Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, February 18, 2014

Despite their missteps on Sunday, Michigan and Michigan State remain atop the Big Ten. But keep an eye on third-place Iowa, which begins a big week tonight with a trip to Indiana. Iowa is just a game behind the front-running Wolverines and Spartans. To have any shot to stake a claim of the crown, the Hawkeyes must win this game vs. the slumbering Hoosiers. That would set up a big visit to Iowa City by Wisconsin over the weekend. This is gonna be a fun ending to the regular-season.

Are you totally psyched for the Michigan State at Michigan game this weekend? If not, it?s understandable. Some of the bloom came off the game after each got unceremoniously dumped at home on Sunday.

Still, it?s a big game. Honest.

Speaking of Michigan State ? what?s the outlook for point man Keith Appling and his cranky wrist? It?s apparently uncertain. He isn?t going to miss the rest of the season, is he? No way. Watch this video and learn. The writers in the video are even holding a basketball, so you know it?s good.


Big Ten Standings (through 2/17)
Conference Overall
Michigan State 10-3 21-5
Michigan 10-3 18-7
Iowa 8-4 19-6
Wisconsin 8-5 21-5
Ohio State 7-6 20-6
Nebraska 6-6 14-10
Minnesota 6-7 17-9
Purdue 5-7 15-10
Northwestern 5-8 12-14
Indiana 4-8 14-11
Penn State 4-9 13-13
Illinois 3-10 14-12
View Full Standings

If you are a fan of rivalries like I am, you?ll be happy to read this piece on the Iowa-Iowa State series. It looks like it won?t be in peril. The only threat is conference format changes.


Audrey Snyder of has a detailed look at how Penn State ended up with depth issues at offensive line, linebacker and safety.

It?s incredible to realize that Penn State had just two offensive tackles on scholarship prior to this most recent signing day. James Franklin inked four in his first class.


No doubt about it: Ohio State true freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan looks the part. But could he start in 2014? He already is on campus. And the Buckeyes most definitely need help at linebacker.

This wasn?t a good year for Big Ten schools to recruit football players in the state of Ohio. In fact, according to a recent report, Kentucky out recruited the Big Ten in the Buckeye State. And that?s not good.

Eleven of the 28 players signed by Kentucky in its Class of 2014 were from Ohio. That?s as many as Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue and Northwestern combined to sign from Ohio.

This can?t happen, people.


This is kinda weird but not unprecedented: Michigan is endowing its football coaching position. So, soon, Brady Hoke will be the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach. Yep, that?s what $10 million will get you. (I?m shaking my head as I type this.)


Penn State finally named a new president. And, he?s from Florida State, former home of another college coaching icon in Bobby Bowden.

Interestingly enough, Penn State?s new prez Eric Barron might serve as another link between Joe Paterno and Bowden. You see, Barron arrived as the president at Florida State in 2010, right after Bowden was replaced by Jimbo Fisher in a bit of an awkward transition. Barron gave Bowden a proper send-off but will need time to determine JoePa?s legacy.


It?s only February. But, hey, it?s always a good time for a mock NFL draft. Here?s the latest from Expect about 5,483 more of these between now and the draft in May. You?re welcome.



My take: But everyone can jump, dribble and dunk!

My take: Good call.

My take: Caris has been huge, especially with Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas not always on top of their game.

My take: Makes for exciting games.

My take: Kind of amazing.

My take: You see.

My take: Love the honesty.

My take: Uh, no one.

My take: Has he seen Illinois?


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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