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Week 4 preview: Spartans will try to solve Irish

I’m continuing my early week-by-week look at the 2013 Big Ten schedule, and it’s all about Week 4 today. Being the final week before Big Ten play kicks off across the conference, the slate leaves some to be desired. That said, there are a few intriguing games, including an early Big Ten draw (Purdue at Wisconsin). Get all the storylines, matchups and my rankings of the week’s games in this post. [ RELATED: Week 1 preview | Week 2 preview | Week 3 preview ] Game of the week: Michigan State at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are hot coming

Week 3 preview: Hundley v. Martinez Part II

Yes, the 2013 football season still is two-plus months away. That won’t keep me from looking ahead and taking an in-depth look at each and every week’s top matchups and storylines. I’m also offering my rankings of every week’s slate of games. Up now: Week 3, highlighted by Nebraska’s rematch vs. UCLA. [ RELATED: Week 1 preview | Week 2 preview ] Game of the week: No doubt, the visit from a rising UCLA program to Nebraska will be challenging. Last year’s trip to La-La Land was a nightmare for Nebraska. The Huskers allowed 653 yards in a 36-30 loss

Twitter: NCAA '14 team ratings raise some eyebrows

You know it’s summer when video game ratings receive as much attention as they did Tuesday afternoon. The reason for all the talk? NCAA ’14 team ratings were released, and a few of the grades were a bit interesting. Like Iowa receiving an 88 overall, the same as reigning Legends Division champ Nebraska and Wisconsin and higher than Northwestern (86), which returns most of the nucleus from a 10-win season. Here’s how the Big Ten teams stack up: 1. Ohio State 95 (97 offense, 92 defense) T-2. Michigan 91 (91, 92) T-2. Michigan State 91 (90, 93) T-4. Iowa 88

Week 2 preview: Try not to miss Notre Dame-Michigan

Hey, who isn’t looking forward to football season? It’s only June, but I’m itching for kickoff and am starting to look ahead to each week of the 2013 season. From Week 1 to Week 12, I’ll offer the best each week has to offer and rank every week’s games. Up now: Week 2, highlighted by Notre Dame at Michigan. [ RELATED: Read all of Dienhart’s super-early 2013 weekly schedule previews ] Game of the week: Notre Dame comes to Michigan for a primetime game. Enjoy this, as it will be the last time the Fighting Irish are in Ann Arbor

Report: Danny O'Brien to leave Wisconsin

According to a foxsportswisconsin.com report, quarterback Danny O’Brien is leaving the Wisconsin program. No shock. The Badgers quarterback situation is loaded. Sophomore Joel Stave, sixth-year senior Curt Phillips, redshirt freshman Bart Houston and JC transfer Tanner McEvoy are in the mix. The chance of O’Brien winning the post—or even netting any serious playing—seemed remote after a disappointing debut in Madison in 2012. O’Brien arrived in Madison amid a lot of hype prior to last season after transferring from Maryland. It was a similar path to Russell Wilson, who also had transferred from an ACC school (N.C. State) amid great fanfare—and

Week 1 preview: NU-Cal should be good one

It’s time to take a week-by-week look at the 2013 Big Ten schedule. Interesting storylines, matchups and battles within the battles dot each week’s slate of games. Up first, of course: Week 1. Get my opening week preview in this post. Game of the week: NU hasn’t played Cal since beating the Golden Bears in the Rose Bowl after the 1948 season—which before last season was the Wildcats’ only bowl victory. Well, look here: Northwestern opens at Cal. And it will be daunting. The Golden Bears have a new coach in Sonny Dykes, whose high-flying offense is tough to prep

Debate It: 2013 Big Ten rushing TD leader?

There used to be a time when the rushing touchdown leaderboard always came down to the elite running backs. These days, the running backs receive stiff competition from dual-threat quarterbacks. More specifically, in the Big Ten, Kain Colter, Taylor Martine and Braxton Miller. Will a signal-caller lead the Big Ten in rushing scores this fall? See Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina’s picks in this post. RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS 2012 leader: Montee Ball, Wisconsin – 22 2013 returning leader: Carlos Hyde, Ohio State – 16 Tom: Braxton Miller, Ohio State – First, know this: The Buckeyes will have one of the top

Athlon predicts Michigan-Ohio State B1G title game

Get familiar with your team’s bitter rival, Michigan and Ohio State fans. Athlon Sports picks the Buckeyes and Wolverines to meet in the 2013 Big Ten Football Championship Game, meaning the two powerhouse programs would face off in back-to-back weeks (Nov. 30 at Michigan Stadium; Dec. 7 at Lucas Oil Stadium) for the first and last time. [ AthlonSports.com: Big Ten Football 2013 Predictions ] Athlon predicts Ohio State to sweep its way to the Leaders Division crown, finishing two games ahead of three-time reigning Big Ten champ Wisconsin (6-2). As for Michigan, the magazine pegs it to finish 6-2,

Dienhart: Big Ten backup QB rankings

Often, the most popular player on campus is the backup quarterback. The guy holding the clipboard and wearing a baseball cap typically is perceived as being the answer to every struggling offense. On that note, here’s my ranking of the Big Ten backup quarterback situations. 1. Northwestern. Actually, the Wildcats have two starters: senior Kain Colter and junior Trevor Siemian. It doesn’t really matter who begins the game under center. Colter typically gets the call, starting 12 of 13 games last season. But Siemian plays often in what is the rare two-quarterback system that thrives. 2. Ohio State. Senior Kenny

Dienhart: It's time to rank Big Ten secondaries

There are some nice defensive backfields in the Big Ten. And none is better than Ohio State’s. In fact, the Buckeyes may have the top secondary in the nation, which is one of many reasons why Ohio State is a legit national title contender. Here’s my ranking of the Big Ten defensive backfields. 1. Ohio State. Loaded. There is no other way to describe this unit, which will be led by junior Bradley Roby, who may be the top cornerback in the nation. Safeties Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett also are returning starters. Is there a better safety tandem in