Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, July 20, 2015

Hey, Rick Neuheisel thinks Rutgers in the Big Ten has a chance to be ?really special.? Could RU be the next TCU? Hmmmm. I?ll just say this: There is a lot of potential for Scarlet Knights? football.

"Other than TCU, I don't think there's a team out there or a program out there that has benefited more with all this conference realignment than Rutgers," Neuheisel said on SiriusXM College Sports Nation last week. "Whoever was behind the move to get them into the Big Ten, they should build a statue, because this has a chance (to be successful) should they find the support that all programs require to go to the highest level."


Could Ezekiel Elliott rush for 3,000 yards this season? Yes, 3,000. Doug Lesmerieses of wonders.

Sure, says Lesmerieses: 200 yards per game for 15 games. Math. Elliott averaged 232 yards over those final three games against run defenses that finished fourth (Alabama, 102.4 yards), 23rd (Wisconsin, 126.1 yards) and 62nd (Oregon, 165.4 yards) in the nation.


The astute gang at has full depth chart projections for Northwestern.

The site has redshirt freshman Blake Hance penciled in at left tackle. Keep an eye on that key position on the key position for the team. Is Hance capable?


Can Mike Riley make a pro-style offense work at Nebraska?

Chad Leistikow of notes returning quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr., Nebraska?s second-leading rusher a year ago, has been told he?s a drop-back passer now. How Riley will make that work with a career 52.9 percent completion rate is maybe the big story surrounding the Husker offense. No doubt, the jury remains out on Armstrong and his ability to pass. If he struggles, things could get interesting for the Huskers.


When it comes to spending money on hoops recruiting, no one did it better than Indiana in 2013-14.

But, money didn?t equal big-time success for the Hoosiers. Heck Wisconsin is No. 12 on this list. And, the Badgers are coming off back-to-back Final Four appearances.

Here is a chart from the story by Mark Alesia of

1. Indiana: $673,708
2. Illinois: $431,327
3. Nebraska: $416,096
4. Minnesota: $359,056
5. Iowa: $291,811
6. Michigan St.: $256,167
7. Michigan: $234,090
8. Ohio St.: $226,226
9. Purdue: $197,208
10. Rutgers: $111,178
11. Maryland: $104,889
12. Wisconsin: $62,082
Source: NCAA financial reports

Note: Northwestern is not included because it's a private school and is not subject to public records laws. Penn St. is a public school, but Pennsylvania law does not require disclosure of the NCAA financial report.

Will Michigan State?s Connor Cook be a serious Heisman contender next season? Check out this video from Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press.

Of course Cook will be a serious contender. That?s obvious, right?


Kudos to the SEC for moving ahead along with a rule to keep players accused of violence off rosters.

SEC schools passed a rule in May barring the signing of any athlete disciplined for serious misconduct at another college. The new rule defines a serious offense as "sexual assault, domestic violence or other forms of sexual violence."


The gang at has been ranking Big Ten units. Get caught up here with a look at the league?s offensive lines. It all begins with the fronts at Michigan State and Ohio State. These could be two of the best lines in the nation.


Penn State made news last week when it announced it was taking last names off the jerseys of players. The move surprised and pleased the players. Me, too. Hey, it?s all about tradition in State College.

"A few of the football alumni were in to talk to us, and when they talked to us, you could just see the passion in their voice, and that tradition, it's something you can't take away," linebacker Jason Cabinda told "Being able to bring that back, I think it's really important, and the right thing to do."


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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