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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,

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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

Braxton Miller & Urban Meyer

Three B1G schools in Athlon's best coach-QB tandems

Two of the most important keys to a successful college football team are a good quarterback and head coach. Our friends over at Athlon Sports recently compiled a list of the top head coach-quarterback combinations in college football this year. Three Big Ten coach-quarterback combos appear on the list, which consists of 20 spots, as well as a “5 we don’t know about yet” category. Here are the three Big Ten tandems and a few graphs on why they earned a spot on the list: [ MORE: Four Big Ten teams ranked in SN’s preseason top 25 ] 2. Ohio

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.      

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Four Big Ten teams ranked in SN's preseason top 25

Four Big Ten teams are ranked in SportingNews.com’s Preseason Top 25, headlined by No. 9 Ohio State. Reigning Big Ten and Rose Bowl champ Michigan State comes in at No. 12, while Nebraska (No. 17) and Wisconsin (No. 19) round out the Big Ten contingent. For the curious minds, Oklahoma is the site’s No. 1 team. [ MORE: SportingNews.com: Preseason Top 25 ] No. 9 Ohio State “Urban Meyer says he’s more involved in the defense; says new defensive coordinator Chris Ash has made a difference in the way the Buckeyes get after the quarterback and cover in the secondary

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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

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Dienhart: Michigan State's 2014 schedule analysis

Everything came up roses, literally and figuratively, for Michigan State last season. The Spartans won their first Big Ten title since taking a share of the 2010 crown. And Michigan State went to its first Rose Bowl since the 1987 season, beating Stanford to finish 13-1 overall en route to ranking No. 3 in the polls. How dominating were the Spartans? They won every Big Ten game by double-digits, which never had happened in league annals. What’s in store for the encore for Mark Dantonio’s crew? Questions dot Michigan State’s outlook. The defense lost six key starters, and three starting

Spartans stay alive in ESPN's playoff countdown

Monday, ESPN.com included three Big Ten teams (Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin) in its feature that listed the top 16 contenders for the inaugural College Football Playoff. Today, the site whittled the list down to eight, and Michigan State is the lone Big Ten team to make the cut. See the remaining eight teams, which will be cut to four Wednesday. The Spartans, the reigning Big Ten and Rose Bowl champs, return plenty of talent from last year’s team that finished No. 3 in the nation and figure to battle Ohio State for the Big Ten East title. Here’s a

ESPN lists 3 B1G teams as playoff 'contenders'

ESPN.com compiled a list of the 16 teams that have what it takes to make the inaugural College Football Playoff — and win it. Three of the teams reside in the Big Ten: Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin. No real surprises there, unless maybe you’re an Iowa or Nebraska fan. [ MORE: Dienhart: How about a 10-game Big Ten schedule? ] The Big Ten team with the best shot at making the playoff? That’s to be determined, as ESPN.com listed the teams in alphabetical order and will whittle them down throughout the week. It’ll probably be between Michigan State

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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