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Friday's Hard Takes: A closer look at the Big Ten coaching changes

It’s the last Saturday in October tomorrow. That means it’s time to take one last deep breath as we point toward the finish line. And, already, before the first Thanksgiving turkey is cooked, the Big Ten has three job openings. I look at coaching tumult and other topics in my Hard Takes. It has been a strange year for coaches in the Big Ten. Three schools have seen coaching changes before Halloween. It began with the stunning firing of Illinois’ Tim Beckman a week before the season started, and then Maryland canned Randy Edsall following the Oct. 10 game at

Big Ten links: 1 QB out, 1 WR questionable & a great Jerry Kill story

Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. is out for Saturday, so who steps in? What does Northwestern need to do in the bye week? Tom Izzo has high praise for a new big man - high, high praise. And did you read this story about how Jerry Kill's generosity with children suffering from seizures changed one boy's life? Tom Dienhart gives you one more spin around the Big Ten headlines on this Friday before Week 9 games kick off Saturday.

BTN LiveBIG: Michigan coffee klatch brews innovation among faculty

How much does “innovation” cost? Many people would guess well into the millions — or even billions — of dollars. And much of the time, they’d be right. But sometimes it costs little more than the spare change you can dig out of your couch cushions or the floorboards of your car. At the University of Michigan, a new program called Innovate Brew is bringing together faculty from various disciplines, from aerospace engineering to social justice policy, to discuss what they’re doing and share ideas over a cup of coffee. Innovate Brew is an initiative housed under the university’s larger

12-year-old poses in Rutgers basketball team photo

College basketball season has arrived! [ MORE: Get the full Big Ten men’s basketball exhibition schedule ] With the Big Ten hoops exhibition season underway, teams are in the midst of completing all their preseason media responsibilities. The Rutgers men’s basketball team recently took its 2015-16 team photo, and head coach Eddie Jordan and the staff had 12-year-old Sean Moffitt, of North Brunswick, New Jersey, pose in the photo. Born with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, Moffitt signed a national letter of intent on his “draft day” last year at the Rutgers Athletic Center. Read ScarletKnights.com’s full story on Moffitt. Well done,

Volleyball Report: Very little has gone as planned in the Big Ten

We have reached the midway point of the 2015 season and very little has gone as planned. Look back at the preseason poll released in August and it is nothing like the current standings through ten matches of conference play. The nation’s toughest volleyball conference has always been unpredictable, but now a scrambled Big Ten title race features none of the preseason top four in the No. 1 spot. That position is held by a team that did not even reach the postseason a year ago — Hugh McCutcheon’s 10-1 Golden Gophers. A season after dropping out of the Top

Five Facts heading into Week 9 of the Big Ten football season

Last weekend finally provided a moment where both Ohio State and Michigan State could exhale. The Buckeyes, behind J.T. Barrett’s five total touchdowns in his first start of the season, took care of Rutgers in New Jersey, narrowly missing a shutout. Meanwhile in East Lansing, Connor Cook finished two yards shy of 400 yards passing as the Spartans rolled to a 26-point victory against Indiana. Both teams head into their bye week’s with the conference’s only 8-0 marks (Iowa will look to join them this week when they host Maryland). [ MORE: Week 9 previews | Week 9 schedule |

Photo: Ohio State fan carves incredible 'Zeke Leap' pumpkin

Halloween is just around the corner, which means it’s time for the best Big Ten-themed costumes and pumpkins. [ MORE: Week 9 previews | Week 9 schedule | Polls: Pick Week 9 winners | Power Rankings | Bowl Projections | Mailbag | Hear your coach’s teleconference | Big Ten paces Power 5 in bowl teams | Latest polls | Big Ten Player Ranking ] Earlier this week, we saw an incredible ‘stunned Michigan fan’ pumpkin. Well today I came across a pumpkin with the “Zeke Leap” carved into it. Take a look at the top of this post. Ezekiel Elliott

Big Ten Player Rankings: Elliott and Cook top our list

Ezekiel Elliott or Connor Cook? [ MORE: Week 9 previews | Week 9 schedule | Polls: Pick Week 9 winners | Power Rankings | Bowl Projections | Mailbag | Hear your coach’s teleconference | Big Ten paces Power 5 in bowl teams | Latest polls | Big Ten standings | Big Ten stats ] Both Big Ten stars had outstanding individual performances this past weekend. But who takes the top spot in this week’s Big Ten Player Rankings? Let’s find out! It’s time for BTN senior writer Tom Dienhart and web editor Sean Merriman to release their updated Big Ten

Best of Week 9: Who's on upset alert now? Read that & more

With Jerry Kill gone from Minnesota, the Gophers take on Michigan for the Little Brown Jug. BTN's Tom Dienhart takes his weekly look at the best of Saturday's games complete with an upset alert, best coaching matchup, player on the spot, and more.