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Week 1 Polls: Before the 2016 season kicks off Thursday night, pick your Week 1 Big Ten winners.

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Friday Sep 2
12:30 PMW. Illinois at IowaWatch
3:00 PMLSU at IndianaWatch
4:00 PMPepperdine at MarylandWatch
7:00 PMGeorgetown at Rutgers Watch
7:00 PMIowa St. at NebraskaWatch
7:30 PMGeorgetown at MarylandWatch
8:00 PMSan Diego at WisconsinWatch
8:00 PMArizona St. at IowaWatch

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Oct 31, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Desmond King (14) returns an interception 88 yards for a touchdown during the second half against the Maryland Terrapins at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa won 31-15. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Big Ten West defensive backfield unit rankings

No Big Ten team will have a better DB than Iowa corner Desmond King, who won the Thorpe Award. But instead of turning pro coming off that season of glory, King opted to return to Iowa City. And that’s a big reason why the Hawkeyes top my ranking of Big Ten West defensive backfields. [ MORE: West offensive lines | West pass-catchers | West backfields | West defensive lines | West linebackers | West predictions ] See my full ranking below. 1. Iowa. This could be the top secondary in the Big Ten. Senior corner Desmond King eschewed the NFL

See who is scheduled to attend 2016 Big Ten Media Days in Chicago

The Big Ten Conference announced Thursday the 42 students scheduled to attend the 2016 Big Ten Football Media Days and Kickoff Luncheon, presented by Allstate and BMW, on Monday and Tuesday, July 25 and 26, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago.

Power Five leagues release plan to give athletes more time off

The commissioners of the five autonomy conferences announced Thursday an agreement in concept on changes they will propose that are intended to give students who play sports more time off. The purpose of the changes is to rebalance the student experience between athletics and campus life, providing students with more time to focus on other college interests, including academics, work experience, travel, and additional rest. The first area of change, Flex 21, will provide students, in many cases, with at least an additional 21 days in which they are free of required athletic activities during the academic year. These 21

Dec 30, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Paul Chryst (right) shakes ahnds with linebacker Vince Biegel (47) during the fourth quarter against the USC Trojans in the 2015 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Big Ten West linebacker unit rankings

Talented, quick, deep … those are just three words that aptly describe the linebacking corps at Wisconsin, which tops my ranking of Big Ten West linebackers. But the LBs will have to adjust to a new coordinator. What impact will that have? [ MORE: West offensive lines | West pass-catchers | West backfields | West defensive lines | West predictions ] Here’s my ranking of the Big Ten West linebacker units. 1. Wisconsin. Senior Vince Biegel and sophomore T.J. Edwards are the bellwethers of this strong unit. Biegel tallied 14 TFLs in 2015 and is the leader of the defense

Nov 14, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Jehu Chesson (86) catches a touchdown pass on the last play of the 4th quarter to send the game into overtime against Indiana Hoosiers safety Tony Fields (19) at Memorial Stadium. Michigan defeats Indiana in double overtime 48-41. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Ranking the Big Ten’s top 10 wide receivers

Much debate rages about who will be the quarterback at Michigan. Whoever wins the job will be comforted by the fact he’ll throw to two of the Big Ten’s top targets in Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh. In fact, the former heads my ranking of 2016 Big Ten wide receivers. [ MORE: East OL | West OL | East pass-catchers | West pass-catchers | East backfields | West backfields | East DL | West DL ] Check out my top 10 below. 1. Jehu Chesson, Michigan, Sr. Wolverine insiders say the 6-3, 200-pound Chesson was the most improved player on

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The top Big Ten football players by jersey number

When talking about the best football players in Big Ten history, it is near impossible to choose just one player worthy of the title, “the best.” [ MORE: Can a Big Ten West team win the conference title in 2016? ] So, what’s the right way to break down this argument? You could do it by position, but even that could be extremely difficult. Making a list of the top Big Ten players to wear every number would be great, but is that even possible? The answer is yes. I went through every jersey number, 1-99, and created a list

Nov 27, 2015; Lincoln, NE, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker Parker Hesse (40) returns a pass for a touchdown during the first half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Big Ten West defensive line unit rankings

Ask any coach, and he’ll tell you the most difficult spot to recruit is defensive line. It is very difficult to find players who are big AND quick. Teams that can build good lines typically have a shot to win league titles. Iowa is one of those teams. [ MORE: West offensive lines | West pass-catchers | West backfields | West predictions ] Here is my ranking of the Big Ten West defensive lines. 1. Iowa. It hurts not having ends Drew Ott and Nate Meier, who made for a formidable tandem. Still, there is lots to build on. Sophomore