Another August, another Big Ten Network tour in the books. I have been on five now. And for a guy who loves football, food and fun, I feel lucky. Here is a fun look at the Best of the 2016 BTN Bus Tour.
[ MORE: Relive all of Tom Dienhart’s football tour coverage ]
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — No coach shook up his staff more than Darrell Hazell. Gone are offensive coordinator John Shoop and defensive coordinator Greg Hudson, along with defensive line coach Rubin Carter.
The final stop of the 2016 BTN bus tour took us to West Lafayette, Indiana, to watch Darrell Hazell’s Purdue team practice. Jump inside to see what BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart learned.
Thirteen stops down, and one to go. The second-to-last stop on the annual BTN bus tour had the BTN crew watching Illinois practice Wednesday. Read BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart’s fun takes inside.
The penultimate stop on the 2016 BTN bus tour took us to Champaign, Illinois, to watch Lovie Smith’s first Illinois squad practice. Get BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart’s takeaways from Wednesday’s practice inside.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Darrell Hazell needs a big year. It’s no secret. He has yet to get this program off the ground in his first three seasons. The struggles can’t be sugarcoated or minimized, as Hazell has gone 6-30 overall and 2-22 in the Big Ten. Three of the victories have been vs. FCS foes; another was vs. a MAC team. Will 2016 be the year the script is flipped? Hazell will move forward with a veteran roster that has potential and a staff that has two new coordinators.
Northwestern’s top specimen? Its nagging question. BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart offers several fun takes from Northwestern’s practice Tuesday inside.
The BTN bus tour was in Evanston, Illinois, on Tuesday, to check out Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern Wildcats, Click inside to see what BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart learned from the practice.
Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports
Hopes are high in Champaign, as Illinois takes the wraps off the Lovie Smith era. Will he be the coach to deliver a consistent winner to the Illini Nation? Smith arrives from the NFL with a big reputation, but he will be Illinois’ fifth coach since 1997 following Ron Turner, Ron Zook, Tim Beckman and Bill Cubit.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The BTN Tour bus was in Wisconsin on Monday to check out the Badgers. Paul Chryst enters his second season as the Badgers’ head coach and should have a team capable of competing for a Big Ten West title in 2016.
Pat Fitzgerald has Northwestern on a roll coming off a 10-win season. And the Wildcats look poised to keep thriving. But some issues needs to be resolved. Will the pass game improve? Are there any pass rushers in the house?
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The BTN bus tour rolled into Madison, Wisconsin, on Monday, to watch Paul Chryst’s second Badgers’ team practice. See what BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart learned while watching practice inside.
Time to answer some mail! How good are the Minnesota linebackers? Will Michigan topple a rival this season? Is David Blough the answer to Purdue’s QB ills?
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota has its most talented team—and perhaps its best–since Tracy Claeys arrived in Dinkytown in 2011.
The BTN bus tour hit Minneapolis on Saturday, and our crew was able to take in the Golden Gophers’ scrimmage at TCF Bank Stadium. See what BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart learned inside.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
What will Paul Chryst do for an encore after a strong debut that saw him win 10 games? It will be interesting. He lost a great defensive coordinator in Dave Aranda, who left for the same post at LSU, and must replace veteran quarterback Joel Stave.
The Minnesota program is on solid footing, having been to a bowl each of the last four seasons as Tracy Claeys assumes command. But the staff has been altered. Still, there is momentum coming off a bowl win that capped a disappointing 6-7 season.
The letters are flowing in as I am on the road for the Big Ten camp tour. I have questions about Penn State’s depth, Michigan State’s ability to develop talent and Michigan’s chances to beat Ohio State this season, among others. Let’s go!
Stop No. 9 on the BTN bus tour brought us to Nebraska practice Thursday. The Cornhuskers, fresh off a 6-7 season in Mike Riley’s debut, return plenty of talent on a team trying to dethrone defending Big Ten West champ and rival Iowa.
LINCOLN, Neb. — Mike Riley is looking for more in his second season in Lincoln. His debut was marked by myriad close losses. The good news: The Huskers finished 2015 on a roll, capping the season with a big bowl win over UCLA.
Before the premiere of “Green & White Days: Inside Michigan State Training Camp, presented by Meijer,” at 7 p.m. ET tonight, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart takes a look at a handful of Spartans’ position battles that should be monitored this summer.
The BTN bus tour stopped in Iowa City, Iowa, on Wednesday to check out the defending Big Ten West champions. Get BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart’s fun takes from the physical practice inside.
The BTN bus tour hit all of the Big Ten East schools, and now it’s time for the Big Ten West. First up, Iowa, which we visited Wednesday. See what BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart learned about the defending Big Ten West champ inside.
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
The BTN summer football tour will be in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Thursday, to watch Mike Riley’s second Cornhuskers team practice. See what BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart will have his eye on inside.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
These are halcyon days in Iowa City, as the Hawkeyes take aim at repeating as Big Ten West champs. Iowa welcomes back a strong corps of players on both sides of the ball led by QB C.J. Beathard on offense and CB Desmond King on defense. But there are some concerns for the Hawkeyes.