Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, December 17, 2015

What if college football had a 68-team tourney like basketball? Ah, it?s fun to dream, isn?t it? Well, Athlon Sports has put together a bracket if we all lived in Fantasy Land. I don?t need a full-blown fantasy 68-team tourney. Still, look at what the four-team playoff has done to drive weekly debate. My take: I?ll settle for a six-team or eight-team tournament, because those schools sitting outside the four-team bracket now would make it even more interesting.


Schools could start signing mid-year transfers for football yesterday. And, Penn State has some additions it hopes will help.

One is frosh QB Jake Zembiec, the New York Gatorade Player of the Year. If Christian Hackenberg goes pro, Zembiec could be a factor in the race to replace him along with Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens.

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No Big Ten will face a more formidable foe in the bowl season than Michigan State when it takes on Heisman winner Derrick Henry of Alabama in the Cotton Bowl.

"He's doing a great job of running hard, and I think if you come with a mindset that you want to run like a Heisman Trophy winner, you can do it, you can run like a Heisman Trophy winner," Spartans defensive lineman Joel Heath said.

Henry ran for 1,986 yards and 23 touchdowns, breaking an SEC rushing record that was previously held by Herschel Walker. Not bad. But, know this: Henry is good. But he is no Herschel.


How about this: Nebraska won?t pay coaches bowl bonuses; Minnesota will. Both teams sneaked into the postseason with 5-7 records.

"I'm telling you, it's an extra month's work, it's an extra month's practice, preparing for game day," Tracy Claeys said. "It's in the contract and we were picked by the rules that were set forward, so that's my comment on it. I think they're well deserved."

It will cost the school $297,095.


Good bud Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette has some video left over from the season. You may like it. Here are some pregame and postgame moments from Iowa football this year, including scenes from games against Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue and Nebraska. The song is ?Endless Summer? from Blue Island Tribe.


The great Loren Tate of the Champaign News-Gazette isn?t impressed with Big Ten hoops so far. Can?t say I blame him. The sage writer reevaluates teams as December comes to an end soon.

From Tate?s perspective, Big Ten prestige is being carried by a trio of sure-fire NCAA dancers in Michigan State, Purdue and Maryland, while everyone else tries to cut in.


Sam McKewon of notes that Nebraska strength and conditioning pioneer Boyd Epley has brought back his performance index testing method for Husker athletes. And, the news isn?t good for the football program.


Not too many people envisioned Michigan winning nine games in Jim Harbaugh?s debut. Well, the Wolverines have a shot to win 10 if they can down Florida in the Citrus Bowl. And, Harbaugh thinks that would be a big deal. says that for years, double-digit win totals were a common occurrence at Michigan. Bo Schembechler had 11 teams finish with 10 or more wins. Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr produced seven more. But over the last decade, only two Michigan teams (2006 and 2011) have reached double-digit victory totals. In Harbaugh's mind, that's an important number. Because it sets you apart from everyone else.

"The biggest thing going for us, we're really hungry, we want that 10th win," senior linebacker Desmond Morgan said. "Coach Harbaugh's preached that over and over. Since we got to nine wins. Getting the 10th win, in his mind, sets you apart as a Michigan football team.

"If you have a 10-win season, it's a good season."

*** looks back on everything it got wrong in its preseason football poll. This can be a painful exercise. Trust me – I know.


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