2014 BIGTEN CONFERENCE PREVIEW
Last season, Ohio State continued its BigTen unbeaten streak, finishing the regular season undefeated again. But in Indianapolis, the Buckeye surge was halted by Mark Dantonio and his elite Spartan defense. Michigan State went on to the Rose Bowl and defeated #4 Stanford in what was a huge victory for the league’s prestige. To make more strides in terms of putting the Big Ten back on the map, the league needs more of these national spotlight victories, increased recruiting success, and a team to make a playoff run. All three of those goals look attainable this season.
The East Division comes down to Ohio State and Michigan State, as they are the best two teams in the entire conference; unfortunately, with the new division structure, they must face off in November rather than December. I am calling for Urban Meyer to gain revenge here, and for the Buckeyes to run the table and earn a berth in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
Out West, three teams are in contention for the division title: Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Iowa. Most talented roster and highest upside? Nebraska. Easiest schedule? Iowa. But the more proven, predictable program with sustained success? Wisconsin. Nebraska continues to have the talent to break through, but are consistently inconsistent under Pelini, and cannot be trusted with the most difficult schedule of the three. Wisconsin returns its trademarked dominant run game, but must rebuild the defense. Meanwhile, Iowa is a notch below in talent, but benefits from a laughable schedule.
Welcome to the Big Ten: Maryland, our Q&A with SB Nation
Welcome to the Big Ten: Rutgers, our Q&A with SB Nation
Click on the Division Names for our team-by-team previews: