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Dienhart: High cost of non-con games is vexing

Here’s a very nice story by Jesse Temple of FOXSportsWisconsin.com that takes an exhaustive look at the rising cost of payouts to non-conference opponents visiting Big Ten schools. Nothing overly shocking in the piece, but the detail of what schools are paying is interesting. Temple writes that “Big Ten teams will shell out $22,868,246 for 38 home games in 2014 (Temple couldn’t get the Temple-Penn State contract) — an average of roughly $601,796 per game. The cost for the type of guarantees against Football Bowl Subdivision mid-major teams that don’t require a return visit is significantly higher, with Big Ten

Toughest Big Ten game for every team?

We’ve reached the right side of 100 when it comes to the countdown to the college football season. In less than three months, there will be football. Get excited! Until then, we’re previewing the season. It’s time for Tom Dienhart to single out the toughest conference game for each Big Ten team. See your team’s game in this post. [ MORE: Everything you need to know about the non-con slate, in one post ] ILLINOIS Going to Ohio State on Nov. 1 won’t be a treat. The Illini have lost six in a row and are 1-9 in their last 10

Best of Week 2: Offense (Ducks) vs. Defense (Spartans)

Week 2 brings more juice than the opening salvo to the season, as there are three nationally relevant games: Michigan State at Oregon; Virginia Tech at Ohio State; Michigan at Notre Dame. In fact, those games will offer the Big Ten a golden chance to make a statement. A win by the Spartans on the road in raucous Autzen Stadium would stamp them legit national title contenders. Here’s a look at the best of Week 2. [ MORE: Get all of Dienhart’s preseason schedule analysis ] BEST OF WEEK 2 Best storyline: All eyes will be on Eugene, Ore., where

NFL.com: Raheem Mostert, college's fastest player

Forget about the fastest player in the Big Ten, NFL.com’s Bryan Fischer ranked Purdue speedster Raheem Mostert as the nation’s fastest player. So much for the narrative that the Big Ten has no speed, huh? Regardless of conference affiliation, Mostert can fly. He’s shown his speed on the football field (see video above), but he’s done most of his damage in track and field. [ MORE: NFL.com: 14 for ’14: Fastest players in college football ] The only other Big Ten player on Fischer’s 14-player list: Ohio State WR Curtis Samuel, at No. 11. Here’s what Fischer said about the

Best of Week 1: Wisconsin vs. LSU, what else?

With the season less than 100 days away and preview magazines on the shelves of the local Piggly Wiggly, it’s never too early to start looking forward to the college football season. This week, I begin to take a week-by-week look at the coming season, highlighting what to look for. Consider it an early, early preview. You’re welcome. [ MORE: Get all of Dienhart’s preseason schedule analysis ] BEST OF WEEK 1 Best storyline: The opening week of season is highlighted by Wisconsin’s clash with LSU in Houston. It will be a good measuring stick for the Badgers, especially the

Breaking down the Big Ten non-con sked

The formula for building a non-conference schedule is pretty standard: play one challenging game vs. a team from a Power 5 league (ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten) and three games vs. foes from “lesser” conferences. And ideally, three of the four games are at home. But, as you can see, not all non-conference games are created equally. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the Big Ten’s non-conference schedule. Power 5 foes: 17 Bowl teams: 24 FCS foes: 11 Foes by Power 5 league Pac-12: 5 (Cal, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Washington State) ACC: 4 (Pitt, Syracuse, Miami, Virginia Tech) Big

Big Ten Football Spelling Bee: Try to spell these names

With the Scripps National Spelling Bee taking place Thursday, it got us thinking about some of the most challenging names to spell in the Big Ten. One our out favorite parts of the college football season is introducing Big Ten fans to some of the best names to keep an eye on, and these are ones that you may have to break out the ol’ game program to spell correctly. Some of the names are hard to spell because of a unique spelling (think Maxx Williams), and some are hard because they’re just very unique names (think Ifeadi Odenigbo). Either way,

What's your Big Ten team's toughest non-con game?

We’ve reached the right side of 100 when it comes to the countdown to the college football season. Three months from now, there will be football. Get excited! Until then, we’re previewing the season. It’s time for Tom Dienhart to single out your team’s toughest non-conference game. ILLINOIS A Sept. 13 trip to Washington will be a good test. The teams met last season in Chicago’s Soldier Field, with the Huskies taking a 34-24 victory to be a buzzkill to a 2-0 Illinois start. The Illini won just two times after the loss to U-Dub, killing the party mood along

Dienhart: Purdue's 2014 schedule analysis

As far as debuts are concerned, Darrell Hazell endured a rough one at Purdue. His maiden voyage in West Lafayette included myriad blowouts along the way to a 1-11 season that saw Purdue go winless in the Big Ten. And the lone victory came vs. FCS Indiana State. And even that was a close call. Add it all up, and it may have been the worst season in school history. So, there’s only one way for the Boilermakers to go in Year Two under Hazell, right? No doubt, more players are buying into what Hazell is selling. But there’s still

Got Big Ten collectibles? Tell 'Treasure Hunter'

Coming this fall on BTN/BTN2Go, our new show “Big Ten Treasure Hunter” debuts, and we’re looking for your submissions. BTN’s memorabilia expert John Arcand will spend each episode traveling throughout Big Ten country to assess Big Ten memorabilia collections – and offer to buy items from collectors. Do you have something special sitting on your shelf? Our “Big Ten Treasure Hunter” crew wants to learn about it.