Latest Tom Dienhart News

Big Ten Media Days: A look back at the Best of Monday

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart roamed the floor of the first day of the 2016 Big Ten Football Media Days in search of the best of the best, and here’s what he found. Day 2 starts at 9 a.m. ET on BTN and BTN2Go with live press conferences by Lovie Smith (Illinois), Kevin Wilson (Indiana), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), DJ Durkin (Maryland), Kirk Ferentz (Iowa) and Urban Meyer (Ohio State).

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Dienhart: Deaths of Foltz, Sadler remind us how life is fragile

Photos from USA Today

BTN senior writer Tom Dienhart reflects on the deaths of Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler this weekend. “Full of life one day. Gone the next,” Dienhart writes. “I still can’t grasp the fragility of life when tragedies like this occur, and I’m pretty sure I never will.”

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Dienhart: 70 questions for Big Ten Football Media Days

Jul 28, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany addresses the media during the Big Ten football media day at Hilton Chicago. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

2016 Big Ten football sizzle reel? Yes, please

Can the Big Ten win the national championship? Can Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers be as good at linebacker as he was at safety? Who are the sleeper teams? BTN’s Tom Dienhart lays out 70 questions as he heads off to cover Big Ten Football Media Days in Chicago Monday and Tuesday.

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Former Northwestern coach Dennis Green passed away at 67

Dennis Green

Green: Big Ten's 1st African-American head football coach

Long before his infamous “They are what we thought they were” rant in 2006 as coach of the Arizona Cardinals following an epic press conference meltdown, Dennis Green cut his teeth as a player and coach in the Big Ten. Now, he has passed away at age 67.

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Big Ten links: Catch up with Friday's news digest

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Who could have been the Nebraska football a few years ago? The answer may surprise you. Also, breakout players at Penn State, updates on Purdue’s search for a new athletic director, and more. Read Friday’s round up of Big Ten headlines.

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Big Ten Mailbag: Your Big Ten football questions answered

Nov 27, 2015; Lincoln, NE, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker Parker Hesse (40) returns a pass for a touchdown during the first half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Parker Hesse pick-six at Nebraska

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hot … it’s late July … let’s do a mailbag to cool down! The football questions are coming hard and fast. Should I have ranked Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers among the Big Ten’s top 10 linebackers? Can Iowa start 12-0 again? What is Minnesota missing from getting over the hump?

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Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 10 defensive backs

Oct 31, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Desmond King (14) returns an interception 88 yards for a touchdown during the second half against the Maryland Terrapins at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa won 31-15. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Desmond King houses pick at Maryland

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Is there a better defensive back in the nation than Iowa’s Desmond King, the reigning Jim Thorpe Award winner? Probably not. He emerged last year as a special talent for a Hawkeye defense that helped the program race to a school-record 12-0 start en route to winning the Big Ten West and earning the school’s first Rose Bowl bid since the 1990 season.

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What is the must-win game for all 14 Big Ten teams?

Oct 17, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El (15) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the second half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium. The Cornhuskers won 48-25. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

How nice was this touchdown catch?!

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Every schedule has one—a must-win game. Look. You’ll find one. It’s a game that you feel your school MUST WIN if it wants to have a successful season. It can’t slip up. Victory must be accomplished.

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Big Ten links: Scroll through Wednesday best headlines

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

With Bri’onte Dunn getting the boot from Ohio State, Mike Weber has a clear path to No. 1 running back status. Weber figured to win the job at some point this season. But now, with Dunn gone, Weber is the clear No. 1 back from the start of camp. He is supposed to be a stud. We shall see as works behind a line with three new starters.

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Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 10 linebackers

Sep 26, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker Josey Jewell (43) runs back an interception 34 yards for a touchdown during the second half against the North Texas Mean Green at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes won 62-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Josey Jewell takes it to the house

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Linebackers have to be a special breed of athlete, able to be strong enough to play the run and quick enough to drop in coverage and play in space. The Big Ten is loaded with some promising linebackers who fill the bill.

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View Tom Dienhart’s 2016 Ultimate Big Ten Football Road Trip

Nov 28, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines safety Delano Hill (44) greets fans before the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh signs off at 'Signing of the Stars'

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

If time and money weren’t issues, which Big Ten games would you want to attend this season? Let me help you out. I have built the ultimate Big Ten itinerary for 2016, identifying what I feel will be the biggest game in each of the 13 weeks of the upcoming season. You’re welcome.

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Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 10 defensive linemen

Dec 5, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive lineman Malik McDowell (4) signals possession during the first quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference football championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Malik McDowell returns interception for TD

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Ask any coach, and he’ll tell you the most difficult position to recruit is defensive line. It’s a challenge to find players who are big AND quick. That’s why good d-linemen are so cherished. And, Michigan State has a good one in Malik McDowell, who leads my list of top 10 Big Ten defensive linemen.

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