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Buckeyes Back As Favorites As Big Ten Looks To Take Another Step Forward This Season

Posted by on 7/17/2015 10:15:52 PM

The Ohio State Buckeyes sent a message to the rest of the world that the Big Ten is back when they became the first national champion under the new playoff system a year ago and now everybody wants to see what the division has in store. Ohio State is the defending champion, Michigan State has won at least 11 games in four out of the last five seasons and Michigan just received a shot in the arm with the addition of Jim Harbaugh as head coach. Here is a look at what to expect in the Big Ten this season.

Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes might not become the second team to win back-to-back national champions since 1998 but they have reloaded with plenty of talent on both sides of the football and head coach Urban Meyer will have his team in position to contend for a Big Ten title again. Meyer needs a new quarterback but he has plenty of options and considering he won last year’s national title with a third-string quarterback that had sat for most of the year that shouldn’t be a problem.

Michigan State

It doesn’t matter what happens in the offseason because the Spartans always seem to find a way to be a top-25 team. Michigan State has consistently been one of the top programs in the Big Ten and as long as the defense continues to perform at such a high level they will be in a good spot. The Spartans front-seven is loaded once again and while there are concerns about the secondary we trust Mark Dantonio and his staff enough to think they will find some quality pieces in order to make sure the overall product on that side of the football isn’t compromised.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin has a new coach in Paul Chryst but expectations haven’t waivered in Madison where the Badgers are the favorites to win the West division. There are obvious question marks at quarterback and receiver but fifth-year senior Joel Stave is a decent option and there is enough talent on that side of the football even without Melvin Gordon to think Wisconsin will be among the best in the Big Ten once again.

Nebraska

The Huskers needed to shake things up heading in to 2015 and Mike Riley looks like the made that could deliver different results at Nebraska. Riley has installed a pro-style offense that will be led by returning starter Tommy Armstrong Jr. while the defensive players have raved about the freedom to make plays they will have under coordinator Mark Banker. The Badgers might not be Big Ten division winners in 2015 but they will be in the mix in the West division.

Michigan

The arrival of Harbaugh has changed the outside complexion of this team for obvious reasons and everyone expects the Wolverines to improve in 2015 but the question is about how high they can climb in the East division with both Ohio State and Michigan State waiting for them. Even if Harbaugh gets Michigan on the right track they might not be able to finish higher than third in the East division.

Penn State

The Buckeyes, Spartans, Wolverines and Badgers will be talked about the most heading in to the season but it won’t be a surprise if the Nittany Lions make a major splash. Penn State opened last season with four straight wins but struggled the rest of the way thanks to injuries and some close losses that they just let get away. The Nittany Lions have the potential to take another step forward with some better luck and consistency so don’t be surprised if they made a significant climb in their second season under head coach James Franklin.

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