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Reader Mail: Can Spartans drop Wolverines again?

You have questions. And, of course, I have answers. It’s time for my latest Big Ten Mailbag and my readers brought some solid questions this week. What’s on your mind? Football, naturally. In this week’s edition, I’m asked if Michigan State can continue its dominance over instate rival Michigan and if a Big Ten city could bid for the national championship game? See all of my answers to your questions in this post. And, as always, thanks for all of the questions!

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Michigan: 10 reasons to be excited in 2012

Brady Hoke’s debut couldn’t have gone much better last season. The moribund three-year Rich Rodriguez tenure saw Michigan go 15-22 (6-18 Big Ten) and left many disappointed. The program hit historic low points in many respects, as the Wolverines fell from the Big Ten elite. But Hoke changed all of that quickly with an 11-2 season that was capped by a Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.

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Is Wisconsin RB Montee Ball underrated? Yes!

Is it possible for the Big Ten’s best football player to be underrated? I ask only because I think Montee Ball is being slighted by media and non-Wisconsin fans alike entering the 2012 season. Yes, I’m saying the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist is underrated. Plain and simple, the senior back who’s fresh off a season in which he scored 39 – 39!!! – touchdowns and ran for 1,923 yards isn’t getting the respect he deserves.

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Dienhart: Q&A with Michigan State DC Pat Narduzzi

Quarterback Kirk Cousins was the face of Michigan State’s 11-3 season in 2011 that concluded with a win over Georgia in the Outback Bowl. But make no mistake about it: defense was the Spartans’ calling card. Credit coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who is one of the hottest assistants in the nation. Michigan State had the No. 1 defense in the Big Ten—and No. 6 in the nation–last season (277.4 ypg). The unit also led the conference in rushing defense (100.5 ypg), interceptions (18) and third-down defense (.337).

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Iowa: 10 reasons to be excited in 2012

Kirk Ferentz knows what it’s like to be the best. He had his Iowa program among the Big Ten’s best from 2002-04, when the Hawkeyes went an aggregate 31-7 with two Big Ten titles. But since then, Iowa has just one double-digit victory season (2009). With that, I present 10 reasons for Iowa fans to be excited about the 2012 season playing in an uber-tough Legends Division. Earlier, I offered up 10 reasons why Illinois and Indiana fans should be excited.

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Illinois: 10 reasons to be excited in 2012

This is the best time of the year. This is the time of year when every team has a shot to win the Big Ten. The possibilities seem limitless, right? The games have yet to begin—heck, practices haven’t started—but great expectations loom from Minneapolis to Bloomington, and from Lincoln to State College. As a way to fuel the aforementioned enthusiasm on each campus, I will offer 10 reasons–in no particular order–to be excited for each Big Ten school. First up: Illinois.

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