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Reader Mail: 2012 Big Ten Dark Horse & More

Nebraska's Taylor Martinez

Film Session with Nebraska's Tim Beck

You have questions, and I have answers right here in my latest Big Ten Mailbag. In this installment, a diehard Buckeye fan wonders if the hype surrounding Ohio State may be a little too high and another reader sends me one of the longer questions I’ve ever received. Check out my answers to all of your questions in this post. And don’t be afraid to send me any Big Ten questions you have for future mailbags. Simply fill out the form at the bottom of the post. It’s that easy.

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Chicago Bulls wowed by Nebraska's hoops facilities

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Nebraska's New Training Complex

Other than similar team colors, the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Chicago Bulls have very little in common. Actually, there is another thing: Eric Piatkowski played for both teams. In all seriousness, though, it probably surprises all that the Bulls, an NBA championship franchise, would consult the Huskers, a team without a conference title in more than six decades, about anything basketball related. They did, and it has to do with Nebraska’s impressive Hendricks Training Complex.

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Debate it: 2012 Big Ten interception leader

Purdue's Ricardo Allen

Brandin Hawthorne Interception - Michigan Spring Game

Yesterday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart and BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina hit email to debate the 2012 Big Ten reception leader, the eighth in our series of Big Ten statistical predictions. Next up: Interceptions. Who will lead the Big Ten in 2012? See Tom and Brent’s email thread in this post and vote for your leader, too.

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BTN School Days: NU Wildcats

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Northwestern at Nebraska - Football Highlights

Eight years. Seven national championships. It’s been an incredible, historic — you name the adjective — run for the Northwestern women’s lacrosse program, which claimed national crown No. 7 in May to highlight the 2011-12 Northwestern athletic year. The seven championships rank second all-time behind perennial power Maryland’s 10, won from 1986-2010. Even more impressive, the one year during the streak that Northwestern didn’t win it all, it lost in the 2010 title game to Maryland.

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Unit Rankings: 2012 Big Ten special teams

Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah

Fresno State at Nebraska - Football Highlights

It’s the third component of every team. It’s also the most overlooked component. It’s special teams. And it’s often the difference between winning and losing. So, pay attention to these rankings, from 1 to 12, of the Big Ten special teams. Oh, and don’t forget about all of my 2012 unit rankings. Don’t agree with the rankings? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post or tweet me: @BTNTomDienhart.

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BTN School Days: Nebraska Huskers

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Penn State at Nebraska - Volleyball Wrap-Up

How good was Nebraska’s first volleyball season as a Big Ten member? Put it this way: The Huskers won the Big Ten crown, with a 17-3 conference record, snapping four-time reigning national champ Penn State’s remarkable eight-year reign atop the loaded Big Ten. Yeah, it was pretty good — so good, in fact, Nebraska’s historic volleyball season highlights the school’s 2011-12 athletic year. Not even an unexpected second-round exit from the NCAA tourney can change that.

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