Latest Tom's Take News

Big Ten Football: Top non-conference games next season

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Got a case of the winter blahs? Missing your pigskin fix? Why not look ahead to the football season? No better way to prime the 2016 pump than by looking at the top seven non-conference games of the coming season, listed by date.

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Dienhart: Iowa Hawkeyes emerge as Big Ten team to beat

Jan 14, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Mike Gesell (10) is fouled by Michigan State Spartans forward Deyonta Davis (23) during the second half of a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center.

McCaffery, players reflect on big win

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten season isn’t even halfway over, and the Hawkeyes have emerged today as the team to beat, according to BTN senior writer Tom Dienhart. But this is the Big Ten and there are tough games ahead, including Sunday’s game against visiting Michigan (4:30 p.m. ET on BTN/BTN2Go).

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Tom’s Take: Honors, stock watch, top performers, notes & quotes

Dec 29, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Mike Gesell (10) celebrates after the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa won 83-70. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Watch our Michigan State-Iowa highlight

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The lid has been taken off Big Ten play, and five schools are off to 2-0 starts. Two of them aren’t a shock, as Maryland and Indiana are out of the gates quickly. But it’s a surprise to see Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa also 2-0 in Big Ten action.

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Rose Bowl: McCaffrey leads Stanford to win over Iowa

Jan 1, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) drops back to pass against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2016 Rose Bowl at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Watch our Iowa-Stanford highlight

Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This time last year, Iowa was getting scortched by Tennessee in the TaxSlayer Bowl to cap a disappointing 7-6 season that set in motion an offseason of tumult. Kirk Ferentz examined his program and made alterations, including switching practices from afternoon to morning. But most prescient, Ferentz tabbed C.J. Beathard the QB over Jake Rudock shortly after the loss to the Vols. Rudock transferred to Michigan, Beathard became a star and the rest is history.

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Dienhart: Volunteers cruise by Wildcats in Outback Bowl

Jan 1, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats running back Justin Jackson (21) runs with the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first quarter in the 2016 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Watch our Northwestern-Tennessee highlight

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern was looking to put an exclamation point on a standout 10-win season by dumping an SEC team. It didn’t happen for what has been one of the nation’s most surprising teams that opened 2015 with a win vs. Pac-12 champ Stanford.

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Dienhart: Here's a look back at Wisconsin's 2015 season

Oct 10, 2015; Lincoln, NE, USA; Wisconsin Badgers place kicker Rafael Gaglianone (10) celebrates the winning field goal against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Wisconsin defeated Nebraska 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Watch our Wisconsin-Nebraska highlight

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Usually, a nine-win season is cause for celebration. But Wisconsin was tabbed by most to win the Big Ten West. Instead, the Badgers finished second in Paul Chryst’s debut as head coach.

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Dienhart: Here's a look back at Rutgers' 2015 season

Nov 28, 2015; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights wide receiver Leonte Carroo (4) makes a one handed catch during the first half of their game against the Maryland Terrapins at High Points Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

How did Leonte Carroo catch this ball?

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 campaign was filled with tumult for Rutgers. In August, it was revealed that Kyle Flood had improper contact with a professor concerning the course work of a player. He subsequently was suspended for three games after an investigation. Flood also came under fire after several players ran afoul of the law. In all, six players were dismissed from the team after a string of arrests. Even star WR Leontee Carroo missed time after an arrest.

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Dienhart: Here's a look back at Purdue's 2015 season

Oct 31, 2015; West Lafayette, IN, USA;  Purdue Boilermakers quarterback David Blough (11) throws against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the second half at Ross Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

David Blough runs 56 yards for the TD vs. Nebraska

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Saturdays in the fall in West Lafayette are long, as Darrell Hazell can’t seem to flip a losing script. He now stands 6-30 in three seasons. And three of those victories have been vs. FCS programs. How many Big Ten wins does Hazell have? Two, against 22 losses. And the defeats are often lopsided.

