Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, February 3, 2015

It's early February, so, of course, it's time to talk about the 2015 Heisman Trophy. Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott is the favorite to take home the hardware, according to one source.

Elliott isn't the only Ohio State player in the mix, either. Quarterbacks Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller are all listed among the top contenders, too. So, if you are scoring at home, the Buckeyes have four of the top 12 Heisman contenders.

Yep, it?s gonna be a fun fall in Columbus.


Michigan State QB Connor Cook?s Heisman chances in 2015? They are longer than they were last season.


The debate continues to rage concerning the need for more rules to encourage scoring in basketball.

This story from suggests if coaches want a rule change to eliminate the three-second call. Mandate that in the final 25 seconds of the shot-clock, there must be an offensive player inside the paint. He can still set screens, and step out for jump shots, but there must be a 'post' player in the paint at all times. Interesting. This would also open the perimeter for more freedom of movement and might also encourage more true inside scoring, which could lead to more scoring overall.

Question: How did college basketball come to this?


This is fun stuff: looks at how the top player in the last five Penn State recruiting classes has fared. As you would suspect, it?s a hit-and-miss proposition.


Is Nebraska spending enough on recruiting? It?s a question asked by with Signing Day looming on Wednesday.

After looking at this article, I?d say the answer is ?yes.? Nebraska football spent $818,509 on recruiting during the 2012-13 school year, according to data compiled by USA Today and reported by one of USA Today's Gannett-owned newspapers, The (Nashville) Tennessean. NU's recruiting budget topped the Big Ten and was fifth in the nation. The Huskers trailed Auburn ($1,384,188), Tennessee ($1,292,544), Alabama ($983,721) and Oklahoma ($834,326) and doesn't represent upgrades made to the Huskers' recruiting made by Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst for coach Bo Pelini in early 2014. Now, how about some return on that investment in the form of Nebraska?s first league title since 1999, when Frank Solich was the coach?


Four Rutgers players won Super Bowl rings with New England. And they plan to bring them to Piscataway.


I was glad to see that Ohio State A.D. Gene Smith is eliminating bonuses for himself based on student-athletes winning individual national championships. This just didn?t look good.

Previously, Smith earned an extra week of pay, about $18,000, every time an Ohio State athlete won an NCAA title. I still shake my head when thinking about this: An athletic administrator directly profiting off the athletic deeds of a student-athlete. Whose idea was this? Regardless, the clause is gone. And that?s good.


Checking in on Amelia Rayno?s Gopher hoops blog. Good look at some Minnesota numbers.

According to the offensive data, Rayno says Minnesota has one of the best home-court advantages in the Big Ten. Conversely, the Gophers have one of the starkest differentials between their shooting performances at home and their efforts on the road, something the team will try to combat again when it goes on a two-game road trip to Iowa and Indiana next week.

*** has a look at the Hoosiers at midseason. No doubt, IU has played better than many expected. But issues persist.

The good: The offense can score. The bad: The defense is spotty-at best. But look for a strong finish for the Hoosiers. The Big Ten schedule makers were kind to IU, which will play five of its last eight and four of its last six at home after Tuesday's trip to Wisconsin. Four of IU's final eight games are against teams in the bottom half of the Big Ten standings, and three of the four worst teams in the league so far. Bottom line: Indiana should finish with a flurry and make the Big Dance.


Gave you some Indiana, so here is some Purdue. Here is a link to a Gold & Black Radio broadcast. As you might suspect, the GBI staff talks about the recent surge of the hoops team. Is Matt Painter the Big Ten Coach of the Year? Hmmmm.

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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