Ohio State junior DT Johnathan Hankins announced that he was entering the NFL Draft. (US Presswire)
News and notes from around the Big Ten:
- The Spartans aren't playing in a bowl game past New Year's for the first time since 2007 and Michigan State fans clearly aren't thrilled about it. After a disappointing 6-6 season, the Spartans accepted an invitation to play in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against TCU on Dec. 29 in Tempe, Ariz. The school received an allotment of 11,000 tickets to the game, but has managed to sell only about 2,000 thus far. “Over the years, fans have become more creative in identifying ways to purchase the best seat locations at the best prices,” MSU athletic director Mark Hollis told the Detroit News, referring to third-party vendors. “We understand the importance of selling as much of our allotment as possible because these sales are measured and taken into consideration by bowl committees in the future.”
- Ohio State DT Johnathan Hankins announced Monday that he would forego his senior season in Columbus and enter the NFL Draft. Hankins is projected to go in the top half of the first round, but said had he been projected much lower, he might have opted to return for a chance at a national championship. “I know this was a big decision, and now that I've made it and put the word out, it really took a burden off me,” he told Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch. The Buckeyes are losing all four members of their starting defensive line, but a number of heralded freshmen also saw time along the line this past season.
- Aside from preparing Kent State for the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6, new Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell already has his work cut out for him at his new job in West Lafayette. A quick look at Purdue's schedule makes it obvious that Hazell's first year in the Big Ten presents a daunting task. It will face Notre Dame, "A possible reigning national champion. Six bowl teams, a figure that would be eight if Ohio State and Penn State weren't serving time in NCAA prison. Two quarterbacks who finished in the top seven of this year's Heisman Trophy balloting," wrote Ken Thompson of the Indianapolis Star.
- Speaking on SiriusXM Radio's Evan and Phillips in the Morning, Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez said there will be a stipulation in the contract of whomever is hired to become the Badgers' new head coach which says “before discussion with any other program, [Wisconsin] has to be contacted.” In the case of Bret Bielema, who recently left to take the job at Arkansas, Alvarez claims he had no prior knowledge that Bielema would be leaving or that he was even considering leaving. Alvarez said it would be a violation of the contract if the new coach were to go around the athletic department, according to the Journal Sentinel.
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