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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / The Grueling Truth's Top 10 Sports Lists / Big Ten Football Power Rankings 2024: Spring edition

Big Ten Football Power Rankings 2024: Spring edition

Publish Date: 04/13/2024
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

A lot of things have changed headed into the 2024 Big Ten Football season, mainly a lot of new teams and faces. A new coach for Michigan and Indiana, as well as new schools, joined the conference. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that Ohio State will start the season in the top spot.

18) Purdue Boilermakers

Due to Deion Burks (Oklahoma) and TJ Sheffield’s departure as transfers, the Boilermakers must identify more playmakers for quarterback Hudson Card as well as improve consistency on offense and defense.

What to Keep an Eye Out for on Defense: Can Purdue’s second year with Coach Ryan Walters’ defensive scheme bring big rewards? Purdue has brought back five starters at each level, so additional reinforcements may be necessary for all three positions. Purdye, through the years, has had many great quarterbacks; see how many made the list of the best Big Ten quarterbacks of all time.

17) Illinois Fighting Illini

Passing Attack. Quarterback Luke Altmyer must make strides forward during his second year in Champaign; additionally, they need to find their new No. 1 receiver with Isaiah Williams off to the NFL.

What to Watch on Defense: With Keith Randolph Jr. and Johnny Newton gone from coach Bret Bielema’s squad, filling their positions defensive front is a top priority; however, there may also be holes to fill in their secondary.

16) Michigan State Spartans

Jonathan Smith may only have three starters returning this spring, but they added some vital building blocks including transfer quarterback Aidan Chiles and running back Nate Carter.

What to Watch on Defense: With new defensive coordinator Joe Rossi at the helm, eight starters return on defense for this year’s Big Ten slate; yet the Spartans allowed an average of 30.9 points a game last season in Big Ten play.

15) Northwestern Wildcats

This spring has been about transitioning to new coordinator Zach Lujan and taking an initial peek at how the quarterback race is shaping up for 2024.

What to Look Out For on Defense: Can the Wildcats improve on last season’s performance? After giving up 28.3 points a game in 223, this defense only allowed 22.5 last season, giving Coach David Braun an excellent foundation for this year.

14) Maryland Terrapins

The Terrapins return a strong foundation at skill positions, but questions still loom up front with five new starters starting for them in 24. Furthermore, NC State transfer MJ Morris has joined to challenge Billy Edwards and Cameron Edge at quarterback.

What to Watch on Defense: Three key secondary players — Tarheeb Still, Beau Brade and Ja’Quan Sheppard are leaving this spring – can coordinator Brian Williams find suitable replacements?

13) Washington Huskies

Complete overhaul. The Huskies return zero starters on offense and must fill major holes at receiver and up front. Will Rogers from Mississippi State is likely a good candidate as their new Quarterback.

What to Watch on Defense: Like on offense, defense has many holes to fill with only two starters returning this spring. Can new coordinator Steve Belichick start finding solutions this season?

12) Indiana Hoosiers

Curt Cignetti takes over an offense that only managed 20.2 points in Big Ten games last season, yet remains hopeful with Ohio State transfer quarterback Kurtis Rourke and receiver Donaven McCulley. How much progress can this unit make this spring ball season? There is much optimism with both arrivals.

What to Watch on Defense: In Big Ten games last season, Indiana allowed 33.8 points. With seven starters back, the new staff has an excellent foundation for assessing this group during spring practice.

With Coach Cig at the helm I believe the Hoosiers can win seven games this season.

11) UCLA Bruins

An immense amount of intrigue surrounds this unit under new coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Will Ethan Garbers take full control of the offense after starting six games as quarterback last season?

What to Expect on Defense: Only four starters return this spring, so this spring will be used to reload and replace top performers such as edge rusher Laiatu Latu and linebacker Gabriel Murphy with those under new coordinator Ikaika Malloe.

10) Minnesota Golden Gophers

Can Minnesota settle New Hampshire transfer Max Brosmer at quarterback? Their ground game should be effective, and four starters return on the offensive line for 2024.

What to Look Out for on Defense: Coach PJ Fleck returns eight starters on defense. However, this unit will miss safety Tyler Nubin and lineman Kyler Baugh. Fleck is an excellent coach and I have a hard time believing that Minnesota won’t have a winning record.

