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BTN's Tom Dienhart

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart covers Big Ten football all year. Check out these links:

Big Ten Links | 1-on-1 | RSS | @BTNTomDienhart | Facebook | Tom's Mailbag

Best of Week 1: Plenty of enticing matchups to open 2017 season

The first week kicks off with a bang with 13 games, including Ohio State at Indiana on Thursday night, involving all 14 teams. And there are several great clashes to whet the appetite and set the table for 2017.

Dienhart: These junior college transfers will help Big Ten teams

A coach never wants to build a program around junior college players. But they can be valuable to help fill in gaps on a roster, especially during the building process. And the Big Ten will feature several interesting JC transfers. Here are the schools that figure to be impacted the most by junior college transfers this fall. ILLINOIS The Fighting Illini are counting on Del’Shawn Phillips from NJCAA champion Garden City CC to start at a linebacker spot. And Phillips’ teammate, QB Dwayne Lawson, is verbally committed but needs to get his associates degree at Garden City this summer to

2017 football schedule analysis: Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin and Paul Chryst are thinking big again, looking to defend their Big Ten West title. And the Cotton Bowl champs have the weapons to accomplish the feat. But there is a new dynamic: Chryst will be on his third defensive coordinator in three years, as he promoted defensive backs coach Jim Leonhard to take over what has been one of the top defenses in the nation in recent years. Still, there is a lot to work with in Madison, including veteran talent in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Challenges loom on the schedule. Here is a

Dienhart: Grad transfers give Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers a lift

Grad transfers continue to be a big part of the college landscape, as players move from one school to another after graduation … and are immediately eligible. Three schools in the Big Ten will benefit more than the rest in 2017: Purdue, Rutgers and Northwestern.

2017 football schedule analysis: Rutgers Scarlet Knight

Chris Ash is continuing to put his stamp on Rutgers as he rebuilds the program in Year Two. A difficult schedule awaits the Scarlet Knights. Here is a look at Rutgers’ 2017 schedule.

Post-spring position check: Top Big Ten backup QBs

Injuries and attrition happen in college football, and nowhere is the impact more significant than under center. Tom Dienhart looks at the Big Ten's best backup situations at QB.

2017 football schedule analysis: Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue has an uphill climb, but Jeff Brohm has given fans hope for a turnaround. Tom Dienhart looks at the Boilermakers' 2017 schedule in Year 1 under Brohm.

BTN Podcast: Episode 1 with Nicole Auerbach

BTN is launching a podcast that will talk all things Big Ten, hosted by BTN.com's Alex Roux. USA Today sports reporter and Michigan grad Nicole Auerbach jumped on as a guest for Episode 1.

Post-spring position check: Top Big Ten punters

With spring practices finished, schools are focusing on offseason work before fall camp kicks off. Some positions are in better shape than others for certain schools. Let’s take a look at the seven schools in the best shape at punter.