Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, May 13, 2014

The Big Ten has gone six years without a top-10 NFL draft pick. Think about that for a moment. As a point of reference, the SEC has had 23 top-10 picks in that span. We won?t even mention the Big Ten?s 2-7 Rose Bowl record and 27-47 bowl mark over the past decade. Oops. Why the struggles? This story tries to explain.

Long story short, a generational population shift from north to south has played a big role in this lack of top-end, elite NFL draft Big Ten talent-as well as sub-par performances in bowls. This map plots the states of the NFL top-10 picks from 2009-14.

See? Will the Big Ten EVER catch the SEC? Good question. Let?s just say it?s gonna be difficult to do.


An interesting look here at Big Ten schools? NFL draft production since 2010.

No shock: Ohio State leads the way with 23 choices. A bit of surprise: Iowa is No. 2 with 22 picks. Wisconsin has had the most first-round picks since 2010 with four. I also was surprised to see Michigan and Michigan State each have had just 13 draft picks over that five-year span.


It?s not easy to sell tickets to Illinois football games. Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette steps into the office of Jason Heggemeyer to find out.


Many Big Ten players have inked free-agent deals in recent days. Among them is Michigan State?s Micajah Reynolds, who signed with the Saints. But what makes him unique is the fact he?ll move from defensive to offensive line.

Reynolds played o-line back in high school. And he?ll have a comfort level in New Orleans, where former MSU offensive coordinator Dan Roushar now works.


I am still stunned that Texas didn?t have an NFL draft pick. How on god?s green earth does that happen? Regardless, Michigan and USC now are tied for the longest active string of consecutive years with an NFL pick, dating to 1939.


Well, it looks like the ACC will be playing an eight-game league schedule, just like the SEC, with a requirement to play at least one school from a power league or Notre Dame.

Having Notre Dame playing five ACC schools each year is a big reason why the ACC is opting to remain at eight conference tilts. So, that leaves the Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten as the power leagues playing nine conference games.


When you talk about the best Big Ten defensive lines, Ohio State and Michigan State come right to mind. But don?t forget about Iowa?s front, which will be among the best with guys like tackles Carl Davis and Louis Trinca-Pasat.


There is a report out there that says Michigan and SMU will play a home-and-home series in hoops. Very nice.

So, the Wolverines will play at Arizona and vs. Syracuse in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, in addition to playing host to SMU. Good schedule so far for John Beilein?s crew.


Tough to hear that Michigan?s Caris LeVert will be out 8-10 weeks after undergoing foot surgery.

He?s projected to be the best player next season from a depleted Wolverines? roster that has lost Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, Jon Horford and Jordan Morgan. Get well soon, Caris.



My take: And that goes along with six draft picks to make it 13 Buckeyes in NFL camps from last year?s 12-2 squad.

My take: What could have been?

My take: Hmmm. Clip and save this.

My take: All together now-wow.

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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