Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, December 10, 2013

This is the last year for the BCS. Thank, goodness. A four-team playoff starts in 2014. But how soon will it give way to an eight-team playoff? David Jones of thinks after the new 13-person College Football Playoff committee endures a couple of seasons trying to pick four participants, we?ll see another adjustment. Jones? model makes sense: five major-conference champions, one mandated rep from among the six minor conferences and then two at-large berths will compose an 8-team tournament.



The Heisman Trophy winner will be unveiled on Saturday night in New York. And the six Heisman finalists were announced. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller wasn?t among them. Not a big shock, since Miller missed almost three games. Still, he was on a roll the last half of the season and was playing as well as anyone. And, given the muddled Heisman race, I thought Miller had a shot to be a finalist.

The six finalists: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Auburn running back Tre Mason and Boston College running back Andre Williams.

If Miller had had a big game in a win over Michigan State on Saturday in the Big Ten title game, I think he would have garnered enough votes to be a finalist.


Iowa got some great news with stud offensive tackle Brandon Scherff announcing he is going to return for his senior season. The big fella could be a top Outland/Lombardi candidate next year, as he builds on a strong legacy of blockers produced in Iowa City.

Speaking of the Hawkeyes, how is the knee of Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock? Kirk Ferentz has provided an update. And he expects Rudock to start the Outback Bowl after hurting a knee in the finale at Nebraska.

This is good news ? really good news. Iowa would have little shot to beat LSU sans Rudock.


Coaches Rankings
Rankings as of 12/9/2013
Rank School Votes Prev Rank
1 Arizona 9-0 797 (30) 2
2 Ohio State 8-0 749 (1) 3
3 Syracuse 9-0 746 (1) 5
4 Louisville 8-1 684 6
5 Michigan State 7-1 655 1
6 Wisconsin 10-0 600 9
7 Duke 7-2 562 8
8 Wichita State 9-0 542 10
9 Oklahoma State 8-1 518 11
10 Kentucky 7-2 491 4
View Complete Poll

Wisconsin is up to No. 4 in the AP hoops poll! Amazing. Check out this video of Badgers coach Bo Ryan, who seems unmoved by his club?s lofty status.


Wondering about the identity and leadership of Minnesota? Richard Pitino breaks it down in this video.


Another interesting piece from Jones of, who says Ohio State is the graveyard for quarterbacks.

He has a point. The program has produced some very good quarterbacks over the years. Heck Troy Smith won the Heisman. But never once has an Ohio State quarterback become a complete player in maturity or enjoyed any sort of success at the pro level, Jones notes. The best OSU can offer is either Mike Tomczak or Kent Graham, a couple of NFL journeymen who merely survived as backups rather than thrived. Pretty amazing when you consider the pick of talent OSU has each year on signing day.


Mike Griffith of takes a look at the future and present of Michigan State.

Griffith doesn?t think MSU is among the nation?s elite yet. Interesting. Right now, the Spartans have proven themselves to be the class of a Big Ten conference that many question. Ohio State must take care of business against Clemson, too, in the Orange Bowl for people to realize the Big Ten is playing some pretty good football.


Michigan State fans got out of hand celebrating the school?s Big Ten title victory over Ohio State. And that rankled Spartans hoop coach Tom Izzo.

East Lansing's police and fire departments responded to at least 57 fires, and 15 people including 12 students were arrested as part of the postgame celebrations over the weekend.

"If we really want to show the class that I think we are, then we better start walking it and learning how to celebrate something with some class, with some dignity," said Izzo, whose team's success has preceded couch-burnings in the past.

"If football wins a championship, I don't expect the players to be out causing all those problems. Why do we expect any less of our students?"

Bravo, Coach Izzo!


Speaking of Michigan State, that blueprint that the Spartans have used to build a Big Ten power can also be used by Nebraska, so says Sam McKewon of

As McKeown astutely points out, there wasn't anything starry-eyed about Mark Dantonio's template for this season. Michigan State's last five recruiting classes, according to Rivals, were ranked 40th, 41st, 31st, 30th and 17th, respectively.

Aside from defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, Dantonio doesn't feature a pricey, hotshot staff. And fan support? Michigan State has a strong core of fans, but it struggles to fill its stadium most weeks. And yet these Spartans won nine Big Ten games by 10 points or more with a sophomore quarterback who may have to battle to keep his starting job next year.

So, you see, Huskers fans. It can be done without the best of everything.



My take: This would be great news!

My take: It was a tough call. I went with David Cutcliffe.

My take: Would be a nice choice. He?s ready.

My take: No shock.

My take: He?ll win the Thorpe.


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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