Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, December 1, 2015

Lots going on as we head toward the Big Ten title game. Speculation swirls around job openings at Maryland and Rutgers. And some people have a beef with my latest Big Ten Power Rankings. On to your love letters ?

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Who would be some good candidates for the Purdue coordinator jobs? Practically speaking, will the Boilers have to promote from within or go elsewhere? I know that historically Purdue has been, shall we say, frugal with athletic spending. I take it from your comments that it will cost them to get someone with a proven record. What about up and coming coaches at smaller programs? – Alan Anderson

Ideally, Purdue could hire coordinators who are experienced-maybe even former head coaches. The 2016 season will be critical for Darrell Hazell. He must deliver some results. Knowing that, can he really afford to hand over these key jobs to unproven commodities? In order to get coordinators with proven chops, Purdue probably would have to offer guaranteed multi-year contracts. And the school doesn?t do that for assistants. So, I wouldn?t be shocked if the school goes cheap with unproven options-including promoting from within.


How is the Big Ten representative chosen for the Rose Bowl this year? – Wally

From the Big Ten manual (PDF): Basically, if the Big Ten champ is in the playoff, then the Rose Bowl will choose a replacement team. So, expect the loser of the Big Ten title game-or Ohio State, if it is ranked higher in the final College Football Playoff rankings–to likely go to the Rose Bowl. Not a bad consolation prize, huh?


The Rose Bowl has stated that it will take the highest ranked team from the Big Ten. Do you really believe the loser of the Iowa vs. MSU game would go to Pasadena ahead of Ohio State? – Scott

I asked Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette if he thought Iowa would go to the Rose Bowl over Ohio State, assuming the Hawkeyes lose to the Spartans. He doubts it. If OSU jumps Iowa in the rankings, it would make the decision of the Rose Bowl easy. The sad part is, Iowa fans would die to go to the Rose Bowl, where the program hasn?t been since the 1990 season. It seems unfair that the loser of the Big Ten title game would get ?punished? by falling behind Ohio State and going to a lesser bowl.


How can you have Northwestern rated ahead of Michigan in your power rankings when the Wolverines beat the Wildcats, 38-0? – Chris Thate

How can I have NU above Michigan? Simple: I think the Wildcats are better. Rankings aren?t based solely on head-to-head meetings. That?s a little overly simplistic, right? I mean, if a team went 1-11 and another went 11-1-but the one win by the 1-11 squad was over the 11-1 squad-then the 1-11 team should be ranked ahead of the 11-1 team, right? That?s your logic. Rankings are based on a team?s entire body of work-not just head-to-head meetings.


Does Illinois have anyone that can turn this team around? It gets very old having a Big Ten School always end at the bottom. – Donald Hoikkala

Well, the school is letting Bill Cubit try to bring some stability. Is he a long-term answer? Who knows? But the school has an interim chancellor and athletic director. To change coaches now only adds more tumult to an already fluid situation. Cubit offers some continuity that is needed. If he thrives and makes strides, maybe he will get an extension from the new A.D.


What's next for Rutgers? Who do you think they will try to get for the head coaching job? – Patrick Mullin

Well, they hired an AD in Pat Hobbs, who had worked at Seton Hall. So, that was Step No. 1. Some names being mentioned include Temple?s Matt Rhule, ex-Miami (FL) coach Al Golden, former RU boss Greg Schiano, Alabama o-line coach Mario Cristobal and Western Michigan?s P.J. Fleck. Some nice options. I like Golden a lot.


If Alabama and or Clemson lose in their respective conference title games, could Ohio State get in the playoffs, thus putting two B1G teams in? – Zac Meyers

There is a chance. Ohio State would be competing with Stanford and maybe North Carolina to get in. Florida beating Alabama isn?t likely. But, I could see UNC toppling Clemson. And if that happens, the Tar Heels may get in the playoff. Yes, UNC?s schedule strength isn?t great, but it would be their 12th win in a row-and knocking off the No. 1 team would be impressive. Would that body of work be better than 11-1 Ohio State?s or 11-2 Stanford?s (if it wins the Pac-12 title game)?


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