Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, April 24, 2014

Northwestern?s union vote will take place on Friday. Hard to really tell what will happen, but results of the vote may not be known for months as the NLRB hears the school?s appeal of it the players are employees. In the meantime, NU is taking no chances, as it has put on a full-court ?no union? campaign.

This is an interesting passage from the New York Times story: ?Players were given new iPads when they arrived for the first day of practice after the N.L.R.B. decision, though the university said the iPads were unrelated to the union process and had been in the planning for months. That afternoon, players were taken to a bowling alley for a team party.?


The final Saturday of spring games is almost upon us. I?ll be heading to East Lansing to watch the Big Ten champs. Can?t wait. In preparation for the game, Michigan State?s seniors split up and held a player draft of the non-seniors. The first player selected: QB Connor Cook. No shock.

But this was a surprise. redshirt freshman safety Jalyn Powell was selected first by the Green Team, ahead of projected starting strong safety RJ Williamson and projected starting nickleback Demetrious Cox.

Speaking of MSU, offensive coordinator Dave Warner is tinkering with some things for a Spartan offense that must continue to evolve after getting better and better last season.

Sounds like there could be a package for the backup quarterback, whoever that is. Tyler O?Connor or Damion Terry.


Iowa has its spring game on Saturday. What to expect? Watch this video from to find out. One thing that is certain: Jake Rudock is the clear No. 1 quarterback.

The Hawkeyes offense welcomes back eight starters. But it needs to show more explosiveness, especially in the passing game. One big area of emphasis is performing better in the red zone.In 2013, Iowa had nine first-and-goal situations from the 3-yard-line or closer and scored touchdowns each time.But in nine opportunities with first-and-goals between the 7- and 9-yard lines, the Hawkeyes scored touchdowns only five times.


In case you haven?t noticed, Nebraska?s Tim Miles? name has come up in the coaching rumor mill. Tom Shatel of thinks it?s a sign of the Cornhuskers? relevance. And, he?s correct. What an amazing rise for Miles and Nebraska hoops. Things are just getting started, too. This is exciting.


Could Michigan OT Taylor Lewan go No. 2 in the draft? Mel Kiper and his hair think so.

Most analysts have Lewan as the No. 3 offensive tackle in the draft behind Auburn's Greg Robinson and Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, but Kiper sees Lewan being a possibility between picks No. 2 and No. 6.

?In terms of going (No. 2) it's not out of the question,? Kiper said on a recent conference call. ?Because if (the Rams) do take a tackle, he's right there with Robinson. You can make an argument he's better than Robinson, right now he is. Robinson may have better upside, but I think Taylor Lewan right now really benefited going back for his senior year. If he doesn't go there, he could go to Oakland at five, definitely to Atlanta at six, so I don't think he'll get past six.?


One guy still at Michigan to watch is cornerback Jourdan Lewis, whose emergence was just a matter of time.

The fast-riser looks to have forged a starting spot over most experience teammates Blake Countess and Ray Taylor. No doubt, Lewis looked good in the spring game with two picks. This could be one of the more underrated secondaries in the Big Ten.


Every Wisconsin fan knows the Badgers need a go-to wideout with Jared Abbrederis. Even with ?Abby,? Wisconsin had an anemic passing game in 2013. Could diminutive Kenzel Doe be the guy at wideout this fall?

"I tell Coach each and every time, I want to be No. 1," Doe said after the team's spring game. "I'm not going to settle for No. 2 or No. 3 just because I'm the slot. I'm small. I don't really care about that. I'm going to go out there and compete. I'm going to be on the outside, be on the inside. Come fall, I'm going to make the plays and if he wants to go with saying I'm the No. 1 receiver, then that's what it's going to be."


OK, Ohio State fans: Here?s a video to get you hyped for the football season. You?re welcome.


My take: Two iconic brands.

My take: Hard to argue with those assessments. I think Hyde may be the best pro of them all.

My take: Linebacker is the key spot on Iowa?s defense, with three starters gone.

My take: How about that? Nice.


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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