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Here is the latest Big Ten Conference sports news from The Associated Press

By The Associated Press | Updated - Aug 13th, 2019 @ 6:06am | Posted - Aug 13th, 2019 @ 1:31am

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Wins in four of its last six games left Nebraska coaches and players optimistic about what lies in store in 2019. The Cornhuskers are a popular pick to win the Big Ten West. Quarterback Adrian Martinez returns and the defense expects to continue improving in year two of the 3-4 system. Nebraska also has a favorable schedule with most of its key Big Ten games at home. The Huskers open Aug. 31 at home against South Alabama.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Chris Ash is heading into his fourth season as the football coach at Rutgers and is again facing an uphill battle. There is no other way to describe coming off a 1-11 season and a winless record in nine Big Ten Conference games.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State defensive lineman Robert Landers hopes being up front about his mental health issues will help others. After the mass shooting in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio, he took to Twitter to talk about his struggles. He's helping to shine a light on a topic that major college football programs have been forced to recognize and confront in recent years.

UNDATED (AP) — Most of the attention surrounding transfers this offseason justifiably has focused on the high-profile quarterbacks who have switched schools. But the first college football season since the arrival of the transfer portal also will feature plenty of impact performers at other positions.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA has backtracked on its new agent certification standards It will no longer require a bachelor's degree for those permitted to represent Division I men's basketball players who declare for the NBA draft while maintaining their college eligibility. The degree requirement drew criticism last week, including by NBA star LeBron James.

UNDATED (AP) — In the early days of the NFL, college football was king and playing professionally was not something most players aspired to do. By planting its flag in large cities, embracing TV exposure and playing a more entertaining style, the NFL surged in popularity and turned college football into a means to an end for many players. Now college teams brag about sending players to the league, while NCAA officials try to downplay what has become obvious: College football is the NFL's de facto minor league.

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