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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Countdown to kickoff: East suprise team?

Kickoff is fast approaching. To help count down the days to Aug. 28, the team is discussing one topic every day. Think of it as our countdown to kickoff. Today’s topic: East surprise team? See Tom Dienhart, Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina’s picks in this post. See our other 2014 predictions: Tom Dienhart: Maryland. Maryland. Don’t sleep on this Big Ten newcomer. The Terps have the makings of one of the Big Ten’s better offenses; and the defense features nine starters back. Could this be the third-best team in the East? We’ll see. One thing’s for sure: The schedule

Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State camp preview: What about Braxton's backup?

Will this be the year Ohio State wins its first Big Ten title since 2009? Perhaps. Urban Meyer has enjoyed some big success his first two seasons in Columbus, ripping off 24 wins in a row to start his tenure before ending 2013 with consecutive defeats to Ohio State and Clemson. No doubt, Ohio State will be motivated. Having QB Braxton Miller back will be a huge asset. The coaching staff knows what to expect from this dynamic player and top Heisman contender. But can he stay healthy? And a defensive line that will feature ends Joey Bosa and Noah

Steve Mitchell

Five Big Ten programs listed on top 25 jobs list posted its top 25 jobs in college football Monday, and a handful of Big Ten teams made the list. Ohio State paced the Big Ten, at No. 6, behind Florida, Texas, Georgia, USC and Alabama. Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin and Nebraska also made the cut. See where all the Big Ten teams land in this post. No. 6 Ohio State No. 11 Michigan No. 14 Penn State No. 19 Wisconsin No. 23 Nebraska If five Big Ten schools are to be listed in such a ranking, these are the five one would expect, and probably in a similar order

Pat Fitzgerald

Countdown to kickoff: West surprise team?

Kickoff is fast approaching. To help count down the days to Aug. 28, the team is discussing one topic every day. Think of it as our countdown to kickoff. First up: West surprise team? See Tom Dienhart, Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina’s picks in this post. See our other 2014 predictions: Tom Dienhart: Northwestern. Motivation won’t be lacking for the Wildcats, who saw a run of five bowls in a row end as a result of last season’s 5-7 season. Northwestern welcomes back lots of veteran talent. If the line play improves and the Cats learn how to win

Kevin Wilson

Indiana camp preview: How does the defense look?

The BTN 2014 camp tour begins on Tuesday in Bloomington, Ind., where we will check out Kevin Wilson’s fourth Indiana squad in the first of 14 stops. Hopes are high in southern Indiana, as Wilson looks to punch the Hoosiers’ first postseason ticket since 2007. Indiana came close to a bowl last season, finishing 5-7 with narrow home losses to Navy and Minnesota proving to be costly. Here are the questions I’ll be looking to answer for a program with a new offensive and defensive coordinator. Get Tom Dienhart’s latest posts: 1. How does the defense look? Kevin Wilson fired

Big Ten Top Players

19 Big Ten players land on ESPN's CFB Top 100 recently finalized a list of the top 100 players in college football this season. A total of 19 Big Ten standouts appear on the list, led by Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun, who comes in at No. 4. Here is a look at where all 19 Big Ten players appear and a short blurb from ESPN on each player near the top of the list. Check out our stat leader predictions: 4. Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State Ranking: 8.94/10 “An explosive pass-rusher and the anchor up front for another fearsome-looking group of MSU defenders, Calhoun wasted no time

Urban Meyer

Tour preview: What I'll watch, and where I'll eat

The sparkly BTN tour bus chugs away from our glistening headquarters on 600 West Chicago Ave., on Monday, as a near-three-week journey that will span from Lincoln, Neb., to New Brunswick, N.J., begins. I can’t wait to see driver Kevin, drink Red Bull, shop for mesh hats at remote truck stops and see if Gerry DiNardo is still the last human on the planet who carries a handkerchief. The mission: Watch all 14 Big Ten teams practice to get a peek at each school before the 2014 season starts. The first stop: Indiana. Our show BTN Live is announcing each

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Debate It: Who will be 2014 rushing yards leader?

A season ago, Ameer Abdullah and Melvin Gordon battled for the rushing yards crown. Abdullah, in the end, finished on top, albeit on 75 more carries than his rival in Madison. This season, the way the Big Ten’s loaded at running back, it might be more than a two-man race. Will Abdullah be able to hold off the deep pool? See Tom Dienhart, Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina’s predictions in this post. RUSHING YARDS 2013 leader: Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska – 1,690 2014 returning leader: Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska – 1,690 Tom Dienhart: Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska. He didn’t come back for his

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten has embarrassment of riches at RB

There’s Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford and Minnesota’s David Cobb. Do you want me to go on? OK. There’s also Indiana’s Tevin Coleman, Iowa’s Mark Weisman, Northwestern’s Venric Mark, Illinois’ Josh Ferguson, Rutgers’ Paul James and Penn State’s Zach Zwinak. Get the picture? The Big Ten has an embarrassment of riches in the backfield, a loaded contingent of running backs that is perhaps the best collection in the nation. Read more of Tom Dienhart’s latest posts: “The Big Ten always has had good backs and a physical running game,” said Purdue defensive end Ryan Russell.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Our biggest surprises in first Coaches Poll

The 2014 preseason Coaches Poll came out Thursday morning, and while four Big Ten teams appear in the top-25 rankings, there are several surprises that stand out. Where is Michigan on the list, or how about Iowa? Which Big Ten teams are ranked too high, or too low? Our panelists sounded off on the biggest surprises from the preseason polls. Check out Tom Dienhart’s latest posts: Tom Dienhart: Iowa being unranked: I was a bit miffed that Iowa wasn’t ranked in the Coaches Poll. Conversely, division rivals Wisconsin (14) and Nebraska (22) both were ranked. In my mind, the