Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, December 3, 2015

The Rose Bowl committee has been adamant that it will select the highest-rated CFP Big Ten team to replace the champion if it is selected for the playoffs.

This is bad news for the loser of the Big Ten title game-Iowa or Michigan State. The winner will skip off to the playoffs. The loser? It figures to be passed in the rankings by Ohio State, which means the Buckeyes would be tabbed for the Rose Bowl despite not winning their division.

It makes no sense. But, there is some wiggle room for the Rose Bowl to call an audible and tab a lower-ranked team. In case you were wondering, Iowa hasn?t been to Pasadena since the 1990 season.

If you think Iowa and Michigan State are similar on many fronts, you are correct. Chad Leistikow of notes that both teams run a pro-style offense. Both run a 4-3 defense. And the statistical similarities are uncanny:

  • Iowa ranks third in the Big Ten at 33.7 points a game; Michigan State is fourth at 33.2.
  • Iowa is one spot ahead of the Spartans in scoring defense (18.7 points a game vs. 21.1), total offense (404.2 yards vs. 399.4) and total defense (324.2 vs. 331.7).
  • Michigan State is one spot ahead of Iowa in time of possession (33 minutes, 1 second per game vs. 32:13).


Without a doubt, officiating has come under intense scrutiny in college football-and the NFL, too. What to do? Jon Solomon of took a long, hard, critical analysis of how the system operates.


You know what? Stewart Mandel of has it correct: If a spot opens in the four-team playoff because of an upset-and the committee has to choose between Ohio State and Stanford (figuring it wins the Pac-12 title game) for a playoff spot, I think the edge may go to the Cardinal.


A 5-7 Minnesota team? Going bowling? You betcha! (Most likely).

The St. Paul Pioneer Press notes that APR will be used to select 5-7 teams. Currently, five bowl spots are left to be filled, with three 5-6 teams — Kansas State, South Alabama and Georgia State — able to lock up bids with sixth wins Saturday. All three teams are big underdogs. The top 5-7 team in APR is Nebraska (985), so the Cornhuskers are bowl eligible.

Next is Missouri (976), but its athletics director has declined, citing a focus on finding a coach. Kansas State's APR is tied with Missouri's, so the Wildcats likely will go to a bowl game, win or lose Saturday. So as of now, if the three 5-6 teams win, the Gophers are tied with San Jose State for the 80th spot with matching APRs of 975.

When talk of hot Big Ten coordinators comes up, don?t forget about Ohio State co-DC Chris Ash. Looks like he?s a candidate at Syracuse and Rutgers.

And, how about OSU DC Luke Fickell as a head coach somewhere? It is bound to happen. Both he and Ash did great jobs with the Buckeye defense the last two seasons.


A look at the salaries of Big Ten ADs from New Rutgers AD Patrick Hobbs will make $560K.

Nebraska AD Shawn Eichorst leads them all with an annual haul of $1.1 mil. Ohio State?s Gene Smith and Wisconsin?s Barry Alvarez are the only other league ADs to make over $1 million.

Speaking of ADs, Illinois still is trying to woo Rick George from Colorado.

Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette says George, a former Illini, has strong backing from powerful Illinois boosters, who see him as an answer for a messy athletic program. He would add instant credibility to a school that is desperate for it. Hiring George would be a sign from the administration that it actually understands the importance of the athletic program.


Purdue AD Morgan Burke talked about his school?s struggling football program that is 6-30 in three years under Darrell Hazell. It would have cost over $6 million to buyout Hazell, but Burke said that played no factor in deciding to retain his coach. Coordinators John Shoop and Greg Hudson weren?t so fortunate. They got canned.

Burke says he will be involved in the process of screening prospective coordinators. I find that interesting. Burke also said Hazell won?t have his contract bumped a year, so he?ll work with just three years remaining on his deal. Also interesting. Let?s just say 2016 is a critical year for Hazell and leave it at that.


The ACC-Big Ten Challenge is over. And, the Big Ten finished with a few nice wins on Wednesday with Michigan State dumping Louisville.

As for Indiana. Well, the Hoosiers didn?t look so good in a loss at Duke.


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