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Ranking the Big Ten's best defensive trios

With Big Ten media days Monday and Tuesday, media members are busy predicting what the conference landscape may look like in the upcoming 2014 season. One thing is for certain: The Big Ten should be loaded with talent on defense. To that point, I was wondering which teams feature the best trios, when it comes to the three levels (line, linebacker and secondary)? [ MORE: Tom Dienhart’s 15 Big Ten units under pressure ] Here’s my ranking. 1. Michigan State: DE Shilique Calhoun, LB Taiwan Jones, S Kurtis Drummond The conference’s top defense returns five full-time starters this season. Calhoun

Dienhart's 15 Big Ten units under pressure

You hate to put too much pressure on any one unit–this is a team game. But there’s no denying some have to step up this fall if their teams want to make a push for a division title. From the Michigan offensive line to the Ohio State linebackers, here’s a look at the 15 Big Ten units with most to prove in 2014. [ MORE: Ranking the Big Ten’s defensive trios (DL, LB, DB) ] 1. Michigan offensive line. The Wolverines had one of their worst offenses in over 50 years. Let that sink in for a while. And a

BTN to provide live coverage of Big Ten media days

CHICAGO – BTN and BTN2Go will provide more than five hours of live coverage of Big Ten Football Media Days, beginning at 10:30 a.m ET Monday. Coverage includes the press conferences of all 14 Big Ten head football coaches and remarks from BTN President Mark Silverman, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and College Football Playoff Chief Operating Officer Michael Kelly. The press conferences and remarks will re-air beginning at 7 p.m. ET that evening. On Wednesday, July 30, BTN will air a Kickoff Luncheon Special at 7 p.m. ET followed by The Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football

BTN.com's 2014 Big Ten football uniform poll

Everybody enjoys a good football uniform. Already home to some of the game’s most iconic uniforms, the Big Ten will garner even more attention for its designs with Maryland and Rutgers’ arrival. Who has the best uniforms? We asked five college football writers to help us form BTN.com’s 2014 Big Ten uniform poll. The voters: Steven Lassan, Andrew Lind, Stewart Mandel, Chris Vannini and Jim Weber, in addition to BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart, Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina. Voters ranked the Big Ten uniforms, from 1-14, considering each team’s full ensemble (home, away, alternates, throwbacks, primary helmet and alternate helmets), with a

Matt Limegrover Q&A: Mitch Leidner has 'it' factor

The Jerry Kill era has featured steady improvement. And the offense has symbolized that ascent, making strides each of the last three seasons. Credit coordinator and line coach Matt Limegrover. The scoring average has gone from 18.4 in 2011 to 22.1 to 25.7 last year. And the total offense has risen from 310.3 to 321.4 to 343.3 in 2013. Limegrover has the makings of perhaps his best offense yet, as he has forged a hard-edged attack that is known for being physical and running the ball. The next step in the offense’s evolution is to augment a passing game that

Dienhart ranks his B1G favorites for every award

America is awash in names, as the official “watch lists” have been revealed for the major college football awards. Who will win the Doak Walker Award? The Butkus Award? Here are my top three Big Ten picks for each bauble. CAMP/MAXWELL (Player of the Year) 1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State. The dynamic Miller is the quintessential big play waiting to happen. His passing continues to improve, but Miller’s best weapon always will be his feet. No offensive player is more feared. 2. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State. An underrated athlete, Cook showed moxie in taking over the job last

Playoff is here--but I still want more

In some ways, it’s still hard to believe that big-time college football finally will have a playoff. More evidence of that was revealed Wednesday at SEC media days by Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff who discussed some specifics on the event. Is the system perfect? No. For one thing, the playoff should be more than just four teams. How difficult is it going to be for the committee to draw the line between Team No. 4 and Team No. 5? If you think teams that get left out of the 68-team NCAA men’s basketball tourney

B1G releases times, networks for first 3 weeks

The Big Ten and the conference’s family of networks released Wednesday the remaining kickoff times and networks for the season’s first three weeks. See what time and on what network your team is scheduled to play in the first three weeks in this post. [ MORE: Tom Dienhart ranks his top 50 Big Ten games of 2014 ] WEEK 1 (Aug. 28-30) Eastern Illinois at Minnesota, 7 p.m. ET – BTN/BTN2Go (previously announced) Rutgers at Washington State, 10 p.m. ET – FS1 (previously announced) Aug. 29 Jacksonville State at Michigan State, 7:30 p.m. ET – BTN/BTN2Go (previously announced) Aug. 30

One game a week, it's our expert's Ultimate B1G trip

If time and money weren’t objectives, what Big Ten games would you go to this season? I have built the ultimate 2014 Big Ten schedule, dialing in the game you would need to be at each week. Call it “football nirvana.” See my weekly picks in this post. [ MORE: Dienhart ranks the top 50 games of 2014 ] WEEK 1: WISCONSIN vs. LSU (in Houston). This will be played on the grand stage of Reliant Stadium, giving the Badgers a chance to show if their rebuilt defense is up to the task. LSU had a national-high nine NFL draft

Photos: See 2014 Big Ten football schedule posters

The countdown to football season is heating up, and that means 2014 schedule posters are being released. We at BTN.com always enjoy seeing what Big Ten teams come up with each summer, from the overall design, the players featured, and the team mottos. Below, find the Big Ten teams that have released their schedule poster. We will add the rest as they are released. [ MORE: Tom Dienhart ranks top 50 Big Ten games of 2014 ] ILLINOIS 2014 #Illini schedule posters are in. 88 days until kickoff! #FIGHT pic.twitter.com/HRomuzL3eW — Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) June 3, 2014 INDIANA IOWA Here's