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BTN's Tom Dienhart

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

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Big Ten Mailbag: Dark horse players, Penn State QB & more

It’s time for my latest Big Ten Mailbag, what with the basketball season in our rear-view mirror and spring football in full swing. Lots of interest in Michigan and its upcoming season. And who could be some dark horse offensive players next fall? Who do you think are some dark-horse offensive players for the 2016 season? – Joey Brown There are some interesting choices for the upcoming football season. Here are some dark horses to watch for each school. Illinois WR Mikey Dudek Indiana QB Richard Lagow Iowa RB Akrum Wadley Maryland WR D.J. Moore Michigan RB Ty Isaac Michigan

Big Ten links: Spartans disrespect, football updates & more

Just what Michigan State needed: a bigger chip on its shoulder. ESPN sent out a push notification Monday erroneously referring to newly selected basketball hall of famer Tom Izzo as “Tim” Izzo, riling many in the Michigan State fan base. You think ESPN would make this mistake for, say, Michigan’s “Joe” Harbaugh? I doubt it. This blunder comes on the heels of what seems like an uncharacteristically high rate of mispronunciations and misspellings related to Michigan State’s veteran football coach, Mark Dantonio. Mistakes happen, and all media organizations make them from time to time. But it sure seems like Michigan

Predicting 2016 starting quarterbacks: West Division

On Monday, I predicted who would be the starting quarterback for each Big Ten East team. So, in an attempt to be fair, it’s time to share my Big Ten West predictions–even if most of the starting situations are settled. Here goes. ILLINOIS Wes Lunt. Tumult has been the order of the day in Champaign, where there have been three head coaches since August. But the arrival of Lovie Smith brings the prospect of better days. Smith had to be pleased to find Wes Lunt, a veteran hand who looks like an NFL quarterback. But Lunt needs to improve as

Andy Buh named Maryland defensive coordinator

Maryland head football coach DJ Durkin announced Tuesday that he has hired Andy Buh as the team’s defensive coordinator. Buh, who has previously served as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Nevada and Cal, comes to Maryland from the University of Kentucky, where he’s been the outside linebackers coach since 2015 and was recently promoted to also serve as special teams coordinator. Durkin and Buh were on the same staff at Stanford in 2007. “I’m excited that we were able to get a quality coach like Andy to join our staff,” said Durkin. “I’ve known Andy since our time at Stanford

Weird, but true: Somebody stole Sparty's golf cart

From the never-thought-we'd-write-this file: Sparty's golf cart has gone missing. That's right, somebody stole the sculpted Michigan State mascot's ride from the MSU Union on Sunday, according to the Michigan State University Police Department.

Ross Els Q&A: 'The kids are eager to learn the new system'

Things have to improve at Purdue. Darrell Hazell knows this, which is why his staff has been radically altered. In all, there are five new assistants—and a holdover in a new role. Perhaps no new assistant is more vital than defensive coordinator Ross Els. He was coaching high school ball in Nebraska last year—now, he has one of the biggest rehab projects in the Big Ten. The defense Els inherits in West Lafayette is a mess. Where to begin? How about learning how to stop the run? Last year, the Boilermaker defense was shredded for a league-high 214.9 rushing yards

Big Ten links: Latest football news, Fab Five banners & more

Few schools are better at producing star offensive linemen than Iowa. Could Sean Welsh be the next great one? Chad Leistikow of HawkCentral.com explains why. The junior-to-be might be the most vital lineman in the eventual five-man puzzle for the defending Big Ten West champions. That’s because he brings high blocking grades and position flexibility, not to mention quite the endorsement from his head coach. “We think he’s a pretty good player,” Kirk Ferentz told HawkCentral.com. “I hate to throw this out, because I don’t want to start this train going, but Marshal (Yanda) comes to mind.” *** Ohio State

Predicting 2016 starting quarterbacks: East Division

The calendar reads early April. And spring football is in full gear (Michigan actually is finished) with the start of the 2016 season months away. [ MORE: Get all of our spring football coverage ] But let’s look into the crystal ball and try to predict who will start at quarterback for each Big Ten East team in the opener. I will look at the Big Ten West tomorrow. INDIANA Richard Lagow. Nate Sudfeld leaves as the school’s all-time leading passer, but Lagow could be the elixir to IU’s quarterback ailment in what is shaping up as a battle with

Big Ten links: Badgers at Lambeau, Gaelin Elmore tattoo & more

Wisconsin practiced at Green Bay over the weekend in anticipation of playing in the historic venue this fall vs. LSU on Sept. 3. How cool is this? *** Gaelin Elmore was so touched by Jerry Kill’s emotional resignation news conference in October that the Gophers’ junior defensive end added a tattoo of what Kill said. Ink on Elmore’s left forearm reads, “Count on your health instead of your wealth. Count on GOD instead of yourself.” With the initials “J.K.R.K” for Jerry and his wife, Rebecca Kill, beneath it. “He was a really influential guy in my life and career,” Elmore

Watch Urban Meyer playfully kick out student for wearing blue

The Ohio State football team hosted its fifth annual Student Appreciation Day on Saturday. Nearly 2,500 students attended the much-anticipated event inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. After taking in an hour-long scrimmage, it was all about the students. There was a fastest student race and a post-practice autograph and photo session with coaches and players, to name a couple highlights. They even got to hear from Urban Meyer, who entertained while speaking to the students. At one point, the coach kicked out a student wearing blue, the color of fierce rival Michigan. Watch the moment in the video at