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Dienhart: Ready for an early 2014 football poll?

The grass stains and bruises are still fresh from last night’s BCS title game, a scintillating triumph for Florida State over Auburn that ended the SEC’s seven-season run of dominance. That hasn’t stopped some people from turning the page – and quickly. Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com already has an early, early—and I mean EARLY—2014 Top 25. Florida State is No. 1. No shocker, as Jameis Winston will be back to defend his Heisman and national title. If this poll is accurate—and we know it isn’t—the four-team playoff would look like this: No. 1 FSU vs. No. 4 Stanford, and No.

Dienhart: My best of 2013-14 Big Ten bowls

The dust has settled on another disappointing postseason for the Big Ten, which went 2-5 in bowl games. The lone victors: Michigan State in the Rose Bowl and Nebraska in the Gator Bowl. Still, there were many noteworthy things. Here’s my Best of the Big Ten Bowls. [ MORE: View our full 2013-14 bowl schedule ] Best game: The Orange Bowl was off-the-charts spectacular. Clemson’s 40-35 win over Ohio State featured four lead changes, over 1,000 combined yards and enough electricity to light the BTN offices in downtown Chicago. The game lived up to its hype as a quarterback-fueled shootout.

Merriman: My top 10 B1G bowl performances

Big Ten bowl season is officially in the books as Ohio State closed out the conference postseason with a 40-35 loss to Clemson in Friday night’s Discover Orange Bowl. While it wasn’t a great showing for the Big Ten, going 2-5 in conference bowl games, there were still plenty of outstanding individual performances this year. Without further ado, here are my top-10 Big Ten bowl performances. [ MORE: How did we do? View 2013-14 Big Ten bowl game predictions ] 10. Anthony Hitchens, LB, Iowa Outback Bowl stats: 10 tackles, 1 tackle for loss Hitchens was outstanding for the Hawkeyes

How did we do? Big Ten bowl picks revisited

All season long, our BTN.com panel predicted every Big Ten football game. We also provided polls for Big Ten fans to make their picks. With the Big Ten bowl season now complete, it’s time to crown the 2103 champion. That would be BTN.com’s Sean Merriman, who went 85-19, including a 4-3 bowl clip. Big Ten fans finished third, at 82-22. See the full season standings and bowl picks in this post. [ MORE: View full 2013-14 bowl schedule ] Sean Merriman (@BTNSean) Season record: 85-19 Bowl record: 4-3 Big Ten bowl game predictions: Minnesota 28, Syracuse 14; Kansas State 27,

Centennial Spartans: Michigan State wins 100th Rose Bowl

Big Ten champs. And Rose Bowl champs. What a season for Michigan State, which held off Stanford, 24-20, in the 100th Rose Bowl Game on Wednesday night. In other Big Ten bowl action: Nebraska beat Georgia, while Iowa and Wisconsin lost to LSU and South Carolina, respectively. Catch up on all the stats, scores and top highlights in this post. [ MORE: View the 2013-14 bowl schedule | Polls: Pick your B1G winners ] MICHIGAN STATE 24, STANFORD 20 | AP RECAP | LIVE | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY | GALLERY (AP) Connor Cook passed for a career-high 332 yards and

Brent's Take: Wisconsin bowl struggles continue

Here’s a stat that’s hard to believe: Wisconsin’s 34-24 loss to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl marks the program’s sixth defeat in its last seven bowl games. The lone win during the streak was a 20-14 win over Miami in the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl. See my Capital One Bowl honors and grades in this post. [ MORE: BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY | AP RECAP | 2013-14 BOWL SCHEDULE | GALLERY ] BEST OF CAPITAL ONE BOWL Best play: Trickeration is something we see a lot more of in bowl games, and South Carolina provided one of the best trick

Capital One Bowl Gallery: S. Carolina 34, Wisconsin 24

Connor Shaw was responsible for five touchdowns, including three passing, and No. 8 South Carolina outlasted No. 19 Wisconsin 34-24 in the Capital One Bowl on Wednesday. [ MORE: View the 2013-14 bowl schedule ] SOUTH CAROLINA 34, WISCONSIN 24 | YARINA | AP RECAP | BOX | PLAY-BY-PLAY Check out our Capital One Bowl gallery, courtesy of USA TODAY Sports.

Dienhart: New Year's Day is Judgment Day for Big Ten

So, the postseason hasn’t gotten off to a stellar start for the Big Ten. The league is 0-2, as Minnesota lost to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl and Michigan got drubbed by Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. But all is not lost. The Big Ten has five bowls left, offering plenty of opportunity for redemption and image rehabilitation. Tomorrow, the Big Ten plays four bowls games. (Ohio State will play Clemson in the Orange Bowl on Friday.) The big one is the Rose Bowl, where Michigan State will take on Stanford in the 100th “Granddaddy of them

Gallery: View our 2013 All-Big Ten NFL Team

The 2013 NFL regular season came to an end late Sunday night. That being the case, it’s time to release our 2013 All-Big Ten NFL Team. Check out our offensive and defensive teams in this post. Did someone get snubbed? Let us know in the comment box at the bottom of the post. OFFENSE QB: Drew Brees, New Orleans (Purdue): 446-650, 5,162 yards, 39 TD, 12 INT RB: Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (Michigan State): 244 car., 860 yards, 8 TD; 45 rec., 399 yards RB: Pierre Thomas, New Orleans (Illinois): 147 car., 549 yards, 2 TD; 77 rec., 513 yards, 3

Season Review: No Bielema, no problem for Badgers

Bret Who? Exactly. By most measures, Gary Andersen’s debut was a rousing success in Madison, as he guided Wisconsin to the precipice of a BCS bowl after Bret Bielema unceremoniously dumped the Badgers for … Arkansas? That’s in the past. The future in Badger Town is bright. If not for poor work by officials in a 32-30 loss at Arizona State on Sept. 14, who knows where the season would have ended up for the Badgers? Perhaps the Orange Bowl? Regardless, Andersen has put his mark on this uber-strong program, using the same formula for success others have in Madison: