Pre-Spring Big Ten Football Power Rankings

Pre-Spring Big Ten Football Power Rankings

Football

Pre-Spring Big Ten Football Power Rankings


We are light years away from the start of the college football season, but it’s never too early to look ahead. Here is our first Big Ten football power rankings of 2018, before all the spring business hits.


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Pre-Spring Big Ten Football Rankings

Snow is still flying in the Midwest, but that’ll soon give way to sleet, sunshine, and hail — sometimes in the same day. After all, that’s what spring in the heartland is all about.

There’s still a long way to go, including incoming freshman getting on campus, but it’s never too soon to take stock in where teams stack up.

Here’s a look at our first Big Ten Power Rankings before all the spring fun begins. This is of course, a fluid list that we’ll continue to revisit.

14. Illinois

Former Chicago Bear head coach Lovie Smith needs to start showing some progress, or I fear not even Mike Ditka won’t be able to save all the loud noise over whether he’s really the man for the job.

13. Rutgers

Head coach Chris Ash is trying to build something in Piscataway, and there were signs of life last year, but there’s still a long way to go to try and turn things around.

12. Indiana

I fear a slight fall-back has begun in Bloomington this year. Kevin Wilson got things to a respectable level, and Tom Allen is a good defensive mind, but the kids from Florida he is pulling need to season a bit.

11. Minnesota

P.J. Fleck has brought some Red Bull to the program, but the wins didn’t follow last year as the team tailed off. Find a quarterback and then we’ll talk.

10. Maryland

If it weren’t for injuries, the Terps would have been more competitive as the season wore on. They’ll be more healthy this year and will have more answers and depth at QB should they need it.

9. Iowa

I admit it. I never know what to think of the Hawkeyes heading into a season. There’s just not a ton to hang your hat on here, but Ferentz will find someway to win games Iowa shouldn’t, and lose games it should — again. Rinse and repeat.

8. Nebraska

Look for the ‘Huskers to show some immediate improvement under Scott Frost, but this is still a rebuild if not a reset. He’ll need a couple of years to get the system and players installed.

7. Purdue

The Boilermakers will continue their improvement under second-year head coach Jeff Brohm, but quarterback is still an area of concern, and there are holes to fill on defense.

6. Northwestern

The Wildcats will take a little step back with the loss of some key personnel. However, don’t expect that much of a drop. Pat Fitzgerald always seems to get things moving in the right direction and find a way to elbow his team’s way into a bowl game.

 

5. Michigan State

Sparty had a nice bounce back year and has the returning personnel to be very good again. But, MSU is in the East with Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan — all who should very good this year.

4. Michigan

Michigan has a lot back. The defense should be light’s out again, but until it can find a QB, it just won’t be able to get over that elite hump. Jimmy boy might be bitterly disappointed yet again.

3. Wisconsin

The Badgers should again be the team to be in the West, but do have difficult road games at Michigan and at Penn State. They are still a force and will compete for a Big Ten title again.

2. Ohio State

There are athletes galore as usual for the Buckeyes, but installing a new QB and having to go to Happy Valley will be the difference for the East Division. If development under center happens sooner than expected though, look out.

1. Penn State

SaQuon Barkley is gone, but Trace McSorley and other key pieces return. The schedule is more favorable with Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin at all home. The Nittany Lions get the nod for now as the East Division winner and B1G champ.

 

Contact/Follow @BuckeyeWire for continuing coverage of Ohio State football and basketball.

 

 

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