Big Ten lunchtime links: Dantonio fuels Michigan rivalry


Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Check back later this afternoon for an item about Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber and his amazingly quick recovery from knee surgery. But first, read about what's happening around the Big Ten.

  • Ohio State simply won't go away, and no matter your feelings on the Buckeyes, you have to admire their resiliency. More adversity arrives Saturday night in the form of No. 3 Penn State, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch.

  • Penn State likely will remain No. 3 in the BCS standings if both Texas and Alabama continue to win, and Lions coach Joe Paterno no longer can affect the voting. He withdrew from the coaches' poll in 2004 after the Auburn controversy, Jeff McLane writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

  • Mark Dantonio is great for the Michigan State-Michigan rivalry, and the Spartans coach doesn't back down from his comments after last year's game, Shannon Shelton writes in the Detroit Free Press. Here's a great piece about the cultural differences between the two schools from Lynn Henning of The Detroit News.

  • With Wisconsin struggling and the heat rising on Bret Bielema, athletic director and former football coach Barry Alvarez needs to speak up, Tom Oates writes in the Wisconsin State Journal.

But now that Bielema is facing his first major crisis in three years as UW's head coach, Alvarez has been as invisible as the Badgers' defense was Saturday. He has turned down all media requests to discuss the state of the program and the performance of its coach.

It's obvious why Alvarez is taking that approach. He doesn't want to dignify the public discussion of Bielema's job status by even acknowledging it.

That may be a noble sentiment, but it is horribly unrealistic. The talk is out there and ignoring it won't make it go away. In the meantime, it is potentially damaging to Bielema and to the program.