Latest Tom Dienhart News

Dienhart: My Best of the College Football Bowls

Iowa's James Vandenberg

The Ultimate Montee Ball Highlight Reel

Earlier this week we ranked the 2011-2012 college football bowl games as a sort of TV guide for the discerning Big Ten viewer who might not be looking to watch all 35 games, Big Ten and otherwise. And before the bowls take off I’ll be previewing each of the ten Big Ten bowl games in detail, too (full college bowl schedule here).

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Dienhart: Ranking the Bowls, from 1-35

The Poulan-Weedeater Bowl is long gone, unfortunately. But there is no shortage of bowl action. To get you ready for a holiday feast of 35 bowls, following is a ranking of the bowls from best to worst. With so many postseason games, you have to choose wisely with time at a minimum during this busy time of year.

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Dienhart: Petrino's departure no surprise

It’s no surprise that Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino has rejoined his brother Bobby’s staff at Arkansas. But the timing of the move seems dubious with a bowl game still to be played. Why not stay and finish the job? Even worse for Illinois: There’s a chance Illinois could lose more assistants before the Illini’s Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl vs. UCLA on Dec. 31.

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Dienhart: And my Heisman Trophy vote goes to ...

Go ahead. Criticize me, Alabama fans. You, too, Stanford alums and Wisconsin fanatics. I don’t care. I feel comfortable with my choice to place Baylor’s Robert Griffin on top of the Heisman Trophy ballot I submitted on Sunday night in what is turning out to be an incredible race.

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Dienhart: Quick Look at Big Ten Bowl Matchups

Michigan's Brady Hoke

Ryan VanBergen Interview - Bowl Selection Special

The Big Ten is bursting with bowl teams, as a record 10 schools are headed to the postseason. The Big Ten has two teams in the BCS for the seventh season in a row. And its 10 bowl eligible teams are the most since 2007.

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Dienhart: Two Teams Deliver One for the Ages

Russell Wilson

Tom Dienhart Predicts Big Ten Bowl Selections

INDIANAPOLIS – The notion of three yards and cloud of dust was trashed on this night. Instead, the inaugural Big Ten championship game was a celebration of yards, points–and more yards and points. And a running into the kicker penalty on Michigan State that killed the Spartans’ last hope to score to rally for the winning score.

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Dienhart: Big Ten Football Notebook

Michigan State's William Gholston

2011 Big Ten Football Awards

INDIANAPOLIS-Michigan State is hungry for its first Rose Bowl appearance since the 1987 season. It also is motivated to earn some respect. This is a program that has the best league record in the Big Ten over the past four years. This is a program that has won 10-games in consecutive seasons for the first time ever and is aiming for its first back-to-back Big Ten titles since 1965-66.

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Five keys to Saturday's Big Ten Championship

Wisconsin's Russell Wilson

Big Ten Blast: Dec. 2nd Afternoon Update

The first meeting between Michigan State and Wisconsin was an epic encounter that most consider to be the game of the year in the Big Ten. The Badgers raced to a 14-0 lead before seeing the Spartans go on a tear to lead 23-14 at halftime. Michigan State pushed its lead to 31-17 early in the fourth quarter before Wisconsin rallied to tie the game, 31-31.

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Dienhart: What Does A Title Game Mean to Big Ten?

The Big Ten finally has a showcase event to cap its football season, kicking off the inaugural Big Ten championship game this Saturday at 8:17 p.m. ET in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis with Legends Division champ Michigan State playing Leaders Division champ Wisconsin.

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Dienhart: Which direction will Illinois' search go?

Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas hired two football coaches when he ran Cincinnati’s athletic department, looking to the MAC ranks on each occasion in first tabbing Brian Kelly from Central Michigan and then Butch Jones from the same school. But he’ll surely have an open mind in replacing Ron Zook.

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Dienhart: Examining Penn State's coaching needs

The shadow of Joe Paterno will forever engulf the Penn State head coaching job as the man spent the past 46 years roaming the sidelines in State College, Pa., as head coach. One thing is for sure about the next coach, at least in my mind: I don’t think there can be any ties to Penn State or Paterno. Sorry, Tom Bradley. It also would shut the door on Al Golden, a former Penn State tight end and assistant coach who recently signed an extension at the University of Miami.

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Dienhart: Experts give title contenders scouting report

Intriguing matchups abound in the Big Ten title game. How will Michigan State’s stellar defense deal with Wisconsin’s super-charged ground game? Can the Badgers slow down the hot hand of Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins? Will Michigan State be able to run against an underrated Wisconsin defense? I talked to some Big Ten coaches to get their frank, off-the-record comments about how they attacked and defended the two Big Ten teams that will meet on Saturday night in Indianapolis in the inaugural Big Ten title game.

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Dienhart: Breaking down the matchups II

Yesterday, I compared the offensive and defensive lines, offensive backfields and receiving corps for Michigan State and Wisconsin as they prepare for the Big Ten title game (read the post). Today, I look at the linebackers, defensive backfields, special teams, coaching staffs and intangibles for the Spartans and Badgers. Which team holds the edge in each category?

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Dienhart: Meyer is Ohio State's man

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer: One-on-One

There is no arguing with Urban Meyer’s resume. It’s sparkling. It’s glistening. Meyer is 104-23 (.819 winning percentage) in 10 seasons as a head coach. And on the big stages, he’s even better, boasting a 7-1 bowl mark (4-0 in BCS games) with national championships in 2006 and 2008.

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Dienhart: Breaking down the matchups

With the Big Ten championship game matchup set, it’s time to start looking at Wisconsin and Michigan State from a unit by unit standpoint. Who has the edge on the offensive line? Defensive line? Offensive backfield? Receiving corps? We take a look today.

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Meet the 2011 Big Ten Title Game Teams

Big Ten Championship Game Logo

Wisconsin at Michigan State - Football Highlights

P4RB. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? It doesn’t mean anything to you. But it means everything to Michigan State. Its meaning: Prepare For the Rose Bowl. And it has become a motivating acronym for the Spartans in their improbable quest for the Big Ten championship and trip to Pasadena.

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Illinois fires head coach Ron Zook

Illinois' Ron Zook

Ron Zook Statement

In the end, Ron Zook couldn’t make Illinois a consistent winner. So, the school announced today that it’s turning the page by firing him after seven seasons. The Zook era will be remembered for tremendous highs and lows, finishing with a 34-51 mark and two bowls. The zenith of his tenure was a trip to the Rose Bowl following the 2007 season, the program’s first junket to Pasadena since the 1983 season. That year, Illinois finished as Big Ten runners-up and knocked off an unbeaten Ohio State team on the road.

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Dienhart: Spartans, Badgers by the numbers

So, the stage is set. It will be Michigan State, representing the Legends Division, and Wisconsin, representing the Leaders Division, in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game on Saturday in Indianapolis. The two teams met earlier this season, with the Spartans winning a last-second thriller on Oct. 22. To help preview the rematch, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart considers most important numbers for each team in this post.

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Dienhart: Michigan Wins "The Game"

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – None of the Michigan players were allowed to forget how many days had passes since the Wolverines last beat Ohio State. A countdown clock in the Michigan locker room screamed out the embarrassing fact: 2,926 days.

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