The BTN tour bus has been put in park. It’s time for some football! I have had a few days to absorb and contemplate what I have seen and here is my inaugural Big Ten Football Power Poll, presented by ArcelorMittal. [ MORE: Polls: Pick your Week 1 winners | Best of Week 1 | Big Ten, A-Z ] Speaking of the summer football tour, it’s not too late to go back and catch up on our 14-campus trip and all of the coverage. We started at Indiana, ended in Purdue, and BTN produced a whole bunch of video right
Another August, another Big Ten Network tour in the books. I have been on five now. And for a guy who loves football, food and fun, I feel lucky. Here is a fun look at the Best of the 2016 BTN Bus Tour. [ MORE: Relive all of Tom Dienhart’s football tour coverage ] FAVORITE CAMPUSES Penn State. The place belongs on a postcard, nestled in the hills of central Pennsylvania. Go ahead and put on your letterman’s jacket and stroll across campus for a dip of Alumni Swirl ice cream at the Berkley Creamery. Michigan. No Big Ten campus
Thirteen stops down, and one to go. The second-to-last stop on the annual BTN bus tour had the BTN crew watching Illinois practice Wednesday. Read BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart's fun takes inside.
The penultimate stop on the 2016 BTN bus tour took us to Champaign, Illinois, to watch Lovie Smith's first Illinois squad practice. Get BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart's takeaways from Wednesday's practice inside.
Hopes are high in Champaign, as Illinois takes the wraps off the Lovie Smith era. Will he be the coach to deliver a consistent winner to the Illini Nation? Smith arrives from the NFL with a big reputation, but he will be Illinois’ fifth coach since 1997 following Ron Turner, Ron Zook, Tim Beckman and Bill Cubit. The defensive line looks strong, and Dave Revsine believes running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn is going to be one of the top breakthrough players in the conference this season. Here is what I’ll be looking for at Illinois practice. 1. How is offensive line
Believe it or not, the Big Ten football season kicks off one week from Thursday. [ MORE: Get all of our BTN bus tour coverage ] It all starts with Minnesota hosting Oregon State and former Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen on Thursday, Sept. 1 at TCF Bank Stadium. Before the games start, as we do every year, we wanted to take a look at all 14 Big Ten teams’ schedule posters. See your Big Ten team’s 2016 schedule poster(s) below. ILLINOIS #PosterSwag FBS Football Poster Social Vote: RETWEET this to vote for: @IlliniAthletics @IlliniFootball pic.twitter.com/1khntBTg7c — Poster Swag (@PosterSwag) August
The penultimate stop on our annual football tour brings us to Champaign, Illinois, to watch former NFL and Super Bowl coach Lovie Smith and Illinois practice.
.@IlliniAD has still got it 🏈🙌 #Illini #WeWillWin pic.twitter.com/yoXQcKbkES — Illini Football (@IlliniFootball) August 4, 2016 Josh Whitman was a productive Illinois football player long before becoming the school’s AD. The former tight end, in fact, totaled 52 receptions, 552 yards and seven touchdowns during his Illinois career (1997-2000). Whitman, who was hired Feb. 17, still looks like can play some ball. He proved it Thursday at Illinois’ first practice of the Lovie Smith era, catching several balls off the JUGS machine. Check out the ex-tight end’s hands in the tweet above. Honest question: How many ADs could make something
Every coach looks at a schedule, scanning the list of games. Which ones figure to be tough ones? Even more vital: Which stretch of games figures to be the most daunting, a potential make-or-break run of contests? [ MORE: Best chance to pull upset | Best chance to be upset | Toughest non-conference games | Toughest conference game ] I have identified the toughest stretch of games on each Big Ten schedule. Illinois. The last four games are daunting. The season-ending run begins with a visit from Michigan State on Nov. 5 followed by a trip to Wisconsin, a visit
No coach wants to lose a game that experts think he’s supposed to win. Upsets can set a season on its ear and prove ruinous. [ MORE: Best chance to pull upset | Toughest non-conference games | Toughest conference game ] There are potholes on every schedule. And I have picked the one game on your school’s schedule in which it has its best chance to be—gulp–upset. Illinois. The visit from Western Michigan on Sept. 17 is dangerous. P.J. Fleck is an up-and-coming coaching fireball who played at Northern Illinois and is a native of the state. You know the