Big Ten spring preview: Can Ohio State knock off Michigan, and who wins the West?
For the first time in the college football playoff era, multiple teams were selected in the Big Ten, with Michigan and Ohio states exiting in 2022. Pennsylvania State could join Michigan and Ohio State as top 10 preseason teams this fall. and all three must be able to make a run in CFP.
That’s not even counting a potential undefeated Big Ten team in the West, where your three crossovers are always crucial. Iowa and Illinois meet neither Ohio State nor Michigan, while Wisconsin skips Michigan but takes Ohio State. However, Minnesota plays in Ohio State and hosts Michigan.
As the league gears up for a senior year at 14 schools before USC and UCLA transition from the Pac-12 ahead of the 2024 season, new coaches in Wisconsin (Luke Fickell), Nebraska (Matt Rule) and Purdue (Ryan Walters) should step up the race.” Big Ten of the West. In the Big Ten East, new quarterbacks from Ohio State (Kyle McCord) and Penn State (Drew Allar) will be the two most prominent positions to keep an eye on, while Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is arguably the most experienced signal guard back on the field. conference. . — Baumgartner
Top plot: The Hoosiers transfer portal included 17 players this offseason, including rookie linebacker Dasan McCullough, tight end AJ Barner and quarterbacks Connor Bazelak and Jack Tuttle. There’s a lot of product to change in one off-season, especially in the quarterback. Bazelak was a starter in 2022 after moving from Missouri with Tuttle as one of the understudies. The staff was able to secure a transfer from Tennessee Tyven Jackson, but he was a rookie last season, tried four times for the Vols and doesn’t have much experience at the college level. There are a ton of new faces on the roster, and coupled with new coaches at the state of Indiana, it went through a lot of changes in one offseason to try and make a difference.
Newbie to watch: Quarterback Dexter Williams injured his knee in November, and with the transfer of Bazelack and Tuttle, all eyes will be on Jackson. He was a rookie at Tennessee last season and by all accounts could be Indiana’s starter for the 2023 season. — VanHaaren
Top plot: Tagovailoa is back for his final season, giving the Terpas a great chance to improve their 8-5 record from last season. Tagovailoa finished the 2022 season with 3,008 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while also aiming for four touchdowns. He’s losing receivers Rakim Jarrett and Jacob Copeland to the NFL, as well as tight end CJ Dippre to Alabama. Personnel brought to West Virginia the transmission of Kaden Prather’s recipient, as well as the transmission of FIU Tyrese Chambers, to help recoup these losses. If Tagovailoa can take it one step further and improve its record from last season, Maryland will be ready for another winning season.
Newbies to watch: Chambers and Prater are players to look out for. They had similar numbers for their respective teams last season, with Chambers having 544 yards and four touchdowns and Prather having 501 yards and three touchdowns. They should be great additions to crime. — VanHaaren
Top plot: With running star Blake Corum (1,463 yards, 18 touchdowns) recovering from a knee injury he suffered in late November, building up and maintaining depth in this position will be critical. Donovan Edwards (991 yards, seven touchdowns) also returned from a broken bone in his right arm in mid-November. The trio of CJ Stokes, Isaiah Gash and Tavierre Dunlap got limited time last year and combined 420 yards and three touchdowns. They should have enough reps this spring as Corum and Edwards continue rehab. It helps to have a solid offensive line that will look to maintain momentum after averaging 238.9 yards in 2022 – fifth in FBS.
Newbie to watch: Sportzshala 300 running back Cole Cabana (116th overall) can certainly compete with Corum and Edwards. Cabana, who had 1,518 yards and 27 touchdowns at Dexter (Michigan) High School, is the Wolverine’s third 300th runner on Sportzshala in the last four recruiting cycles. — Baumgartner
Top plot: Michigan State has dropped from 11 wins and a Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl win in 2021 to just five wins in 2022. problem throughout last fall and has been a major cause of crime’s difficulties. Jalen Berger (683 yards, six touchdowns) is the team’s top returning defenseman, while Elijah Collins (Oklahoma State) and Jarek Broussard (NFL Draft) have both moved on. Head coach Mel Tucker and offensive coordinator Jay Johnson will need to find a way to improve performance on the ground to help quarterback Payton Thorne. Thorne threw for 3,233 yards and a program-record 27 touchdowns two years ago and will look to get back on track in 2023 with improved running play and a new wide receiver threat in Keon Coleman.
