JP’s Big Ten Preseason Rankings: Eastern Division

JP’s Big Ten Preseason Rankings: Eastern Division


  1. Penn State, Regular Season Prediction (12-0)

The departure of the No. 2 overall pick, Saquon Barkley, will definitely be a tough one to swallow for Happy Valley. However, with the return of the schools all-time leading passer and Heisman hopeful, Trace McSorley, I believe they have a chance to return to the B1G championship like they did in 2016.  They’ll need some production from the incoming five-star Ricky Slade (RB), Justin Shorter (WR), and Micah Parsons (LB) if they are going to have a shot at making the CFP. In the last two seasons, Coach Franklin’s squad has finished No. 7 and No. 8 in the nation. They’ll look to continue their success this season.

  1. Ohio State, Regular Season Prediction (11-1)

As long as Urban Myer is in Columbus, the Buckeyes will always be in the race for the college football playoffs. The only loss I see on their schedule is to Penn State in Beaver Stadium during a white out game (reminiscent of 2016). Between Tate Martell and Dwayne Haskins, I believe Meyer will find a solid replacement for the departed J.T. Barrett. The RB combo of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber will definitely take some pressure off of the incumbent QBs.

  1. Michigan, Regular Season Prediction (10-2)

Jim Harbaugh has had two top 5 recruiting classes in the past two seasons! Last year was most certainly a rebuilding year, but I still feel like they are one year away from making the Big Ten championship. The biggest issue for me is the quarterback position. Will Ole Miss transplant Shea Patterson be the starter? Will we see Christian McCaffrey’s brother Dylan lead the Wolverines? Time will tell.

  1. Michigan State, Regular Season Prediction (9-3)

A nine-win season will always be considered a disappointment when Mark Dantonio is at the helm. I think the Spartans are back despite a scandal that made headlines for a solid two months. I also think this division will just be to tough this year (again), and the big boys will knock each other out (again). QB Brian Lewerke is returning, East Lansing is expecting him to bring them back into the national conversation.

  1. Rutgers, Regular Season Prediction (7-5)

This is bold. Too bold. But I love Chris Ash. I think he’s going to surprise some people and Rutgers makes its first bowl appearance since 2014.

  1. Maryland, Regular Season Prediction (5-7)

Another coach I love, DJ Durkin, lost his best offensive weapon DJ Moore to the NFL. With a tough schedule and not a lot of proven players, Maryland would be lucky to see a bowl game this year and I think they miss out on that chance for the 4th consecutive season.

  1. Indiana, Regular Season Prediction (2-10)

Rounding out the bottom of the division, and maybe the conference, I have the Hoosiers going 2-10. I believe Indiana will go winless in the Big 10 but lose to Virginia. Leaving the victories coming against FIU & Ball State, and even that’s not a gimme. Chalk this one up to a rebuilding year for Tom Allen.

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