Big Ten links: Selfies with a coach, latest from Rutgers & more

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten links: Selfies with a coach, latest from Rutgers & more

This is a brilliant idea: Northwestern is hawking pregame selfies with Pat Fitzgerald for $125.

This report says it’s part of a growing trend of college and pro sports teams trying to help fans customize their experiences—while making a few bucks along the way. The sideline selfie experience, which includes a signed football from Fitz, is being offered for the first time this year at Wildcats football games.


News that Rutgers has suspended Kyle Flood for three games has changed the dynamic of this Saturday’s Scarlet Knights’ game at Penn State. How will the turmoil impact RU? With Flood off the sideline, Norris Wilson will be interim head coach. He played at the University of Minnesota in the 1980s. notes that Wilson is the only assistant on staff with experience as a collegiate head coach. Wilson became the first black head coach in Ivy League history when he was hired by Columbia before the 2006 season. The Markham, Ill., native posted a 17-43 record in six seasons at Columbia before he was fired in 2011.

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The season isn’t even three games old, and Maryland already is switching quarterbacks. Perry Hills is out; Caleb Rowe is in.

Will this make a difference? Who knows? But one thing that will make a difference: running the ball more with Brandon Ross. Feed him.


Good news for Penn State: OT Andrew Nelson, S Grant Haley and LB Brandon Bell all could play vs. Rutgers on Saturday.

“I’m hopeful that we have the possibility of all three,” James Franklin said earlier this week. “I think Grant and Brandon we feel pretty good about that we’ll have those guys. Those guys will be significant additions for us. Grant would be really important for us. He was fantastic last year as a gunner on punt team. That would be huge for us this week having him available in that role.”

You know this is a game both teams were banking on winning back in August. PSU must protect its home field vs. a Rutgers program dunked in turmoil.


Illinois has been one of the Big Ten’s early surprises. Beating Kent State and FCS Western Illinois is one thing. Winning at North Carolina is an entirely different thing.

UNC’s offense will pose a huge challenge for an Illinois defense that has allowed just three points this season. And 99.5 percent of the Tar Heels’ offense from last year is back led by dual-threat quarterback Marquise Williams.

“It’s the same thing with those guys when you have a running quarterback,” Illinois interim coach Bill Cubit said. “You’ve got to account for them in your run game, so you’ve got one more guy involved in the run game and one less for you.”

This game will reveal just how good the Illini are. I can’t wait.


A good look at numbers by Dirk Chatelain of shows that you don’t need to be in the south, run a go-go offense or be a recruiting juggernaut to have a winning program. And, that’s good news for Nebraska.


Where would Iowa be without running back Jordan Canzeri? Scary to contemplate, isn’t it? He has become the main man in the ground game.

And his faith plays a big part in his life. Saturday, after losing a fumble inside Iowa State’s 10-yard line in the fourth quarter of a 17-all game, notes that Canzeri had leading receiver Matt VandeBerg in his ear, offering him encouragement and Scripture (specifically, Joshua 1:9).

“It just talks about God commanding us to trust in him and have courage and not to be afraid, and don’t have any fear,” Canzeri said. “That’s exactly what I needed to hear in the moment. … It just gave me that peace I really needed to finish the game strong.”

Neat story on Jim Harbaugh’s unique play-calling method from Nick Baumgardner of

Instead of designating one person to serve as the team’s chief offensive play caller, or limit the discussion to himself and one other coach, Harbaugh keeps an open dialogue going with his entire offensive staff from snap-to-snap on the sidelines during game days. To me, that seems like too much clutter, too many voices. But, whatever works for you, go for it.


Looks like Wisconsin RB Corey Clement will miss a second game in a row because of a hamstring. UW can get by Troy without him. Just get healthy, Corey. Bigger games loom.

“At this point you’ve got to do what is best for the team,” said Clement. “And that probably would be the best decision.

“That would give me more than 2½ weeks to prepare and get back to 100%. The training staff always told me you’re only best when you’re at 100%.

“They see me … I’m a little hesitant. I’ve got to take that into consideration and be smart about it.”


Cardale Jones didn’t set the world on fire in his Ohio Stadium starting debut last week. But what was admirable was how he handled himself afterward. It is difficult to not root for this guy.

But as Doug Lesmerises of notes, composure is admirable. What Jones needs most is confidence. You weren’t sure about that confidence Saturday after J.T. Barrett replaced Jones in the second quarter. I say: start Jones, and just let him play and fight through any rough spots. That’s how he’ll grow and get better. The schedule is soft enough to allow that.


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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