Big Ten: Aaron Kromer
OK, moving on to less depressing topics, like the Big Ten and Super Bowl XLIV.
Once again, the Big Ten has plenty of connections to the game, including 20 former players on the two teams, more than any other conference.
All 11 member schools will be represented by a player and/or coach participating in the game. Michigan has the highest number of former players (four), followed by Ohio State (three) and then six teams -- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin -- each with two former players. Penn State and Minnesota will have former coaches on the sideline Sunday.
Both head coaches have Big Ten roots, as the Colts' Jim Caldwell played at Iowa and served as an assistant at Iowa, Northwestern and Penn State. The Saints' Sean Payton had a one-year stint as an Illinois assistant in 1996.
Here's the full lineup of Big Ten links to Super Bowl XLIV, courtesy of the league office:
Kelvin Hayden, DB, Illinois
Dallas Clark, TE, Iowa
Bob Sanders*, DB, Iowa
Mike Hart, RB, Michigan
Marlin Jackson*, DB, Michigan
Ervin Baldwin, DE, Michigan State
John Gill, DL, Northwestern
Anthony Gonzalez*, WR, Ohio State
Curtis Painter, QB, Purdue
Jim Sorgi*, QB, Wisconsin
Jim Caldwell, Head Coach (Played at Iowa from 1973-76; Assistant at Iowa in 1977, Northwestern in 1981 and Penn State from 1986-92)
Larry Coyer, Defensive Coordinator (Assistant at Iowa from 1974-77 and Ohio State from 1991-92)
Gene Huey, Running Backs (Assistant at Ohio State from 1988-91)
Tom Moore, Offensive Coordinator (Played at Iowa from 1957-60; Assistant at Iowa from 1961-62 and Minnesota from 1972-73 and 1975-76)
Ray Rychleski, Special Teams (Assistant at Penn State in 1991)
Bill Teerlinck, Defensive Assistant (Assistant at Indiana from 2003-04)
John Teerlinck, Defensive Line (Assistant at Illinois from 1980-82)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Pierre Thomas, RB, Illinois
Tracy Porter, CB, Indiana
Courtney Roby, WR, Indiana
Adrian Arrington, WR, Michigan
Jonathan Goodwin, C, Michigan
Zach Strief, OT, Northwestern
Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
Will Smith, DE, Ohio State
Drew Brees, QB, Purdue
Jonathan Casillas, LB, Wisconsin
Sean Payton, Head Coach (Assistant at Illinois in 1996)
Greg McMahon, Special Teams (Assistant at Minnesota from 1983-84 and Illinois from 1992-2004)
Bret Ingalls, Running Backs (Assistant at Northwestern from 2006-08)
Aaron Kromer, Offensive Line/Running Game (Assistant at Northwestern from 1999-2000)
Mike Mallory, Assistant Special Teams (Played at Michigan from 1982-85; Assistant at Indiana from 1986-87 and Illinois from 2001-05)
Terry Malone, Tight Ends (Assistant at Michigan from 1997-2005)
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Two Big Ten assistant coaches are reportedly among the finalists for the head-coaching vacancy at Miami (Ohio).
Illinois co-defensive coordinator Curt Mallory and Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell both are in the mix along with New Orleans Saints running backs coach Aaron Kromer. A source told me Kromer interviewed last week in Oxford, Ohio.
Miami athletic director Brad Bates told the Cincinnati Enquirer that on-campus interviews were still ongoing and that the finalists included a coordinator from a BCS conference and an NFL assistant coach. Mallory declined to comment about the search.
Bates told the Dayton Daily News last week that the pool was down to four or five candidates.
All three reported finalists have ties to Miami.
Mallory's father, Bill, served as Miami's head coach from 1969-73 (Curt was born in 1969). Treadwell was a four-year starter at wide receiver for Miami (1978-81) and served as an assistant coach at the school from 1992-93. Kromer played tackle at Miami (Ohio) and served as a RedHawks assistant coach under Randy Walker from 1990-98.
Should Mallory depart Illinois, head coach Ron Zook could give co-defensive coordinator Dan Disch the sole title. Treadwell has served as offensive coordinator at four schools (Michigan State, Cincinnati, Ball State and Boston College) and seems ready to jump to a top job, though his son, Blake, an offensive lineman, is part of Michigan State's 2009 recruiting class.