1. One Honest Thought On Each Big Ten Team
Click on each team for the preview, 5 things to know
Big Ten East
Indiana – This is a potentially fun team with a whole lot of terrific parts. The defensive back seven is going to let the team down from time to time, but the offense should be good enough to make up for it.
Maryland – There’s talent in place, but the lines have to be a whole lot better in a big, big hurry. Outside of Rutgers, where’s the almost-certain win going to come from?
Michigan – Get good quarterback play already, Michigan. Shea Patterson wasn’t awful, but part of the reason Jim Harbaugh can’t win the really, really big games because he doesn’t have the really, really big-time talent at quarterback.
Michigan State – There could be a whole lot of ugly Spartan games this season. Mel Tucker has the defense to be among the best in the Big Ten, and his team will have to grind it out against the stars in the East.
Ohio State – Focus. That’s it. Ryan Day was beyond brilliant last season at getting his team to be 100% in the moment in each and every step of the way, but this time around the distractions will be enormous. Focus, and the Big Ten race might be over.
Penn State – The loss of Micah Parsons is painful, but the defense is still going to be fantastic. The offensive line should become a force as the year goes on what should be a quietly efficient attack.
Rutgers – If everyone can get and stay healthy, the Scarlet Knights have a few extremely nice parts to build around, and they even have a little bit of offensive explosion. In the Big Ten-only schedule, though, set the bar at not losing every game by double-digits.
Big Ten West
Illinois – The transfers are going to make things interesting. Lovie Smith has always gone hard after some of the best prospects in the portal, but this time around he’s getting them, especially for the passing game and defensive tackle.
Iowa – Even through all of the issues and all of the problems this off-season, this is yet another rock-solid Hawkeye team with more offensive pop and explosion than last season.
Minnesota – Even without Rashod Bateman, the Minnesota passing game will be fine because the running game will help take the pressure off. This Gopher team is for real. It might not be as strong as the 2019 version, but it’ll be a factor again.
Nebraska – Just make the offense explosive. It’s okay if – in this strange year – the Huskers aren’t back to being a national championship program, but at least the Scott Frost era has to look like it’s on the verge of becoming a thing.
Northwestern – That’s not going to happen again. The 2019 debacle isn’t going to happen again, the miserable offense isn’t going to happen again, and being that bad isn’t going to happen again. The Wildcats have too much defensively to be awful.
Purdue – There won’t be a lot of wins, but there will be at least one over someone great. The Boilermaker offense will be devastating, and the D line isn’t bad – expect a ton of 41-37-like games.
Wisconsin – If you’re Wisconsin and your biggest concern is running back, you’re okay. The receivers could use a little help, too, but the makings are there to be one of Paul Chryst’s best teams as long as the O can piece together a group to replace Jonathan Taylor.