Breaking news, rankings, predictions and analysis all in one place.

College Football Preview: The Big Ten

Kain Colter, Northwestern
Ranking the Big Ten
1. Michigan State
2. Michigan
3. Wisconsin
4. Ohio State
5. Nebraska
6. Northwestern
Overview: With five teams in my top 25 and tons of talent beyond that the Big Ten has the possibility to be the best conference behind the SEC. Michigan State lost Kirk Cousins so many would take them out of the Big Ten title race. Not too fast. Andrew Maxwell is more then capable of replacing Cousins and Le'Veon Bell should run for 1,000 plus yards easily. And as always the Spartans have a deadly defense headed by end William Gholston and pass rushing linebacker Denicos Allen. Michigan won 11 games in 2011 and has much of last year's squad back including Heisman candidate Denard Robinson. "Shoelace" must improve his passing game though in order to win he Big Ten. The problem there is that he only has one returning receiver in Roy Roundtree. Russell Wilson is gone but the Wisconsin Badgers are still title contenders with Maryland transfer Danny O'Brien. And this backfield is just as good, maybe even better. Montee Ball likely won't break Barry Sanders record, the record he tied in '11 but a Heisman isn't out of reach. Who was the Buckeyes top recruit? If you answered Urban Meyer you are correct. Ohio State has a star coach and a whole lot of talent returning in Braxton Miller on offense and John Simon on defense. Jordan Hall, though, the team's starting back, will miss significant time due to a cut on his foot. It isn't clear who will replace him. Tight end Jake Stoneburner and defensive linemen Jonathan Hankins are underrated pieces to the puzzle. Now in it's second year in the Big Ten Nebraska hopes to take the next step and win the conference championship. Easier said then done, as this team lost a number of key defenders and the offensive line is a serious weakness. Though, with Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead back, anything is possible. Northwestern is a team I like a lot more then I thought I would considering they lost Dan Persa. Kain Colter is the mobile quarterback to replace him. Colter started (and did pretty good) in Persa's absence in 2011. He has quite good receivers to pass too. Now that the off field distractions are done Penn State hopes this year they can forget and just play football. The issue is once more quarterback where Matt McGloin nor Rob Bolden have stepped up. But back Silas Redd has the tools to be dominant. It's called Linebacker University for a reason. Back is Gerald Hodges and a healthy Michael Mauti. Purdue returns QB Caleb TerBush and tackle Kawann Short on defense. Back Akeem Shavers could be a breakout star in 2012-2013. Iowa never has much star power but this year they're seriously lacking it. The man to replace now Stony Brook's Marcus Coker? Put your money on power Damon Bullock. Quarterback James Vanderburg isn't anything fantastic but he'll produce for a Hawkeyes team that needs it. Illinois looked like they were going to have a memorable 2011 starting off 6-0. I hope I don't have to tell you how the second half of the season went. Though junior Nate Scheelhasse is back and he can make plays with his feet as well as with his arm. This defense must replace various losses but is still dangerous.  Minnesota keeps on improving under coach Jerry Kill and MarQueis Gray is back. But only one receiver has caught a touchdown and this backfield is depleted. Indiana shouldn't be overlooked. Back Stephen Houston is lethal and receiver Kofi Hughes is super athletic. Quarterback Tre Roberson is now the full time starter and it will be interesting to see how he plays.

No comments:

Theme images by LUGO. Powered by Blogger.