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Dienhart's early 2013 football power rankings

The final punctuation mark has been put on the 2012 season and we closed that latest chapter. Now, we turn the page and look toward 2013. Before you know it, spring football will be here. In anticipation of the fall of 2013, here’s my early, early—and I mean EARLY—look at how the Big Ten could stack up from 1-12. 1. Ohio State. The Buckeyes welcome back lots of talent from a team that went 12-0 in Urban Meyer’s debut. What can Meyer do for an encore? Most of the talent is on offense. And the schedule is very manageable. Bottom

Gholston writes letter thanking Michigan State fans

Michigan State defensive end William Gholston will forgo his senior season and enter the 2013 NFL Draft. He wrote a letter to the Michigan State faithful, which the athletic department released Saturday night. Read the full letter in this post. [ RELATED: Tom Dienhart on Gholston turning pro ] Here’s Gholston’s letter: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone associated with Michigan State University, its athletic department as well as its football program for their endless support and commitment to me as a student-athlete. For the past three years I have made East Lansing my home and

Gholston, Sims to enter NFL Draft

The hits keep coming for Michigan State. First, running back Le’Veon Bell turned pro. Now, defensive end William Gholston and tight end Dion Sims will follow suit. Like Bell, it isn’t a surprise that Gholston turned pro. But he’s doing so after a so-so junior season that saw him notch just 3.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss en route to earning second-team All-Big Ten honors from the media and honorable mention from the coaches. Entering 2012, Gholston was tabbed by many to be the Big Ten’s preseason defensive player of the year. Alas, he was dogged by inconsistency all

Spartans' Le'Veon Bell headed to NFL

Please tell me you aren’t shocked by news that Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell is going pro a year early. Running backs have only so many carries in their body. And Bell already has used up a lot of them at Michigan State. In three years, he ran 671 times for 3,346 yards and 33 touchdowns. He also caught 78 passes, which surely will impress NFL scouts. [ RELATED: Read the story by MLive’s Diamond Leung here. ] Here are Bell’s tweets from earlier today: As hard as it was to leave spartan nation, it was even harder to pass on

How did we do? Big Ten bowl predictions revisited

Every week this season, Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) and myself (@BTNBrentYarina) offered our predictions for each Big Ten football game and provided polls for fans to pick their winners. We continued it this bowl season, and BTN.com fans and Dienhart each went 7-0, meaning the former claims the 2012 crown. Dienhart was two games off the pace, while yours truly finished a distant seven games out. [ RELATED: View our 2012-13 bowl schedule ] FINAL RECORDS BTN.com fans: 82-22; .788 Tom: 80-24; .769 Brent: 75-29; .721 Meineke Car Care Bowl: Texas Tech 34, Minnesota 31 Tom’s pick: Texas Tech, 35-21 – The Gophers

Big Ten web links: Final installment of 2012

This may be the last day of 2012, but it’s the first for Big Ten league hoop action. What a great place to begin my daily links! QUESTIONS FOR THE HAWKEYES: Iowa plays host Indiana today, taking the lid of a much-anticipated Big Ten season. Rick Brown of the Des Moines Register takes a look at 12 questions facing Iowa entering Big Ten action. No. Iowa doesn’t figure to win the Big Ten, but it has a great shot to play in the NCAA tourney for the first time since 2005-06. Big picture, Brown says Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota are

Spartans' Bell, Gholston address NFL, future

Following Saturday night’s narrow 17-16 victory over TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, BTN’s Lisa Byington caught up with juniors Le’Veon Bell and William Gholston to discuss each star’s upcoming career decision. Do they forgo their senior campaign and enter the NFL draft, or do they come back for their final year and try to improve their stock? Watch their answers now. [ RELATED: View our 2012-13 bowl schedule ] Here’s what the players said on their impending decision and what may go into it: Bell “It’s going to be a hard decision, one of the toughest decisions of

Spartans rally to beat TCU

Dan Conroy kicked a 47-yard field goal with 1:01 left, Le’Veon Bell ran for 145 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown, and Michigan State rallied to beat Texas Christian 17-16 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Saturday night. BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart gives you his three impressions from this game. Also find videos, stats, photos, quarterly recaps and more in this post. [ AP RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY | CONNECT ] Here’s what Dienhart saw. 1. Michigan State may have gotten a peak at its future in redshirt freshman quarterback Connor Cook. He led the Spartans to a game-winning

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan State vs. TCU

Expect a tough, low-scoring defensive effort in this game. Neither team comes in on a roll, having lost four of their last six games. Needless to say, the season hasn’t gone as expected for either team as both opened the season in the Top 25. In fact, the Spartans were picked by some to win the Big Ten coming off consecutive 11-win seasons. Sunday at 7 p.m. ET Watch the one-hour “BTN Football Report: Bowl Preview” on BTN TV and BTN2Go as our analysts look at the five New Year’s Day bowl games involving Big Ten teams. But Michigan State

Season in review: Michigan State football

The truth hurts, but here it comes: This is the most disappointing team in the Big Ten. The Spartans were considered legit Big Ten contenders coming off consecutive 11-win seasons. Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi’s unit did its part, yielding 20 or fewer points eight times. But the middling offense resulted in a .500 record, as Michigan State had to win its last game just to become bowl eligible for a sixth season in a row. How bad was it? The Spartans went 0-4 at home in Big Ten games, finishing the season No. 9 in the Big Ten in offense