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Golden Gophers

Coaches pick Nebraska to win 2012 volleyball title

Big Ten coaches voted defending Big Ten champion Nebraska as the conference favorite for the 2012 season, it was announced Thursday. Earning the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championship last season, the Huskers top the poll for the first time as members of the Big Ten.

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Web Links: Who's Ramping Up The Deuce Formation?

I’m still on the road with the Big Ten Football Preview Tour and we’re in Indiana today. Tonight at 10 p.m. ET you can catch our preview show on Purdue. This tour is keeping me busy as I preview each stop and recap each practice – it’s all over here. I’m also providing updates and photos via Twitter. Don’t forget to check out my colleagues @BTNDaveRevsine, @GerryDiNardo, and @HowardGriffith, too. Now, let’s get to my Thursday links.

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Celebrating 5 years: Top 5 running backs of BTN era

Wisconsin's Montee Ball

The Ultimate Montee Ball Highlight Reel

It’s been a fast handful of years, and on Aug. 30, BTN will officially celebrate its fifth anniversary. Crazy to think, huh? To celebrate – not to mention kill time before the season kicks off – I’m spotlighting some of the great football careers during our existence. I’ll do it in the mold of “Big Ten’s Best,” our popular countdown show that returns this fall for another season of ranking the best in Big Ten history. My second list ranks the top five running backs of the last five seasons, aka the BTN era.

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Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman gets Tuck-like facemask

Not quite at Justin Tuck’s level yet, Minnesota junior Ra’Shede Hageman’s new facemask is certain to garner its share of attention this season. It won’t be the only thing drawing your eye to the mammoth defensive lineman, though, because he’s a popular breakout candidate. In fact, BTN analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and Tom Dienhart gushed about the 6-6, 301-pound talent when they saw him at Minnesota practice last week. See the picture of Hageman’s new facemask in this post.

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Celebrating 5 years: Top 5 wide receivers of BTN era

Believe it or not, BTN will celebrate its fifth anniversary later this month. The big day is Aug. 30, to be exact. As a way to celebrate – not to mention kill time before the 2012 season kicks off – I’m spotlighting some of the great football careers during our time on the air. I’ll do it in the mold of “Big Ten’s Best,” our popular countdown show that returns this fall for another season of ranking the best in Big Ten history. My first list ranks the top five wide receivers of the last five seasons, aka the BTN era.

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Did You See This? Gophers go paintballing

Coaches go to great measures trying to build team camaraderie. Second-year Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill recently approved a fun and enjoyable team building activity that could only make the team grow closer. The Gophers went paintballing Sunday. And goldengophergridiron’s YouTube page has a video from the event. See the full feature in this post.

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