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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

Dienhart's Big Ten Mailbag: Your latest football questions

Time to answer some mail! How good are the Minnesota linebackers? Will Michigan topple a rival this season? Is David Blough the answer to Purdue’s QB ills? I look at those questions and more. I have been impressed by Minnesota’s linebackers and think they will be among the best in the Big Ten. What do you think? – Bill White I like the Gopher linebackers when I watched the team scrimmage last Saturday. Jack Lynn has All-Big Ten potential, and Cody Poock is a tough player who excels vs. the run. Jonathan Celestin rounds out the unit. He’s a nice

@BTNStatsGuys: 14 Big Ten facts about AP preseason poll

The AP preseason poll was released Sunday, and four Big Ten teams made the cut. With Ohio State (No. 6), Michigan (No. 7), Michigan State (No. 12) and Iowa (No. 17) ranked, all of which land in the Coaches preseason poll, the Big Ten is tied for the third-most ranked teams in the nation, trailing the SEC (6) and Pac-12 (5). Here’s 14 Big Ten facts about the poll: 1. The Big Ten has four teams in the top 20 of the preseason top 25 poll for the first time since 2012, when it had five. 2. One season after

Football tour notebook: Fun takes from Minnesota practice

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota has its most talented team—and perhaps its best–since Tracy Claeys arrived in Dinkytown in 2011. [ MORE: Dienhart: Here’s what I learned at Minnesota practice ] Yes, this roster still lacks top-end depth across the board. But there is plenty of speed and athleticism, along with size. It was on display on Saturday in a tough, hard-hitting scrimmage in TCF Bank Stadium. Get my fun takes from Minneapolis below. Most impressive player: LB Jack Lynn is a physical force who covers a lot of ground. He may end up being an All-Big Ten player. Also have to

Dienhart: Here's what I'll be watching at Wisconsin practice

What will Paul Chryst do for an encore after a strong debut that saw him win 10 games? It will be interesting. He lost a great defensive coordinator in Dave Aranda, who left for the same post at LSU, and must replace veteran quarterback Joel Stave. Here is what I’ll be watching for at Monday’s practice. 1. Are the Badgers OK at QB? Who is it gonna be with Joel Stave gone? It’s a clash between Bart Houston, who will be a fifth-year senior, and Alex Hornibrook, who redshirted as true freshman last year. Houston has more experience and played

Ohio State paces four Big Ten teams ranked in preseason AP Poll

Ohio State and Michigan are the popular pick to take the Big Ten in 2016, and the preseason AP poll voters agree. The Buckeyes and the Wolverines pace the Big Ten in the publication’s preseason poll, released Sunday, coming in at No. 6 and No. 7, respectively. Reigning Big Ten champ Michigan State checks in at No. 12 and Iowa at No. 17, giving the conference four teams in the poll, the same number it has in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll. Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin all are receiving votes, with the latter garnering the most (42). Check out the

Dienhart: What I'll be watching at Minnesota football practice

The Minnesota program is on solid footing, having been to a bowl each of the last four seasons as Tracy Claeys assumes command. But the staff has been altered. Still, there is momentum coming off a bowl win that capped a disappointing 6-7 season. Claeys let go offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Matt Limegrover and quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski. Jay Johnson was hired from Louisiana-Lafayette to run the offense and coach quarterbacks, while Bart Miller was tabbed to coach the line. Here is what I’ll be watching at Minnesota practice. 1. Is the offense clicking? More run-pass balance is needed for