We already came up with our spring football power rankings across the Big Ten, but other outlets are starting to get into the mix.
Of course, confidence in Ohio State reigns supreme, while many overlook Michigan football, despite coming off of a Big Ten championship season where the Wolverines went to the College Football Playoff. Naturally, those are the top two teams everyone is looking at.
But what about the others? And how do you rank the top two?
Athlon Sports has put together a list ranking all 14 Big Ten teams now that spring football is underway for everyone. They included their own reasoning, we shared why, in truncated terms, the outlet feels that each team has some work to do.
Reasoning: Really, it’s everything. A putrid offense and a defense that was ranked 12th in the conference. Northwestern has a lot to work on.
Reasoning: Really, it all starts with the offense, which averaged 10.4 points per game. Though it has a transfer quarterback, it loses receiver Ty Fryfogle.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Reasoning: The offense as a whole and defensive personnel losses figure into Athlon’s reasoning, but the schedule should, as well.
Illinois Fighting Illinois
Reasoning: The murky quarterback situation and having just two returning starters on the offensive line. The running back situation and defense are expected to be solid, if not improved.
Reasoning: The low ranking is entirely based on defense, as Athlon expects the offense to be very, very good.
Reasoning: Athlon expects the defense to be solid with a lot of talent, production from last year, and Erik Chinander leading the charge. The questions remain on offense, with a new offensive coordinator and a new quarterback.
Reasoning: Though Aidan O’Connell returns, he needs more production from the run game as well as someone to replace David Bell. Additionally, having lost George Karlaftis is a giant blow for the defense.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Reasoning: Questions about the offense, though Kirk Ciarrocca returns, as well as personnel losses, which include Boye Mafe and Coney Durr on defense.
Penn State Nittany Lions
Reasoning: A little bit of everything: Sean Clifford’s play, the lack of viability in the run game, personnel losses up front, every position group on defense losing key players, and new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz trying to figure out the latter part out.
Reasoning: The personnel losses of Tyler Linderbaum, Tyler Goodson, and Zack VanValkenburg, the lackluster offense, and needing more from quarterback Spencer Petras is what holds Iowa somewhat down here. The bulk of the defense returns is a big plus.
Reasoning: Athlon questions Mertz’s ability and notes he needs some receivers, but feels really good about the defense reloading and retooling this upcoming season.
Michigan State Spartans
Reasoning: Really, it’s all about Kenneth Walker III’s departure and the awful secondary, as far as bad. The good is Payton Thorne returns at quarterback, but the Spartans lose a lot on the offensive line.
Reasoning: Athlon underestimates the amount of returning starters on defense (it says there are three, but really, there are five), though losing Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo is a big blow. Offensively, it’s confident in the quarterback and skill position players, as well as transfer center Victor Oluwatimi.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Reasoning: Athlon is confident in the retooling of the defense mixed with the reloading offense. Ohio State will continue to be the team to beat in the eyes of most.