Big Ten links: Where is your stadium in these rankings?

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten links: Where is your stadium in these rankings?

Bleacherreport.com has ranked the toughest environments in the Big Ten for football, something we’ve done over the years, too. Yes, Ohio State is No. 1. And, Wisconsin is No. 2. Not bad. But I would have Ohio State at No. 1, Penn State at No. 2, and Nebraska No. 3.

Think about this list when you consider BTN’s primetime football schedule next fall. Love a packed football stadium any time of day.

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The hype surrounding Michigan is growing … and growing … and growing. In fact, the Wolverines are No. 3 in one early poll. That is what a 10-win season—and Jim Harbaugh—will do.

“Don’t pay attention to it. I didn’t even know that,” Michigan junior tight end Ian Bunting said of the national championship odds while making an appearance during the Michigan Youth Impact Program earlier this week at Cass Tech High School in Detroit.

Meanwhile, when he played at Michigan, Braylon Edwards wore No. 1. And he says Jim Harbaugh should make players fight for the right to wear that prestigious number.

“Coach Harbaugh understands the importance of No. 1,” Edwards said Monday night at Cass Tech High School in Detroit during the Michigan Youth Impact Program draft. “He came right after A.C. (Anthony Carter), but he knows A.C., he knows me. He’s going to make the best decision in that situation. The only thing I can ask him to do is just have an open battle and whoever deserves it, give them the jersey, don’t predetermine, make these kids go through and fight for it.”

Edwards wore No. 80 at Michigan his first two seasons before earning No. 1 from coach Lloyd Carr. In 2006 he created a $500,000 scholarship for the player who wears No. 1. If nobody wears that number the award will be granted to a player who “exhibits exceptional off-field behavior and conducts himself as a team player.”

Since Edwards won the Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s top receiver in 2004, the only Michigan player to wear the number was Devin Funchess in 2014.

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Dan Duggan of NJ.com has the Top Five breakout players from Rutgers spring drills. One is Najee Clayton, a linebacker who needs to keep breaking out for what is a big position of need for the Scarlet Knights. All three starters from last season are gone.

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No big shock here: Vince Edward is returning to Purdue after testing the NBA waters.

Big boost for Purdue, as Edwards really developed last year and could be poised for a breakout junior season as one of the Big Ten’s best players. The 6-foot-8 forward was Purdue’s second-leading scorer last season, averaging 11.3 points per game, and led the Boilermakers in assists – he handed out 100 – for the second time in as many seasons. He shot 41 percent from three-point range and 82 percent at the foul line.

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Nebraska is looking to add a JC transfer and a four-year transfer to bolster its defensive line.

Help is needed. The Huskers lost six defensive linemen — and what amounted to their starting front four — to graduation, transfers and the NFL draft in the offseason. Utah graduate transfer defensive tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, visited campus last weekend. And Los Angeles Valley College’s Raveon Hoston said via text Monday that NU started showing interest late last week. As of Monday evening, the Huskers had not offered Hoston, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

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A foot injury made 2015-16 a lost season for Michigan State point man Tum Tum Nairn.

This year, though, brings a change to the Spartans’ depth chart. Whereas Nairn was the only true point guard on the roster last year, the Spartans now bring in four-star recruit Cassius Winston to the fold. There will likely be some preseason talk about the starting position, given the fact that Winston is potentially a better offensive option. But if Nairn is healthy by the preseason, he has the edge in experience, speed, passing, defense, and most other categories. He should win the starting job.

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Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com wonders if Ohio State DE Joey Bosa was lucky to be ejected from the Fiesta Bowl last season. After all, by doing so, he was able to avoid injury.

 

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Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.

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