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Nov 27, 2015; Lincoln, NE, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker Parker Hesse (40) returns a pass for a touchdown during the first half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Mailbag: Your Big Ten football questions answered

It’s hot … it’s late July … let’s do a mailbag to cool down! The football questions are coming hard and fast. Should I have ranked Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers among the Big Ten’s top 10 linebackers? Can Iowa start 12-0 again? What is Minnesota missing from getting over the hump? I look at those questions … and more below. If you’re going to hand out honors, they should go to players who have numbers that support their inclusion. For that reason, Jabrill Peppers, no matter how special a talent he is, shouldn’t be on your ranking of top 10 Big

Oct 4, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El (15) runs back a punt for a touchdown against the Michigan State Spartans during the 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: MSU won 27-22. Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

BTN.com’s top 100 Big Ten football players entering 2016: 60-41

Our countdown of the top 100 Big Ten players entering the 2016 season continues with players 60-41. Earlier this week, we looked at 100-81 and 80-61. View the third installment of our five-part series. 60. QB Wes Lunt, Illinois. Lunt enters his third season as the starting quarterback, and, if he can stay upright and healthy, he should have a big season in 2016. 59. WR Ricky Jones, Indiana. Whoever is throwing passes Jones’ way will boast one of the Big Ten’s premier receiving trio, as the senior-to-be joins Simmie Cobbs and Mitchell Paige to headline Indiana’s passing game. 58.

Oct 31, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Desmond King (14) returns an interception 88 yards for a touchdown during the second half against the Maryland Terrapins at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa won 31-15. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten's top 10 defensive backs

Is there a better defensive back in the nation than Iowa’s Desmond King, the reigning Jim Thorpe Award winner? Probably not. He emerged last year as a special talent for a Hawkeye defense that helped the program race to a school-record 12-0 start en route to winning the Big Ten West and earning the school’s first Rose Bowl bid since the 1990 season. [ MORE: Top 7 quarterbacks | Top 10 wide receivers | Top 10 running backs | Top 10 offensive linemen | Top 10 defensive linemen | Top 10 linebackers | Full unit rankings ] King is so talented,

Oct 17, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El (15) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the second half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium. The Cornhuskers won 48-25. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

What is the must-win game for all 14 Big Ten teams?

Every schedule has one—a must-win game. Look. You’ll find one. It’s a game that you feel your school MUST WIN if it wants to have a successful season. It can’t slip up. Victory must be accomplished. [ MORE: View Tom Dienhart’s 2016 Ultimate Big Ten Road Trip ] Well, I perused each 2016 Big Ten schedule. And here is my “must win” game for each school. Illinois: vs. Purdue. If the Fighting Illini want any shot at a bowl game, they must win their Big Ten opener on Oct. 8. Big Ten victories will be difficult to come by. And

Nov 21, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes wide receiver Matt VandeBerg (89) dives in for the touchdown against the Purdue Boilermakers during the second quarter at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

BTN.com’s top 100 Big Ten football players entering 2016: 80-61

Our countdown of the top 100 Big Ten players entering the 2016 season continues with players 80-61. If you missed it Tuesday, here’s our list of 100-81. View the second installment of our five-part series below. 80. P Cam Johnston, Ohio State. The Aussie was No. 2 in the Big Ten in punting in 2015, averaging 43.9 yards on 58 boots. He’s a nice weapon to have when the offense bogs down. 79. LB Nyeem Wartman-White, Penn State. Wartman-White is fully recovered from last year’s season-ending knee injury, and, assuming he regains his starting role in the middle, he should be

Nov 21, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Michigan State Spartans place kicker Michael Geiger (4) is interviewed after kicking the game-winning field goal against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Michigan State won the game 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

BTN.com's top 100 Big Ten football players entering 2016: 100-81

It’s getting closer, Big Ten fans. In fact, kickoff is a little more than a month away. To help pass some of the time before Minnesota opens the Big Ten slate vs. Oregon State and former Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen on Thursday, Sept. 1, BTN.com decided to release its top 100 players entering 2016. We’re breaking this countdown into five parts: 100-81 (today); 80-61 (Wednesday); 60-41 (Thursday); 40-21 (Friday); 20-1 (Monday). View the first installment below. 100. K Michael Geiger, Michigan State. One of the top returning kickers in the Big Ten, Geiger is known for his game-winning kick against

Nov 28, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines safety Delano Hill (44) greets fans before the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

View Tom Dienhart’s 2016 Ultimate Big Ten Football Road Trip

If time and money weren’t issues, which Big Ten games would you want to attend this season? Let me help you out. I have built the ultimate Big Ten itinerary for 2016, identifying what I feel will be the biggest game in each of the 13 weeks of the upcoming season. You’re welcome. [ MORE: Relive Tom Dienhart’s 2015 ultimate roadtrip | And 2014 ] Now, pack your Zubaz, tank top, flip flops, bucket hat and Red Bull … and let’s go! Week 1, Sept. 3: Wisconsin vs. LSU (Green Bay, Wis.). No Big Ten team has a more daunting

Oct 17, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive back Jalen Watts-Jackson (20) dives into the end zone for a game winning touchdown as the clock runs out in the fourth quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Michigan State 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In spirit of ESPYS, here are some 2015-16 Big Ten award winners

The 2016 ESPY Awards took place Wednesday night in Los Angeles. The annual awards ceremony was filled with memorable moments, including a touching speech from TNT analyst Craig Sager, who was honored with this year’s Jimmy V award. In honor of the ESPY Awards, I went ahead and made up a Big Ten-themed award list of my own, honoring the top performances of the past academic sports year in Big Ten athletics. Here is what I got. Did I miss one? Tweet me your thoughts, @BTNSean. All opinions welcomed! BIG TEN AWARD WINNERS Best Male Athlete: Denzel Valentine, Michigan State

Dec 5, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Madre London (28) is brought down by Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Desmond King (14) during the fourth quarter in the Big Ten Conference football championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

16 Big Ten players land on SI 'Top 100 College Football players'

It’s that time of year when fun-filled college football lists flow through your Twitter timeline like running water. Tuesday, Sports Illustrated finalist its list of the Top 100 Players in College Football. A total of 16 Big Ten players were included on the list, highlighted by Michigan CB/LB Jabrill Peppers at No. 5 and Iowa’s DB Desmond King at No. 7 overall. Michigan defensive back Jourdan Lewis (14) and Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett round out the list of Big Ten players in the Top 20. Who get’s your vote for the top Big Ten player this year? Tweet me

Oct 31, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Desmond King (14) returns an interception 88 yards for a touchdown during the second half against the Maryland Terrapins at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa won 31-15. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Big Ten West defensive backfield unit rankings

No Big Ten team will have a better DB than Iowa corner Desmond King, who won the Thorpe Award. But instead of turning pro coming off that season of glory, King opted to return to Iowa City. And that’s a big reason why the Hawkeyes top my ranking of Big Ten West defensive backfields. [ MORE: West offensive lines | West pass-catchers | West backfields | West defensive lines | West linebackers | West predictions ] See my full ranking below. 1. Iowa. This could be the top secondary in the Big Ten. Senior corner Desmond King eschewed the NFL