Latest Tom Dienhart News

Dienhart: Q&A with Illinois' Billy Gonzales

Billy Gonzales is ready for this. He’s ready to take the Illinois offense to the next level under new Fighting Illini coach Tim Beckman. The Illinois attack struggled in the second half of last season in what was a bizarre campaign that saw Illinois open 6-0 and then lose six in a row before ending the year with a bowl win over UCLA.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Michigan DC Greg Mattison

Michigan's Jordan Kovacs

Brandin Hawthorne Interception - Michigan Spring Game

No assistant coaching hire may have had as much impact as the arrival of Greg Mattison to Michigan as defensive coordinator prior to last season. Brady Hoke plucked Mattison from the Baltimore Ravens, where he served as defensive coordinator. And the results were swift and immediate during an 11-2 season that was capped by a Sugar Bowl triumph over Virginia Tech.

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Tuesday's Links: Playoff Trips Could Add Up

On a day when college football may be changed forever, here’s my latest batch of Big Ten football links. Today: More on football playoff wrangling, Wisconsin’s offensive line, the pressures of coaching, and whether or not the NCAA should get involved in the Penn State story.

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After the Fall: Who's Coming Back From Injuries?

Injuries can have a cruel way of twisting the fate of team. Lose a key player and a team’s season can take an entirely different direction. Just ask Purdue, which has had more than its share of key players injured in recent seasons, or Penn State, which saw several key players go down in 2011.

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Reader Mail: 2012 Big Ten Dark Horse & More

Nebraska's Taylor Martinez

Film Session with Nebraska's Tim Beck

You have questions, and I have answers right here in my latest Big Ten Mailbag. In this installment, a diehard Buckeye fan wonders if the hype surrounding Ohio State may be a little too high and another reader sends me one of the longer questions I’ve ever received. Check out my answers to all of your questions in this post. And don’t be afraid to send me any Big Ten questions you have for future mailbags. Simply fill out the form at the bottom of the post. It’s that easy.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Northwestern's Mike Hankwitz

Northwestern is riding an unprecnedented wave of success that has seen the Wildcats go to a school-record four bowls (Alamo, Outback, TicketCity, Meineke Car Care) in a row. But to take the next step and become a contender in the rugged Legends Division, the Wildcats need to improve on defense under sage coordinator Mike Hankwitz.

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Debate it: 2012 Big Ten interception leader

Purdue's Ricardo Allen

Brandin Hawthorne Interception - Michigan Spring Game

Yesterday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina hit email to debate the 2012 Big Ten reception leader, the eighth in our series of Big Ten statistical predictions. Next up: Interceptions. Who will lead the Big Ten in 2012? See Tom and Brent’s email thread in this post and vote for your leader, too.

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Unit Rankings: 2012 Big Ten special teams

Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah

Fresno State at Nebraska - Football Highlights

It’s the third component of every team. It’s also the most overlooked component. It’s special teams. And it’s often the difference between winning and losing. So, pay attention to these rankings, from 1 to 12, of the Big Ten special teams. Oh, and don’t forget about all of my 2012 unit rankings. Don’t agree with the rankings? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post or tweet me: @BTNTomDienhart.

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Debate it: 2012 Big Ten reception leader

Yesterday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina hit email to debate the 2012 Big Ten receiving TDs leader, the seventh in our series of Big Ten statistical predictions. Up next: Receptions. Who will lead the Big Ten in 2012? See Tom and Brent’s email thread in this post and vote for your leader, too.

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Debate it: 2012 Big Ten receiving TD leader

Yesterday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina hit email to debate the 2012 Big Ten receiving yards leader, the sixth in our series of Big Ten statistical predictions. Next up: Receiving touchdowns. Who will lead the Big Ten in 2012? See Tom and Brent’s email thread in this post and vote for your leader.

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Dienhart: What makes Michigan-Alabama even bigger

How big is Michigan’s season-opening game vs. Alabama in Arlington, Texas? It’s huge. It’s gargantuan. It’s Titanic. It’s epic. It’s a monstrosity. Not just for the Wolverines, but for the Big Ten and its image.

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Unit Rankings: 2012 Big Ten secondaries

Michigan State's Johnny Adams

Christian Bryant Interception - Ohio State Spring Football Game

Big Ten defensive backfields are loaded with talent, including cornerbacks like Michigan State’s Johnny Adams, Iowa’s Micah Hyde and Purdue’s Ricardo Allen, along with safeties like Ohio State’s C.J. Barnett, Michigan State’s Isaiah Lewis and Michigan’s Jordan Kovacs. And some of the units figure to rank among the best in the nation, including those at Ohio State, Michigan State and Nebraska.

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