9) Rutgers Scarlet Knights

The Scarlet Knights return four starters up front and underrated running back Kyle Monangai, as well as underrated passing game stalwart Gavin Wimsatt a Minnesota transfer and Athan Kaliakmanis at center. Can they improve upon last season?

What to Watch on Defense: Last season, this unit limited opponents to 21.2 points per contest. This time around, eight starters are back. How will coach Greg Schiano and coordinator Joe Harasymiak utilize them better this season?

8) Wisconsin Badgers

Spring workouts at Madison were designed to familiarize Miami transfer quarterback Tyler Van Dyke with his new surroundings in Madison and to strengthen a line that lost two starters from last season. Wisconsin is known as a running back school, and if you check out the best Big Ten running backs of all time, you will find a few Badgers.

What to Watch on Defense: Wisconsin must fill several holes at every level after returning just five starters last season and finishing eighth in Big Ten yards per play allowed last season. Wisconsin also needs to improve against run play after struggling to defend it last year and ranking eighth overall in yards per play allowed (ranked eighth in 2023).

7) USC Trojans

Miller Moss could become Caleb Williams’ successor as quarterback; and, the Trojans should retool and enhance their offensive line as they head into Big Ten competition.

What to Keep an Eye Out for on Defense: With D’Anton Lynn leading his new staff and helping the defense demonstrate progression by the end of spring, the spring will be key for this unit.

6) Michigan Wolverines

The Wolverines have begun an ambitious rebuild. Just one starter on offense returns in ’24; can new coach Sherrone Moore find the appropriate mix in front of him and an established quarterback to lead this rebuilding effort?

What to Watch on Defense: Michigan still boasts an excellent defensive foundation with four returning starters from last season, so this spring will be key in filling any vacancies and maintaining high standards in 24. The offense is the big question in Ann Arbor.

5) Nebraska Cornhuskers

How will freshman and five-star prospect Dylan Raiola fare in his inaugural spring with Lincoln? Will Raiola secure the starting job, elevating the entire offense and growing support from fellow receivers and teammates around him? This remains a top priority.

What to Watch on Defense: Nebraska was widely considered one of the nation’s underrated defenses in 2018, holding opponents to 18.3 points per game. Now, with seven starters back, can this unit take its play to another level in 2024?

4) Iowa Hawkeyes

Undoubtedly, all eyes will be on the Iowa Hawkeyes’ offense, which struggled mightily last season and is now under new coordinator Tim Lester’s supervision. Will spring bring any hope or optimism for their offense?

What to Watch on Defense: While not an immediate issue, coordinator Phil Parker should address several voids left by former leading pass rusher Joe Evans (nine sacks) and top cornerback Cooper DeJean leaving for the NFL.

The Hawkeye’s defence is always elite, and the offense is always horrendous; it would be nice to see what the Hawkeyes could do with just an average offense.

3) Penn State Nittany Lions

How far will quarterback Drew Allar progress under new coordinator Andy Kotelnicki, and can the Nittany Lions add playmakers at receiver beyond Julian Fleming and KeAndre Lambert-Smith?

What to Watch on Defense: As new coordinator Tom Allen adjusts to this roster’s changes in 2024, this spring is all about finding the ideal blend to ensure success on defense in the fall.

Head Coach James Franklin never can seem to get over the hump; if he doesn’t soon, his seat may start to get a little warm.

2) Oregon Ducks

This spring is focused on getting Oklahoma transfer Dillon Gabriel acquainted with his new surroundings under center. Oregon does not face many serious offensive concerns this season, though they will miss All-American center Jackson Powers-Johnson on their line.

On Defense: Reloading the interior line and secondary are coach Dan Lanning’s top offseason priorities on this side of the ball. Oregon is a well-coached team, though, and should be near the top of the Big Ten.

Video: All 83 Oregon Ducks Touchdowns From The 23-24 Season

All 83 Oregon Ducks Touchdowns From The 23-24 Season

1) Ohio State Buckeyes

Will Howard of Kansas State transfer and talented freshmen Julian Sayin and Air Noland make an impressionable statement in their first exhibition game as Kansas State transfer when he beat Air Noland 34-3? How will the offensive line fare this offseason? Check out our list of the best Ohio State Buckeyes of all time.

The Defense should be among the strongest units in college football in 2024, as nine starters return. But coordinator Jim Knowles must replace linebackers Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers this spring in order to help this unit take another step forward after holding opponents to 11.2 points per game during 23.


“The” Ohio State Buckeyes 2024 Offense Will Be SCARY!!!

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