Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, January 16, 2015

Ohio State QB Cardale Jones shocked the world with his decision to stay in school. I was among the raft of surprised people. But, as Terry ?Loose Balls? Pluto notes, ?12 Gauge? sent an admirable message to other students with his decision.

Jones no doubt would have been drafted if he had come out. The NFL is starved for quarterbacks-and Jones has an intriguing blend of skills that some coach with a massive ego would be sure he could mold into a big-time signal-caller.

Me? I wouldn?t have drafted him. But, that?s just me. Regardless, now we?ll get to see how this crowded house of quarterbacks plays out in Columbus. Will Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett both be sitting next to Jones in the meeting room next fall? I have my doubts. Stay tuned. This would make for a nice reality TV show.


Despite a disappointing 7-6 season, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz plans no changes to his staff.

Honestly, this surprised me. Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette says this will play out one of two ways. Iowa will enjoy a bounce-back year-or not. If it?s ?or not,? a tipping point will have been hit.

?Maybe it?s a good thing we?ve won seven games and we?re considering this a low period,? Ferentz said.


?Bottom line is we could do better, and that is what we have to do,? Ferentz said.

What direction is the program headed? I have no earthly idea.


New Nebraska coach Mike Riley says his goal in recruiting is ?to own the state.?

That is awesome, and everything. But, there aren?t many legit FBS players in the state on an annual basis. Getting them would be nice. But it?s more vital for Riley to cultivate ties in other fertile areas. Dominate an area in Texas ? Florida ? New Jersey ? or California. That would be even more beneficial.


Hey, Husker fans: Bill Callahan-yes, THAT Bill Callahan–has been hired by the Redskins as offensive line coach.

In that same vain, ex-Husker DC Carl Pelini had interest in some high school jobs in Nebraska-among other places. But, he?s having issues gaining traction.


Dan Duggan of takes a look at Rutgers? early-draft entrants over the years. TE Tyler Kroft declared early this year. He had a disappointing season but I think he?ll get picked based on his pass-catching abilities.

The best of RU?s early-entrants over the years? Ray Rice.


A recent job posting at Illinois indicated the school is looking for an assistant football coach. Could it be a co-defensive coordinator for DC Tim Banks?

Sports information director Kent Brown said this week he believed Tim Beckman is "keeping his options open" but didn't know if the ad indicates Beckman plans to hire a co-coordinator. Beckman fired defensive line coach Greg Colby after the season. Special teams coach Tim Salem was also fired. Stay tuned.


The gang at thinks Alex Olah is secretly Northwestern?s best player. And I?m not gonna argue against that notion.

Kevin Trahan writes: ?all basketball players have their imperfections, and it's been well-documented that NU isn't working with any future NBA stars. But when you look past the missed lay-ups and the occasional bad game, Olah is actually Northwestern's best player, and he can be even better if he used right on offense.?


Here is video of Wisconsin OC Joe Rudolph, who says all the quarterbacks will be evaluated to find the best fit.

That may be true. But don?t you think Joel Stave is gonna be the guy? He came on as the season progressed in 2014, battling through a case of the ?yips.?


Tom Izzo?s team is starting to come on after some uneven times. He?s still mulling some lineup changes as he searches for more bench scoring.

"The starting guys are probably the best players right now, so somebody that's the best player may not start because I need a rotation," Izzo said. "I need a scorer coming off the bench, I can't have two or three non-shooters in there at the same time."

I expect MSU to be one of Wisconsin?s main challengers for the title.


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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