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Big Ten freshmen pose for Class of 2018 photos

Big Ten football kicks off Thursday night. Before then, classes will start at several schools across the Big Ten. That means it’s time for the annual freshman class photo shoot at the football field. Check out several really great Class of 2018 photos in this post. Have one from another Big Ten school? Tweet it to me (@BTNBrentYarina). #ILLINOISwelcome, Class of 2018! #ISS2014 — Univ. of Illinois (@Illinois_Alma) August 24, 2014 Boom! Welcome Class of 2018! #OnIowa14 — University of Iowa (@uiowa) August 23, 2014 An aerial view of our newest Huskers creating the "N" at Memorial Stadium.

Dienhart's 2014 Big Ten football predictions

I’ve spent months (seems like years, some days) analyzing the coming 2014 season. I’ve talked to head coaches. assistant coaches and players. I even asked the greeter at my local Walmart who he likes to win the Big Ten. Hey, he’s a big Ohio State fan. I wanted to at least humor the guy, ya know? I’ve written and read countless stories, while also visiting with my brothers and sisters in the media. After all of that, I am ready to unveil my Big Ten predictions for 2014. See our other 2014 B1G Predictions posts: BIG TEN EAST 1. Michigan

2014 preseason All-Big Ten Freshman Team

Our BTN Summer Bus Tour is officially in the books. After visiting 14 Big Ten schools in 17 days, senior writer Tom Dienhart received plenty of insight and got an inside look into what to expect in the upcoming 2014 college football season. One of the biggest takeaways from the tour is that we should expect to see several impact freshman in the Big Ten this season. With Dienhart’s help, as well as some of the top Big Ten football media minds, here is a look at my preseason Big Ten all-freshman team. Get our football tour coverage: OFFENSE

Players on the rise? Here's Tom Dienhart's list!

With the 2014 BTN bus tour in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a look back at my team-by-team player on the rise. These are the players who have a bright future. They might not be a star or consistent regular this fall, but you should learn their names and get to like their games. Get Tom Dienhart’s latest coverage: Illinois: LB T.J. Neal. The sophomore linebacker looks good in the middle of the defense. I could see him getting 100 tackles. Indiana: LB Marcus Oliver. When I asked a defensive assistant what players he liked, he looked up

Dienhart's best of the 2014 BTN bus tour

The BTN bus traveled almost 4,000 miles, beginning in Bloomington, Ind., on Aug. 4 and ending in Champaign, Ill., on Aug. 20. We have kicked the tires on all 14 teams one last time—watching practice, talking to players, talking to coaches–before the season kicks off next week. Deep breath! Here is my best of the 2014 BTN bus tour. Get our football tour coverage: [ MORE: Get all of our tour coverage | See all of Dienhart’s Instagram videos ] BEST CAMPUSES 1. Penn State. You just can’t beat the backdrop of Mount Nittany on this hilly, bucolic campus. If

Football Tour: Dienhart's best from Illinois

Illinois is looking to continue progress in Year Three under Tim Beckman. Seven starters are back on offense; nine on defense. The offense remains ahead of the defense. In fact, this could become an upper-level Big Ten attack with freshly-minted starting quarterback Wes Lunt at the controls. The defense is burdened with making the most improvement. Beckman has fortified a roster that was lacking talent, so there appears to be hope. The starters look good. Depth? It is shaky. Get our latest football tour coverage: Here are my thoughts from Illinois practice. BEST OF ILLINOIS PRACTICE Most impressive player: QB

Twitter: Our experts' takes from Illinois practice

Our annual summer football is coming to a close. But not before our crew takes in Illinois practice Wednesday. Get’s Tom Dienhart and Dave Revsine and Gerry DiNardo’s tweets from practice in this post. Get our latest football tour coverage: GERRY DINARDO BTN Bus Tour #ILLINI The 3 teams that made the most improvement from Spring Practice to Camp RU, Minn, Illinois — Gerry DiNardo (@gerrydinardo) August 20, 2014 BTN Bus Tour #ILLINI Another team building on offense first much like IU, NU, PU. But Defense catching up. — Gerry DiNardo (@gerrydinardo) August 20, 2014 BTN Bus Tour #ILLINI

Illinois names Wes Lunt starting quarterback

Illinois coach Tim Beckman announced Wednesday on BTN Live that Wes Lunt will be the starting quarterback for the Fighting Illini. The full interview with Beckman can be seen on tonight’s edition of BTN Live at 6 p.m. ET. Lunt won a three-way battle to replace Nathan Scheelhaase, beating out senior Reilly O’Toole and sophomore Aaron Bailey. Lunt is a 6-5, 215-pound sophomore who sat out last season after transferring from Oklahoma State. Lunt widely was considered to be the leading contender to win the job. He has a strong arm and advanced pocket presence. Lunt also is a good

Illinois camp preview: Is the defense better?

Tim Beckman made improvement from Year One to Year Two, going from 2-10 (0-8) to 4-8 (1-7). Can he build on that? The offense offers hope, as the hiring of coordinator Bill Cubit prior to last season sparked the attack. And the unit will be fortified by seven returning starters. The key to big improvement will hinge on the defense, which has nine starters back. How bad was it last year? The Fighting Illini ranked 104th in the nation in scoring defense (35.4 ppg); 116th in rush defense (238.6 ypg); 81st in pass defense (242.9 ypg) and 110th overall (481.5