Previewing the Big Ten West.
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Big Ten football is set to kick off this weekend. The winners of the Big Ten East and West will square off in the Big Ten title game. Let's preview each team in the Big Ten West, arguably the best division in all of college football.
Ohio State Buckeyes:
The Ohio State Buckeyes made the college football playoff last season with an undefeated record and lost a heartbreaking semifinal match to Clemson. With a team filled with future NFL players, headlined by Quarterback Justin Fields, we should expect Ohio State to be undefeated in the Big Ten yet again.
Can anyone dethrone the Buckeyes? Ohio State's two biggest challengers in the Big Ten West will be the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Michigan Wolverines. Ohio State will travel to Happy Valley to take on Penn State on October 31st. If it wasn't for COVID-19, this game would be much more daunting for the Buckeyes. Penn States amazing home-field advantage would have given Ohio State problems, but fans won't be a factor in this year's showdown. Ohio State. Ohio State will play Michigan in Columbus this season, where the Buckeyes will look to win their 9th consecutive against the Wolverines.
Penn State Nittany Lions:
Penn State finished last season 11-2 and won the Cotton Bowl against Memphis. Will Penn State be able to snap their three-game losing streak against the Buckeyes on October 31st? If not, it will be almost impossible for the Nittany Lions to win the Big Ten. Star linebacker Micah Parsons opting out of this season hurts the Nittany Lions, but they should still be one of the top teams in the Big Ten this season.
After a 9-4 season, Michigan will look to win the Big Ten for the first time since 2004. Michigan will have to replace 10 players who got selected in April's NFL draft. The only school that had more players drafted were the national champion winning LSU Tigers. Additionally, wide receiver Nico Collins and defensive back Ambry Thomas have opted out of this season, two more key players Jim Harbaugh will have to replace.
The Indiana Hoosiers won eight games last season, their most since 1993. Will they be able to have another successful season? The Hoosiers won five of their seven final big ten games in 2019. If Indiana can keep their momentum going they could be an interesting team to watch in 2020.
Michigan State Spartans:
Five years ago, the Spartans were undeniably one of the top programs in all of college football. However, the team has gone just 27-24 over the past four seasons. Mel Tucker will look to turn things around in his first season as Michigan State's head coach.
Michigan State is losing many key players from last season's team that went just 7-6. Starting QB Brian Lewerke, and the teams top two wide receivers in Cody White and Darrell Stewart Jr. along with a plethora of key defensive players have all left the program. Additionally, due to COVID-19, Michigan States brand new coaching staff has had a limited amount of time to assess their roster. Will the Spartans be able to overcome these hurdles and have a successful season?
Maryland will look to bounce back from a dreadful 2019 campaign where the team went 1-8 in Big Ten play. Alabama transfer Taulia Tagovailoa could be Maryland's starting QB this season. If he plays anything like his brother, Tua, who is now the Miami Dolphins starting quarterback, the Terrapins could have a successful season.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights:
After an 0-9 season in conference play, Rutgers will look to crawl out of the Big Tens basement. Greg Schiano, who coached the team from 2001-2011, signed an eight-year, 32 million dollar contract in December to become the team's head coach again.
Schiano went 68-67 in his first tenure as the Scarlet Knights head coach. In 2006, the team was ranked as high as seventh in the entire country. Schiano's first stint with the team was when Rutgers was a member of the Big Ten East, things will be much more difficult in the Big Ten.
Big Ten fans, players, and coaches have waited a very long time for the conference to kick off their season. That waiting will come to an end on Saturday. Which Big Ten teams will succeed? Which teams will fail? Who will win the conference?