Latest Tom Dienhart News

Schedule analysis: Can Penn State do it again?

Dominic Salomone

Bill O'Brien Loud Speaker Plays

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Bill O’Brien’s debut was a success, as Penn State finished 8-4 after opening 0-2 during a season wrapped in tumult. But the Nittany Lions may be in for a long season, as the effects of NCAA probation begin to sink in. Penn State will operate with just 67 scholarships, so any attrition could be devastating for a team that’s still ineligible for the postseason or to win the league championship.

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Web Links: Ferentz, Gardner's guru & Lewan's return

Iowa is coming off a 4-8 season, the program’s worst since 2000—Kirk Ferentz’s second season in Iowa City. That has some fans antsy. Bryce Miller of the Des Moines Register sat down with the Hawkeyes boss to discuss a variety of topics for a program that has seen its win total fall from 11 to 8 to 7 to 4 each of the last four seasons.

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Schedule sets up nicely for touted Buckeyes

Stacey Blount

Ohio State Spring Game Highlights

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Some think Ohio State is the best team not just in the Big Ten but perhaps the best team in the nation as it comes off a 12-0 debut under Urban Meyer. A wealth of talent is one reason for optimism, as the Buckeyes are NCAA probation-free and eligible to win the Big Ten and BCS crowns. A favorable schedule is another reason for optimism. Ohio State should be favored in every game but one in 2013: the season finale at Michigan on Nov. 30.

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Veteran Wildcats face challenging 2013 lineup

Venric Mark

Northwestern Spring Game Highlights

Most every key component from last year’s team that went 10-3 and won the school’s first bowl since the Stone Age — OK, the 1948 season —  is back. Good, because this schedule is a doozy. In fact, starting 2-0 won’t be a given, with a trip to Cal and visit from Syracuse, which lost a crazy 42-41 game at home to the Wildcats last season, on tap to open the season. Big Ten schools switched cross-division foes this season, and no school had a less advantageous swap then NU.

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Q&A: Limegrover refining Gophers' attack

CARLOS GONZALEZ - StarTribune.com

Minnesota Spring Game Highlights

It’s a slow, steady process, but the Minnesota offense is coming on as Jerry Kill continues to put his mark on the program entering his third year in the Twin Cities. Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Matt Limegrover’s attack ranked 10th in the Big Ten in 2012 (321.4 ypg). And the offense was ninth in scoring (22.1 ppg).

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Dienhart: Let's break down 2014 football slate

Newcomer Rutgers will take part in the first Big Ten game of 2014 when it plays host to Penn State on Sept. 13. That’s one of several interesting matchups in the schedule, which was announced today. The 2014 schedule will be the first season with Maryland and Rutgers in the conference. The 2014 season also will see the Big Ten split into new East and West Divisions.

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Today's web links: On night football, rivalries & more

Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

The cry for November night games seems to be gaining steam. Oh, they are coming. Could the sacrosanct Michigan-Ohio State ever be played at night? Buckeye athletic director Gene Smith is against it. Me, too. But, heck, I’m against all night games. “It’ll be noon,” Smith told reporters at the recent Big Ten meetings. “I have to be open to 3:30, but noon is my favorite time for that one.”

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Web links: Big Ten shaking up bowl picture

At the recent Big Ten athletic director meetings, the possible future bowl schedule began to come into focus as the league’s current bowl deals end after the 2013 season. It’s all about geography, Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press points out. The Big Ten wants to spread its brand coast-to-coast. It has been reported that the Big Ten will share tie-ins with the Gator Bowl and Music City Bowl with the ACC during a six-year agreement, playing SEC opponents in both games.

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Schedule analysis: Huskers eye Indy return

Taylor Martinez

Tom Dienhart Nebraska Spring Game Impressions

Things set up well for Nebraska, which opens with five games at home and doesn’t leave Lincoln until Oct. 12 (at Purdue). It wouldn’t be a shock if Nebraska is 8-0 when it travels to Michigan on Nov. 9 in the only game the Huskers may not be favored in all season. Bottom line: This schedule greases the skids for Nebraska’s return trip to the Big Ten title game, as the Huskers pursue the program’s first conference title since 1999.

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Schedule analysis: Gophers could start 5-0

Donnell Kirkwood

Minnesota Spring Game Highlights

This schedule is built for success – at least the first half of it. It opens with four of the first five games coming at home. And Minnesota should be favored in each one. Could the Golden Gophers be 5-0 when they travel to Michigan on Oct. 5? Hmm. And—don’t look now—but Minnesota has a good chance to be 5-3 when it plays at Indiana on Nov. 2. But a loss to the improving Hoosiers would make getting a sixth win very difficult with a challenging last few games.

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Dienhart: Just say 'No' to divisions for hoops

Tom Crean

Ultimate Trey Burke Highlight

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

At its spring meetings in Chicago, the Big Ten may discuss if it should have divisional play in basketball, as Rutgers and Maryland are set to join the league in 2014 to make the conference a 14-team entity. My advice: The Big Ten should take a lead from the other major conferences—ACC (12 teams), SEC (14), Pac-12 (12), old Big East (15), Atlantic 10 (16)–and not have divisional play.

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Schedule analysis: MSU has to like 2013 draw

Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio reacts after they beat against the Georgia Bulldogs of the 2012 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Michigan State Spartans defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 33-30 in triple overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Michigan State Spring Game Highlights

The schedule is pretty kind to a Michigan State program coming off a disappointing 7-6 season that saw MSU lose five games by a combined 13 points. If the Spartans can win at Notre Dame on Sept. 21, they could be 8-0 when they welcome Michigan on Nov. 2.

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Dienhart: How many Big Ten teams should be ranked?

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Once the college football yearbooks hit the newsstand—and it has to be any day now—I expect to see six Big Ten teams in most Top 25s. And look for them to be in this order: Ohio State; Nebraska; Michigan; Wisconsin; Northwestern; Michigan State.

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Schedule analysis: Michigan eyes fast start this fall

Devin Funchess

Michigan Spring Game Highlights

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan’s 2013 football slate sets up for a fast start. In fact, it’s not crazy to think Michigan could be 6-1 or maybe even 7-0 as it travels Michigan State to begin a run of five November games that shape up to be as tough as any team’s in the nation. It’s nice to have heavies like Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State all coming to Ann Arbor. The November menu features the Wolverines three toughest Legends competitors in a row: at MSU; Nebraska; at Northwestern.

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Today's web links: Buckeyes' bold words in SI.com

Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

Except for the guy living under a rock—you know who you are—we all have heard 1,000,001 times that the SEC has won the last seven national titles. Bravo! It is an awesome feat. If a Big Ten team is gonna end the skein, it figures to be Ohio State, says Stewart Mandel of SI.com as I present Friday’s edition of my weekday Big Ten links.

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