Four Big Ten teams ranked in SN's preseason top 25

Four Big Ten teams are ranked in SportingNews.com’s Preseason Top 25, headlined by No. 9 Ohio State. Reigning Big Ten and Rose Bowl champ Michigan State comes in at No. 12, while Nebraska (No. 17) and Wisconsin (No. 19) round out the Big Ten contingent. For the curious minds, Oklahoma is the site’s No. 1 team.

[ MORE: SportingNews.com: Preseason Top 25 ]

No. 9 Ohio State

“Urban Meyer says he’s more involved in the defense; says new defensive coordinator Chris Ash has made a difference in the way the Buckeyes get after the quarterback and cover in the secondary (two problems in 2013). OK, we’ll bite. It’s hard to argue with Meyer’s track record. Imagine what happens if the Buckeyes do get significantly better on defense — and still have QB Braxton Miller leading a dangerous offense.”

No. 12 Michigan State

“We’re at the point now in East Lansing where Spartans coach Mark Dantonio has this thing so figured out, and rolling so fluidly, that even a revamped defense won’t slow success. That defense, by the way, also has the best pure rush end in college football in Shilique Calhoun. The sooner Connor Cook develops into an elite thrower, the more dangerous the Spartans become.”

No. 17 Nebraska

“There’s no bigger question floating around Lincoln than who plays quarterback (Tommy Armstrong Jr. or Johnny Stanton), especially with star tailback Ameer Abdullah forgoing the NFL for his senior season. Then there’s the underlying issue: What can this program do to keep from losing another four games (six straight seasons under coach Bo Pelini) in 2014?”

No. 19 Wisconsin

“Only one team in college football has fewer returning starters (Utah State), but that lack of experience (especially on defense) won’t prevent the Badgers from pushing Nebraska for the Big Ten West Division title. Don’t expect many surprises: Running backs Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement (and perhaps true freshman Taiwan Deal) will pound away, while QB Joel Stave throws over the top.”

All things considered, four teams seems about right. That said, with what Iowa returns and its favorable schedule, it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Kirk Ferentz’s team spends a lot of time in the top 25 of polls.

About Brent Yarina BTN.com senior editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.

15 Comments

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Will on 5/27/2014 @ 1:29pm EDT Said:

“best pure rush end in college football in Shilique Calhoun” LOL. Randy Gregory eats Calhoun’s lunch when it comes to rushing the passer.

Big P on 5/27/2014 @ 2:23pm EDT Said:

Will, I think Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year speaks for itself. I would take Calhoun over Gregory any day.

sportsnut1996 on 5/27/2014 @ 3:23pm EDT Said:

Calhoun is better than Gregory, more athletic, faster, already an NFL sized body, scores more (3-4 TDs last season), gets double/triple-teamed even (and more often), only became a starter for one season and now has nfl teams licking their chops, he’s also stronger, and overall Calhoun is better, more fumbles, recovered and forced too. Calhoun make Gregory look like an MSU d-line back-up.

Chaz on 5/27/2014 @ 3:30pm EDT Said:

Sparty had his brief flirtation with success. Now back to mediocrity.

Mary Brennan on 5/27/2014 @ 3:33pm EDT Said:

Well said, Will. Nobody in the conference, if not the entire country, is better than Randy Gregory. GBR!!

Eric on 5/27/2014 @ 3:35pm EDT Said:

Gregory isn’t a pure rush end.

Matt on 5/27/2014 @ 3:54pm EDT Said:

Who’s Randy Gregory? Did he win a Big Ten Championship last year?

bigtengrad on 5/27/2014 @ 4:32pm EDT Said:

sportsnut and Big P, come up with a valid argument as to why Calhoun is a better end than Gregory. The ONLY stat that matters that Calhoun led was fumble recoveries. Also, “more athletic” is subjective, and they were both starters for one season. As a matter of fact RG showed up on campus shortly before the season began. How do you know Calhoun is stronger? Spend a lot of spare time in the MSU and NU S&C facilities? They’re both really impressive, Gregory had a much better stat line last year. That may change this year, with offenses keying on him, but we’ll see. One last thing, I rarely saw Calhoun triple-teamed last year. The rest of their defense was too good for that to happen.

Scott on 5/27/2014 @ 5:54pm EDT Said:

Ranking MSU as low as #12 is silly. But then, if this publication is putting Oklahoma at #1,. then they aren’t meant to be taken seriously, anyway. As for Nebraska, they get the advantage in playing the Little Boy division of the Big Ten. Unfortunately for them, they have to play in East Lansing. So there’s one loss that Wisconsin and Iowa won’t have. If the Huskers want a revenge game with MSU, they’ll have to sweep the Badgers & Hawkeyes. I’m not sure they can do that. I fully expect to see Iowa in Indianapolis when my Spartans make their return in December.

paul grattarola on 5/27/2014 @ 8:24pm EDT Said:

Which team has won 10 in a row (MSU) & which team is on a 2 game skid (OSU). If Sparty pulls the upset @ Oregon watch out! Remember the Ducks have had tons of trouble with Stanford a team that mirrors the Spartans.

Gary L. Hale on 5/27/2014 @ 11:21pm EDT Said:

Congrats to Wisc for playing a top 15 team in the pre Big Ten Sched for the 1st time in 19 years!! That is pathetic….and they won’t win, but at least they put it on the sched. If K Ferentz wins 9 games and makes the top 20 he automatically wins the Big Ten coach of the year. Ferentz 3, Jim Tressell 7 Big Ten titles 0. MSU has never had 2 seasons for the ages back to back but they will this year? Doubtful.

Christopher Garafalo on 5/28/2014 @ 10:31am EDT Said:

MSU, has the most wins in the B1G Conference over the past half decade. They have Two Legends Division and B1G Titles, 100th Rose Bowl Champions, and three other major bowl victories in four years. The Spartans have a defense that ranked in the top 5 and 10 since 2009, and number one in almost every category all last year! They have put countless players in the NFL, and have a rich tradition. A lot of people forget, this is a program with six National Championships in the modern era of college football! They are now considered one of the most elite programs in the country, again, tradition restored. Also have one of the best basketball programs in the country every year, not many institutions can say that! Give respect where respect is due! #Spartyon

bigtengrad on 5/28/2014 @ 3:55pm EDT Said:

Christopher, what are you trying to point out? We know MSU were killer national championship teams 60 years ago. If that’s the modern era to you, so be it. Isn’t it nice how you can cherry pick eras like the last “half decade”? That is a great technique to bolster youir argument (whatever it is). You can actually count the players they put in the NFL. I know it’s amazing, but it’s possible. If being preseason #12 is elite to you, then carry that good feeling out to Eugene where you can reflect on the glory days of the ’50’s while Marcus Mariotta owns you.

Mikah on 5/28/2014 @ 6:07pm EDT Said:

Looks like Spartan fans just climbing out of the wood work here…I have never heard anyone ever refer to MSU as an elite football program……..

Will on 5/30/2014 @ 10:53am EDT Said:

Joey Bosa is already a better rush end than Calhoun. I didn’t see Calhoun make a single play in the B1G Championship.

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