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Dienhart: Ranking 2012's Big Ten Running Backs

Wisconsin's Monte Ball

Montee Ball Interview - Wisconsin Spring Football Game

Is there a conference with a better collection of running backs than the Big Ten? Maybe not. The group instantly became one of the best in the nation when Wisconsin’s Montee Ball announced he would return for his senior season. Add it all up, and 12 of last season’s top 13 rushers are back. The only departure: Iowa’s Marcus Coker, who transferred to FCS Stony Brook after ranking No. 2 in the Big Ten in rushing with 1,384 yards in 2012.

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Dienhart: Ranking 2012's Big Ten QBs

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Denard Robinson - Howard Griffith Conversation

The Big Ten will be bolstered by the return of nine starting quarterbacks in 2012. The only schools breaking in new starters under center are Michigan State (Kirk Cousins gone), Northwestern (Dan Persa gone) and Wisconsin (Russell Wilson gone). Without a doubt here, Michigan’s Denard Robinson looks like the top quarterback in the league. Could he become the first Big Ten quarterback to win the Heisman since Ohio State’s Troy Smith turned the trick in 2006?

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Week In Review: Where Does Your Coach Rank?

Before we get to Friday’s Big Ten news links, let’s review the week. Monday’s post asked , “Which college fo0tball playoff format do you prefer?” On Tuesday and Wednesday we looked at the buzz around next year’s top offensive and defensive stars.  And Thursday’s post included a possible college football playoff tweak, next year’s NFL Draft prospects, and a singing coach. My bookmark-friendly weekday links are always here, and you get the RSS over here.

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Thursday Links: More Football Playoff Chatter

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany says teams that don’t win their division shouldn’t be part of a playoff. Good idea? Bad idea? I’ll tell you what I think, then you tell me what you think, but only after you check out my take on Thursday’s selected Big Ten football headlines.

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Let's Rank 2012's Big Ten Backup QBs

On one hand, he’s often the most popular player on campus. On the other hand, you may not even know his name. He’s the backup quarterback. If he’s pressed into duty, it usually means one of two things: 1. The starter got hurt. 2. The starter was, ahem, ineffective. Knowing all this, it’s time for you to get to know your school’s No. 2 signal-caller. Here’s is how I rank ‘em.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Purdue's Danny Hope

Purdue Boilermakers head coach Danny Hope during the first quarter against the Western Michigan Broncos at the 2011 Little Caesars Bowl at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

Danny Hope Spring Football Interview

Danny Hope admits that this is his best team at Purdue. He enters his fourth season in West Lafayette with a 16-21 record (10-14 Big Ten) after first arriving from Eastern Kentucky as Purdue’s head-coach-in-waiting in 2008 under Joe Tiller. Hope assumed command in 2009 and guided Purdue to its first bowl since 2007 last season, when the Boilers downed Western Michigan in the Little Caesar’s Bowl.

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