Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, January 7, 2015

This is a fun piece: writer Mark Schlabach wrote an apology to the Big Ten, a conference he buried earlier this year.


Looks like D.J. Durkin reportedly will be defensive coordinator at Michigan. He was with Jim Harbaugh at Stanford and most recently ran the defense at Florida, where he was interim head coach for the Gators? bowl win.


The great Mike Griffith of has a good recap of Michigan State?s 11-2 season in photo and extended cutline fashion.


Nice piece from Tom Shatel of on Jack Hoffman?s appreciation for meeting Stuart Scott, who touched many lives professionally and personally.


Pretty cool video here of every TD pass of 2014 by Rutgers? Gary Nova-22 in all.

I think my fav may be his first of the season, a 78-yarder vs. Washington State to prep teammate Leonte Carroo. That win vs. the Cougs proved to be huge and helped catapult the Scarlet Knights to a fast start.


With Deion Barnes and C.J. Olaniyan gone, who will be Penn State?s starting defensive ends? It?s a pretty big question that Bob Flounders of addresses.

They combined for 87 tackles (35 solos), 18 tackles for loss (nine sacks) and two forced fumbles last season. Garrett Sickels, a redshirt freshman in 2014, tops the list and PSU also returns Carl Nassib. A few other names to remember are Evan Schwan, a Central Dauphin grad, Curtis Cothran and Torrence Brown.


Ohio State coach Urban Meyer previewed the national title game. Here is everything he said.

This should be a high-scoring game. In fact, I think the first team to 40 points may win it, as I don?t envision either defense having a lot of success stopping the other?s offense. This is gonna be fun.


The always-illuminating ?On Iowa? podcast with Marc Morehouse and Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette looks at the Hawkeyes? bowl and the future of the program.

The 2015 season figures to be very interesting in Iowa City. The last four years, the Hawkeyes have gone 15-17 in the Big Ten. And finishing the season with a thud vs. Tennessee in the Taxslayer Bowl only amplifies the angst of fans.


Tough blow for Illinois, as Rayvonte Rice is out indefinitely with a broken left hand.

How much will the Illini miss Rice, their leading scorer?

?Ray's a monster,? Illinois coach John Groce said. ?Ray's a monster on offense, on defense, rebounding. Ray's one of the best players in the country. Not one player can replace Ray. It has to be a collective effort.?

With Rice out, Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune thinks sophomore guards Hill and Kendrick Nunn and freshman forward Leron Black could see more playing time. And the loss of Rice likely also will translate into more minutes for guards Aaron Cosby and Ahmad Starks.


Is Purdue the No. 2 team in the state of Indiana?

Maybe. Time will tell. No doubt, the 2-0 Big Ten start is nice. But I wanna see this team win some Big Ten road games. Then I will be a believer. Next up: A junket to Wisconsin. Can the Boilermakers make it close?

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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