Happy Tuesday, Big Ten fans. We hope all of you in the Northeast are staying safe amid snowmageddon.
1. Well, the Craig Kuligowski to Illinois buzz was nice while it lasted. The Missouri defensive line coach, one of the nation's most underrated assistants, opted to stay with the Tigers rather than join Illinois in what likely would have been a co-defensive coordinator role.
According to longtime Missouri beat writer Dave Matter, Illinois thought it had Coach Kool until Missouri's Gary Pinkel stepped in late and "delivered finishing move."
Kugligowski would have been a nice boost for Illinois, especially with a defensive front that has underperformed during Tim Beckman's tenure. Kugligowski, whose Twitter handle says it all, mass-produces elite linemen, including each of the past two SEC defensive players of the year (Shane Ray and Michael Sam). He would have been a nice upgrade to Illinois' defensive staff. And it would have been nice for the Illini to swipe a top assistant from their braggin' rights rival.
But he's not the only solution for Illinois, as the Chicago Sun-Times' Steve Greenberg points out during this Twitter exchange with yours truly. Greenberg notes that Illinois wants more than a position coach for this role, and there's no guarantee Kugligowski would have succeeded in a broader role.
This remains a critical hire for Beckman, who needs a Bill Cubit-like savior for the defense before a pivotal 2015 season.
2. ACC members North Carolina and Wake Forest took an unusual but necessary step Monday and scheduled a home-and-home nonconference series for 2019 and 2021. As colleague Andrea Adelson writes, the ACC's recent expansions have limited the league's oldest rivals to just four meetings since 2004. These lengthy lulls are a major downside of bloated leagues with divisions. Iowa and Illinois went six seasons without a game until the Hawkeyes visited the Illini this past November.
The schedule-niks among you will recall how Big Ten teams explored the possibility of adding nonleague games against one another not too long ago. The introduction of a nine-game league schedule in 2016, plus divisions aligned with geography in mind, shortens the gaps between certain matchups. Still, there will be certain cross-division matchups we would like to see more often, and divisional games that we could do without every year.
Ultimately, I'd like to see leagues ditch divisions and perhaps championship games altogether (especially if it replaces them with playoff quarterfinal games). But the ACC, which opted to follow big brother SEC and stay with eight-game league schedules, could see more "non-league" matchups like Wake-UNC.
Links from around the league, plus an early Big Ten forecast from Athlon.
James Franklin is ALWAYS on Twitter, as one Penn State player learned the hard way Monday.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis explains why he let Eastern Michigan out of a scheduled game in 2016.
Nebraska could round out its recruiting class with some junior college defensive ends.
Another coaching honor for Minnesota's Jerry Kill.
I don't credit AIRBHG for this one, but two Iowa running backs were cited for hosting a loud house party. The Hawkeyes also added to their running back room during the weekend.