Today marks the start of B1G Media Day and unlike most conferences, there is no preseason poll. Instead, we’ll pick up the slack and put together our own preseason rankings.
Big Ten East
- Ohio State - No doubt here. The Buckeyes return their starting QB, JT Barrett, and are always loaded with masses of young players to fill the spots of their NFL-bound players. On defense, they have Raekwon MacMillan, who I think is the best defensive player in the conference. The Buckeyes are certainly my pick to win the whole conference.
- Michigan State - Although the Spartans have lost Jack Conklin and Connor Cook, they have lots of great players and still have Mark D’Antonio on the sidelines. They are always contenders and should be in the thick of things come November.
- Michigan - Many people have been picking MIchigan to win the B1G East and go to the College Football Playoff. I’m not buying it. Jabrill Peppers is the most overrated player in the country and they will have to break in another new starting QB.
- Penn State - PSU is the middle team in this division. There are three great teams, Penn State, and the three lower-tier teams. Saquan Barkley will be one of the best offensive players in the conference but Penn State will most likely find a way to 7-6.
- Rutgers - Rutgers has some good players, but has a lot of youth and not a lot of depth. That being said, they will catch a lot of teams off guard with their new offensive schemes. They can win some games in this division.
- Maryland - Maryland is in a very similar situation to Rutgers, but Rutgers is better.
- Indiana - Indiana is now without Nate Sudfeld and Jordan Howard, aka their whole team. They can’t play defense and now have no offense. Should be a rough year.
Big Ten West
- Iowa - If Raekwon MacMillan is the best defensive player in the B1G, Desmond King is a close second. He is a lockdown corner who can cover anyone. Additionally, the Hawkeyes return starting QB CJ Beathard and could repeat as division champs.
- Nebraska - The Huskers are really good on offense, with Tommy Armstrong and Jordan Westerkamp. However, I’m not sure their defense is good enough to keep up with Iowa. With that being said, they can easily make a push for the B1G Championship game.
- Wisconsin - Once again, the Badgers will be a sneaky good team in the B1G. They will win games they shouldn’t and lose games they shouldn’t. There are lots of question marks on both sides of the ball, but they can play with anyone in the B1G West.
- Minnesota - They aren’t great, but they aren’t bad. They can go 4-8 or 9-3 and no one would be surprised. Tracy Claeys is a great players coach but is not proven as a top-level play-caller. He will have to rely on experienced players and great assistants for a successful season.
- Illinois - Lovie Smith should bring immediate physicality to this team and will play with teams that are much better than the Illini. I think Illinois can turn some heads this season.
- Northwestern - I just can’t see another cinderella season on the horizon
- Purdue - as always