Big Ten Power Rankings: Ohio State, Penn State top preseason poll
It’s game week … finally! And after visiting each Big Ten camp on the BTN bus tour and with the season on our doorstep, here is my premiere power poll, presented by ArcelorMittal.
1. Ohio State. This may be Urban Meyer’s most talented team since he arrived in Columbus. Scary thought, huh? It’s national title or bust.
Up next: at Indiana (Thursday)
2. Penn State. The Nittany Lions are reigning kings of the Big Ten. And get this: The 2017 edition may be even better, especially on offense.
Up next: Akron
3. Wisconsin. The Badgers have no glaring weakness and a user-friendly schedule. Could this team go unbeaten and make the playoff?
Up next: Utah State
4. Michigan. Love the pile of talent in Ann Arbor. The issue? It’s young talent. Check back in 2018, when the Wolverines may be primed to win the Big Ten. Still, Michigan may surprise this fall.
Up next: Florida (in Arlington, Texas)
5. Northwestern. Can Pat Fitzgerald take the Purple to Indianapolis? Perhaps. The defense has speed and the offense has a top 1-2 punch in QB Clayton Thorson and RB Justin Jackson.
Up next: Nevada
6. Nebraska. It’s Year Three for Mike Riley but it feels like Year One, as the offense will look radically different and a new 3-4 scheme has been installed on defense.
Up next: Arkansas State
7. Iowa. No doubt, the Hawkeyes will be strong in the trenches. But questions loom at receiver and cornerback. And how will the new QB look?
Up next: Wyoming
8. Maryland. If the Terrapins were a stock, they would have a “buy” rating. It’s only a matter of time before this program pushes its way further up the East mountain.
Up next: At Texas
9. Michigan State. The Spartans are looking to put a dreary 2016 in the rear-view mirror, but questions loom. Was last year an aberration?
Up next: Bowling Green
10. Indiana. The Hoosiers could be a surprise team under new boss Tom Allen if the defense picks up where it left off last season.
Up next: Ohio State (Thursday)
11. Minnesota. It’s time for P.J. Fleck to start rowing in what is one of the most anticipated debuts in recent Big Ten history.
Up next: Buffalo (Thursday)
12. Purdue. The roster still is depleted, but the staff will maximize the talent on hand. It the Boilermakers win four games, new coach Jeff Brohm should be coach of the year.
Up next: Louisville (at Indianapolis)
13. Rutgers. The building continues in Piscataway for Chris Ash, whose biggest offseason move was hiring Jerry Kill as offensive coordinator.
Up next: Washinton
14. Illinois. There may not be a younger team in the Big Ten. You know what that means: The building continues in Year Two under Lovie Smith. Be patient.
Up next: Ball State