B1G Power Rankings: Spring Football Edition

The conference will be trying to keep up with Braxton & Co. this year

The conference will be trying to keep up with Braxton & Co. this year

1. Ohio State– Coming off of an undefeated season and a consensus top 3 recruiting class, the Buckeyes should be a heavy favorite to win the B1G this season. With the majority of the skill position players returning on offense, they could be scary in year two of running Coach Urban Meyer’s offense. Besides Ryan Shazier, the Buckeyes front seven will look completely different and they will need some of their young talent to fill in the holes on the depth chart. A very easy schedule ( no Nebraska, MSU) could equal another undefeated regular season.

2. Michigan– The Denard Robinson era is finally over and Devin Gardner gets his chance as a full time starter. He can build on his good performance against South Carolina and most likely won’t face a defense in the B1G as talented as the Gamecocks. The Wolverines lost half of their defense and a couple of offensive lineman, so we will see how they fare early in the season versus Notre Dame.

3. Northwestern– The Wildcats are looking to build off of last year’s 10 win season and their bowl game victory over Mississippi State. The offense should be pretty good with Kain Colter, Venric Mark and the rest of the offensive core returning. Expect Pat Fitzgerald’s squad to compete for a Legends Division title.

4. Nebraska– The offense should be able to carry the Cornhuskers with Taylor Martinez, Kenny Bell and Ameer Abdullah returning. On the other hand, the defense was abysmal to say the least in the B1G Championship Game and also lost six starters. If the defense improves, the ‘Huskers will be there at the end.

5. Wisconsin– As much as us Buckeye fans belittled Bret Bielema, he did lead the Badgers to three consecutive Rose Bowl appearances. Gary Andersen has big pants (literally) to fill but should do well as long as the players buy into his new system. They loose Monte Ball but return James White at running back. Lets see if a quarterback can step up this year as they are still trying to replace Russell Wilson.

6. Michigan State- There are many question marks for Sparty as they lost workhorse Le’Veon Bell and defensive end William Gholston early to the NFL. Will Andrew Maxwell improve as a passer or will Coach Mark Dantonio have to look elsewhere for a signal caller? Michigan State will always have a solid defense that will keep them in games but they will need improvement on the other side of the ball to bounce back from last year’s disappointing 7-6 season.

7. Penn State– Bill O’Brien returns for his second season in Happy Valley after a successful 8-4 season despite the circumstances he was dealt with. With QB Matt McGloin gone, who will be under center for O’Brien’s pro-style offense? Will it be sophomore Steven Bench or highly touted freshman Christian Hackenberg? The Nittany Lions do return eight starters on offense and six on defense so expect at least one more season of quality football at Penn State.

8. Minnesota– The Golden Gophers are coming off of a six win season that included a close bowl game loss versus Texas Tech. With something to build on, Coach Jerry Kill needs improvement on both sides of the ball as the offense had a tough time scoring in the B1G and the defense had trouble stopping conference opponents. Another bowl bid should be a goal for the Gophers this season.

9. Iowa– The Hawkeyes uncharacteristically struggled last season, notching only four wins. For a team that seems to be in the hunt year in and year out, it was a very disappointing season for Coach Kirk Ferentz and the rest of the squad. They finished the 2012 campaign on a six game losing streak where the offense only eclipsed 20 points twice. Look for Coach Ferentz to get the program back where it belongs.

10. Indiana– Well, the offense can score with anyone in the conference but can the defense make any stops? That will be the key to the 2013 season as the Hoosiers are looking to improve on a decent 2012 season where they were very competitive in the conference. If the defense can make any sort of stride, expect the Hoosiers to make some noise in the B1G.

11. Purdue– Old friend Darrell Hazell is now on the sidelines in West Lafayette. This team is a real wildcard, it is one that could put some scare into conference opponents, or they could be a B1G punching bag in 2013. They could have a solid defense but the offense will be a major question mark.

12. Illinois– The Illini have no where to go but up after last year’s dreadful season. Lets see if they can notch their first conference win in over a year. They do return quarterback Nate Scheelhaase, who led the B1G’s most anemic offense, so maybe there will be some sort of improvement there.

Comments

  1. Obviously I agree with no 1 ….. no 2 though is just a big pile of actual no 2

  2. I think I’m still on the Northwestern bandwagon like I was last year… They’ll leap frog TTUN I’m guessing

  3. It’s probably the homer in me, but I’m optimistic about the B1G this year. It’s probably a case of “a rising tide raises all boats” but I think Meyer is bringing a different mentality to the league and schools better start looking for talented new coaching staffs or be left in the dust (looking at you, Iowa). But that being said, it’s still going to be the Big Two and the Little Ten (soon to be Little Twelve)

  4. Yeah I agree, seems like a lot of good players returned this year across the board in all of college football and especially the B1G. The Legends Division should be pretty competitive this year. Leaders… Not so much.

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