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Week 12 B1G quiz tests your football opinions

It’s time to take my weekly Big Ten football quiz in preparation for another big Saturday football. It’s an intriguing slate of five games, with the Big Ten Nation fixated on the Michigan State at Nebraska game. Don’t worry – this isn’t graded on a curve. And? I provide the questions and the answers. So just have fun. Are you are ready? Who needs a win more? A) Northwestern B) Michigan Answer: A. Look, the Wildcats are sitting on the edge of postseason extinction, losers of five in a row. That means Northwestern needs to win two of its last

Four Downs: Week 12 predictions, thoughts & truths

Saturday is almost here. Can you feel it? Can you sense it? Every team gets four downs to make something happen. So, why not me? That’s the idea here. Here’s what’s running through my mind with Week 12 of the Big Ten season on the horizon. [ MORE: Week 12 Previews | Best of Week 12 | Pick your Week 12 winners ] PREDICTIONS 1. Michigan State will need just 21-24 points to beat Nebraska … if that many. Look, it’s this simple: good defense almost always trumps good offense. And the Spartans don’t just have a good defense; they

Best of Week 12: All eyes on MSU-Nebraska

An interesting Saturday of action is headlined by what could be the Big Ten Game of the Year: Michigan State at Nebraska. Ohio State will look to remain unbeaten when it plays at Illinois. The Buckeyes have owned Illinois, winning the last five meetings and eight of the last nine. The lone Fighting Illini victory in that stretch was when they stunned No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus in 2007 on the way to the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes haven’t lost in Champaign since 1991. Michigan (two losses in a row) plays at Northwestern (five losses in a row) in

Week 12: We predict all five Big Ten games

Every week during the 2013 football season, BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart, Brent Yarina, Sean Merriman and hoops analyst Stephen Bardo, a huge football fan, make their Big Ten picks. We also provide polls for Big Ten fans to select their winners. Eleven weeks down, Merriman sits atop the season standings, at 66-13. Big Ten fans are one game off the pace. [ MORE: Power Rankings | Bowl Projections | Week 12 Previews | Week 12 schedule ] Sean Merriman (@BTNSean) Season record: 66-13 Week 12 picks: Penn State 27, Purdue 10; Wisconsin 56, Indiana 35; Ohio State 49, Illinois 14; Northwestern

Week 12 previews: Five games on tap for Saturday

This Saturday features some intriguing clashes. All eyes will be on Lincoln, Neb., for Michigan State’s visit to Nebraska in what essentially is a de facto Legends Division championship game. If you aren’t stoked, then I feel sorry for you. Other Big Ten fans will fixate on the Michigan at Northwestern game. Like a car crash, we won’t be able to take our eyes off a game that features two desperate teams. Who will rise up in the face of adversity? Here is a look at each game this Saturday. [ MORE: Power Rankings | Bowl Projections | Mailbag |

Mailbag: Our expert tackles your questions

The cards and letters keep coming in. Thanks. And, by the look of things, many of you are excited about what Minnesota is doing. No doubt, to be 8-2 and riding a four-game winning streak is pretty incredible. Michigan has many flummoxed. And Nebraska’s rise has stirred the masses. Let me dig in on answering some of your letters. Let’s get to your notes. And if you have new questions – football or basketball –  scroll down to the bottom. I read all of my mail. I’m also on Twitter via @BTNTomDienhart. As far as skill positions (QB, RB, WR,

Audio: Listen to your Big Ten coach's teleconference

Each Tuesday morning during the Big Ten football season, the 12 Big Ten football coaches hold a Big Ten teleconference with reporters from around the country. We post the audio for each segment of the call here, and we do this every Tuesday afternoon. Also, @B1Gfootball spotlights a tweet or three from each coach on the call live on Twitter in case you want to follow along online. Listen to Coach Brady Hoke:  Listen to Coach Gary Andersen:  Listen to Coach Bo Pelini:  Listen to Coach Mark Dantonio:  Listen to Coach Kirk Ferentz:  Listen to Coach Jerry Kill:  Listen to

Dienhart: Here's what I learned in Week 11

Week 11 of the season was eye-opening on many levels. Nebraska is still alive and kicking with a chance to win the Legends Division, while Michigan is still searching for answers. And then there’s Minnesota, which keeps on authoring a new amazing chapter in its storybook season. Here is what I learned. 1. The Big Ten is loaded with good running backs. In fact, no conference may have a better collection. Take your pick from the likes of Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and James White, Minnesota’s David Cobb, Indiana’s Tevin Coleman and Stephen Houston,

Power Rankings: Where is Michigan this week?

With two of my top three teams off this Saturday in No. 1 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan State, the top of my power rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal, didn’t change much. In fact, the rankings only got tweaked, as no big upsets took place. But with MSU playing at Nebraska next week, big changes could be coming. [ MORE: Check out the latest college football polls ] POWER RANKINGS PRESENTED BY 1. Ohio State (9-0, 5-0). The Buckeyes were hoping to have their BCS title game hopes lifted during a bye week. And, they did, with Oregon falling to Stanford.

How did we do? Week 11 Big Ten picks revisited

Before we turn our attention to Week 12, it’s time to revisit how the BTN.com team and Big Ten fans did with their Week 11 Big Ten predictions. Everyone went 4-1, with the entire panel misfiring on Michigan over Nebraska, meaning Sean Merriman remains atop the season standings. Big Ten fans are one game off the pace. [ MORE: Week 11 scoreboard | Week 11 grades, stocks | What did Tom learn? |  Power Rankings ] Sean Merriman (@BTNSean) Season record: 66-13 Week 11 record: 4-1 Week 11 picks: Minnesota 28, Penn State 23; Iowa 24, Purdue 7; Indiana 38,