Big Ten: Myron Rolle
Describing Lyons as the "next Myron Rolle," SI.com's Andy Staples explains how Lyons and his mother are sending a detailed list of 50 questions to each of the schools who have offered scholarships. They ask about student life, a program's history of graduating players and the coaches' backgrounds, among other topics. Here's the full list.
Lyons, like Rolle, is not only a star on the field but in the classroom, where he takes a bunch of AP courses and earned a 3.8 GPA while taking classes at a community college near his home in Florida.
OK, here's the Big Ten connection.
Wisconsin defensive line coach Charlie Partridge, who recruits South Florida, told Rolle's mother, Gwen Bush, about all the options her son had and offered a way to separate the best ones.
In fact, it was Wisconsin's Partridge who inspired the questionnaire. He mentioned to Bush that 2010 Badgers signee James White had sent questionnaires to schools recruiting him. Partridge forwarded Bush a copy of White's questionnaire and Bush added a few questions she picked up from a recruiting service. Then she sat down with her son and each listed more questions they wanted answered.
"[White's] wasn't as elaborate as what we have," Bush said. "We were very, very specific."
Wisconsin has some stiff competition for Lyons' services, as his offers list includes Alabama, Florida, Miami and fellow Big Ten schools Ohio State and Michigan. But Partridge's suggestion certainly shouldn't hurt the Badgers' chances. It shows the Wisconsin staff is willing to answer questions, not just offer information.
I'll be interested to see if more recruits follow this approach, as they try to sift through the truths and lies of the recruiting world.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
It's time to forecast the first three Big Ten bowl games. I finished the regular season with a record of 71-17 (80.7 percent), but the bowls provide a much tougher challenge.
CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL -- Wisconsin 27, Florida State 25
This would constitute an upset, given Florida State's purported edge in speed and the game's Seminole-friendly location (Orlando, Fla.). Wisconsin will have its hands full trying to contain dominant pass rusher Everette Brown, star safety Myron Rolle and the Seminoles defense, and the Badgers' offensive line needs to play its best game of the season. But I liked the way Wisconsin's offense played down the stretch behind quarterback Dustin Sherer, and running backs P.J. Hill and John Clay could wear down Florida State. It certainly could go the other way, but I'm not sold on Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder. The Badgers' secondary can make plays, and Ponder commits a key turnover that lifts Wisconsin to a much needed win.
VALERO ALAMO BOWL -- Missouri 38, Northwestern 27
Northwestern ended the season playing its best football and continued to make major strides on defense. But this just isn't a good matchup for the Wildcats, who haven't faced an offense resembling the high-powered unit led by Chase Daniel, Jeremy Maclin and Chase Coffman. Now there is a legitimate question about Missouri's mind-set. How motivated will the Tigers be after a fairly disappointing regular season? Northwestern will be prepared and if the Wildcats have the mental edge, they could pull off a significant upset. Senior quarterback C.J. Bacher has one final chance to recapture the form he showed midway through the 2007 season, when he racked up 990 passing yards in a two-week stretch against Michigan State and Minnesota. Missouri's secondary is a joke, but Bacher won't be able to avoid interceptions. The Wildcats come up short despite the return of running back Tyrell Sutton.
INSIGHT BOWL -- Kansas 41, Minnesota 24
Teams certainly can make progess during bowl preparation, but Minnesota will have to take a major leap forward after dropping its final four regular-season games. Wide receiver Eric Decker returns to the mix after knee surgery and will provide a nice boost, but Minnesota won't be able to mask its problems against a more experienced Kansas team. It'll be interesting to see how the offensive line responds to new coach Tim Davis, but Minnesota's inability to run the ball and its over-reliance on quarterback Adam Decker make it tough to see the Gophers keeping up with the Jayhawks. Minnesota's upset hopes hinge on a defense that led the Big Ten in takeaways (30). If a Gophers secondary filled with playmakers causes Todd Reesing to make mistakes, Minnesota should hang around in this one.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Ohio State senior linebacker James Laurinaitis, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, has been named one of four finalists for the Lott Trophy. Laurinaitis joins Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo, Florida State safety Myron Rolle and Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry on the list of finalists.
The Lott Trophy honors the defensive impact player of the year and recognizes a player's character attributes in addition to his athletic achievements.
"He's a talented yet humble young man who brings enormous credit to the game of college football," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said of Laurinaitis. "He represents Ohio State with poise and class."
Laurinaitis led Ohio State and ranked second in the Big Ten with 121 tackles this season.
The Lott Trophy winner will be announced Dec. 14 in Newport Beach, Calif.