Preseason B1G Power Rankings
1. Ohio State Buckeyes: The Buckeyes are coming off a successful undefeated 2012 campaign. This year there is more incentive for the Buckeyes as they are once again eligible for postseason play. Urban Meyer’s squad returns nearly all of last years starters to their explosive offense. The defense remains the teams question mark, but with a manageable schedule they may live up to the experts expectations. They’re the preseason favorite to win the B1G Championship Game. Some experts have them reaching the BCS National Championship Game in Pasadena.
Week 1: Saturday August 31 vs. Buffalo
2. Michigan Wolverines: The Wolverines are coming off a 2012 campaign in which they underachieved by going 8-5. This season they return most of the core guys from last year’s squad, and they are carrying the momentum from an impressive incoming recruiting class. The have tough games at Michigan State, vs. Nebraska, at Northwestern, vs. Notre Dame, vs. Ohio State, and at Penn State, but the outlook for the Wolverines is manageable. In a lot of people’s eyes have the makeup of a team that can win The Legends Divison and make their way to Indianapolis for the B1G Championship Game.
Week 1: Saturday August 31 vs. Central Michigan
3. Nebraska Cornhuskers: Wisconsin could easily be here, but with the new coaching staff in Madison I give the three spot to the Huskers. Nebraska has a softer schedule in 2013, swapping crossover games with Leaders Division heavyweights Ohio State and Wisconsin for Illinois and Purdue. The Huskers return one of the best offenses in the country, but with a green defense the ceiling for Nebraska in 2013 is unknown. The Huskers are one of the teams in the legends division that is being talked about as major threat to make it to Indianapolis.
Week 1: Saturday August 31 vs. Wyoming
4. Wisconsin Badgers: The Badgers have a brand new coaching staff, but they return plenty of talent. Wisconsin’s road to a fourth straight championship will not be easy though. A new staff brings a new philosophies into Madison, so there is a belief that they will fall off just a bit from years past. If anyone in The Leaders Division can take down Ohio State, it will be The Badgers.
Week 1: Saturday August 31 vs. Massachusetts
5. Northwestern Wildcats: The Wildcats return nearly everyone from a 10 win season last year, and they’re coming off their first bowl victory since 1949. The Wildcats could work their way up the ladder, but with difficult games at home against Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State and road contests against both Nebraska and Wisconsin, the Wildcats may be a better team this year and end up with a slightly worse record. Look for the Wildcats to potentially contend for the B1G legends division title.
Week 1: Saturday August 31 @ California
6. Michigan State Spartans: The Spartans have an elite defense but their offense was porous a year ago. They also lost their best player in running back Leveon Bell to the NFL Draft. They return a lot of quality players and could have a much better 2013. This year the Spartans avoid both Ohio State and Wisconsin for the crossover games, but they host Michigan and travel to Nebraska, Northwestern, and Notre Dame. If Michigan State gets offensive improvement with its passing game they could compete with aforementioned contenders in the legends division.
Week 1: Friday August 30 vs. Western Michigan
7. Penn State Nittany Lions: The Nittany Lions are in year two of the tough sanctions that they are facing after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. This year they won’t be able to go bowling, but they will undoubtedly continue to play hard for Coach Bill O’ Brien. Penn State has tough games this season having to travel to Ohio State and Wisconsin. They will also host Michigan and Nebraska. This team loses leadership on both sides of the ball but they recruited great talent and they still have great expectations for this upcoming season. Expect them to possibly upset one of the four heavyweights they face this fall.
Week 1: Saturday August 31 vs. Syracuse (MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ)
8. Minnesota Golden Gophers: The Gophers are building some great momentum after making a bowl game last season. The Gophers have a chance to make a splash, but they do have trips to Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, and Northwestern. They also host both Penn State and Nebraska. Yes I put the Indiana trip as a tough one you read that right. Indiana is similar to Minnesota in the fact that the two programs are heading in the right direction.
Week 1: Thursday August 29 vs. UNLV
9. Indiana Hoosiers: Indiana is an up and coming team. If they improve on defense they could challenge the upper echelon in the Leaders Division of The Big Ten. The Hoosiers schedule is difficult with home games against Bowling Green, Missouri, Navy, and Penn State. They also have road contests with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Coach Kevin Wilson is doing a great job and they have the makings of a bowl team but the schedule will make it difficult.
Week 1: Thursday August 29 vs. Indiana State
10. Purdue Boilermakers: Darrell Hazell became Purdue’s new head coach after have a successful 2012 campaign with Kent State, winning 11 games. Purdue has a lot to figure out this season before they can be taken seriously. This team lost personnel on both sides of the ball. They host Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. They travel to Cincinnati, Indiana, Michigan State, Penn State, and Wisconsin making for an interesting season that could spell trouble for an inexperienced team. The Boilermakers are considered an unknown going into this season.
Week 1: Saturday August 31 @ Cincinnati
11. Iowa Hawkeyes: The Hawkeyes were terrible last year, and if their offense doesn’t show any improvement at quarterback this season could be a sequel. Their defense isn’t bad, but their 2013 schedule doesn’t do them any favors what so ever. They start out with last year’s BCS buster in Northern Illinois. The Hawks also have Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, and Wisconsin all come to Iowa City this fall. The Hawkeyes have three tough road games against instate rival Iowa State, Nebraska, and Ohio State. This team might be even worse than last year with this brutal schedule.
Week 1: Saturday August 31 vs. Northern Illinois
12. Illinois Fighting Illini: Illinois is clearly the worst team in the conference having gone winless last year in conference play. The 2013 season will not get any easier for them. They’ve got two challenges in non-conference games against Cincinnati and Washington. That is folloed with conference games on the road against Nebraska and Penn State. The home slate isn’t all that promising either. They must face Michigan State, Northwestern, and Ohio State at home. Coach Tim Beckman is more than likely already on the hot seat. Another conference schedule without wins could be in the cards for this struggling program.
Week 1: Saturday August 31 vs. Southern Illinois