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Did You See This? J.J. Watt and Yao Ming photo

Wired for sound during an NFL game this season, Wisconsin product and current Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt famously told Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice: “I’ve eaten burritos bigger than you.” It was funny, because Watt, 6-5, 295 pounds, dwarfs Rice, 5-8, 212 pounds. On Tuesday, it was Watt’s turn as the burrito, if you will. The 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year had lunch with former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, all 7-6 of him, and tweeted (@JJWatt) the photo above. Safe to say, Watt has never looked smaller. Honestly, look at that photo. If you didn’t

Plan ahead: Spring football dates are in

Are you ready for some spring football? Hey, it’s not the real thing with packed stadiums, marching bands, tailgaters and cheerleaders all pouring their hearts into a regular season game. But, it’s the next best thing to cure your football fix. Northwestern is the first to start, opening spring drills on Feb. 27. Minnesota is the last to open, starting on March 26. Following is the spring start date for each school and the date for the spring game. Mark your calendars accordingly. And stayed tuned to BTN.com for coming updates on how to watch these events. SCHOOL PRACTICE STARTS

Which Big Ten players got NFL Combine invites?

The official list of players invited to the NFL Combine is out. And the Big Ten is well represented with 32 invitees. Ohio State leads the way with seven players invited. Illinois (4): DE Michael Buchanan; CB Terry Hawthorne; DT Akeem Spence; OT Hugh Thornton Iowa (2): CB Micah Hyde; QB James Vandenberg Michigan: WR Denard Robinson Michigan State (4): CB Johnny Adams; RB Le’Veon Bell; DE William Gholston; TE Dion Sims Minnesota: QB MarQueis Gray Nebraska (3): RB Rex Burkhead; P Brett Maher; S Daimion Stafford Ohio State (7): FB Zach Boren; OT Reid Fragel; DT Johnathan Hankins; LB Etienne

Dienhart's 2013 National Signing Day Notebook

The fax machines have stopped spitting out letters-of-intent. In fact, they have been unplugged to prevent from overheating. Now, it’s time to take a look at what happen amid a Signing Day frenzy, with schools stocking their rosters for the future. Here’s a spin around Big Ten Signing Day 2013. [ RELATED: What’s in a name? Big Ten’s top 12 names from signing day ] TOP CLASS: Ohio State The Buckeyes inked a boffo class on the heels of last year’s impressive haul, with defense being an emphasis. In fact, no Big Ten school signed more defensive players than the

What's in a name? Best Big Ten names from signing day

Every year on National Signing Day, the college football world is introduced to some spectacular names. The Big Ten is no exception. This year’s group includes a “Taco,” a “Warfield,” a “Spearman” and a “Sprinkle,” among other gems. Check out my top 12 new Big Ten names in this post. 1. Michigan’s Taco Charlton, DE, 6-6, 249, Pickerington, Ohio (Central) 2. Nebraska’s Courtney Love, LB, 6-1, 225, Youngstown, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney) 3. Nebraska’s Chongo Kondolo, OL, 6-4, 290, Weston Fla. (Cypress Bay) 4. Illinois’ Marchie Murdock, WR, 6-1, 180, Arlington, Texas (Legacy) 5. Iowa’s Solomon Warfield, DB, 6-0, 185, Cleveland,

2013 National Signing Day: Wisconsin

New coach Gary Andersen got off to a slow start upon arriving in Madison from Utah State in late-December. And RB Alex Collins, who some think is the top running back in the nation, opted to join Bret Bielema in Arkansas. But Andersen made up some ground and finished with a strong collection of talent, highlighted by a late commitment from top JC QB Tanner McEvoy, who picked the Badgers over Florida. [ RELATED: Dienhart’s National Signing Day Notebook ] RB Corey Clement comes highly touted, as do DE Chikwe Obasih, WR Rob Wheelwright and FB Austin Ramesh. Andersen signed

Signing Day: 12 teams look to fill needs

The Feb. 6 National Signing Day for football is a less than a week away, and it’s the first day recruits can ink letters of intent. It’s also the day when every fan dreams big while studying the list of players their school signed and wondering which players will be stars and which ones might be busts. But, honestly, they all look like studs on Signing Day, right? As a primer for the Signing Day frenzy, here’s a look at the top three priorities for each Big Ten team. Be sure to check out my list of football names who have

Dienhart: Fresh football faces arrive on campus

For some players, it’s all about getting a jump on the college experience in hopes of getting a jump on winning a job. That’s why players enroll in college early. In all, the Big Ten has 42 early arrivals, with 10 coming from the junior-college ranks. Illinois paced all Big Ten schools with 10 early enrollees. That’s almost half of the 24 verbal commitments that the Fighting Illini have received in the 2013 signing class, which begin inking letters of intent on Feb. 6. Michigan has six early enrollees; Penn State and Ohio State have five; Indiana, Nebraska and Purdue

Badgers QB Curt Phillips gets sixth year

News that Wisconsin quarterback Curt Phillips received a sixth season of eligibility is good for the Badgers—and for Phillips, who has endured a lot in his career. New Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig will have many options to choose from when it comes to selecting a quarterback with Danny O’Brien back for his senior season and Joel Stave back for this sophomore campaign along with Phillips. And freshman Bart Houston also is back after a redshirt season. Congrats to #Badgers @CurtPhillips10 on getting your 6th year approved. See you in the spring #BacktoSchool — Badger Football

Dienhart's early 2013 football power rankings

The final punctuation mark has been put on the 2012 season and we closed that latest chapter. Now, we turn the page and look toward 2013. Before you know it, spring football will be here. In anticipation of the fall of 2013, here’s my early, early—and I mean EARLY—look at how the Big Ten could stack up from 1-12. 1. Ohio State. The Buckeyes welcome back lots of talent from a team that went 12-0 in Urban Meyer’s debut. What can Meyer do for an encore? Most of the talent is on offense. And the schedule is very manageable. Bottom