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Celebrating 5 years: Top 5 running backs of BTN era

Wisconsin's Montee Ball

The Ultimate Montee Ball Highlight Reel

It’s been a fast handful of years, and on Aug. 30, BTN will officially celebrate its fifth anniversary. Crazy to think, huh? To celebrate – not to mention kill time before the season kicks off – I’m spotlighting some of the great football careers during our existence. I’ll do it in the mold of “Big Ten’s Best,” our popular countdown show that returns this fall for another season of ranking the best in Big Ten history. My second list ranks the top five running backs of the last five seasons, aka the BTN era.

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Michigan QB Denard Robinson to be SI cover boy

If you subscribe to Sports Illustrated and reside in the Big Ten footprint, chances are, you’ll see Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson in you mailbox this week. The popular magazine is releasing five regional covers to preview the season, and Robinson is one of five quarterbacks featured. He joins Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, USC’s Matt Barkley and West Virginia’s Geno Smith as cover boys. @SInow tweeted a picture of the covers, and you can see it in this post.

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Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman gets Tuck-like facemask

Not quite at Justin Tuck’s level yet, Minnesota junior Ra’Shede Hageman’s new facemask is certain to garner its share of attention this season. It won’t be the only thing drawing your eye to the mammoth defensive lineman, though, because he’s a popular breakout candidate. In fact, BTN analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and Tom Dienhart gushed about the 6-6, 301-pound talent when they saw him at Minnesota practice last week. See the picture of Hageman’s new facemask in this post.

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SI.com preseason poll features five Big Ten teams

Another preseason top 25 poll was released Wednesday afternoon, but unlike previous ones, it doesn’t have Michigan as the highest-ranked Big Ten team. It has the Wolverines ranked third among Big Ten teams, in fact. Evidently, SI.com is higher on Wisconsin and Michigan State, which it has ranked No. 6 and No. 8, respectively. Michigan comes in at No. 13, while Nebraska (No. 19) and Ohio State (No. 22) round out the Big Ten contingent.

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Illinois adds Nebraska OL transfer Klachko

(AP) Nebraska offensive lineman Ryan Klachko has transferred to Illinois. Illinois coach Tim Beckman said Wednesday that the 6-foot-4, 290-pound redshirt freshman was one of the top high school players in Illinois when he played at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield.

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