14) Purdue Boilermakers
Jeff Brohm is about to find himself on the hot-seat at Purdue. The Boilermakers are looking at a disastrous upcoming season. To be good in the Big Ten you have to be strong in the trenches and Purdue is not.
13) Rutgers Scarlet Knights
New head coach Greg Schiano has won at Rutgers before and I think he can again. Schiano did a great job in recruiting and they have some pieces. Noah Vedral should be back as the starting quarterback and while I wouldn’t expect Rutgers to be above .500 this season, it has some exciting players such as Bo Melton. Don’t be surprised if Rutgers is over .500 two seasons from now.
12) Maryland Terrapins
Taulia Tagovailoa has a number of veterans back at receiver in Dontay Demus, Rakim Jarrett, and Brian Cobbs, as well as Jeshaun Jones. The Terps are known to start a season fast and to fade, I believe this season will be under.500 for the Terps, the offensive firepower could be there but I do not think the Quarterback play will be consistent enough to win enough games to get into bowl contention.
11) Illinois Fighting Illini
The Illini made a great selection as they will bring Bret Bielema back to the Big Ten coaching ranks. Bielema has proven that he can build a winner in the Big Ten and I think this Illini team could be a darkhorse candidate to have a winning record.
10) Nebraska Cornhuskers
The Huskers will have Adrian Martinez back under center, as well as nearly their entire starting defense back from last season, including a slew of super seniors. The issue will be the same as last year though, running the ball and stopping the run.
9) Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans will have two solid Quarterbacks battle it out to be the starter and both have turnover issues. Head Coach Mel Tucker did a solid job last year but for the Spartans to contend for a Bowl game he will need either Payton Thorne or Anthony Russo to step up at Quarterback and led this team.
8) Michigan Wolverines
The Wolverines have talent but as per usual in Ann Arbor, inconsistent Quarterback play will keep them fighting just to make a bowl game.
7) Northwestern Wildcats
The Wildcats had a magical season last year and should be a solid team again this upcoming season but the Quarterback play should keep them from contending for the West division title again.
6) Minnesota Golden Gophers
The Gophers should be explosive on offense as Quarterback Tanner Morgan returns along with running back Mohamed Ibrahim. The issues will come on the defensive side of the ball. I expect the Gophers to have a solid season and make a bowl appearance.
5) Iowa Hawkeyes
They finished last year ranked in the top 20 and have 13 starters returning on offense and defense, including starting quarterback Spencer Petras. The Hawkeyes did sustain losses on the offensive and defensive lines and they will have to shore those spots up, an appearance in the Big Ten title game would not be surprising.
4) Penn State Nittany Lions
Quarterback Sean Clifford finished last year strong and along with receivers Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington, and a solid running game Penn State look to be a strong contender for being the sleeper team in the Big ten.
3) Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers will be led by QB Graham Mertz and they will be big and strong in the trenches. Jason Berger will make the run game as devastating as always. Look for Wisconsin to battle Ohio State or Indiana for the Big Ten Championship.
2) Indiana Hoosiers
Last season, Tom Allen’s Indiana Hoosiers were a win against Ohio State away from reaching the Big Ten title game and who knows, maybe even the College Football Playoff. If a healthy Michael Pennix is ready from game one the Indiana Hoosiers could very well win the Big Ten title.
1) Ohio State Buckeyes
Master Teague will take over as the starting running back and my bet is on CJ Stroud winning the quarterback competition. The Buckeyes as the old saying goes do not rebuild, they reload.