Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, July 1, 2015

With Bo Ryan about to ride off into the sunset, Tom Oates of thinks that recruiting could be a tough sell for Wisconsin.

That?s an impact of not knowing who will be Ryan?s successor. Badger coaches can?t tell recruits who will be their coach in 2016-17. The school needs to name assistant Greg Gard as Ryan?s heir. Why break from the Ryan family/mold? Hey, Tom Izzo was Jud Heathcote?s assistant. See where I am going with this?


More Wisconsin from Oates ? Here is a good look at what Bo Ryan has done at Wisconsin. And, Ryan has one more year to add to his impressive resume.

Right now, Oates says he knows for sure Ryan?s victory lap won?t be ceremonial. If we?ve learned anything over the past 14 seasons, it is that he never changes. If Ryan is coming back for one more turn, he?ll be all in. This adds even more spice to what looks like a fun Big Ten hoops season.


So, with Bo Ryan poised to leave his throne, is Michigan?s John Beilein thinking retirement? No.

Brendan F. Quinn of notes that Beilein is 62 years old. He's the second-oldest men's basketball coach in the Big Ten. The upcoming season will mark his ninth at Michigan and 38th as a collegiate head coach. He?s getting long in the tooth-but he?s still one of the best in the biz and has no plans to plop into his rocking chair.


Another day, another opportunity to ask who should start at quarterback for Ohio State? The great Matt Hayes of Sporting News likes J.T. Barrett. Good enough for me. But I wonder if his ankle is OK after he injured it vs. Michigan last year.


What Big Ten team is the most experienced? It?s Michigan State, according to the great Phil Steele.

Steele?s formula combines five factors: career starts on the offensive line, percentage of lettermen returning, percentage of yards returning, percentage of tackles returning and two-deep class breakdown. The Spartans rank 27th in the nation in the cross-section of those factors, edging out Ohio State (30th) and Michigan (37th) for league honors, according to the magazine.

*** has a good Q&A with Nebraska legend Tom Osborne, who talks College Football Playoff and the rigors of coaching in today?s world.


Good news for Rutgers: RB Paul James is expected to be 100 percent when camp opens.

Dan Duggan of notes James, who tore the ACL in his right knee on Sept. 20, is expected to be fully cleared when Rutgers reports for training camp on Aug. 9.

"P.J. looks great," Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said Monday at his annual charity golf tournament. "We feel like he'll be 100 percent when we start training camp."

James suffered a broken fibula early in the 2013 season, but reclaimed the top running back role after missing four games. In James' absence last season, then-freshmen Josh Hicks and Robert Martin emerged at a position that has good depth.

*** has a summer football guide. First up: a look at the quarterbacks, a position that needs to improve after some recent sub-par play.

The key player: Clayton Thorson. says that although the redshirt freshman is the least experienced of the group, the job could very well be Thorson's to lose. His progression will not only tell a lot about Northwestern in 2015, but will also show what's in store down the line.


Sporting News has its All-Big Ten team out.


Bob Flounders of continues to take a look at the Top 25 players that Penn State will face in 2015. The countdown is up to No. 5, MSU QB Connor Cook. Yes, he?s a good one.


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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