Newbie to watch: Running back Nate Carter (983 career yards, three touchdowns) comes to East Lansing to try and bolster the Spartans’ offense after spending his first two years at UCLA. He only played four games last season due to a shoulder injury. — Baumgartner
Top plot: In the era of Urban Meyer and Ryan Day, the Buckeyes offense was a well-oiled machine. Now that CJ Stroud has retired to the NFL, Kyle McCord will be in the spotlight as Ohio State looks to return to the top of the Big Ten after two straight losses to Michigan. The 31st-best player in the 2021 class, McCord (190 passing yards, one touchdown in seven games in 2022) had a limited number of snaps behind Stroud, two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Graham-George. This spring, it’s vital that McCord, who has just 58 career passing attempts, pick up speed as the Buckeyes attempt to clean up their rivalry with the Wolverines and return to the college football playoffs.
Newbie to watch: Wide receiver Brandon Inniss (34th overall) is one of three Sportzshala 300 wide receivers entering Columbus this fall. Along with Noah Rodgers and Karnell Tate, Inniss promises to add depth in the wake of well-known all-rounders Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka. — Baumgartner
Top plot: All eyes will be on sophomore quarterback Drew Allar as he looks set to take over from Sean Clifford, who has rewritten the program’s record book. Allar, the second-best pocket passer in the 2022 class, became the first Sportzshala 300 QB for Team James Franklin since 2020. How quickly Allar (344 passing yards and four touchdowns as a freshman) adapts to being a center guy could define a Potential Nittany Lions Big Ten title and CFP aspiration. Sophomores Nicholas Singleton (1,061 yards, 12 touchdowns) and Kytron Allen (867 yards, 10 touchdowns) have been the main players in the outfield and need to build depth behind them. The return of forward Olu Fashanu, who could have been an NFL Top 15 candidate this April, is important and should help Allar make the transition.
Newbie to watch: New freshman London Montgomery (No. 233 overall) is the third Sportzshala 300 to return to sign with Penn State in the past two cycles. Should Singleton or Allen get hurt, Montgomery can provide much-needed insurance. — Baumgartner
Top plot: Rutgers went 4-8 in 2022, and if the team is going to make a difference in 2023, they need to determine the quarterback position. Both Evan Simon and Gavin Wiemsat played in 2022, but they have combined nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Staff haven’t added quarterbacks through the transfer portal, so there’s likely to be a battle between Simon and Wimsutt for the starting position in 2023.
Newbie to watch: Without transfer guards, 2023 three-star rookie Ajani Sheppard is a name to keep an eye on. It is unlikely that he will play right away, but the team needs more competition in the position. — VanHaaren
Top plot: How to replace the performance of one of the best runners in the history of the program? Bret Bilemah and the Fighting Illini started life after Chase Brown (1,643 yards, 10 touchdowns) this fall. Reggie Love (329 yards, two touchdowns) and Josh McCray (56 yards) are the team’s two leading defensemen, while two offensive line openings (center and right tackle) remain open during the game (166.2 yards per game) . ) tends to remain the focus of offense. Aidan Logeri, Nick Fedanzo, and Jordan Anderson are other runners on the list, and they could get a few reps this spring and fall camp. For the second year in a row, the Illinois will rely on a transfer quarterback and hope that Luke Altmaier, an Ole Miss import, can be as successful as Tommy DeVito after coming from Syracuse.
Newbie to watch: New defensive coordinator Aaron Henry, the youngest coordinator in the Big Ten, is taking over from Ryan Walters, who left to take over as Purdue’s head coach. Henry will be tasked with maintaining one of the nation’s best defensive strengths (12.7 ppg, 273.5 ppg) from last season. — Baumgartner
Top plot: After averaging just 251.6 yards on offense last year, things can only get better for the Hawkeyes. In particular, the passing game was tough (156.7 YPG) and Cade McNamara, who came from Michigan, will replace Spencer Petras at center. McNamara threw for 2,576 yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions with Michigan in 2021 before losing to JJ McCarthy in a quarterback contest that continued into the first few weeks of 2022. Iowa’s schedule doesn’t include Ohio State or Michigan, so if Offensive Coordinator Brian Ferencz can get things back on that side of the ball, Iowa could have big football hopes in November.
Newbie to watch: Expectations from McNamara, who helped the Michigan pilot get into the big ten…