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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Bedeviled by the Big Ten

The Big Ten/ACC Challenge tipped off last night, and it was (as expected) a good night for the midwesterners. The Big Ten now leads the Challenge four games to two heading into tonight’s action. Let’s run down how the good guys got there.

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Ball, Still take Big Ten POY Honors

The Big Ten Conference announced on Wednesday the winners of the top five individual awards for the 2011 football season. Wisconsin’s Montee Ball was named the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year, Penn State’s Devon Still was named the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year, and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller was named the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year.

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Get BTN's Full TV Plans for Championship

BTN’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Big Ten’s inaugural football conference championship (#B1GFCG) begins Friday, as the Michigan State Spartans prepare to take on the Wisconsin Badgers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

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Beyond: Coach of the Year Joins Us!

On tonight’s Big Ten Football & Beyond, at 10:30 p.m. ET, our guys will announce the conference’s offensive and defensive players of the year, in addition to the coach of the year, who will join us for an interview. Who is he? Watch to find out. We’ll also give our thoughts on the first year of divisional play and on whether LSU vs. Alabama is the right matchup for the BCS title game. See what else our guys will be discussing on tonight’s show in this post.

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What if this wasn't the first Big Ten title game?

Last summer in conjunction with WhatIfSports, BTN.com rolled out two related hypothetical questions: What if Nebraska had been in the Big Ten since 1996? And what if the Big Ten had been playing with two divisions leading up to a  title game since that year, too? Using the software from WhatIfSports, we generated each season’s possible outcome, including actual box scores. The results were rather intriguing. For example, check out the WhatIfSports.com results for the 1996 Big Ten season.

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