Latest Tom's Take News

Dienhart: What I'll be watching for at Purdue practice

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Darrell Hazell needs a big year. It’s no secret. He has yet to get this program off the ground in his first three seasons. The struggles can’t be sugarcoated or minimized, as Hazell has gone 6-30 overall and 2-22 in the Big Ten. Three of the victories have been vs. FCS foes; another was vs. a MAC team. Will 2016 be the year the script is flipped? Hazell will move forward with a veteran roster that has potential and a staff that has two new coordinators.

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Dienhart: What I will be looking for at Illinois practice

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Hopes are high in Champaign, as Illinois takes the wraps off the Lovie Smith era. Will he be the coach to deliver a consistent winner to the Illini Nation? Smith arrives from the NFL with a big reputation, but he will be Illinois’ fifth coach since 1997 following Ron Turner, Ron Zook, Tim Beckman and Bill Cubit.

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

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

New Rutgers coach Chris Ash has work to do after arriving from a gig as defensive coordinator at Ohio State. Good thing his area of specialty is defense, as the Scarlet Knights need a lot of help on that side of the ball. Rutgers ranked No. 13 in the Big Ten in total defense in 2015 (462.0 ypg) and 12th in scoring (34.9 ppg). The back seven needs a lot of work, as the linebacking corps is being rebuilt and a young secondary needs to mature.

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What is the must-win game for all 14 Big Ten teams?

Oct 17, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El (15) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the second half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium. The Cornhuskers won 48-25. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

How nice was this touchdown catch?!

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Every schedule has one—a must-win game. Look. You’ll find one. It’s a game that you feel your school MUST WIN if it wants to have a successful season. It can’t slip up. Victory must be accomplished.

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Big Ten schedule breakdown: Who Big Ten West teams miss

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

BTN talks with Iowa players at spring practice

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 1984, the Big Ten will play nine conference games. Schools will play the other six teams in their division … and three from the opposite division. And, schedule strengths can vary a great deal based on which schools a team does not have to play from the other division.

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Dienhart: Wisconsin Badgers' offseason to-do list

Apr 23, 2016; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Corey Clement (6) walks the sidelines after briefly playing during the Wisconsin spring football game at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Network

Corey Clement discusses spring game

Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Network

Paul Chryst returned home to Wisconsin last season. And, it went smashingly well. But there is work to do as Chryst begins his second season coming off a 10-3 debut and second-place finish in the West.

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Dienhart: Rutgers Scarlet Knights' offseason to-do list

Oct 10, 2015; Piscataway, NJ, USA;  Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Chris Laviano (5) gets off pass as he is rushed by Michigan State Spartans defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas (8) during the first quarter at High Points Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers trick play alert!

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Ash continues to put his stamp on the Rutgers program after taking over for Kyle Flood. Job No. 1: change the culture. Offense? Defense? Special teams? It all needs work. Rutgers ranked No. 13 in the Big Ten in total defense in 2015 (462.0 ypg) and 12th in scoring (34.9 ppg). The back seven needs a lot of work, as the linebacking corps is being rebuilt and a young secondary needs to mature.

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Dienhart: Penn State Nittany Lions' offseason to-do list

Jan 2, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) carries the ball in the third quarter against Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field. Georgia defeated Penn State 24-17 to win the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Get James Franklin's spring game takeaways

Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Change is the theme as James Franklin begins this third season at the helm of Penn State. The staff has been altered radically. Franklin fired offensive coordinator John Donovan and shockingly saw defensive coordinator Bob Shoop leave for Tennessee. And offensive line coach Herb Hand also high-tailed it, bolting for Auburn. Plus, a raft of players transferred after a season that ended with four losses in a row.

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Dienhart: Ohio State Buckeyes' offseason to-do list

malik-hooker

Spring football: One fun defensive highlight

BTN

Ohio State and Urban Meyer won’t lack for motivation in 2016. The program failed to repeat as national champs in a largely unfulfilling season as the Buckeyes didn’t even win the Big Ten East despite having a roster loaded with 12 NFL draft picks. Now, Meyer faces some big challenges next season as he looks to get back on top in the Big Ten.

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