|Spartans TE Dion Sims is one of three Michigan State juniors who is considering entering the NFL draft. (US Presswire)|
News and notes from around the Big Ten:
- Three of Michigan State's biggest contributors – juniors Will Gholston, Le'Veon Bell, and Dion Sims -- will apply to an NFL advisory board to help them decide whether to enter their names in the upcoming NFL draft. Gholston has an extremely difficult decision to make after a relatively disappointing year but said he's maintaining his focus on TCU, the Spartans' opponent in the upcoming Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Dec. 29. “I've got to think about it after the game, I guess,” he told the Detroit Free Press. In regards to Bell, who scored 11 touchdowns on 1,648 rushing yards, coach Mark Dantonio has already hinted that he could become a Heisman front-runner should he return. “I'll take into consideration the Heisman talk, the carries and everything else,” Bell said.
- New Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen, formerly of Utah State, may well have preferred bringing over coach Matt Wells as the new Badger offensive coordinator. Wells, though, jumped at the chance to become the new coach of the Aggies and accepted the position earlier this week. Andersen will bring over four assistants with him, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. For the second straight year, the Wisconsin coaching staff is going to see an overhaul as numerous coaches have already agreed to take jobs elsewhere. The staff will coach Wisconsin through the Rose Bowl with the notable exception of former coach Bret Bielema.
- Purdue's new head coach, Darrell Hazell, hasn't fully assumed his role in West Lafayette yet because he's been busy preparing Kent State for the GoDaddy.com Bowl against Arkansas State on Jan. 6. Despite Kent State's practice schedule, Hazell will be attending the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Dec. 30 to see his new team take on Oklahoma State. “I want to see body language. I want to see how they react to adversity,” he said to the Journal and Courier. Meanwhile, he's also been in contact with the Boilermakers' 13 commitments for next year, trying to assure them that he has the transition under control. Hazell has yet to name a coaching staff but said he expects to do so in eight to 10 days.
- With their season over, it's not too early to begin looking at the Buckeyes' prospects of repeating an undefeated season. Ohio State got an early look at next season's most difficult nonconference opponent when San Diego State took on BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday night. Although the Aztecs lost 23-6, they should be one of the Buckeyes' biggest obstacles next season, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. At first glance, the two biggest threats to the Buckeyes appear to be SDSU and Michigan, at least in the regular season. The Buckeyes are the preseason No. 2 team, according to Athlon's “Very Early Top 25” list.
- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is taking a more light-hearted approach to the month-long preparation before the Wildcats face Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day. Earlier this week, the players and coaches flipped roles as the offensive coaches took on the defensive coaches in a seven-on-seven game while the players shouted criticisms. "They spend the whole year yelling at us whenever we make a mistake," linebacker David Nwabuisi told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Anytime something goes wrong, we're ripping them." The Wildcats haven't won a bowl game since 1949 and by changing up the practice routine, Fitzgerald is ensuring the team isn't focused on that number. "We've played some damn good football teams, and we've gone toe-to-toe," Fitzgerald said. "We just haven't finished the job."
For more Big Ten coverage, follow Mike Singer and Dave Carey @CBSSportsBigTen.