What’s happening outside Champaign-Urbana:
1. Russell Wilson worked wonders in his lone year at Wisconsin. Danny O’Brien? Not so much. The Maryland transfer who started the Badgers’ season opener in 2012 has left the program. O’Brien didn’t post poor numbers (523 passing yards, 60 percent completion rate, three touchdowns to only one interception), but he just never seemed to find his stride in Madison after a solid debut against Northern Iowa. With Joel Stave and Curt Phillips picking up production once Bret Bielema benched O’Brien after a poor showing against Utah State and current Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen (right), it was clear O’Brien might not find the field with much regularity.
2. The Alamo Bowl continues to remain one of the premier spots for teams once the bowl season arrives. The Big 12 now will send its first pick to San Antonio (barring a Big 12 team making it to a BCS bowl this season or in the College Football Playoff the following season, of course) for a matchup against a Pac-12 school. The two conferences agreed to a six-year deal recently, keeping intact the last three Alamo Bowls featuring teams from both those leagues after the Big Ten had representation from 1995 to 2010.
3. Any chance of Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen recreating the recruiting buzz Hugh Freeze generated at Mississippi in February took a hit. The NCAA penalized the Bulldogs with a two-year probation that includes scholarship reductions and a reduction in official visits after a booster provided a car and cash to a recruit. Makes one wonder about what other allegations might come out involving the uber-competitive SEC, which is still at the top of the college football world.