Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, December 10, 2014

Ohio State didn?t just get to the College Football Playoff by itself. No, it got help from these five teams-according to Doug Lesmerises of

At the top of the list is Baylor, which knocked off a TCU team on Oct. 11 that likely would have gone unbeaten-and been in the playoff-if not for this defeat. You see?


This is pretty cool: Adam Sandler gave a shout-out to Indiana QB Zander Diamont-and advice on cigars.

It pays to have a famous father.


How good was Cardale Jones vs. Wisconsin? Very. Great breakdown here of what the redshirt sophomore did well vs. the Badgers in that 59-0 win in the Big Ten title game. I still can?t believe he didn?t commit any turnovers.


For what it?s worth-and it isn?t much-Charles Woodson wants Jim Harbaugh to be the next Michigan coach. But, he?s not too optimistic.


Marc Morehouse and Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette have another ?On Iowa? podcast that talks about the TaxSlayer Bowl.


Loren Tate of the Champaign News-Gazette says while Illinois is going to a bowl, many questions swirl around Tim Beckman?s program.

At the top of the list looking ahead: Will Beckman make any staff changes? And if he makes any, when will they come? I wouldn?t be shocked if changes are made on defense.


Dan Duggan of thinks Rutgers needs to win its bowl game vs. North Carolina to reach the next level. No doubt, it would be a good start.

Duggan says just as clinching a winning record with a comeback victory over Maryland in the regular season finale was an accomplishment, 8-5 will look much better in the record books than 7-6. Offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen drove that point home in an impassioned locker room speech after the Maryland win.

"You've got a chance to win a bowl game and be 8-5. Not just somebody that's average, somebody that's good," Friedgen said. "That's what we've got to build on. That's what you'll remember, seniors: Being 8-5. You'll forget about this game, but you won't forget about your record. That's what we've got to get right now."

RU continues to impress me.


The Penn State brass knows the value of playing a bowl game in New York City.

"Seeing all of the history and all of the tradition and all of the championships and all of the great players and what this place means to the city of New York and this region, there's a lot of parallels with Penn State, what that stadium, what Beaver Stadium means to our people," James Franklin said. "All the championships, all the great players, the pride. I think there a lot of parallels between the New York Yankees and what they represent and Penn State and what we represent."


This is sort of incredible: All 10 Big Ten bowl teams are underdogs.

So, any win will be a bonus, right? The Big Ten has gone 10-21 in bowls over the previous four years. It was 2-5 in 2010, 2012 and 2013, and 4-6 in 2011. The league is 38-62 in bowls since 2000 (38 percent). It has had winning bowl records in only two seasons since 2000.


Tom Izzo?s Spartans are hitting 3-pointers at a record pace. But he?s not too fired up about it.

The Spartans are 83-for-187 on the year from behind the arc, hitting at a 44.4-percent clip, best in the Big Ten and No. 4 in the country. Michigan State is on pace to finish with its highest 3-point percentage since the 3-pointer was adopted full-time in 1986-87.

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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