2018 Big Ten football energy rankings: What a installed tip tier …

At a finish of any discussion previews run-through, we take a demeanour during how we understand a conference’s change of energy streamer into a season. This is in no approach formed on schedules, so they are not predictions. This is usually how we would arrange a teams after essay thousands of difference about any of them. We have already finished a Sun Belt, C-USA, MAC, MWC, AAC, Pac-12, and Big 12.

Here’s a couple to any team’s data, and any team’s name next is related to a preview.

Tier 1

1. Ohio State
2. Wisconsin
3. Michigan
4. Penn State
5. Michigan State

I waffled on this a lot, and in dual opposite ways: Is Ohio State higher adequate to aver a tip tier to itself? And … how a ruin do we apart a other 4 teams?

To assistance myself out, we went with an old-school unit-by-unit ranking. we endowment one indicate for initial place, dual for second, etc., and a group with a fewest points is a best.

  • QB, where points are value double: Penn State (2), Wisconsin (4), Ohio State (6), Michigan State (8), Michigan (10)
  • RB: Ohio State (1), Wisconsin (2), Michigan (3), Penn State (4), Michigan State (5)
  • WR/TE: Ohio State (1), Wisconsin (2), Michigan State (3), Penn State (4), Michigan (5)
  • OL: Wisconsin (1), Ohio State (2), Penn State (3), Michigan (4), Michigan State (5)
  • DL: Michigan (1), Ohio State (2), Michigan State (3), Wisconsin (4), Penn State (5)
  • LB: Michigan (1), Wisconsin (2), Michigan State (3), Ohio State (4), Penn State (5)
  • DB: Ohio State (1), Michigan (2), Penn State (3), Michigan State (4), Wisconsin (5)
  • Special Teams: Michigan State (1), Ohio State (2), Wisconsin (3), Michigan (4), Penn State (5)
  • TOTAL: Ohio State 19, Wisconsin 21, Michigan 30, Penn State 31, Michigan State 32

The conclusion: Wisconsin’s tighten adequate to a Buckeyes to go in a same tier, and a others, scarcely bunched ideally together, aren’t that distant away. So there we go. Ohio State stays a apparent favorite to me in this conference, though there some considerable challengers.

Tier 2

6. Iowa
7. Northwestern
8. Purdue

Consider this a “Who best hurdles Wisconsin?” tier.

I unequivocally like Iowa QB Nate Stanley, a Hawkeyes’ using diversion substantially isn’t going to tumble distant notwithstanding turnover, and they’re a new set of linebackers divided from a vigourous defense. And if Kirk Ferentz has warranted a trust about anything, it’s producing good linebackers. (And good fullbacks.)

Tier 3

9. Indiana
10. Maryland
11. Nebraska
12. Rutgers
13. Minnesota

Any of these teams could mangle by to about 8-4 or so, and if a Big Ten ends adult being college football’s best discussion this season, it’s since this tier indeed didn’t stink.

Tier 4

14. Illinois

There’s a possibility that quarterback Cam Thomas and his new Rich Rod-ian offense find lightning in a bottle. Otherwise, we don’t see adequate matchup advantages to equivocate final place. Prove me wrong, Lovie Smith.

Here’s how my statistical complement has a Big Ten laid out for 2018, with 0 equating to an normal FBS team. (You can find full 2018 SP+ projections here.)


East Division

  1. Ohio State 7.6 (10.4)
  2. Penn State 6.5 (9.1)
  3. Michigan State 6.2 (8.9)
  4. Michigan 6.0 (8.2)
  5. Indiana 3.3 (5.5)
  6. Maryland 2.8 (4.2)
  7. Rutgers 2.3 (4.3)

Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan are fundamentally projected to equal levels in SP+, though a report gives PSU a curtsy as “most expected Ohio State challenger.”

West Division

  1. Wisconsin 6.5 (9.3)
  2. Iowa 4.9 (7.2)
  3. Northwestern 4.5 (6.2)
  4. Minnesota 3.6 (5.4)
  5. Purdue 3.6 (5.3)
  6. Nebraska 3.1 (5.3)
  7. Illinois 2.1 (3.8)

SP+ isn’t designed to envision out-of-nowhere surges like Purdue’s final year, and when they happen, retrogression to a meant mostly follows. we like Purdue’s offense adequate to assume a play bid, though cruise this a sign that one good deteriorate does not a finish change in arena make.


This was a heck of a defensive discussion final year. Offensive, reduction so.


Two offenses were conduct and shoulders above a rest. One is replacing a quarterback (Ohio State), and a other is replacing is all-world coordinator and using behind (Penn State). And both still have copiousness of star power.


I unequivocally can’t wait to see what Michigan’s invulnerability does with some-more knowledge and fewer large glitches.

This discussion has lots of plain quarterbacks though usually one who has proven truly awesome.


PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Penn State v Washington

Trace McSorley
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images


Khaleke Hudson had to reinstate Jabrill Peppers and competence have indeed raised a bar. Damn.


NCAA Football: Michigan during Maryland

Khaleke Hudson
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

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