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. Hayes will be the lynchpin of a Wisconsin lineup that returns every major contributor, including Bronson Koenig and Zak Showalter in the backcourt and Vitto Brown and Ethan Happ up front, and welcomes in a pair of heralded recruits. Koenig will be
Not a lot of pizzazz in the first week of the season, as all 14 teams are in action over a three-day period. But there is one marquee clash: LSU vs. Wisconsin at iconic Lambeau Field. [ MORE: View the complete Week 1 Big Ten schedule ] Aside from that, there are no big-time matchups. In fact, four teams are playing FCS schools, with Furman at Michigan State; Murray State at Illinois; Howard at Maryland; Eastern Kentucky at Purdue. Here is a look at the Best of Week 1. Game of the week: LSU vs. Wisconsin at Green Bay. No
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. [ MORE: Dienhart: Wisconsin Badgers’ offseason to-do list ] Can the Badgers overcome the myriad hurdles while breaking in a new quarterback and with a new defensive coordinator? Here is a look at Wisconsin’s 2016 schedule. Toughest non-conference game: vs. LSU, Sept. 3 (Lambeau Field). No
Oakland coach Jack Del Rio thinks Connor Cook has a perfect situation with the Raiders. He just may be right, as Cook can develop behind Derek Carr. “It’s a perfect situation, he does not have to come in here and be the face of our franchise right away,” Del Rio told SiriusXM. “He has a chance to come in here and learn the playbook and become a good teammate and join this organization and do everything he can to help us be a better team by being at his best every day. That’s what we’re expecting from him.” Could Carr
When Chris Ash arrived to help run the Ohio State defense as co-coordinator in 2014, he had an immediate impact—especially on the pass defense. [ MORE: A look at the West’s four biggest assistant hires ] Ash took over a defense that placed 112th in pass defense and 47th in total defense in 2013. In his first season, OSU’s defense ranked 19th nationally in total defense and 29th in pass defense. The Buckeyes also ranked fourth in the country with 24 interceptions en route to Big Ten, Sugar Bowl and national championships. In 2015, the Ohio State defense continued its
Rutgers is looking for a new start. And, it’s getting just that with the arrival of Chris Ash, who continues to put his stamp on the program after taking over for Kyle Flood. [ MORE: Dienhart: Rutgers Scarlet Knights’ offseason to-do list ] Ash has work to do after arriving from a gig as defensive coordinator at Ohio State. The Scarlet Knights need a lot of help, as Rutgers ranked No. 13 in the Big Ten in total defense in 2015 (462.0 ypg) and 12th in scoring (34.9 ppg) in 2015. The offense will be undergoing a scheme change, adding
Lots of holes to fill on Michigan State’s defense, especially upfront with guys like Shilique Calhoun, Lawrence Thomas and Joel Heath gone. A key guy who needs to step up: redshirt freshman DT Raequan Williams. “Raequan Williams has serious athleticism for his size, and he has been getting better and better with his consistency and technique,” MSU co-defensive coordinator Mike Tressel said toward the end of spring drills. “When we got him he was, quite honestly, a little bit raw,” Tressel said of the Chicago product. “Any high school interior defensive lineman is not used to going against the guys
Purdue is looking for a breakthrough in its fourth season under Darrell Hazell.
Justin Wilcox. Jay Johnson. John Parrella. Ross Els. If you don't know their names now, you will next football season. BTN.com's Tom Dienhart writes why these four are the biggest assistant coach hires in the West Division this year.
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.