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Breaking down the Big Ten non-con sked

The formula for building a non-conference schedule is pretty standard: play one challenging game vs. a team from a Power 5 league (ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten) and three games vs. foes from “lesser” conferences. And ideally, three of the four games are at home. But, as you can see, not all non-conference games are created equally. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the Big Ten’s non-conference schedule. Power 5 foes: 17 Bowl teams: 24 FCS foes: 11 Foes by Power 5 league Pac-12: 5 (Cal, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Washington State) ACC: 4 (Pitt, Syracuse, Miami, Virginia Tech) Big

Big Ten Football Spelling Bee: Try to spell these names

With the Scripps National Spelling Bee taking place Thursday, it got us thinking about some of the most challenging names to spell in the Big Ten. One our out favorite parts of the college football season is introducing Big Ten fans to some of the best names to keep an eye on, and these are ones that you may have to break out the ol’ game program to spell correctly. Some of the names are hard to spell because of a unique spelling (think Maxx Williams), and some are hard because they’re just very unique names (think Ifeadi Odenigbo). Either way,

What's your Big Ten team's toughest non-con game?

We’ve reached the right side of 100 when it comes to the countdown to the college football season. Three months from now, there will be football. Get excited! Until then, we’re previewing the season. It’s time for Tom Dienhart to single out your team’s toughest non-conference game. ILLINOIS A Sept. 13 trip to Washington will be a good test. The teams met last season in Chicago’s Soldier Field, with the Huskies taking a 34-24 victory to be a buzzkill to a 2-0 Illinois start. The Illini won just two times after the loss to U-Dub, killing the party mood along

Got Big Ten collectibles? Tell 'Treasure Hunter'

Coming this fall on BTN/BTN2Go, our new show “Big Ten Treasure Hunter” debuts, and we’re looking for your submissions. BTN’s memorabilia expert John Arcand will spend each episode traveling throughout Big Ten country to assess Big Ten memorabilia collections – and offer to buy items from collectors. Do you have something special sitting on your shelf? Our “Big Ten Treasure Hunter” crew wants to learn about it.      

Where B1G teams rank in Preseason Power Index

Now that spring football is in the books, we are slowly starting to see preseason rankings trickle in for the 2014 season. Our friends over at ESPN recently created an automated set of preseason ratings for every team. The ratings are designed to predict how strong each team will be in the upcoming season. This is calculated using the Football Power Index, which according to ESPN is a predictive measure of team strength that uses the EPA breakdowns that correlate most with future results. The efficiency rankings are the point contributions for the Off/Def/Special Teams units to the team’s opponent-adjusted

How about a 10-game Big Ten football schedule?

You may have read recently about the Big Ten considering scheduling its own league schools as “non-conference” games as a way to fill out schedules in the future. I don’t know about you, but I was a bit surprised to hear that. And, I don’t like the idea. Instead, why not just have a 10-game Big Ten schedule? It’s a notion I made reference to in a recent story. The coaches may groan about it. But who else would? No one. Fans and TV would love it, because it results in an extra quality game every year and shortens the

ESPN: Big Ten approves 8-member officiating crews

According to ESPN.com, the Big Ten has agreed to increase its football officiating crews from seven officials to eight for all home games starting this fall. The added official, the center judge, will line up in the offensive backfield opposite the head referee. The Big 12 used eight officials last season and will do so again in 2014. Recently, the SEC and ACC have announced they will add an eighth official this fall. The last time the Big Ten increased its number of officials — six to seven —  was in 1983. “We’re looking for improved officiating — that’s the

Dienhart: Morgan Burke's right, it's time for stipends

Earlier this week, at the annual Big Ten spring meetings, Purdue AD Morgan Burke had some interesting—and refreshing–comments on the subject of the cost of attendance and player stipends. “It’s fundamentally the right thing to do,” Burke told reporters during the meetings at Big Ten headquarters in Rosemont, Ill. “It’s got to be done for men and women, it’s got to be done for Olympic sports and non-revenue sports. It’s the right thing to do. “The reality is, this is fundamentally fair. And so we’d better find the money. We find the money for lots of other things, we’d better

NCAA APR scores: Big Ten teams continue to shine

The NCAA released Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores Wednesday, and all Big Ten teams avoided penalties. Northwestern led the Big Ten in football (991), while Indiana men’s basketball was perfect for the fourth straight year (1,000). The APR, which debuted in 2005, attempts to measure how teams perform in the classroom by using academic eligibility and retention and graduation rates to yield the four-year figure. [ MORE: NCAA.org: Find APR scores for every school in every sport ] Big Ten APR Scores (football; basketball) Illinois: 957; 957 Indiana: 972; 1,000 Iowa: 969; 971 Michigan: 975; 990 Michigan State: 962; 980

Dienhart: Illinois' 2014 schedule analysis

As Year Three of the Tim Beckman era downs, a sense of urgency has set in around Champaign-Urbana. When will Beckman deliver a bowl? Since arriving from Toledo amid a glow of hope after the Ron Zook era was unplugged, Beckman has gone 6-18 overall and 1-15 in the Big Ten. And that lone conference triumph came last year vs. a Purdue team that went 0-8 in the Big Ten and 1-11 overall. But progress was made in 2013, especially on offense. (Thank you, offensive coordinator Bill Cubit.) If the defense comes around, Beckman could break through to the program’s