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Michigan State Spartans

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Football tour notebook: Fun takes from Michigan State practice

The BTN bus just left Michigan State practice, and now it’s time to share some nuggets I gathered while I watched the Spartans in action Tuesday morning. [ MORE: 5 things Tom Dienhart learned | See our team’s MSU practice tweets ] In his eight seasons, Mark Dantonio has had just two punters: Aaron Bates and Mike Sadler. Now, Jake Hartbarger takes over. He’s a banger. Backup QB Tyler O’Connor also is the team’s backup punter. Michigan State has a tradition during camp under Mark Dantonio of having all personnel wear their names on their shirt written onto white tape. O-line

Twitter: See our team's tweets from Michigan State practice

Halfway home, Tuesday marked the seventh stop on our annual summer football tour across the Big Ten. [ MORE: 5 things Tom Dienhart learned | Fun notes from MSU practice ] Stop No. 7 of 14 had us visiting East Lansing, Michigan, to watch the Spartans’ training camp Tuesday morning. Michigan State, the reigning Cotton Bowl champs, return plenty of top-end talent, headlined by quarterback Connor Cook and defensive end Shilique Calhoun. Get BTN analyst Gerry DiNardo and BTN host Dave Revsine’s tweets from the practice below. @GERRYDINARDO *** @BTNDAVEREVSINE

Countdown to kickoff: Big Ten East breakout player

Our countdown to kickoff series chugs along, and today it’s all about Big Ten East breakout players. [ MORE: Top non-conference game | Top under-the-radar game | East must-see game | West must-see game | East most underrated player | West most underrated player | East surprise team | West surprise team ] There are no shortage of candidates this season, from as far west as Indiana to as far east as Rutgers. Who is your leading Big Ten East breakout player candidate? See BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart, Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina’s selections below. Tom Dienhart: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan

BTN LiveBIG: Big Ten dominates a different kind of 'Top 25' ranking

Around this time of year, students, alumni and fans of Big Ten college football teams are abuzz about the top 25 rankings. On campuses, in online forums and at sports bars across the country, people are talking about how many teams the conference has in the respective preseason polls, who’s underrated and overrated, and their predictions for bowl season and the second-ever college football playoff. But with all due respect to the AP and Coaches polls, there’s another “top 25” ranking that’s much more clear-cut, and one in which “impact on the field” takes on an entirely different meaning. We’re

Big Ten football teams celebrate becoming verified on Twitter

Twitter got to verifying Friday, with just under three weeks left to kickoff, and all 14 Big Ten football teams now have the blue check. [ MORE: View our full football tour schedule ] It might sound like a small thing, but it’s kind of a big deal on the popular social media platform. If you don’t think so, just take a look at the football teams’ official accounts. Four teams already have tweeted about becoming verified as of publish time. @GopherFootball had a lot of fun with it, putting the check mark on several pictures of key 2014 plays.

Nine Big Ten teams on CBS Sports' 'best college football team by state' map

Which college football team earns the title of being the “best college football team” in your home state? [ MORE: Big Ten East must-see game | Big Ten West must-see game ] That’s the question our friends over at CBS Sports posed to their followers today, along with an outstanding map graphic, which shows their picks. The list is based on teams they believe are playing the best right now, as oppose to which programs have had the most all-time success. A total of nine Big Ten teams are represented on the map. Of course, keep in mind there are