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@BTNStatsGuys: 14 Big Ten facts about AP preseason poll

The AP preseason poll was released Sunday, and four Big Ten teams made the cut. With Ohio State (No. 6), Michigan (No. 7), Michigan State (No. 12) and Iowa (No. 17) ranked, all of which land in the Coaches preseason poll, the Big Ten is tied for the third-most ranked teams in the nation, trailing the SEC (6) and Pac-12 (5). Here’s 14 Big Ten facts about the poll: 1. The Big Ten has four teams in the top 20 of the preseason top 25 poll for the first time since 2012, when it had five. 2. One season after

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Top 25 Big Ten football teams over the past 25 years

Last week, the Associated Press released their Top 100 college football teams of the past 80 years. A total of seven Big Ten teams landed on the list, highlighted by Ohio State at No. 1 overall. The Buckeyes have ranked in the AP Poll for more weeks than any other team (852) during that span, including the most at No. 1 (105). This got me thinking, who are the best Big Ten teams in recent memory? Obviously, the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes come to mind in recent memory, but what about before that? I got together with BTN.com senior writer

Nov 14, 2015; Piscataway, NJ, USA;  Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp (1) returns Rutgers Scarlet Knights punt during the first half at High Points Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Your Big Ten football team's toughest 2016 stretch

Every coach looks at a schedule, scanning the list of games. Which ones figure to be tough ones? Even more vital: Which stretch of games figures to be the most daunting, a potential make-or-break run of contests? [ MORE: Best chance to pull upset | Best chance to be upset | Toughest non-conference games | Toughest conference game ] I have identified the toughest stretch of games on each Big Ten schedule. Illinois. The last four games are daunting. The season-ending run begins with a visit from Michigan State on Nov. 5 followed by a trip to Wisconsin, a visit

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Best chance for each Big Ten team to get upset

No coach wants to lose a game that experts think he’s supposed to win. Upsets can set a season on its ear and prove ruinous. [ MORE: Best chance to pull upset | Toughest non-conference games | Toughest conference game ] There are potholes on every schedule. And I have picked the one game on your school’s schedule in which it has its best chance to be—gulp–upset. Illinois. The visit from Western Michigan on Sept. 17 is dangerous. P.J. Fleck is an up-and-coming coaching fireball who played at Northern Illinois and is a native of the state. You know the

Which teams have most favorable crossover foes? Least favorable?

With the addition of a ninth Big Ten game, there will be three crossover games, compared to two previously, and all Big Ten East teams play two of them at home; the Big Ten West will get two home crossovers in 2017. Here's a breakdown of the 2016 crossovers.

Nov 28, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner (7) celebrates with Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Rodney Smith (24) after scoring a touchdown in the first half against the Wisconsin Badgers at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: See your team's toughest 2016 conference game

There are games on every team’s schedule that fans circle as “tough” ones, games that will be very challenging to win. Well, that’s what I did with each Big Ten schedule, identifying each school’s “toughest” Big Ten game in 2016. [ MORE: Best chance to pull upset | Toughest non-conference games ] Check it out below. Illinois. Lots to choose from. I’ll go with the trip to Michigan on Oct. 22. Jim Harbaugh has this program rolling as he enters Year Two in Ann Arbor. The defense could be the best in the Big Ten, while the offense will be

Nov 21, 2015; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Chris Godwin (12) makes a catch during the third quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Beaver Stadium. Michigan defeated Penn State 28-16. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Toughest non-con game for each Big Ten team

There is no better way for a team to test itself than by playing a tough non-conference foe in September. Here is my pick for each team’s toughest non-league opponent.

Dec 28, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner (7) celebrates his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Ford Field. Minnesota won 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Sage Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Best chance for each Big Ten team to pull an upset

Who doesn’t love an upset? The shock. The surprise. The unexpectedness. It’s what makes sports fun. Last year gave us Michigan State over Ohio State, Purdue over Nebraska and Northwestern over Stanford, to name a few upsets. What’s in store this season? Here is my “best chance to pull an upset” for each Big Ten team this fall. Illinois. If the offense comes together, the Fighting Illini may have a shot to shock Iowa when the Hawkeyes visit Memorial Stadium on Nov. 19. But how beat up will Illinois be coming off a game the week before at Wisconsin? The

Use ShooWin to reserve Big Ten Football Championship tickets

Big Ten and ShooWin have partnered to give thousands of real fans the opportunity to lock in face value tickets to the 2016 Big Ten Championship game before the season even starts. At a time when frustration around ticket access and prices is at an all-time high, ShooWin offers technology than can help solve the problem. ShooWin’s proprietary platform empowers real fans to lock in direct access to face value tickets to today’s hottest events. How It Works: Fans can visit ShooWin.com to purchase a team-based ShooWin Reservation for the championship game for as little as $10. If their team qualifies, they