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50 questions to ponder in advance of 2015 Big Ten media days

Every media day, writers arrive in Chicago with no shortage of questions. For fun, and in anticipation of the event Thursday and Friday, I sat down and jotted down some of the first queries that came to mind. Here are 50 vexing questions to ponder at Big Ten media days: 1. How will the Buckeyes deal with being the hunted?2. Is Michigan’s offensive finally good? 3. Who will emerge at receiver for Maryland? 4. Who will start under center for Ohio State? 5. Can Northwestern reverse a disturbing two-year 5-7 funk? 6. Is the Indiana defense ready to show some

Watch Ohio State QB Cardale Jones playfully toss young boy in pool

When it comes to social media stars in the Big Ten this summer, it doesn’t get much bigger than Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones. [ MORE: Like this post! Check out our Gone Viral section ] He’s right up there with new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who has received non-stop attention for his activity on Twitter, and that says a lot. Jones, a third-string quarterback just a year ago, is about to hit 230,000 followers. He’s so popular on the platform, tweets about him often become a big deal, too. For example, the videos above and below, tweeted by teammate

Ohio State dominates annual Big Ten football media preseason poll

Cleveland.com released its fifth annual Big Ten preseason football poll Monday, and it was all about reigning national champion Ohio State. All 40 voters from around the league picked the Buckeyes to win the Big Ten, while they also tabbed RB Ezekiel Elliott and DE Joey Bosa as offensive and defensive player of the year, respectively, in landslide decisions. Bosa garnered 37 of 38 first-place votes, with Maryland’s William Likely taking the only other top vote, and Elliott took 31 of 39. The West champion was a runaway winner, too, as Wisconsin tallied 32 first-place votes, to Nebraska’s five and

Big Ten links: Michigan State tickets, Kirk Ferentz feature & more

The great Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a nice piece on Paul Chryst, who is in good hands with Barry Alvarez. Alvarez explained why he believes Chryst, who will turn 50 in November, is better prepared to run UW’s program than he was before he left Madison. “I like what I’ve seen,” Alvarez told Potrykus. “How he manages his vision for a program, how he deals with his assistant coaches and how he delegates. “I love my conversations with him about his vision, what he sees with the players and how he wants to bring them along.”

BTN LiveBIG: For Indiana researcher, math reveals 'devils' in the details

Anyone who’s commuted in traffic in a major U.S. city or tried to get their children out the door for school can claim to have some familiarity with the concept of “controlled chaos.” Simply put, this phrase refers to the often random, unpredictable interactions and events that can hinder or even halt complex, critical systems. Indiana University professor and researcher Filippo Radicchi recently devised a mathematical framework to analyze these scenarios. His approach is designed to improve the resilience of intricate systems such as air traffic control networks and power grids by figuring out how they might break down before

BTN LiveBIG: Wisconsin's first enologist to spice up the state's wine, cider industries

Wisconsin’s “cheeseheads” might someday have a wealth of local options to pair with the state’s most popular food. And they may have Nick Smith to thank for it. The University of Wisconsin named Smith its first enologist back in March. As such, he has the enviable task of positioning the school as a leader in the state’s burgeoning wine and “fermented beverages” industry. “The industry is hoping to … get someone who can provide a resource to help people make better wine, essentially,” Smith said of his role. “The goal is to help improve the image and quality of wine

BTN LiveBIG: Nebraska, Maryland historians uncover fascinating details of American slavery

The human experience of slavery in the United States was recently and memorably captured in the Oscar-winning Best Film “12 Years a Slave,” adapted from the 1853 novel of the same name by Solomon Northup. But while Northup’s long fight to reclaim his freedom after a ruthless kidnapping was an undeniably compelling story, it wasn’t representative of the typical struggle of African-Americans who sought to break the bonds of slavery. “It’s not ‘12 Years a Slave,’ but ‘100 Years a Slave Family,’” said Nebraska history professor Will Thomas. “It took that long in many of these cases.” “These cases” are

Keith Nichol Q&A: Looking back at the play known as 'Rocket'

It was nearly four years ago that Keith Nichol was part of what will be remembered as one of the greatest plays in Michigan State football history. With MSU and Wisconsin tied at 31 in a late October Big Ten clash, Kirk Cousins heaved up a last-second Hail Mary pass that went off the facemask of B.J. Cunningham and into the hands of Nichol, who fought off two Wisconsin defenders and pushed his way over the goal line. We’re re-airing the memorable 2011 game at 8 p.m. ET on BTN/BTN2Go, part of our Big Ten Classics series, and Nichol will

Breaking down reigning national champ Ohio State's QB options

Turns out, Urban Meyer isn’t ready to call Braxton Miller a receiver. “I haven’t made those decisions yet,” Meyer told the Columbus Dispatch. “It seems like it’s a little bit jumping the gun. Braxton came to see me. … He’s been talking to me about it. We’ve been working at it. But I’m not ready to say exactly how we’re going to use him yet.” Thursday night, SI’s Pete Thamel had an exclusive interview with Miller, who said he will be approaching this season as primarily a receiver/H-Back. It would make sense. After all, Miller is recovering from a surgically

Ranking 2015 Big Ten league games: Tom Dienhart’s list, 10-1

It’s time for my top 10 Big Ten league games. [ MORE: Get all of our preseason Big Ten football coverage ] Did you miss the first two installments of this three-part series? If so, here’s 56-31 and 30-11. Now for those top 10 games: 10. Minnesota at Ohio State, Nov. 7. A Big Ten title game preview? Perhaps. Since 1969, Ohio State has lost just twice to Minnesota (1981 and 2000). The Buckeyes won, 31-24, in the Twin Cities last season. 9. Iowa at Wisconsin, Oct. 3. The Hawkeyes have lost the last three games—and five of the last