Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, December 5, 2014

Even though it?s bowl eligible with six wins, could Penn State-or any other 6-6 and 7-5 Big Ten team–be left out of the postseason? Greg Pickel of says the outcome of Saturday's Big Ten championship game between Wisconsin and Ohio State will be a major factor in determining whether a team stays home or not.

If Wisconsin beats Ohio State, it's a near certainty that everyone is going bowling because the Big Ten would likely have three programs — Ohio State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin — in a New Year's bowl. If the Buckeyes win, however, the league could be left with just one team in a playoff semifinal or New Year's bowl, and thus have eight eligible teams for seven contracted spots.


Penn State (6-6), Illinois (6-6), Rutgers (7-5), and Maryland (7-5) appear to be the programs most-likely to be left out should a Big Ten team have to stay home.


Nebraska rocked the college football world on Thursday by tabbing Oregon State?s Mike Riley to take over. David Jones of thinks it?s a risky gambit.

Jones compared it to Jim Larranaga, totally secure and beloved as the basketball coach at George Mason after so improbably getting the Patriots to the 2006 Final Four. He could have retired in Virginia after an admirable career being an ankle-biter, the shrewd guy who did more with less at places like Mason and Bowling Green. But he pulled up stakes at the exact same age (61), took his wife and moved to Miami for, yes, more money but I think also a chance to see if he could do it in the big-time.

Tom Shatel of calls Riley a ?wow? hire. He?s got that right.

Shatel says the announcement of Riley was the very definition of a ?wow? hire. With two different definitions. The initial response from a good number of Nebraskans: ?Who is Mike Riley?? or ?They hired a guy who went 5-7 at Oregon State?? The immediate response from football people around the world: Inspired hire, Nebraska.


Nebraska prez Harvey Perlman says Mike Riley was the Huskers? only job candidate.

"No other coach was offered the job. When you file your public information request for finalists you will discover there was one finalist, Mike Riley. There is absolutely no truth to any rumor or speculation to the contrary," he said.

Yes, well, OK ?


OK, it?s that time of year again. Here we go: Michigan?s Devin Funchess is reportedly considering a pro agent.

Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to formally declare for the 2015 NFL draft.


Speaking of potentially leaving ? is this the offseason that star Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi takes a head coaching job?

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said Thursday morning he has yet to be contacted by any school asking to talk to defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi about head coach openings. Mike Griffith of says Narduzzi was courted and interviewed for the Connecticut head coach opening last year before declining to pursue that opportunity, and he was believed to be on Louisville's short list of candidates for the Cardinals' head coach opening before Bobby Petrino took the job.

The year before, Narduzzi was the leading candidate for Cincinnati's head coach opening before veteran Tommy Tuberville made the 11th-hour decision to interview and take the position with the Bearcats. Narduzzi has to leave at some point, doesn?t he?


With the Nebraska post filled, former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano has one less probably landing spot. Michigan still remains in play.

Schiano turned down an offer from Michigan in 2007 to remain at Rutgers. He has been out of coaching for a year since being fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and it's hard to imagine him passing on Michigan a second time if the job is offered.


Good podcast here from, as Ari Wasserman discusses how Ohio State should be viewed by the College Football Playoff committee.


You knew this was coming, didn?t you, Goldy? The cost of Minnesota football season tickets will rise for most seats.

Explaining the need for more money to counterbalance the sharply rising costs of athletics, the Gophers announced their plan to add more revenue through scholarship seating fees - built-in donations attached to season-ticket packages.


How does Indiana?s Tevin Coleman stack up in the Heisman watch? Does he have any shot? Probably not. But it would be cool if he could get to New York for the ceremony.


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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