If any of you thought Rutgers was going to win the Big Ten Eastern division, please raise your hands. Okay, doctors, those are the ones who need the restraints. Quickly, before they hurt themselves.
That ain't news, but ESPN did it mathematically (Football Power Index), and according to them we have ZERO chance. By comparison, Ohio State has a 75.3% chance, Michigan State 14.4%, Michigan 7.6%, ttfp 2.7%, and Indians 0.1%. Maryland joins RU at 0%.
ESPN sees the Terps behind us when the dust settles. And they're last, putting Indiana in 5th place just ahead of the Knights.
Guess who? Leonte Carroo is the only Knight to make ESPN's Offense or Defense All-Big Ten squad. And just to heap on us a bit more, with the exception of Wisconsin's Corey Clement on offense, and three players on defense, 18 of the 22 All-Big Ten players are in the Eastern Division. And that includes their offensive Player of the Year (MSU QB Connor Cook) and defensive POY (OSU DE Joey Bosa).
Keys to Rutgers
"Senior WR Leonte Carroo has really only known life with one quarterback: Gary Nova [HS and college]....coach Kyle Flood's pro-style attack will continue to emphasize Carroo - new QB and offensive coordinator notwithstanding."
"...the Knights also have to be concerned about the guys blocking for their crowded backfield: Three new starters will join the O-line in 2015."
ESPN projects Chris Laviano as the starting QB and, unlike Lindy's, they know who Paul James is and they see him as the starting RB.
"Much like the offense, the Rutgers D will rely on a handful of standout playmakers who can single-handedly alter games. We're looking at you, Kemoko Turay."
"....while Rutgers projects to be a bit bigger in 2015, it'll be younger too: Three new starters will join the front seven, two replacing mainstays up the gut, nose tackle Kenneth Kirksey and middle linebacker Kevin Snyder. Clogging the interior won't get any easier."
ESPN around the Big Ten
Cardale Jones is on the cover. And he may not even be the Buckeyes' starting QB. But ESPN, pretty much like everyone else, sees OSU as the #1 team in the nation, at least at the start of the season. Okay, at the end, too. They have the Buckeyes topping Auburn in the NC game, after beating USC in the semi-final.
The only other Big Ten squads in their final Top 25 (and they admit June predictions are pretty iffy), are Michigan State at #8 and Wisconsin at #17.
And they see Ohio State with four All-Americans. The ESPN panel of experts, which includes Brock Huard, Trevor Matich, Rod Gilmore, Ed Cunningham, and Desmond Howard, sees OSU with the #1 skill players and O-line in the country. The Spartans have the #4 O-Line and D-backs. Again, in the country.
For our neighbors to our immediate west, ESPN says they've "....posted three straight winning seasons since the NCAA's 2012 sanctions but has drifted closer to .500 each year. Added depth will help....but 10 wins is probably a pipe dream in the heavyweight East."
As for the folks to the south: "An offense that can't run the ball and a defense that can't stop the run won't hack it in the Big Ten East. The Terrapins are banking on changes - in personnel and in scheme - to jump-start a team that came one 25-point meltdown away from winning eight games last season."