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Dienhart: Here's a look back at Penn State's 2015 season

Nov 28, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin stands on the sideline during the first quarter of a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

James Franklin squashed those Miami rumors

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State remains a work in progress, but James Franklin continues to make progress in his second season. He has the program in a bowl for a second season in a row. But personnel shortcomings are apparent as the effects of probation are still being felt from a depth standpoint.

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Dienhart: Here's a look back at Ohio State's 2015 season

Nov 28, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) runs the ball in for a touchdown as Michigan Wolverines safety Jarrod Wilson (22) attempts to block in the third quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Urban Meyer previews 2016 Fiesta Bowl

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

As the defending national champion, Ohio State entered 2015 with a big target on its back. Adding to the pressure was a unanimous preseason No. 1 ranking. The Buckeyes were the hunted.

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Dienhart: Here's a look back at Northwestern's 2015 season

Sep 12, 2015; Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats running back Warren Long (13) runs off the field with teammates after a touch down during the first half of the game against the Eastern Illinois Panthers at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Wildcats drop Illinois at Solider Field

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

When 2015 dawned, questions loomed over Northwestern. The Wildcats went 10-3 in 2012, winning their first bowl since the 1948 season. But consecutive 5-7 seasons followed. Could Pat Fitzgerald get a program seemingly rocked by a highly-publicized effort to unionize back on track? On the field, had Northwestern gone soft? All is well now in the wake of a 10-win season and a New Year’s Day bowl trip as one of the most surprising teams not just in the Big Ten—but in the nation.

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Dienhart: Here's a look back at Nebraska's 2015 season

Nov 7, 2015; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. (4) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Michigan State Spartans at Memorial Stadium. The Cornhuskers won 39-38. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Relive Huskers' upset of Michigan State

The excitement that surrounded the arrival of Mike Riley from Oregon State evaporated quickly in the wake of myriad close losses that caused stomachs to turn on an almost weekly basis across the state. Each Saturday seemingly brought another round of misery, as iffy decisions, a lack of execution and personnel shortcomings conspired to sully Riley’s debut.

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Dienhart: Here's a look back at Minnesota's 2015 season

Sep 26, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach Jerry Kill kneels down after the game against the Ohio Bobcats at TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Kill talks retirement

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off back-to-back 8-5 seasons—including the program’s first New Year’s Day bowl since the 1961 season in 2014—Minnesota fell … hard. The Golden Gophers were thought to be a legit contender in the Big Ten West. Instead, the team sunk to near the bottom of the standings with a losing record and made a bowl only because of a good APR and the fact there weren’t enough 6-6 teams to fill a bloated postseason system that needs 80 teams.

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Dienhart: Here's a look back at Michigan State's 2015 season

Oct 17, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive back Jalen Watts-Jackson (20) dives into the end zone for a game winning touchdown as the clock runs out in the fourth quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Michigan State 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Spartans fans will never forget this play

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 season was further validation of the elite program Mark Dantonio has constructed since arriving in 2007. The 12 wins this season mark the fifth time in the last six seasons that Michigan State has won at least 11 games. The Spartans also took home their third Big Ten title under Dantonio, while earning the program’s first playoff bid.

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Dienhart: Here’s a look back at Iowa’s 2015 season

Oct 31, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz applauds from the sidelines during the second half against the Maryland Terrapins at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa won 31-15. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Hear from the consensus Big Ten Coach of the Year

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

No one saw this coming, a 12-1 record that included a perfect regular season, a West Division crown and a Rose Bowl berth. But those are the accomplishments for Iowa a year after the natives grumbled loudly after an unsatisfying 7-6 season.

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Dienhart: Here's a look back at Illinois' 2015 season

Nov 7, 2015; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini running back Josh Ferguson (6) runs with the ball against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross Ade Stadium. Illinois defeated Purdue 48-20. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Ferguson takes screen pass for TD at Purdue

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois’ season took a bizarre twist before the first kickoff, as Tim Beckman was fired a week before the opener amid allegations he had mistreated players. The school quickly turned to sage offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, who did a good job keeping the program on track.

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