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Mark Dantonio

Big Ten Power Rankings: Michigan State tops our expert's first poll

The Big Ten season kicks off Thursday. Before the action starts, make sure to check out BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart's preseason power rankings. His top team? Michigan State, the reigning Big Ten champ, of course. See where every team lands here.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY

Week 1: We predict all 14 Big Ten football games

Football season is here! Like we'll do all season long, we're predicting every Big Ten game and providing polls for Big Ten fans to pick their winners. This week, Illinois beat writer Bob Asmussen joins the panel.

Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports

Countdown to kickoff: West bowl teams?

Kickoff is fast approaching. To help count down the days to Aug. 28, the BTN.com team is discussing one topic every day. Think of it as our countdown to kickoff. Today’s topic: West bowl teams? See Tom Dienhart, Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina’s picks in this post. See our other 2014 countdown to kickoff posts: Tom Dienhart: 5. I have Iowa, my preseason West favorite, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin all bowling. Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin are easy picks. Minnesota is not, due to its tough schedule, and neither is Northwestern, which recently lost Venric Mark (transfer) and Christian Jones

Venric Mark says he's transferring to West Texas A&M

(AP) Former Northwestern running back Venric Mark is transferring to West Texas A&M, ESPN reported Saturday. Mark, who was going to be suspended for some of this season for an unspecified violation of team rules, said he wanted to be closer to his mother in Houston. “This is an hour and half from my mom,” Mark told the network. “It’s the best fit.” He declined to elaborate on reasons for his departure outside of citing health issues with his mother and grandmother. Mark told ESPN he had interest in Football Bowl Subdivision teams, including Baylor, Houston, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech

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Double-bye? Single-bye? Who cares?

The Big Ten recently unveiled what its 2014 men’s basketball tourney bracket will look like going forward now that the conference has 14 teams. The format will feature a double-bye for the top four seeds. This has Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News wondering if some coaches should worry. [ Team schedules: Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Maryland | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota | Nebraska | Northwestern | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Rutgers | Wisconsin ] It seems the extra time off isn’t always desirable for coaches. Instead of sitting for the first two

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Dienhart's 2014 Big Ten football predictions

I’ve spent months (seems like years, some days) analyzing the coming 2014 season. I’ve talked to head coaches. assistant coaches and players. I even asked the greeter at my local Walmart who he likes to win the Big Ten. Hey, he’s a big Ohio State fan. I wanted to at least humor the guy, ya know? I’ve written and read countless stories, while also visiting with my brothers and sisters in the media. After all of that, I am ready to unveil my Big Ten predictions for 2014. See our other 2014 B1G Predictions posts: BIG TEN EAST 1. Michigan

Photo: See the new Big Ten men's tourney bracket

BTN Live released the new format for the Big Ten men’s and women’s tourneys on Thursday night. Now that the conference boasts 14 teams with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers, the events will start a day earlier and run Wednesday-Sunday. This year’s women’s tourney will be March 4-8, and the men’s March 11-15. See the brackets in this post. Wednesday will feature two games: No. 12 vs. No. 13 and No. 11 vs. No. 14. Also new: The top four teams will receive double-byes and open play Friday. [ Team schedules: Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Maryland |