- Still plenty of star power on Big Ten contenders
- Ohio State Buckeyes (-250 to win the conference)
- Michigan Wolverines (+950 to win the division)
- Wisconsin Badgers (+950 to win the conference)
- Penn State Nittany Lions (+1200 to win the conference)
- Nebraska Cornhuskers (+1200 to win the conference)
- Iowa Hawkeyes (+1600 to win the conference)
- Purdue Boilermakers (+2200 to win the conference)
- Michigan State Spartans (+2500 to win the conference)
- Minnesota Golden Gophers (+2500 to win the conference)
- Illinois Fighting Illini (+10000 to win the conference)
- Maryland Terrapins (+10000 to win the conference)
- Indiana Hoosiers (+15000 to win the conference)
- Northwestern Wildcats (+15000 to win the conference)
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+15000 to win the conference)
Still Plenty of Star Power on Big Ten Contenders
Michigan finally figured out a way to beat rival Ohio State and the reward for the Wolverines was a spot in the College Football Playoff. Let’s take a look at where the Big 10 Conference CFB rankings will most likely land.
Ohio State, led by elite playmakers at the quarterback, running back, and receiver positions is not just favored to win the Big Ten title but also to be in contention for the national title.
There are productive running backs on nearly every team in the conference, so don’t be surprised if the Big Ten Conference, one of college football’s most rough and tumble conferences is even more physical than normal during the 2022 season.
Ohio State Buckeyes (-250 to win the conference)
The talent Ohio State can roll out on offense is downright scary, and the programs standing in the Big 10 Conference CFB is perpetually at the top.
Heisman Trophy favorite C.J. Stroud returns at quarterback and he will connect with receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba with dynamic running back TreVeyon Henderson providing balance for the offense. Even without receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, who were taken in the top half of the first round in the NFL Draft, this could be one explosive offense.
Seven of the top eight tacklers from 2021 were either freshmen or sophomores. Cornerback Tanner McCalister joins the Buckeyes after playing the last four seasons at Oklahoma State. DeaMonte Trayanum was a running back at Arizona State who not only landed at Ohio State and switched to linebacker.
The departure of highly touted quarterback Quinn Ewers to Texas dominated the headlines, but Ohio State had at least 20 players transfer since the end of last season including defensive backs Craig Young, Sevyn Banks and Ryan Watts.
This could be quite the year for Ohio State as the Buckeyes figure to lead the way in the Big Ten Conference and in the world of college football, as well as its expected win total of 10.5 perfectly illustrates.
Michigan Wolverines (+950 to win the division)
Michigan lost many of its defensive stars to the NFL including the pass rushing tandem of Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo as well as safety Daxton Hill who were all top-50 picks in the NFL Draft.
The offense might look to throw a little more in 2022 with quarterback Cade McNamara and most of his top receivers returning.
The defense is adding defensive lineman Cam Goode from UCF while former Virginia offensive lineman Victor Oluwatimi is another key transfer. Michigan lost safeties Sammy Faustin and Jordan Morant to UMass and Duke, as well as offensive lineman Chuck Filiaga to Minnesota.
Even with the departures, Michigan has an expected win total of 9 1/2.
Wisconsin Badgers (+950 to win the conference)
The defense will look a little different following the loss of some key players, including leading tackler Leo Chenal. The secondary will feature plenty of transfers with the addition of Kamo’i Latu from Utah, Jay Shaw from UCLA, Justin Clark from Toledo and Cedrick Dort from Kentucky – although Wisconsin lost twice as many transfers as they brought in.
Running back Braelon Allen had quite the freshman season and with him being the starter from the start of the season, look out.
Penn State Nittany Lions (+1200 to win the conference)
Penn State had one of the top defenses in the Big Ten a season ago. Five defensive players were selected in the NFL Draft while eight of the top 12 tacklers were seniors so there is some work to be done.
Receiver Mitchell Tinsley, who had 87 catches for 1402 yards a season ago at Western Kentucky, joins linebacker Demeioun Robinson (Maryland) and offensive lineman Hunter Nourzad (Cornell) as some new faces. Cornerback A.J. Litton and running back Noan Cain are among the players who transferred out of Happy Valley.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (+1200 to win the conference)
After a tough 2021 season, the Cornhuskers are a popular pick to make a charge up the standings. Nebraska has had its share of difficulties, it may be their turn to finally makes waves with Big 10 Conference CFB rankings.
The Nebraska defense will have a different look thanks to an influx of Power 5 transfers.
Safety Kaine Williams and defensive lineman Stephon Wynn come in from Alabama, defensive lineman Devin Drew comes in from Texas Tech, defensive end Ochaun Mathis from TCU, and defensive back Tommi Hill from Arizona State. Mathis and Hill are two of the most sought after defensive players on the transfer portal. Another player with lofty expectations is former Northern Iowa cornerback Omar Brown.
On offense, quarterback Casey Thompson and receiver Marcus Washington transferred from Texas, receiver Trey Palmer comes in from LSU while Kevin Williams (Northern Colorado) and Hunter Anthony (Oklahoma State) were added to the offensive line. They are major reasons why Nebraska has an expected win total of 7.5.
Nebraska did lose quarterback Adrian Martinez to Kansas State and he was the team’s leading passer and rusher in 2021. Linebackers Wynden Ho’ohuli (Hawaii) and Will Honas (Kansas State) also left while defensive lineman Casey Rogers and Jordon Riley headed to Oregon. Another key loss was receiver William Nixon, who is now at Washington.
