Latest Tom Dienhart News

Dienhart: An early 2016 football Top 25? Yes, please!

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

AthlonSports.com has a very early football Top 25 for 2016. Yes, you knew it was coming because they come every year and we roll our eyes at them and then read them anyway because they’re fun to talk about. The national title game for this season hasn’t even been played and college players still can declare for the NFL draft until Jan. 18. Regardless, early, early, early Top 25 lists wait for no one.

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Big Ten links: Take a spin through Thursday's headlines

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In Thursday’s roundup of Big Ten headlines, we’ve got a good look Ohio State’s 2013 recruiting class – how did they turn out? Plus, Michigan State has some holes to fill on offense. Rutgers has a new offensive coordinator who had a near-death experience. And a story on the legacy of Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg. Catch up in this post.

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Dienhart: Take a stroll down Big Ten quarterback memory lane

Playing quarterback in the NFL is a one of the most demanding jobs in sports. In 2015, five of the NFL’s 32 teams called former Big Ten quarterbacks their starters for more than half of their 16 regular season games. Take a moment to test your knowledge and see if you can name all five of those Big Ten names and their teams before reading the rest of my story here.

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Mail call: Wrapping up your Big Ten bowl season questions

Dec 31, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans players huddle before the 2015 CFP semifinal at the Cotton Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Looking back at the Cotton Bowl loss

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It’s so very early but who do you see making the 2016 Big Ten football title game? What’s the outlook for Michigan in 2016? These are a few of the questions readers sent in, and BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart tackles them all in his weekly mailbag.

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Big Ten links: Hoosiers honor 1976 national championship squad

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Indiana honors 1976 national champs

BTN

Indiana honored the 1976 Hoosiers squad on the 40th anniversary of that team’;s national championship season. One publication graded both the Michigan and Michigan State football teams. And Rutgers is eyeing new facilities. Those stories top our Wednesday collection of Big Ten headlines.

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Big Ten Whiteboard: Big week ahead for Greg Gard, Wisconsin

Jan 2, 2016; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Jordan Hill (11) complains about a referee's call to Wisconsin Badgers interim coach Greg Gard during the game with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin defeated Rutgers 79-57. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Watch our Rutgers-Wisconsin highlight

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Conference action is gaining steam with one week in the books, as teams look to make early statements. No squad has spoken louder than Iowa, which has knocked off No. 1 Michigan State and No. 14 Purdue. Will any team make a move this week?

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Tom Dienhart's top 5 players to replace: Indiana Hoosiers

Nov 7, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers running back Jordan Howard (8) reacts to scoring a touchdown during the first half of the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes  at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Howard runs for long TD vs. Iowa

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana enjoyed a breakthrough season in Kevin Wilson’s fifth year in Bloomington, taking the Hoosiers to their first bowl since 2007 and just their second since 1993. Alas, IU still hasn’t finished over .500 since 1994. And it last won a bowl in 1991. But progress is being made.

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Tom’s Take: Honors, stock watch, top performers, notes & quotes

Dec 29, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Mike Gesell (10) celebrates after the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa won 83-70. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Watch our Michigan State-Iowa highlight

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The lid has been taken off Big Ten play, and five schools are off to 2-0 starts. Two of them aren’t a shock, as Maryland and Indiana are out of the gates quickly. But it’s a surprise to see Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa also 2-0 in Big Ten action.

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Dienhart: See my best of 2015-16 Big Ten bowl season

Dec 30, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Joel Stave (2) hugs wide receiver Robert Wheelwright (15) after beating the USC Trojans 23-21during the fourth quarter in the 2015 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Watch our Wisconsin-Southern Cal highlight

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten college football bowl season is officially in the books.

Yes, the Big Ten came up short in its bid to defend the national title won last year by Ohio State. But the conference had some memorable moments during its 5-5 postseason.

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Rose Bowl: McCaffrey leads Stanford to win over Iowa

Jan 1, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) drops back to pass against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2016 Rose Bowl at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Watch our Iowa-Stanford highlight

Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This time last year, Iowa was getting scortched by Tennessee in the TaxSlayer Bowl to cap a disappointing 7-6 season that set in motion an offseason of tumult. Kirk Ferentz examined his program and made alterations, including switching practices from afternoon to morning. But most prescient, Ferentz tabbed C.J. Beathard the QB over Jake Rudock shortly after the loss to the Vols. Rudock transferred to Michigan, Beathard became a star and the rest is history.

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Dienhart: Volunteers cruise by Wildcats in Outback Bowl

Jan 1, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats running back Justin Jackson (21) runs with the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first quarter in the 2016 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Watch our Northwestern-Tennessee highlight

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern was looking to put an exclamation point on a standout 10-win season by dumping an SEC team. It didn’t happen for what has been one of the nation’s most surprising teams that opened 2015 with a win vs. Pac-12 champ Stanford.

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Cotton Bowl: No. 2 Alabama blanks No. 3 Michigan State

So many storylines dominated the Cotton Bowl matchup. Michigan State was making its first playoff appearance coming off a Big Ten title. Alabama was here last year, getting upset as the No. 1 seed by Ohio State, which went on to win the championship. Protégé (Mark Dantonio) was trying to beat mentor (Nick Saban). On it went.

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Scouting report: Coaches detail Alabama's offense & defense

BTN

BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart talked to some assistant football coaches who took on Alabama this season to get an insider’s scouting report on the Crimson Tide offense and defense ahead of Michigan State’s game in the Cotton Bowl. Here’s what those coaches told our senior writer.

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Five keys to a Michigan State victory over Alabama tonight

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

When Michigan State takes on Alabama tonight, we’ll all be watching closely. BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart suggests we keep an eye out for these five keys the Spartans need to unlock the Crimson Tide and advance to the title game. You know this already, but none of them will come easily.

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Holiday Bowl: Defense shines as Badgers hold off No. 25 USC

Dec 30, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Wisconsin Badgers tight end Austin Traylor (46) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the USC Trojans during the third quarter in the 2015 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.

Watch the Badgers' Holiday Bowl Highlights

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart is watching every Big Ten bowl game, and on Wednesday night he rolled out his assessment of Wisconsin’s impressive 23-21 win over No. 25 USC in the Holiday Bowl. See his grades and his overall take in this post.

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Foster Farms Bowl: Nebraska rallies, holds off UCLA, 37-29

Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Watch our Nebraska-UCLA highlight

Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska was one of three teams in the postseason with a 5-7 record. UCLA also arrived in the Foster Farm’s Bowl slumping, losing two of its last three after looking like a contender in the Pac-12 South.

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