The Big Ten represents everything that is great about college football. From legendary rivalries to extraordinary players, the Big Ten is always keeping analysts and fans on their toes. In last year’s season, Michigan dominated the Eastern division on its way to the playoffs over rivals Ohio State and Penn State. In the Western division, Purdue came out on top after a wild and unpredictable performance, against Illinois and Iowa.
As new recruits and transfers join the parthenon of Big Ten greats, I’m excited about this year’s expected performance. After extensive research, I predicted what will happen over the next Big Ten football season, as well as who will win the championship.
East Division Standings:
Penn State (11-1)
Ohio State (9-3)
Michigan State (6-6)
Let's get the obvious out of the way. Michigan is primed to win the Big Ten East again this year. With returning junior quarterback JJ McCarthy, senior star running back Blake Corum and an excellent defense, Michigan is primed to win the East division and compete for a national championship.
Penn State looks dangerous this year as well. With a revamped offensive line, two stud running backs, sophomores Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton, and an excellent defense, Penn State looks to challenge Michigan for the East crown. But they have a new quarterback, sophomore Drew Allar, and while he was a five-star prospect, rookie QB’s like him tend to struggle in big games, and the team is likely to lose to Michigan and finish second in the East.
Ohio State has a great skill position group, especially with junior wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., but the team is trying to replace longtime starter CJ Stroud with a rookie QB, and its defense is inconsistent at best, which will hamper it against elite teams like Michigan and Penn State.
Maryland is looking stronger this year with senior Taulia Tagovailoa, one of the best QB’s in the nation, a revamped skill position group and an improving defense. It is primed to make some noise against the premier teams in the East. Michigan State, Indiana and Rutgers rank at the bottom of a stacked division. They have some talent, but not enough to win against the best of the division.
West Division Standings:
The West is going to be a slaughterfest of mediocrity. This division is clearly the weaker of the two, and it's really not debatable. Purdue and Nebraska are looking to rebuild this year with a new staff and new roster, and Northwestern is trying to improve after a disappointing 2022. Beyond those bottom-feeding teams, the rest of the division is interesting.
Wisconsin is shaping up to be a dominant powerhouse with new senior quarterback Tanner Mordecai, elusive junior running back Braelon Allen and a stacked defensive roster. Its only loss would be to Ohio State, but overall Wisconsin looks to make it to a New Year’s Six bowl next season.
The race for second in the division will be interesting. Illinois is coming off a great season but lost its defensive coordinator to Purdue and Devon Witherspoon, its best player, to the NFL Draft. But it still has talent and an easy schedule, so I predict six wins for the team.
Iowa wants to redeem its terrible offense this season, but as history shows, it most likely will not happen. And finally, Minnesota simply doesn’t have the talent to challenge Wisconsin or Iowa.
All things considered, it's shaping up to be a great season with some tight games. I think the championship game will come down to Michigan and Wisconsin, where Michigan will once again be crowned the Big Ten champions.