In what might be the craziest of college football seasons, how good are all of the teams? Here are the CFN Big Ten Preseason Rankings of every team.
This is NOT a ranking of where the teams are going to end up. This is only based on how good we think the Big Ten teams are going into whatever the 2020 season is going to be.
14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Be Excited About … new head coach Greg Schiano isn’t going to make this too difficult. The Rutgers offense needs to be able to do something right, and it’s going start by pounding away with RB Isaih Pacheco and hope for the defensive front to hold up better. But …
Be Concerned About … the offensive line isn’t good enough to blast away. The Scarlet Knights were second-to-last in total and scoring offense averaging 273 yards and 13.3 points per game. The front five wasn’t totally miserable last year, but it needs a redo.
The Season Will Be Successful If … it wins three games. That might be a sad goal to shoot for, but with an all-Big Ten schedule, finding one win – considering the Maryland game will likely be on the road – would be good, much less three.
13. Maryland Terrapins
Be Excited About … the potential of the passing game. The Terps were disastrous at times through the air last season, but if Josh Jackson can stay in one piece and be more consistent – Alabama transfer Taulia Tagovailoa will likely have to sit a year – the receivers are there for the offense to start moving.
Be Concerned About … the secondary. There are a whole lot of concerns and issues going into the season – starting to score again would be nice – but stopping someone’s passing game could be the biggest thing to deal with. The Terps were dead last in the Big Ten in pass defense allowing 271 yards per game.
The Season Will Be Successful If … the Terps win three games. That’s a BIG ask considering head coach Mike Locksley’s career record is 6-40, but there aren’t going to be a whole lot of easy wins in whatever the Big Ten-only schedule will be. Rutgers is one, and … ?
12. Illinois Fighting Illini
Be Excited About … enough in the starting 22 to hang around with most teams on the slate. The depth is concerning, and the skill parts are just okay, but the lines are good enough, the special teams should be great, and the defensive back seven will be a plus. But …
Be Concerned About … the offense that struggled to consistently get anything going. The Fighting Illini couldn’t go on long drive and averaged just 330 yards per game. Josh Imatorbhebhe is a terrific receiver, but there’s a whole lot of meh around him.
The Season Will Be Successful If … the Illini go back to a bowl game. Now the bar has been set. The Lovie Smith era has had enough time to get going to have all the parts he needs in place, and beating Wisconsin and Michigan State showed what’s possible. There’s no taking any steps back now.
11. Purdue Boilermakers
Be Excited About … a passing game that should go from very good to a whole other level. The Boilermakers led the Big Ten averaging 310 yards per game, and now if the quarterback situation is settled and consistent, Rondale Moore and the receiving corps will make sure the numbers are phenomenal.
Be Concerned About … the running game that will be totally blown off from time to time. The passing attack is too good to not keep using, and the defense won’t be good enough to clamp down in what should be shootout after shootout, but being dead last in the Big Ten in rushing again won’t be okay.
The Season Will Be Successful If … the Boilermakers go bowling. It’s the fourth season under Jeff Brohm, and he’s coming off two straight losing seasons. Rutgers, at Illinois, and Northwestern are winnable, but the team has to be good enough to beat a few of the better teams, too.