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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

Five Big Ten players in first round of Mel Kiper Jr.'s NFL Mock Draft 4.0

The NFL Draft is just three weeks away, which means experts are putting the final touches on their 2015 mock drafts. ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. recently released his 4.0 mock draft, which features five Big Ten players in the first round. The first Big Ten star Kiper Jr. projects to be off the board is Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff, who he has going No. 6 overall to the New York Jets. “The new threats in the passing game are nice, but given the QB options on the roster, this team needs to be able to run

Dienhart: Check out Minnesota's 10-year NFL draft snapshot

Minnesota hasn’t been a hot-bed for producing NFL talent the last 10 years with just 11 draft choices in that span. In fact, the Golden Gophers did not have any players drafted four times in the last 10 years—2013, 2012, 2011 and 2009. And check this out: The last time Minnesota had a quarterback drafted was 1972, when Craig Curry went in the eighth round. Minnesota could have a few picks in this year’s draft, with TE Maxx Williams and RB David Cobb leading the way. Williams may be a first-round pick, as he is considered by most to be

Video: Nebraska Huskers use helmet cameras at football practice

More and more sports team are taking you inside the action with video cameras capturing amazing footage during games and practices. With the Nebraska Spring Football Game coming up this Saturday on BTN/BTN2Go, the Nebraska Huskers just posted some cool footage from Lincoln. In the video below, Huskers QB Tommy Armstrong and LB Josh Banderas try out the new helmet camera and capture a few plays. We could watch this kind of video all day long. The spring game airs Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on BTN. Here’s the link to also watch it live via BTN2Go.  

Big Ten links: Conference's collection of Final Four teams is impressive

Did you know the Big Ten has more recent Final Four appearances and a more diverse collection of teams in the Final Four over the last two decades than anyone else? We talk about that story and catch up on some football headlines in Thursday's Big Ten links.

Illinois wide receiver Mike Dudek tears ACL in practice Wednesday

Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman announced Wednesday that sophomore wide receiver Mike Dudek, a 2014 freshman All-American, suffered a torn ACL during a non-contact drill at practice Wednesday morning at Memorial Stadium. “This is very disappointing for Mikey, his family and our football program,” Beckman said. “He’ll have the knee surgically repaired as soon as possible and the doctors feel like he could return to the field in October. Knowing how hard Mikey works, our biggest challenge will be to keep him on pace and not let him push it too hard and too fast.” A native of Naperville,

Dienhart: Check out Michigan State's 10-year NFL draft snapshot

Michigan State has been one of the Big Ten’s top programs in recent years, winning 11 or more games four times in the last five seasons. But the NFL draft doesn’t reflect that success. [ MORE: Check out Tom Dienhart’s Big Ten NFL draft snapshots ] Instead, it reinforces the notion that Mark Dantonio and his staff have few peers when it comes to developing talent to fit their system. The results are prodigious, with bowl wins in each of the last four years, as Dantonio routinely turns three-star recruits into five-star studs. This year’s draft, held April 30-May 2,

Big Ten links: NCAA tourney, Caris LeVert's future & football updates

Here is a neat look at Wisconsin’s 17 consecutive NCAA trips. Since 1999, the Badgers have made eight Sweet 16 appearances, four Elite Eight trips, three visits to the Final Four, and one shot at the championship game. Very impressive. No more doubts on if this program has reached the “elite” level. It is there. *** Tom Izzo has had enough of opponents shooting more free throws than his Spartans. The loss to Duke in the national semifinal apparently was the last straw. “I’m going to drive it a little more, and then a little more after that, and then

Report: Conference title game restrictions to be relaxed by 2016

CBSSports.com is reporting that football conference title games will be deregulated in 2016. And, that’s OK. NCAA rules say a league must have at least 12 schools, and teams must play every other team in their division, if a conference wants to play a title game. The ACC, Big Ten, SEC and Pac 12 all have such a configuration, with two division winners meeting for the title. The Big 12 is the lone “major” league that lacks a conference title game, as it has only 10 schools. Now, the Big 12 and ACC want to change the rules—for different reasons,