Ultimate Guide to the Big Ten + Best Bets!

Updated: Aug 31

East Division

Ohio State (12-1)- This is the first team I really consider to be Ryan Day’s team as many of the players he had were originally Urban Meyer recruits. So it will be very interesting to see how the Buckeyes fare, especially with a freshman quarterback. CJ Stroud looks to lead the Ohio State offense and I believe he will be very good. Not Justin Fields good, but good enough to lead the Buckeyes to a B10 championship. He also has a plethora of weapons as receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are arguably the best receiver duo in the nation and Master Teague is ready to be the feature back after sitting behind the likes of Trey Sermon and JK Dobbins. I am very worried about their defense as they lose their top 5 tacklers, leader in sacks and their leader in INTs. The Buckeyes always retool as they always recruit great, but their defense will most definitely regress, which is worrisome at the start of the year with a young QB. With a schedule on the easier side, the Buckeyes should still win the B10, but a loss at Indiana will ruin their hopes of going unbeaten.

Penn State (10-2)- This defense is legit and went extremely under the radar because of how bad Penn State’s record was. However, I am expecting a huge bounce back year for the Nittany Lions. Led by one of the best secondaries in the country that returns most of their talent including one of the most underrated players out there in Jaquan Brisker and Joey Porter Jr. They only allowed 198 pass yards per game and I expect them to do that again this year. The front seven is still very solid but they lose some important pieces such as Odafe Oweh and Shaka Toney. The Lions defense is one of the more underrated groups in the whole country and if they can force more turnovers, this team can be scary. On offense, statistically they were very good as they ranked second in total offense in the B10, but turnovers is what killed them as Sean Clifford threw 9 INTs with 8 of those 9 coming in their first 5 games. The Lions return Jahan Dotson who is an animal and the lions have plenty of options in the rushing attack. If the Lions can play like they did in the last part of 2020 and limit the turnovers, they can win the conference.

Indiana Hoosiers (10-2)- I predicted the Hoosiers going 6-1 last season and their only regular season loss to be at Ohio State. I was right and Indiana made me a bag last season as they were a spread covering machine. This year, the Hoosiers lost one of their best receivers in Whop Philyor, but Ty Fryfogle is a top 5 receiver in the country and Peyton Hendershot is a top 10 tight end as well. Not to mention Michael Penix who only has 2 career losses as a starter. They also upgraded at running back by adding USC transfer Stephon Carr from the transfer portal. This offense is electric. On defense, they lose safety Jamar Johnson and Jerome Johnson but they also return some of the best players in the conference such as Micah Mcfadden who had 10.5 TFL’s and 6 sacks as well as the cornerback duo of Taiwan Mullen and Jaylin Williams who combined for 7 Ints in 2020. The Hoosiers schedule is no joke as they play 4 ranked teams in their first 7 games, but I think this team is good enough on both sides of the ball to have a great season.

Michigan (7-5)- The Wolverines looked better towards the end of the season with Cade Mcnamara at QB but they still need a lot of work before they are even considered good. Hasaan Haskins is a very good running back and with the departure of Zach Charbonnet I expect him to be a huge part of their offense. Ronnie Bell is a solid WR1 as well, so all the pieces are there for Mcnamara to succeed and I think he will and the Michigan offense takes a step in the right direction. On defense, they were abysmal last year and losing Kwity Paye does not help at all. However, they return about everyone else and with better QB play and less turnovers on offense, I expect Michigan's defense to improve as well. Look out for defensive end Aidan Hutchinson to break out and be Michigan’s next great player. Harbaugh still has to go but the Wolverines will at least be competitive this year.

Rutgers (5-7)- The Scarlet Knights will keep improving as long as Greg Schaino is their head coach and even though their team lacks a lot of talent compared to the rest of the conference, Rutgers can hang around in tough games and can possibly pull an upset. On offense, they return quarterback Noah Vedral who was bad last year but has potential to be an average player if he can limit the turnovers. Johnny Langan is also a huge piece to have back as he is used in a lot of designed plays, similar to Jacoby Brisset with the Colts, so Langan is a threat running and throwing the ball. Isiah Pacheco is a solid running back but in total, this Rutgers offense is merely average but I think will improve. On defense they were bad, but forced an absurd amount of turnovers, which kept them in games they had no business being close in. However I expect them to be better on defense in Schiano’s second year. They return everyone including Olakunle Fatukasi who had 101 tackles in 2020 and Christian Izen who had 4 INTs. With a year under their belt and some great talents, Rutgers is due to take a leap in 2021.