NCF Nation: Kelvin Sampson
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Coaching changes are cropping up around the country, but the Big Ten figures to be a nonfactor in what we around here like to call the silly season.
No Big Ten coach is in imminent danger of being fired. There's definitely some heat on Indiana's Bill Lynch, but with a lame-duck athletic director (Rick Greenspan), new AD Fred Glass not taking over until Jan. 2 (after hiring season) and beaucoup bucks owed to two basketball coaches (Kelvin Sampson and Tom Crean), a change isn't likely. Obviously, Purdue will have a change with Danny Hope taking over for Joe Tiller, but we've known that for months.
The big news in the Big Ten likely will involve contracts for existing coaches, some of whom have been mentioned as candidates for vacancies in other conferences. Here are some of the men who figure to get rewarded after strong seasons.
Michigan State's Mark Dantonio
Dantonio has been mentioned as a fringe candidate at places like Tennessee, but there's no panic in East Lansing that he'll jump ship like Nick Saban or George Perles did. Still, the school would be crazy not to sweeten Dantonio's deal. And athletic director Mark Hollis seems like a smart guy.
Expect a raise and a contract extension for Dantonio, whose salary ($1.1 million) ranks near the bottom of the league. This guy has Michigan State bound for its first New Year's Day bowl since 2000. The program's once-troubled culture has changed, and in-state recruiting is booming.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Welcome to the final semi-quiet week for Big Ten football, as 10 of the league's 11 teams open preseason practice a week from Monday. I'll be heading out to Michigan for the Wolverines' first workout before swinging up to East Lansing for Michigan State's media day. Other trips to Big Ten schools are likely to follow as we wind toward Aug. 30.
Here's a look around the league, which is still digesting from media days:
- ESPN's Outside the Lines piece on Penn State's off-field problems has caused quite a stir around Happy Valley. The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News' David Jones writes that while Joe Paterno might be more lenient toward troublesome players these days, off-field incidents aren't anything new.
- Some Nittany Lions players had no interest in watching the show, while others tuned in.
- Terrelle Pryor doesn't back down from a challenge at Ohio State, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
- Michigan has selected several team leaders called apostles, who serve as conduits with coach Rich Rodriguez. Does this mean Rodriguez is the Second Coming? Not quite. "I don't think he thinks he's Jesus or anything," cornerback Morgan Trent, one of the apostles, told The Detroit Free Press.
- There's evidently no bad blood -- or snake oil -- between Rodriguez and Purdue coach Joe Tiller, Tom Kubat writes in The Lafayette (Ind.) Journal and Courier.
- The lawyer for one of the former Iowa players involved in the sexual assault case thinks the letters sent by the mother of the alleged victim are being blown out of proportion. Side note: This is the same guy who represented former Hawkeye hoopster Pierre Pierce.
- A quick hoops note: Jeff Meyer, a former assistant under Kelvin Sampson at Indiana, isn't leaving the Big Ten. He landed at Michigan.
- Illinois is the latest Big Ten team to use a disappointing BCS bowl score as motivation, Terry Bannon writes in the Chicago Tribune.
- RichRod is keeping his options open at quarterback, Mark Snyder writes in The Detroit Free Press.
- What's it like to be the parent of a Big Ten starting quarterback? The Lansing State Journal's Joe Rexrode takes a look at the family of Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer.
- Expect a heavy dose of Spartans running back Javon Ringer this fall, Alex DiFilippo writes in The State News.
- Curtis Painter's Heisman Trophy campaign is under way, complete with his own DVD, Al Lesar writes in The South Bend Tribune. Purdue hopes this campaign turns out better than its last Heisman push, for Kyle Orton in 2004.
- Ohio State cornerback Donald Washington doesn't appear to be out of Jim Tressel's dog house yet, while hyped freshmen offensive lineman Mike Adams could be ready for camp, Tim May writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises polled Big Ten players to see who they thought was the league's best. Seems like the media and the players are on the same page.
- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald looked to Wisconsin for a defensive coordinator replacement but was surprised to find out which assistant Badgers coach had become available, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Here's a good breakdown of Wisconsin's post-spring two-deep, courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Dave Heller.
- Big Ten Network blogger Brent Yarina highlights some of the lighter moments from the Big Ten kickoff luncheon, including this line from bachelor Bielema: "I'll save time. I don't have a wife to introduce because I'm not married. If anybody stands up, I'm in trouble."