Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez hasn't coached a game since 2006 Capital One Bowl. (Doug Benc/Getty Images)
• The spins of the silly season. Barry Alvarez will indeed be making a return to the sidelines of Pasadena, for one very special performance: The former Badgers coach and current AD announced on Thursday morning that he intends to coach Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl ... Darrell Hazell will remain with Kent State through the GoDaddy.com Bowl ... in that same game, defensive coordinator John Thompson will serve as interim head coach for Arkansas State ... Ellis Johnson is back in the FBS already, signing on with Gus Malzahn at Auburn ... what did become of that one FIU recruit? ... and Tennessee's players have some thoughts on who their next head coach should be.
• Still sillier seasons to come. Press release from Illinois: "As part of the new Illini marketing campaign, the University of Illinois has begun placing University of Illinois billboards in popular areas around the state. The goal is to further the new branding initiative, with the slogan “ILLINOIS. OUR STATE. OUR TEAM.” in order to foster a sense of state pride among Illinois students, fans and alumni." Illinois finished the 2012 season 2-10; Northwestern went 9-3; Northern Illinois is 12-1 and bound for the Orange Bowl. We are pretty excited to see these billboards.
• Assorted trophy happenings. Manti Te'o wins the 2012 Lombardi Award ... teammate Tyler Eifert takes the Mackey ... Jadeveon Clowney snags the Hendricks, the first sophomore ever to do so.
• Roster blotter. Cal receiver Keenan Allen announced on Wednesday his intent to forgo his senior season in favor of entering the NFL draft. This bums us out a little when coupled with the news of Sonny Dykes' hiring as Cal's new head coach a few hours later.
• Bowltyme! ESPN has released its announcer pairings for the 2012-13 bowl season. We will save you the trouble of hunting and point out right away that Joe Tessitore is assigned to the Rutgers Athletic and Orange bowls.
• Tweet of the day. Seems legit:
Rutgers wants to know just why it's so special
when it comes to exit fees ... learn Johnny Football's sock choice
for the Heisman ceremony ... peruse Bret Bielema's life chart
... we have never felt closer
to Gus Malzahn ... blogfight!
... and now, a teacup piglet drinking coffee