After monster Rose Bowl performance, Penn State wideout Chris Godwin declares for NFL Draft

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After monster Rose Bowl performance, Penn State wideout Chris Godwin declares for NFL Draft

After putting up some eye-popping numbers in Monday's Rose Bowl, Penn State wide receiver Chris Godwin is heading to the NFL Draft.

Godwin announced Thursday that he will forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility and join the professional ranks.

Godwin caught nine passes for 187 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Penn State's 52-49 loss to USC in Pasadena. Those two touchdown passes went for 30 and 72 yards.

Godwin was the Nittany Lions' leading receiver this season, catching 59 passes for 982 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was a key cog in Penn State's offensive turnaround that saw the Lions' offense go from an ineffective unit to one of the most explosive point-producing machines in the country.

"It’s been an honor and a blessing to have the opportunity to be a part of the Penn State Football family," Godwin said in his announcement. "I give all the glory to God. I don’t know if words can fully express my gratitude to everyone that played a role in me getting to this point. The success I’ve had is a direct result of my association with the teams and supporting staff that I’ve had. From Middletown High School to Penn State, I have made relationships that will last a lifetime. Those closest to me know the impact this has had on my growth. The special bond with this team is something I’ll hold forever.

"I came to Penn State not only to pursue a degree from the greatest university in the nation but also to play in the best atmosphere in college football and bring Penn State back to prominence. Through a lot of hard work over the last three years, I’d like to believe that myself and my brothers have successfully accomplished that.

"As a kid from Delaware I could only dream about being in this position. This has been one of the hardest decisions in my life, but after praying on it and having many conversations with those I trust the most, I’ve decided to forgo my senior year and declare for the 2017 NFL Draft. I believe this is the best decision for myself and my family. I can’t thank my brothers, coaches and support staff and Nittany Nation enough for their constant support throughout my three years here. This year was something special, and I’ll be forever grateful to have been a part of it."

Penn State head coach James Franklin added his own words.

"Chris has been a leader in our wide receivers room and on this team throughout his Penn State career," Franklin said. "He is one of the top receivers in Penn State history and has made numerous memorable catches throughout his career. We are thankful for all of Chris’ contributions to Penn State Football and look forward to seeing him excel on the next level."

At the conclusion of his collegiate career, Godwin ranks fourth on Penn State's all-time receiving list with 2,404 yards. He ranks seventh with 153 career catches and fourth with 18 touchdown grabs.

Big Ten reportedly talking about expanding conference basketball schedule

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Big Ten reportedly talking about expanding conference basketball schedule

Conference play could be getting a bit longer in the Big Ten.

According to a Monday report from ESPN's Jeff Goodman, there are talks about expanding the Big Ten conference basketball schedule from 18 games to 20 games.

Commissioner Jim Delany told Goodman that while there hasn't been a vote among the league's coaches yet, there are ongoing discussions about lengthening conference play by a couple of games.

Conference play expanded a decade ago, when the number of league games jumped from 16 to 18 for the 2007-08 season.

In order for there to be enough days in between games for players, an expanded league schedule would mean the beginning of conference play coming earlier in December. Recently, conference play has typically started around New Year's. Of course, there will be a week earlier start to conference play this season with the Big Ten Tournament — at Madison Square Garden in New York — a week earlier than usual, wrapping a full week before Selection Sunday.

Similar moves have been made in football, with the Big Ten starting a nine-game conference slate last fall. It's meant league games in September — a no-no in the past — and this season will feature a conference matchup in the season's first week, when Indiana and Ohio State play on Aug. 31.

Expanding conference play in college basketball would have a similar effect as it has had on schedules in football. With fewer non-conference slots to fill, those games become more important to a team's NCAA tournament resume. It forces teams to schedule more high-profile opponents and eliminate games against small schools that generate little interest during the season's first couple months.

The ACC, a league that often runs neck and neck with the Big Ten in the debate over which is America's top basketball conference, announced it will be moving to a 20-game schedule last July, with that starting in the 2019-20 season.

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo shared some thoughts on the subject with Goodman, saying he expects the move to happen.

"I personally see us going to a 20-game schedule," Izzo told Goodman. "I don't think there's any question it's going to happen — and I'm not overly against it."

Ohio State has its new head coach in Butler's Chris Holtmann

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Ohio State has its new head coach in Butler's Chris Holtmann

Ohio State found its next head basketball coach, going to one of Thad Matta's former employers to find the longtime coach's successor.

The school announced Friday morning that Butler head coach Chris Holtmann is the Buckeyes' new head coach.

Holtmann spent the past three seasons as the head coach at Butler, posting a 70-31 record and making NCAA tournament appearances in all three of those seasons, including a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in March. He was named the Big East Coach of the Year this past season.

Holtmann spent two seasons as an assistant at Ohio under former Illinois head coach John Groce, a former Matta assistant, before serving as the head coach at Gardner-Webb for three seasons. Holtmann left Gardner-Webb for an assistant-coaching job at Butler, though he was quickly promoted to interim head coach and then head coach in Indianapolis.

Holtmann takes over for Matta, who himself was the Butler head coach in the 2000-01 season before becoming the all-time wins leader at Ohio State. Matta's mostly successful tenure was ended earlier this week, when athletics director Gene Smith saw recruiting misses teaming with declining win totals to create a dip in Matta's success.

This week has been dominated by rumors and declarations of lack of interest from numerous candidates and possible candidates for the job. Xavier head coach Chris Mack and Creighton head coach Greg McDermott both made their decisions to stay at their current schools known via social media, and a report linking Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg to the job forced a no-interest comment from Hoiberg, too.

Despite those repeated "no thank yous," though, Ohio State is still seen to be one of the best jobs in college basketball thanks to one of the highest-profile athletics departments and one of the best conferences in the country, providing ample resources.

Recruiting will be a big expectation for Holtmann, as Matta's performance in that area dipped near the end of his tenure. The Buckeyes missed the NCAA tournament in each of the past two seasons, while Holtmann just took Butler to a No. 4 seed in the Big Dance, the highest in that program's history.