Purdue was a pretty good squad during most of the Joe Tiller years, and IU is close to breaking out- although if it doesn't happen this year, it may never.
Every conference has doormats- look at Vandy and UK
Yes. If the author is going to incorporate ad links into his link dump (WMD), they ought to be labeled, which gives me the option of clicking the ad or not. I clicked thinking it was going to be an article, only to see a disguised ad. On the grand scale of things, it isn't a huge deal, but it'll certainly affect my willingness to click on author (any on 11W)-provided links going forward if it is going to be a thing.
tl:dr - it is borderline dishonest in my opinion to disguise an ad as content.