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Week 1 preview: NU-Cal should be good one

Kain Colter

Kain Colter Gets His 3rd TD

It’s time to take a week-by-week look at the 2013 Big Ten schedule. Interesting storylines, matchups and battles within the battles dot each week’s slate of games. Up first, of course: Week 1. Get my opening week preview in this post.

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Dienhart: Big Ten backup QB rankings

Cameron Coffman

Cody Latimer 30 Yard Touchdown

Often, the most popular player on campus is the backup quarterback. The guy holding the clipboard and wearing a baseball cap typically is perceived as being the answer to every struggling offense. On that note, here’s my ranking of the Big Ten backup quarterback situations.

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Dienhart: It's time to rank Big Ten secondaries

Bradley Roby

Bradley Roby Interception Touchdown

There are some nice defensive backfields in the Big Ten. And none is better than Ohio State’s. In fact, the Buckeyes may have the top secondary in the nation, which is one of many reasons why Ohio State is a legit national title contender. Here’s my ranking of the Big Ten defensive backfields.

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Dienhart: How do Big Ten LB units stack up?

Max Bullough

Max Bullough Sacks Danny O'Brien

The last two seasons, no Big Ten defense has played as well as Michigan State’s. A big reason for that has been the play of the linebackers. And that unit should continue to excel and be the bellwether of the conference’s linebacking corps in 2013. Here is my ranking of the Big Ten linebacking units.

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Dienhart: Here's how I rank Big Ten defensive lines

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Wildcats Force Sack-Fumble to Seal Win

The biggest difference between the SEC and Big Ten isn’t speed at the skill-positions on offense. Nope. It’s on defense—along the line, in particular. The Big Ten has some big fellas who can make plays and get up the field—just not the depth and breadth of the SEC. But, the situation is improving. Here is my ranking of the Big Ten defensive lines.

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Dienhart: Let's rank Big Ten offensive lines

Taylor Lewan

Taylor Lewan Staying at Michigan

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It all begins up front. Ask any coach. Without good blockers, skill talent is diminished—and offenses flounder. The Big Ten has some potentially strong blocking units, which has hopes high in several precincts. Here’s my ranking of the Big Ten offensive lines, starting with two of the conference’s biggest powerhouse programs.

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