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Friday links: Meyer hands out OSU report card

Happy Football Friday! Let’s not waste any time, OK? Let’s dig right into some of the Big Ten news that’s making ripples from Lincoln to State College—and all points in between. This caught my attention: Urban Meyer offers a midterm report card for his 6-0 team. There obviously are many areas that get good marks. The areas of concern? “The alarming areas are pass defense, our return game has not been what we thought it would be and we still have to improve the intermediate and short passing game,” Meyer said.” Speaking of Ohio State, Braxton Miller says he wasn’t

B1G Clicks: Tracking today's Big Ten trends

Did you miss something while you stepped away from your computer? We’re tracking some of the best Big Ten social media happenings and posting them all right here. Check out today’s edition, including this funny video of Michigan State junior forward Russell Byrd. Like what you see? We do this every weekday. Visit our Clicks archive. Here are Thursday’s B1G Clicks: Our take: Michigan State junior forward Russell Byrd as a kid on America’s Funniest Home Videos #iufb is the only FBS team with 5 players with 1,000 career receiving yards. No other team has more than 3 such players.

Best of Week 8: Will we see an upset Saturday?

After first looking at the menu for Week 8, you may be inclined to rake leaves this Saturday. But, don’t. I have a funny feeling we could have an upset. Besides, there aren’t enough leaves on the ground to rake just yet. [ MORE: Get Tom Dienhart’s Week 8 Big Ten previews ] BEST GAME: Iowa at Ohio State. This clash is the closest thing to a “best game.” The Hawkeyes travel to Ohio State. Good thing Iowa will be coming off a bye, as it likely will need the extra prep time. It’s worth noting that Iowa has lost

Which contender has most to prove in second half?

So, here we are at the midway point of the 2013 Big Ten football season, and I can’t help but wonder which Big Ten title contender has the most to prove in the second half. Is it Ohio State, the undefeated team that hasn’t lost since the 2012 Gator Bowl? Is it Michigan, the 5-1 team that squeaked past Akron and UConn? Is it Nebraska, the 5-1 team that lost its lone true test? Or is it someone else? I say it’s Nebraska. The Huskers, my preseason Legends Division favorite, are 5-1. But, really, what do we know about them?

Week 8: We predict all five Big Ten games

Every week during the 2013 football season, BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart, Brent Yarina, Sean Merriman and hoops analyst Stephen Bardo, a huge football fan, make their Big Ten picks. We also provide polls for Big Ten fans to select their winners. Halfway through the season, Bardo, Merriman and Yarina are tied for the top spot, at 49-10. Big Ten fans are one game off the pace. [ MORE: Week 8 scoreboard | Power Rankings | Player Rankings | Bowl Projections ] Stephen Bardo (@stephenbardo) Season record: 49-10 Week 8 picks: Michigan State 31, Purdue 10; Northwestern 35, Minnesota 21; Michigan 41,

Week 8 previews: It's time to get ready for Saturday

There are five games on the Big Ten docket this week. But none of the clashes figures to have a big impact on the league race—unless we have some major upsets. Still, there will be a lot to keep an eye as we begin to wade into the second half of the season. Here’s a look at each game. [ MORE: Week 8 scoreboard | Power Rankings | Player Rankings | Bowl Projections ] PURDUE (1-5, 0-2) at MICHIGAN STATE (5-1, 2-0) – noon ET, BTN/BTN2Go Why you should watch: These are two teams headed in drastically different directions. The

Big Ten stars fill Midseason All-America teams

We are officially halfway through the college football season, which is hard to believe. It has been a phenomenal Big Ten season thus far, featuring plenty of great games and individual performers. Several of those top individual performers were rewarded this week by being named to various 2013 Midseason All-America Teams. ESPN, CBS and Sports Illustrated all released their Midseason All-America teams over the past two days, and plenty of B1G stars are included in the mix. How do these lists compare with Tom Dienhart’s Big Ten Midseason Report? Have a look here: ESPN.com 2013 Midseason All-America Team (10/15/2013) RB:

Alvarez, Osborne named to Playoff Selection Committee

The College Football Playoff announced Wednesday the 13 members of its selection committee that will pick the four teams to participate in a coming playoff in 2014. Selection committee members with Big Ten ties are Wisconsin A.D. Barry Alvarez and former Nebraska A.D. Tom Osborne. Arkansas A.D. Jeff Long is the chair of the committee. [ MORE: College Football Playoff announces Selection Committee (PDF) ] “We wanted people of the highest integrity for this committee, and we got them,” said Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff. “Every one of them has vast football knowledge, excellent judgment, dedication

Dienhart: 2018-19 football schedule analysis

The Big Ten announced Wednesday its conference schedules for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. And there are some good cross-division games. In making league schedules, the Big Ten earlier stated that it would take a “parity-based” approach. What’s that? The marquee programs will play each other outside of division play as often as possible. [ MORE: View 2018 conference schedule (PDF) | And 2019 conference schedule (PDF) ] And, remember, with the additions of Maryland and Rutgers in 2014, the Big Ten is going to seven-team East and West Divisions. Here’s a look at the divisions: BIG TEN EAST Indiana

'Journey' relives 4-OT thriller, profiles 3 linemen

In addition to reliving Penn State’s four-overtime win over Michigan (watch the entire game on BTN2Go), the crew from  “The Journey: Big Ten Football 2013” presented by Best Buy takes you into the trenches with three Big Ten linemen – two of them played in that game. Meet Penn State’s John Urschel, who you will learn is a star both on the field and in the classroom. If you watch the clip in this post, you’ll hear a wonderful story about how Urschel outsmarted his own mother back when Urschel was going through toilet training as child. Also in this