Big Ten 2018 Spring Rankings & Analysis

Big Ten 2018 Spring Rankings & Analysis

2018 Spring Football

Big Ten 2018 Spring Rankings & Analysis


The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Big Ten.


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Big Ten 2018 Spring Rankings

Based on how the teams appear to be this spring.

14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

The Scarlet Knights are getting far better, and the talent level is improving, but it’s still going to be a fight to get through an improved Big Ten. The secondary should be improved, and the O line gets back four starters, but the offensive playmakers have to emerge.
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

13. Illinois Fighting Illini

Can the youth movement of last season pay off? Lovie Smith needs to come up with a quarterback – hoping for Virginia Tech transfer A.J. Bush to rock – but the entire offensive line is back and the defense returns nine starters. There’s experience, but is there talent?
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

12. Minnesota Golden Gophers

The P.J. Fleck era isn’t going to kick in full-force quite yet, needing a quarterback to emerge and having to find a better downfield passing game. However, the lines should be sound and the defensive back seven can hit.
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

11. Indiana Hoosiers

This is the big test – can IU rebound and get back to a bowl after whiffing late last season? All five starters are back on the offensive line, and the skill players are there to do more and be more explosive, but the defensive losses are big. The linebacking corps is gutted, and the D line has to be stronger.
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

10. Maryland Terrapins

D.J. Durkin has done a great job of building up the talent level, but he needs a big break at quarterback – someone has to finally stay healthy. All five starters are back on the O line, but the D line is starting over. As long as the offensive firepower is in place, this should be a bowl team.
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

9. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Give it a little bit. Long-suffering Husker fans are more than ready to have a bunch of fun again, and they got their guy. Scott Frost has to come up with another recruiting class or two to get the speed to where it needs to be, but this year is about coming up with the playmakers for the near future. At the very least, Nebraska will go bowling again.
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

8. Purdue Boilermakers

That was fun … now do it again, and better. Four starters return on the offensive line, and most of the top skill players are back to do more with the Jeff Brohm attack. Only four starters return on defense, though, losing a slew of the key parts from a great linebacker corps.
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

7. Northwestern Wildcats

How quickly can Clayton Thorson come back from the knee injury suffered in the bowl game? If he’s okay, the Cats have the best quarterback in the Big Ten – and they’ll need him. The O line will be great, and the defensive front seven will be good, but it’s asking a lot to come up with the same magic.
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

6. Iowa Hawkeyes

The offense has to be better, more consistent, and more dangerous. Getting back QB Nathan Stanley is a start, but the offensive line will be the key with just enough talent back to bang away. The linebacking corps is starting from almost-scratch, but the D line will be great.
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

5. Penn State Nittany Lions

There’s no Saquon Barkley to blow up for the offense, but the line is experience, Trace McSorley is terrific, and there’s great young offensive talent ready to shine. The defense needs a whole lot of work in the defensive back seven, but it’ll be fine with a little bit of time.
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

4. Michigan Wolverines

How can the Wolverines be rebuilding again? The passing game should be much, much stronger, but the line needs a ton of work. With everything back in the secondary, the defense will be outstanding again around Rashan Gary on the defensive interior and pass rusher Chase Winovich on the outside.
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

3. Michigan State Spartans

Get ready for a massive year with the Spartans good enough to push for the Big Ten East title. QB Brian Lewerke is a rising star, with L.J. Scott and the rest of the skill talent to shine behind a great-looking line. Nine starters are back on a defense that will be among the best in the nation, especially in the secondary.
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

The quarterback situation isn’t as strong, and the O line needs some rebuilding, but the running back situation is great and the defense will be incredible with a little bit of time. There’s plenty of reloading to do, but the pass rush will be strong, and as always, the Buckeyes have more than enough talent waiting to rise up.
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

1. Wisconsin Badgers

The Badgers will be even better, even if the record isn’t the same – the schedule is nastier this time around. The offense should be unstoppable, with Jonathan Taylor working behind a line that gets everyone back, and with veteran QB Alex Hornibrook getting a better receiving corps to throw to. The other side might have to replace a slew of key parts, especially in the secondary, but expect things to be business as usual for one of the nation’s top defenses.
– Spring Analysis | Schedule Breakdown

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