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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

Northwestern reacts to NLRB ruling that football team can't form union

Northwestern released a statement Monday in response to the National Labor Relations Board ruling that the football team cannot form a union. Read full statement below: Northwestern University is pleased by today’s decision issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which declined to assert jurisdiction and dismisses a petition filed by the College Athletes Players Association seeking to become the collective bargaining representative of Northwestern University football players who receive grant-in-aid scholarships. Because the NLRB declined to assert jurisdiction in the case and dismissed the petition, the union election held in April 2014 is moot and the votes of

Finish the sentence: Northwestern cornerback Nick VanHoose

Several Big Ten teams will boast impressive secondaries in 2015, and one of those units resides in Evanston, Illinois. [ GET TO KNOW: Drew Ott | Jordan Lucas | Nate Sudfeld & Joshua Perry | Mason Monheim | Joe Bolden | Leonte Carroo | Corey Clement | Tommy Armstrong | Theiren Cockran ] The Wildcats have returning starters at corner in Nick VanHoose and junior Matthew Harris, a returning starter at safety in Traveon Henry and a star-in-the-making in Godwin Igwebuike at the other safety spot. VanHoose paces the talented group with 32 career starts. Speaking of the veteran corner,

Countdown to kickoff: Big Ten West surprise team

Who will be the surprise team in the Big Ten West? [ MORE: Top non-conference game | Top under-the-radar game | East must-see game | West must-see game | East most underrated player | West most underrated player | East surprise team ] The answer to this question depends on whom you ask, and how they interpret the word “surprise.” In other words, do they define “surprise” as a contender/up-and-coming team that takes the proverbial “next step,” or as a team that goes out and exceeds expectations? See BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart, Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina’s picks for Big Ten

BTN LiveBIG: From the gridiron to the boardroom, a former Illini football player leads and serves

As a defensive lineman for the Fighting Illini, Kambium “Kam” Buckner had plenty of memorable moments. Upsetting then-No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus in November 2007. Playing in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day of 2008. But the game that sticks out most in his mind came two seasons prior, at Illinois’ home opener against a Rutgers team that was stacked with talented players — Jason McCourty and Ray Rice, to name a couple. Despite the fact that the Scarlet Knights were favored, Buckner and his teammates fought hard and pulled out a 33-30 overtime win in Memorial Stadium.

Countdown to kickoff: Big Ten East surprise team

It's all about reigning national champ Ohio State and 2013 Big Ten champ Michigan State in the Big Ten East this year. How about a sleeper team? See the BTN.com panel's predictions inside.

Twitter: Get our team's tweets from Wisconsin football practice

Saturday marked the fifth stop on our annual summer football tour across the Big Ten. [ MORE: 5 things Tom Dienhart learned | Fun nuggets from Wisconsin ] Stop No. 5 of 14 had us visiting Madison, Wisconsin, on Saturday morning to watch Paul Chryst’s first Badgers team. Chyrst, a former Wisconsin player and assistant, replaced Gary Andersen, who surprised many by leaving for Oregon State following the 2014 season. Get BTN analyst analyst Gerry DiNardo and BTN host Dave Revsine’s tweets from the practices below. @GERRYDINARDO *** @BTNDAVEREVSINE

Football tour notebook: Tom Dienhart's fun takes from Wisconsin

The BTN bus just left Wisconsin practice, and now it’s time to share some nuggets I gathered while I watched the Badgers practice Saturday morning. [ MORE: 5 things Tom Dienhart learned | View our tour schedule ] I talked to new strength and conditioning coach Ross Kolodziej, who has altered the lifting program. He has the team executing more Olympic lifts like cleans, jerks, etc. It’s about moving more weight and becoming more explosive. “We changed expectations,” said Kolodziej, a former Badger. “They are much higher. At first the players were like, ‘Whoa!’” There are more than 10 former