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Big Ten links: Your post-holiday weekend news digest

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota new athletic director has plenty on his plate while Iowa’s athletic director discussed his overall vision at Iowa. NFL rookie Ezekiel Elliott bought his mom a nice gift. One Big Ten football locker room got flooded. Let’s get caught up on the headlines after a long Memorial Day weekend.

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Big Ten links: Rounding up Thursday's news headlines

The NBA Draft deadline came and went, so we know who’s staying and who’s gone. Also, Big Ten athletic directors talk early signing period. And what hat did one rock star wear at Penn State that drew some attention from his home state of New Jersey? Thursday’s news digest is good to go.

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Dienhart: With Nigel Hayes back, Wisconsin is Big Ten favorite

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Nigel Hayes entertains in postgame presser

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Big news at Wisconsin, as forward Nigel Hayes is returning to Madison for his senior season. What’s it mean? The Badgers are the favorite to win the Big Ten in 2016-17. Michigan State and Indiana will have something to say about that. But Hayes return to Madison stamps the Badgers as the team to beat in my book.

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2016 football schedule analysis: Wisconsin Badgers

Oct 31, 2015; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Vince Biegel (47) during the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Camp Randall Stadium.    Wisconsin won 48-10.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Chryst talks Wisconsin's signing class

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The debut for Paul Chryst was a success, as Wisconsin posted a 10-win season capped by a nice bowl win vs. USC. But the Badgers failed to win the West despite playing a favorable Big Ten schedule. Now, the schedule flips on Wisconsin, which has one of the most challenging slates in the nation.

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

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany talks (a little) about the ongoing TV negotiations saying, “We’re interested in having great partners with great platforms who are interested in marketing and promotion.” Also, Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes is stilling mulling over his NBA decision. And Jerry Kill has a new job at Kansas State. More in this post.

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2016 Football Schedule Analysis: Penn State Nittany Lions

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

This is a big season for James Franklin, who has done a lot of good things his first two years in State College. But he’s just 14-12 overall and 6-10 in the Big Ten. And Penn State finished last season with four consecutive losses. The roster is now mostly full of his players and he has tweaked his staff. Will this lead to the Nittany Lions moving up the ladder in the rugged Big Ten East? A tough schedule looms, which only complicates matters.

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

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota’ football coach sees eight to ten wins in 2016 – agree or disagree? The Big Ten athletic directors met this week and expansion came up, of course. Hey look – Chris Spielman is coming to Fox! And a look at one school’s plan to keep top football recruits from leaving that school’s state. Catch up with our news digest.

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2016 football schedule analysis: Ohio State Buckeyes

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Urban Meyer talks progress at spring game

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State is eager and ready to get back on top of the Big Ten. The Buckeyes won the national championship in 2014 and looked primed to repeat in 2015, but the coaching staff’s bungled handling of the quarterback situation proved ruinous for a team that had a national-best 12 NFL draft picks.

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Dienhart: Wisconsin Badgers' offseason to-do list

Apr 23, 2016; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Corey Clement (6) walks the sidelines after briefly playing during the Wisconsin spring football game at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Network

Corey Clement discusses spring game

Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Network

Paul Chryst returned home to Wisconsin last season. And, it went smashingly well. But there is work to do as Chryst begins his second season coming off a 10-3 debut and second-place finish in the West.

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2016 football schedule analysis: Northwestern Wildcats

Sep 5, 2015; Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats quarterback Clayton Thorson (18) runs past Stanford Cardinal cornerback Ronnie Harris (21) for a touchdown during the second quarter at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Watch Northwestern spring highlights

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern is coming off a stellar season that saw the Wildcats win 10 games. And NU is thinking big in 2016 as it looks to win what looks like a wide-open Big Ten West. And, it just may happen, as this could be Pat Fitzgerald’s most talented team yet. But it faces a daunting schedule that offers little relief.

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Dienhart: Rutgers Scarlet Knights' offseason to-do list

Oct 10, 2015; Piscataway, NJ, USA;  Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Chris Laviano (5) gets off pass as he is rushed by Michigan State Spartans defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas (8) during the first quarter at High Points Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers trick play alert!

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Ash continues to put his stamp on the Rutgers program after taking over for Kyle Flood. Job No. 1: change the culture. Offense? Defense? Special teams? It all needs work. Rutgers ranked No. 13 in the Big Ten in total defense in 2015 (462.0 ypg) and 12th in scoring (34.9 ppg). The back seven needs a lot of work, as the linebacking corps is being rebuilt and a young secondary needs to mature.

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