Iowa Hawkeyes (+1600 to win the conference)
Iowa wasn’t as impacted by transfers coming and going as most of its conference rivals. Replacing leading rusher Tyler Goodson will be no easy task and the transfer of fourth-leading receiver Charlie Jones doesn’t help.
Fellow receiver Tyrone Tracy stayed within the conference when he transferred to Purdue. Former Lafayette tight end Steven Stillanos could be a newcomer to keep an eye on.
There are a lot of contributors to build the defense around, but there are some issues to be addressed for a team that reached the Big Ten title game in 2021.
Purdue Boilermakers (+2200 to win the conference)
The Boilermakers will need to replace their top passer and receiver and there was plenty of movement both ways on the transfer portal.
Marvin Grant, Purdue’s second-leading tackler, has transferred to Kansas. Linebacker Khalil Saunders is also on the way out while quarterback Jack Plummer is now at Cal.
The highest-rated transfers coming to Purdue are Indiana cornerback Reese Taylor, Auburn receiver Elijah Canion, and FIU offensive lineman Sione Finau, along with Penn State defensive lineman Cole Brevard.
Michigan State Spartans (+2500 to win the conference)
Things could look a little different on offense after running back Kenneth Walker took the conference by storm in his lone season in the Big Ten. The passing attack should be even better with the return of quarterback Payton Thorne and leading receiver Jayden Reed.
Eight freshmen and sophomores had at least 18 tackles a season ago while the Spartans added UNLV’s leading tackler Jacoby Windmon (119 tackles, 6.5 sacks in 2021), linebacker Khris Bogle from Florida, linebacker Aaron Brule (53 tackles, three sacks) from Mississippi State, and defensive back Ameer Speed from Georgia.
One of the biggest departures is Quavaris Crouch, who had 160 tackles for the Spartans over the last three seasons.
Minnesota Golden Gophers (+2500 to win the conference)
It’s pretty hard to know what to expect out of the Golden Gophers this season with players coming and going at a dizzying pace since the season ended.
The 247sports.com site listed 18 outgoing transfers, including both the No. 1 and 2 rushers on the 2021 team. Ky Thomas was off to Kansas while Mar’Keise Irving landed at Oregon.
The Golden Gophers did help their offensive line by landing Quinn Carroll from Notre Dame and Chuck Filiaga from Michigan.
Eight of the top nine tacklers on the 2021 were seniors so there are questions on both sides of the ball.
Illinois Fighting Illini (+10000 to win the conference)
The Fighting Illini welcome former Syracuse quarterback Tommy Devito who threw for nearly 2400 yards in 2019 but moved down the depth chart in the next two seasons. Receiver Jonah Morris comes in from Northern Colorado while former Furman tackle, Dylan Davis should help the Illinois offensive line.
Defensive linemen Raashaan Wilkins and Te-Rah Edwards come in from Vanderbilt and Northwestern.
Running back Chase Brown ran for more than 1000 yards last season despite missing two games.
Maryland Terrapins (+10000 to win the conference)
If there is a team where picking games to go over the total would be a wise play, this could be that squad.
Taulia Tagovailoa completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 3860 yards and 26 touchdowns and his top target Rakim Jarrett is also back. Florida’s top receiver Jacob Copeland (41 catches for 642 yards) has transferred to Maryland so this should be a fun offense to watch.
Receivers Brian Cobbs (Utah State), Darryl Jones (North Carolina State) and Carlos Carriere (Central Michigan) are among the large exodus of players. Maryland also loses defensive tackle Darrell Jackson to Miami and linebacker Demeioun Robinson to Penn State and linebacker Branden Jennings to Kansas State.
Indiana Hoosiers (+15000 to win the conference)
One quarterback left and another one came in to try to help the Hoosiers rebound from a nightmarish 2021 season.
Transfer Connor Bazelak had some turnover issues in his two seasons at Missouri but he also threw for nearly 5000 yards in those two seasons. He’ll replace Michael Penix who is now at Washington.
The senior-laden defense will need to be rebuilt and losing cornerback Reese Taylor, who transferred to Purdue won’t help.
Northwestern Wildcats (+15000 to win the conference)
Evan Hull returns after rushing for more than 1000 yards. The passing attack, led by Ryan Hilinski, needs to be better after averaging 177 yards a season ago. A more explosive passing game would make Hull’s job that much easier.
Reserve quarterback Hunter Johnson has transferred to Clemson, freshman receiver Jordan Mosley is now at Mississippi State, safety and third-leading tackler Brandon Joseph landed at Notre Dame.
The Wildcats added defensive end Ryan Johnson from Stanford and linebacker Wendell Davis from Pittsburgh.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+15000 to win the conference)
Noah Vedral had his moments during the 2021 season, but 16 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions in two seasons as the Rutgers starting quarterback is not good enough.
The offensive line could be better thanks to some work through the transfer portal. Mike Ciaffoni (Colorado State), Willie Tyler (Louisiana-Monroe), Curtis Dunlap (Minnesota) and J.D. DeRenzo (Sacred Heart) will look to add some muscle up front for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers also added Sean Ryan, who was fourth in receiving yards for West Virginia in 2021, and former Syracuse receiver Taj Harris.
Five freshmen had at least 20 tackles a season ago, so if they make a jump as sophomores, that could help Rutgers attempt to move up in the Big Ten standings.Follow us on Twitter