Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, July 23, 2015

Good Q&A from with Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, who may have the Big Ten?s best team next season. Heck, the Terps could win the national championship.


I give Pitt coach and ex-Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi credit: He continues to beat the drum for a Penn State-Pitt rivalry.

"Being from Pennsylvania, that's a big game," Narduzzi said. "I don't think there's any bigger rivalry, you can talk about Syracuse, until I've been in that Penn State rivalry, a win or a loss fuels that rivalry. In the state of Pennsylvania, Pitt/Penn State football game is where it starts. I think in the state of Pennsylvania, if they could play that game 12 weeks out of the year, they would vote yes to do that. It's an in-state rivalry. You know that's a rivalry. I'm all for keeping that thing going. I know Scott Barnes, our athletic director, is working on that."

I?m with you, Pat.


Penn State?s defense was good last year; the stats back it up. But the great David Jones of dug deeper into numbers from Dave Bartoo of CFB Matrix and discovered the unit was even better than advertised.

Take a bow, defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, who was courted for the same gig by LSU in the offseason.


Hey, looky here: Rutgers football season tickets are moving briskly.

Keith Sargeant of says Rutgers' inaugural Big Ten campaign proved to be a smash hit at the box office, as the Scarlet Knights drew to a 97 percent capacity at 52,454-seat High Point Solutions Stadium.

In addition to averaging a program-record 50,632 fans for its six home games, Rutgers announced three games as sellouts, which matched the total number of capacity crowds the school totaled in its first 33 games since expanding High Point Solutions Stadium for the start of the 2009 campaign.

Want more? OK. Rutgers also reported a 41 percent increase in season-ticket sales, from 22,040 in 2013 to 31,016 last fall. The school expects the season-tickets number to be "in the same neighborhood as they were last year."


Another day, another story about the Ohio State QB derby. Here, the gang at ranks who they think should be the guy taking snaps. Bottom line: Don?t count out Braxton Miller.


There is a lot to like about Michigan State in 2015; but keep an eye on the Spartans' wideouts, a veteran group that needs consistency.

Mike Griffith of notes that developing consistent targets for quarterback Connor Cook will go a long way toward determining how successful the Spartans can be in their quest for the Big Ten title. There are holes to fill, but also some returning experience among the Michigan State receiving corps entering the 2015 season. The four senior receivers - Aaron Burbridge, AJ Troup, DeAnthony Arnett and Macgarrett Kings Jr. - are each capable of All-Big Ten level play. But consistency has been an issue.


Aaron White is headed to Germany to play hoops. notes White was drafted No. 49 overall by the Washington Wizards in the June 26 NBA Draft, but the second-round choice seemed ticketed for an overseas stop from the get-go.

?The positive thing is both Wizards and myself, we see each other as eventual partners,? White recently told The Washington Post. ?I?m going to be a part of this team in the future. It just might be next year instead of this year. And I understand that. That?s one of the big things. I want to get in a situation where I can play and I can develop and I can get stronger so when I come back to minicamp, to summer league, to training camp next year, I?m ready to contribute.?


How much does NU?s Pat Fitzgerald make? says Fitzgerald made $2.48 million in 2013, according to Northwestern's 2013 tax return, which was released earlier this week. The document shows salaries for Northwestern's top earning faculty and staff. The university paid Fitzgerald a base salary of almost $1.97 million in 2013. The $2.48 million includes his base compensation, plus a $200,000 bonus and $264,185 in "other compensation."


Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld is ready for the spotlight. That?s good, because he needs to be a star this fall if Indiana wants to reach its first bowl since 2007.

Sudfeld is off to a good start in 2015. He will deliver the keynote speech at the Big Ten luncheon in August. And Sudfeld also took part in the Manning Passing Academy.

Yes, it?s should be a big season for Sudfeld.


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.

And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.