It’s hard to believe, but the college football season is nearly a month away and we’re counting down the days until teams kick off for Week 1. To pass the time, we’ve analyzed each college football Big Ten team, starting with the Big Ten East. It’s no surprise that Ohio State opened with the highest win total of any team in the conference, followed by Michigan and Penn State.
Let’s dive into the Big Ten NCAAF standings and where each team sits in terms of expected wins.
Indiana is looking to move on from a miserable 2-10 season in 2021. The Hoosiers come into the 2022 season with new offensive and defensive coordinators, what is likely a new quarterback in transfer Conner Bazelak and running back in transfer Shaun Shivers. Their win total is set at 4 And we’d suggest taking the over. The Hoosiers have winnable home games this year with Illinois, Maryland, and Purdue all playing in Bloomington. While Indiana’s non-conference schedule features Cincinnati, it also includes Idaho and Western Kentucky, which are two very winnable games. Over 4 (-105)
The Terrapins finished last season 7-6 overall and 3-6 in Big Ten play. This season, Maryland is in for what could be a very up and down season. The Terps’ schedule starts out with a few winnable games against Buffalo, Charlotte, and SMU before they meet Michigan and Michigan State in back-to-back weeks. They then have a few weeks of what should be easier opponents before taking on Wisconsin, Penn State, and Ohio State in three straight weeks. While quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is back to lead Maryland’s offense, the Terps defense will see its fourth defensive coordinator since 2019 and could struggle on that end of the ball. Winning six games likely means everything went exactly according to plan. But when does anything in college football go according to plan?! Under 6 (-125)
The Wolverines had their best season in recent history last season, going 12-2 to win the Big Ten title and advancing to the program’s first-ever College Football Playoff. While it’s hard to see them repeat that same success, Michigan’s first true test of the season doesn’t come until Week 5 when they travel to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes. Two weeks later they face Penn State and close out the final game of the regular season against Ohio State in Columbus. Those are the only three games that would worry me a bit if I were a Wolverines fan.
The Wolverines’ defense will look quite a bit different this year after losing so many players from last year’s squad, but their offense returns nearly all major players with the exception of a few. Michigan should have no problem putting points on the board and turning those numbers into wins as they climb the NCAAF Big Ten rankings. Over 9.5 (-135)
Michigan State Spartans
In his first full season as the head coach at Michigan State, Mel Tucker led the Spartans to an 11-2 record and 7-2 mark against college football’s Big Ten teams. Michigan State far exceeded expectations last year and fans are hoping to see more of the same this year. However, the Spartans lost their best player, running back Kenneth Walker Jr., to the NFL, and replacing his production is not going to be easy. They also lost a number of players on their offensive line which means it could take a bit for the Spartans to gel on that side of the ball.
Lucky for Michigan State, their schedule offers two easy games against Western Michigan and Akron to ease into the season before playing Washington on the road. This is just one of the many “toss-up” games the Spartans have this year. The other toss-ups are against Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Penn State. So, assuming Michigan State takes care of business, as it is expected to do in all the other games, all they would need is just one win out of those four toss-ups, something that is very doable. Over 7.5 (-135)
Ohio State Buckeyes
With the line juice to -230, there isn’t much value in playing the over on Ohio State’s win total this season. That being said, you’d be crazy to play the under. The Buckeyes lost two regular season games last season, falling to Oregon and Michigan, and we don’t see that happening again this year. Ohio State returns quarterback CJ Stroud who finished fourth in Heisman voting last year. And while they lost top wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave to the NFL draft, they still have Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who led the team with 1,606 yards in 2021. The Buckeyes are once again going to be one of college football’s powerhouse teams which is why we expect them to go over their projected win total of 10.5. Over 10.5 (-230)
Penn State Nittany Lions
After mediocre seasons the past two years, we like Penn State to bounce back and have a solid season this year. We especially like that the over on its season win total of 8.5 is at plus money. The Nittany Lions return star quarterback Sean Clifford who, for the first time in his career, will be playing under the same offensive coordinator in consecutive seasons.
Penn State opens the season at Purdue, which could be a toss-up, but they should be able to get through Ohio, Central Michigan, Northwestern, Minnesota, Indiana, Maryland, and Rutgers with relative ease. The Nittany Lions host both Michigan State and Ohio State at home and we wouldn’t be shocked if they came away with a win against Sparty. Over 8.5 (+105)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Looking at Rutgers’ schedule, there are five games that we think that the Scarlet Knights have the potential to win; Boston College, Wagner, Temple, Indiana, and Maryland. In order to get over their season win total of four, Rutgers would have to win each of these games, which we can’t confidently say will happen. The Scarlet Knights will also face the toughest schedule of opposing defenses in the conference, meaning they’ll have their work cut out for them each and every week during Big Ten play. Under 4 (-105)Follow us on Twitter