush the other five teams at the box office. They also stomp them on the playing field. Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Iowa are 16-2 against the Little Five this year. They are 57-9 against Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern and Purdue in the two-plus seasons since Nebraska joined the league.

Hey, at least it?s better than the 1970s era of the ?Big Two and Little Eight.?


A good video here from that looks at whether Penn State is ready to play on the road at Minnesota.

The road hasn?t been a good place for the Nittany Lions, who lost 44-24 at Indiana and 63-14 at Ohio State. The big issue for PSU: defense. You know Minnesota will run, run and run some more. So does Penn State. Can the Nittany Lions stop it?


Minnesota?s Jerry Kill won?t be on the sidelines on Saturday, but his return to the field may not be far off. And that?s great news.

While Kill may not be back on the sideline, Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says Kill is back in charge of the Gophers — which means if we see a fake punt in a ridiculous situation, we can blame him. On Tuesday, Kill went so far as to say he could be back on the sideline at a moment's notice, "if needed."

Reusse thinks a win Saturday will make Kill's third season at Minnesota an official success, no matter what happens later this month against Wisconsin and at Michigan State. An 8-2 record after 10 games? Yes, I think that would qualify as an unmitigated success for Kill and Co.


Tom Shatel of has a nice column on affable Nebraska hoops coach Tim Miles and the program?s new sparkling arena.

Both are creating a buzz. Big Ten media types love them some Miles. So do Nebraska fans. They're all hoping this is the guy who works out. There's a buzz and energy entering Miles' second season, more than you would expect after a 15-18 first year. Much of that has to do with the giant spaceship that landed in downtown Lincoln.

Bells and whistles are nice, but Miles has to deliver some results to land recruits. The Huskers haven?t been to the NCAA tourney since 1998 and never have won a game (0-6).


Doug Lesmerises of wonders how Ohio State?s offense compares with Oregon?s and Baylor?s. His conclusion: OSU is getting closer.

But before the season, offensive coordinator Tom Herman said, ?All the no-huddle gurus, I think we're a little bit different. They want 90 to 100 snaps. For us, it's whatever it takes to win.?

And Meyer always starts with the power run game, while calling the offensive line the best unit on his team, when discussing the OSU offense. So what Oregon and Baylor are doing is different - and on a different level. The results for all are the same: Lots of yards and points.


My take: Agree. Could happen Saturday vs. LSU. Still, I don?t think any other SEC team is on par with Tide.

My take: That Stanford defense vs. the Ohio State offense would be fun.

My take: Hmmm. Maybe.

My take: Dreams do come true. You see.

My take: Amen. Egos are involved. And, that?s always a bad thing.

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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