Latest Tom's Take News

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

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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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Dienhart: Nebraska Cornhuskers' offseason to-do list

Dec 26, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers celebrate their win at the Foster Farms Bowl at Levi's Stadium. The Huskers beat the Bruins 37 to 29. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Hear Mike Riley's post-spring thoughts

Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Riley’s debut didn’t go smoothly, but hope floats as the program looks to continue evolving in Riley’s second year in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 2015, it seemed each week, the Cornhuskers found a vexing way to lose a game. But the squad finished strong with a bowl win vs. UCLA in an otherwise trying 6-7 season that was punctuated by myriad tough losses.

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Dienhart: Minnesota Golden Gophers' offseason to-do list

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Tracy Claeys era has begun. And, change is brewing … it has been for several months. The program is on solid footing, having been to a bowl each of the last four seasons. But the staff has been altered with a new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach and offensive line coach on board.

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Dienhart: Michigan State Spartans' offseason to-do list

Michigan State spring football game

Look back at Michigan State spring game highlights

BTN

Michigan State is the defending Big Ten champ, coming off the program’s first College Football Playoff appearance. The 2015 season marked the fifth time in the last six years that MSU won double-digit games. And the program has played in major bowls each of the last three seasons.

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Dienhart: Michigan Wolverines offseason to-do list

Apr 1, 2016; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Wilton Speight (3) hands off to running back Ty Isaac (32) during the spring game at Michigan Stadium.

Michigan spring football highlights

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh’s debut was a smashing success. He inherited a 5-7 team from Brady Hoke and turned it into a 10-3 squad that punctuated the season with a domination of Florida in the Citrus Bowl.

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Dienhart: Iowa Hawkeyes' offseason to-do list

Sep 26, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz congratulates quarterback C.J. Beathard (16) and wide receiver Riley McCarron (83) during the second quarter against the North Texas Mean Green at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Watch our Iowa spring scrimmage highlights

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa is coming off a season of glory in which it raced to a school-record 12-0 start before losing its final two games of the season in falling in the Big Ten title game and the Rose Bowl. Still, Kirk Ferentz has a lot to build on moving into his 18th year on the job.

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Dienhart: Indiana Hoosiers' offseason to-do list

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Wilson is pleased with how Indiana looked in spring drills, but he knows work remains to be done if the Hoosiers want to get back to a bowl game. The last time IU went to a bowl in consecutive seasons? The 1990-91 seasons.

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