Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, April 29, 2014

The final spring football attendance figures are in. And the Big Ten accounted for three of the nation's top six crowds. The Big Ten's largest? That would be Penn State, which welcomed 72,000 to get a first look at James Franklin's team.

Here are the top spring football attendance figures this season. Thanks,!

1. Alabama 73,506 (free admission)

2. Penn State 72,000 (free)

3. Auburn 70,645 ($5)

4. Tennessee 68,548 (free)

5. Nebraska 61,772 ($10)

6. Ohio State 61,058 ($5, originally $20 and $12)

In the Big Ten, the top three teams, the Nittany Lions, Cornhuskers and Buckeyes, outdrew the other 11 teams combined. Penn State, Nebraska and Ohio State drew 194,830 fans. The rest of the Big Ten drew 124,934 fans.


It was difficult not to be impressed with Michigan State redshirt freshman defensive end Demetrious Cooper at the Spartans spring game last Saturday.

He arrived in East Lansing weighing about 195 pounds. Now, he?s about 230 and remains lightning quick off the edge. No doubt, MSU will have one of the Big Ten?s most fearsome quartets of pass rushers in Marcus Rush, Shilique Calhoun, Lawrence Thomas and Cooper. You have been warned, Big Ten.

On the subject of Michigan State, here?s video of the $24 million North End Zone project that will be finished in July and feature among other things new locker rooms. It?s gonna be sweet.


Interesting item here from Eleven Warriors: Recent Ohio State draft picks haven?t been too productive.

Can I explain it? Nope.


Still Jonesing for some Iowa spring grid? Here?s a podcast that discusses all things Hawkeye after they capped spring drills last Saturday. I think you know how I feel about this team.


Illinois has one Big Ten victory in two seasons under Tim Beckman. So, we all know things must improve. And a batch of newcomers just may provide a needed lift.

Among the newbies that Mark Tupper likes is 6-7 DL Jihad Ward. What?s not to like about a guy that big? There also is a raft of linebackers who will help, along with big wideouts like Malik Turner and Tyrin Stone-Davis to go along with early enrollee receivers Geronimo Allison and Mike Dudek.


There may have been no more surprising player this spring for Michigan State than redshirt freshman Jalyn Powell, who made a case to be the starting strong safety over vets RJ Williamson and Demetrious Cox.

How much did his teammates think of his effort leading into the spring game? Powell was the first safety selected in the Green and White draft.

?It was a real big surprise to me,? Powell said Saturday. ?I didn't think I was going to go first, I thought I was going to go second or third maybe. It was a really big surprise.?


Nick Baumgardner of has a look at the Michigan quarterback situation heading into the offseason. Is there really a battle between Devin Gardner and Shane Morris?

I doubt it. I don?t think there is any way Brady Hoke will turn over the reins to an inexperienced signal-caller in this critical season.


Looks like Maryland and the ACC are headed to mediation in a messy divorce.

The mediation meeting must take place before July 10, after Maryland officially joins the Big Ten (July 1 is when schools officially make conference affiliation changes official). As a reminder of what is at stake, Maryland is being sued by the ACC for an exit fee of $52 million. Maryland countered with a lawsuit seeking $157 million for alleged antitrust violations on the premise the ACC was in violation by increasing the exit fee.


Penn State is loaded at running back with the likes of Zach Zwinak, Akeel Lynch and Bill Belton. Who should play the most? Here?s a piece that makes a case for each guy. Me? I?m a Zwinak fan.


My take: So there is that.

My take: This is all true. But, it all would have come out eventually.

My take: They still aren?t blaming Rodriguez in Ann Arbor, are they?

My take: Three months? Feels like three years. Let?s get it over with, already.

My take: Not surprised.

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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