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Debate it: 2012 Big Ten scoring leader

In the coming days, senior writer Tom Dienhart and web editor Brent Yarina will tackle all the important football statistical categories and offer their predictions for the 2012 Big Ten leader. Up first: Scoring. See Tom and Brent’s email thread in this post and vote for your winner, too. SCORING 2011 leader: Montee Ball, 236 points (39 TDs, 1 2-pt. conversion) Returning leaders: Montee Ball, 236 points; Rex Burkhead, 102; Brett Maher, 100; Dan Conroy 99; Denard Robinson 96. [2011 Big Ten rushing TD leaders; 2011 Big Ten receiving TD leaders] Brent: When it comes to scoring, no

Unit Rankings: 2012 Big Ten Running Backs

When Montee Ball opted to return for his senior season, he solidified Wisconsin as a Big Ten favorite and himself as a Heisman Trophy front-runner. Ball also cemented the Badgers’ status as having the Big Ten’s top collection of running backs. And perhaps the best collection in the nation. Here is how I rate the Big Ten running back units, which are a strong collection of talent with 12 of last season’s top 14 rushers back. Only Iowa’s Marcus Coker and Ohio State’s Dan Herron are gone. Here is an interesting twist: The leader rushing for four teams last season

Friday's Links: Playoff talk & scheduling notes

What does the SEC want when it comes to college football playoff? Wisconsin new quarterback is ready to get going, and Ohio State made a schedule adjustment. There’s no better way to end your work week than by getting caught up on your Big Ten football information. Just click, read and enjoy. It’s almost as easy as making microwave popcorn. More talk: The SEC has drawn a line in the sand when it comes to hammering out details for a new four-team playoff format: Take the top four teams in the nation. Period. The Big 12 and Notre Dame agree.

Thursday's Links: A Quick Spin Through the News

It’s the last day of May, and the Big Ten football news is still percolating. Isn’t life beautiful? Let’s take a look at three big games for Penn State, a schedule update, and, yes, some more college football playoff talk. Three bigs: Penn State fans, get out your red Sharpies and circle these three games. Bob Flounders of the Harrisburg Patriot-News calls them “swing” games, and they will go a long way toward determining how good or bad Bill O’Brien’s maiden voyage is. At Virginia, Sept. 8 At Illinois, Sept. 29 Ohio State, Oct. 27 I think Flounders has this

Unit Rankings: 2012 Big Ten Quarterbacks

Every championship team needs a good quarterback. And it’s also helpful to have a decent backup, as injury often is commonplace in this era of running signal-callers. Knowing that, which Big Ten team has the best quarterback situation? I rank the Big Ten quarterback situations, from 1 to 12, in my first installment of Big Ten unit rankings. Tell me what you think by posting your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post. 1. Michigan – It begins with senior Denard Robinson, perhaps the most dangerous quarterback in college football and a legit Heisman contender. In

Look ahead to 2012 season: Best of Week 10

Another day, another opportunity to look ahead to the 2012 college football season. Today, I continue to explore each week of the Big Ten campaign with a detailed look at Week 10. Be sure to catch these games: Nebraska at Michigan State and Penn State at Purdue. Don’t remember what happened the last time the Huskers and Spartans battled? Watch the highlights now. Oh, and don’t forget to look back at my first nine weekly schedule previews. Find Week 10 in this post. Storylines: This is a decent week headlined by Nebraska’s visit to Michigan State. If Michigan State wants

Wednesday's Links: Let's talk Heisman Race

The calendar hasn’t even flipped to June, but some already are talking Heisman Trophy. Why not? I found one writer who lists his top candidates. Read what he wrote and tell me what you think. Here we go: Steve Greenberg of Sporting News offers an early Top 7: 1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC 2. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan 3. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin 4. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia 5. De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon 6. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State 7. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU Hard to argue with that list. And, yes, having Robinson ahead of Ball isn’t such

Look ahead to 2012 season: Best of Week 9

My preview of Week 9 in the 2012 Big Tenn football season explores a number of very intriguing angles, including the rematch between Wisconsin and Michigan State. Watch this video to relive last year’s regular season thriller and dive deeper into this post to see the Big Ten Championship highlights. All 12 schools are in action for the first time since Week 3, and this looks like perhaps one of the best weeks on the schedule. If you want to look back at my first eight weekly schedule previews, look at my Schedule Analysis section. Find Week 9 in this

Dienhart: Big Ten Assistants Primed To Move Up

In recent years, several assistants have gone directly from Big Ten schools to launch head coaching careers. Wisconsin and Michigan State have been the most fertile proving grounds of late as Pitt’s Paul Chryst (Wisconsin offensive coordinator) and Northern Illinois’ Dave Doeren (Wisconsin defensive coordinator) came directly from Bret Bielema’s Badger staff the last two seasons. Miami of Ohio’s Don Treadwell (Michigan State offensive coordinator) and Central Michigan’s Dan Enos (Michigan State quarterbacks coach) came from Mark Dantonio’s Spartan staff in recent years. Others who recently have made the jump directly from Big Ten staffs to head coaching positions: Florida

Look ahead to 2012 season: Best of Week 8

I continue to explore each week of the 2012 Big Ten football season with a look at Week 8. Check out these games: Michigan State at Michigan. Penn State at Iowa. Nebraska at Northwestern. Yeah, it’s a going to be another good one. If you want to look back at the first seven weekly schedule previews, look at my Schedule Analysis section. Find Week 8 in this post. Storylines: This is one of the better weeks of the season, especially for the Legends Division. Michigan State’s 52-mile junket to Michigan is at the top of the list. And Nebraska plays