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Big Ten Football 2021 Predictions

Complete Big Ten preview for the 2021 season
Chris Olave, Ohio State Buckeyes Football

Chris Olave, Ohio State Buckeyes Football

The road to the 2021 Big Ten Championship travels through Columbus once again, as Ohio State is Athlon’s pick to claim the league title. The Buckeyes are a heavy favorite in the Big Ten predictions for 2021 and another undefeated regular season should be within reach. Penn State and Indiana rank inside of the projected top 25 for 2021 out of the East Division, with Michigan, Maryland, Rutgers and Michigan State rounding out the predicted order of finish.

Wisconsin is Athlon’s projected champion of the West Division, followed by Iowa, Minnesota and Northwestern. Nebraska is predicted to reach a bowl game this year, while Purdue and Illinois round out the projected finish in the West.

Big Ten 2021 Predictions

East Division

1. Ohio State

Ohio State is clearly the team to beat in the Big Ten once again. Coach Ryan Day has yet to lose a regular season game in two years in Columbus, and if a new quarterback quickly emerges, along with improvement on defense, the Buckeyes can make another run at a trip to the national title game.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: The Buckeyes have arguably the best offensive line and receiving corps in college football. Trey Sermon departed to the NFL, but talent is plentiful at running back. All three players competing to start at quarterback are capable of directing this offense at a high level.

Concern: Not much. A new quarterback always creates some uncertainty, but Ohio State will be fine under center.

True Freshman to Watch: RB TreVeyon Henderson

Incoming Transfers: None

Breakout Player: OL Paris Johnson

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Anchored by tackle Haskell Garrett and end Zach Harrison, the Buckeyes should have one of the top defensive lines in college football. There are holes to fill at linebacker and defensive back, but Ohio State has plenty of talent waiting to emerge.

Concern: Can Kerry Coombs get the defense back on track in his second year as coordinator? Ohio State ranked 11th in pass efficiency defense, allowed too many big plays through the air, surrendered 25.8 points a game and 5.95 yards a play – the highest mark in school history – last season.

True Freshman to Watch: DE Jack Sawyer

Incoming Transfers: None

Breakout Player: LB Teradja Mitchell

Related: Athlon Sports' College Football Top 25 for 2021

2. Penn State

Things went awry for Penn State last year, but prior to the 4-5 mark in 2020, coach James Franklin’s program won at least 11 games in three out of the last four seasons. The Nittany Lions open at Wisconsin and catch Auburn in non-conference play.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: The backfield is deep, and quarterback Sean Clifford has a strong one-two punch at receiver with Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington on the outside. Rasheed Walker, Mike Miranda and Caedan Wallace form a good foundation up front. New coordinator Mike Yurcich is one of the top assistant hires of the offseason.

Concern: Penn State regressed on the stat sheet last season and 17 lost turnovers certainly didn’t help. Yurcich has to get Clifford back on track after an uneven 2020 campaign.

True Freshman to Watch: QB Christian Veilleux

Incoming Transfers: RB John Lovett; OL Eric Wilson

Breakout Player: TE Theo Johnson/Brenton Strange

Previewing the Defense

Strength: This unit slipped on the stat sheet a bit last year but still held teams to 5.1 yards per play. Provided the new faces step up in the trenches, Penn State should rebound. The linebacker unit needs to play better, but there’s talent here. Also, the secondary is among the best in the Big Ten.

Concern: The trenches. The Nittany Lions lost four key linemen from last year’s unit and dipped into the portal for help. Eliminating big plays allowed (eight of 40-plus yards) is a must.

True Freshman to Watch: CB Kalen King

Incoming Transfers: CB John Dixon; DL Arnold Ebiketie; DL Derrick Tangelo

Breakout Player: LB Brandon Smith

3. Indiana

The Hoosiers were one of the biggest surprises in college football last season and will aim for back-to-back top-25 finishes for the first time since 1945-46.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: Assuming quarterback Michael Penix makes a full return from an ACL tear, the Hoosiers should be dynamic on offense. Receiver Ty Fryfogle is an All-America candidate, the line brings back four starters, and USC transfer Stephen Carr will provide a boost to the ground game.

Concern: Can Penix stay healthy? He’s coming off his third season-ending injury at Indiana. The offense averaged 5.1 yards per play, so more down-to-down consistency is needed. Also, will the offense have help in the form of 20 forced turnovers again?

True Freshman to Watch: WR Jaquez Smith

Incoming Transfers: RB Stephen Carr; WR Camron Buckley; WR D.J. Matthews; OL Zach Carpenter

Breakout Player: RB Stephen Carr

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Indiana limited teams to 20.2 points a game last year and brings back nine starters, including linebacker Micah McFadden and cornerback Tiawan Mullen. A couple of transfers will bolster the line.

Concern: A new coordinator (Charlton Warren) is calling the shots with coach Tom Allen. Safety Jamar Johnson will be missed. Can the defense lead the Big Ten in takeaways once again?

True Freshman to Watch: P James Evans

Incoming Transfers: DL Jaren Handy; DL Ryder Anderson; DL Weston Kramer

Breakout Player: CB Reese Taylor

Order a Copy of Athlon Sports' 2021 College Football National and SEC Preview Editions

4. Michigan

Jim Harbaugh hit the reset button after a disappointing 2-4 season in 2020. A revamped staff should help Michigan get back on track and improve its fortunes on the recruiting trail. An early test versus Washington will provide plenty of evidence for how far this program has improved since last fall.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: Hassan Haskins, Blake Corum and true freshman Donovan Edwards anchor a strong backfield. Receiver Ronnie Bell leads the way on the outside, and Harbaugh has a couple of intriguing quarterbacks to develop.

Concern: Can coordinator Josh Gattis and Harbaugh get this group on track? Who wins the quarterback battle? Also, the offensive line has to improve and more receivers need to step up to help take some pressure off of Bell.

True Freshman to Watch: QB J.J. McCarthy

Incoming Transfers: QB Alan Bowman

Breakout Player: WR Cornelius Johnson

Previewing the Defense

Strength: The Wolverines allowed 34.5 points a game and 5.5 yards a play last year, but this group has the talent to rebound under new play-caller Mike Macdonald in 2021. The return of end Aidan Hutchinson from injury is a huge boost to the run defense and pass rush. Safety Dax Hill is primed for a breakout year.

Concern: Macdonald – a former Ravens assistant – is a first-time play-caller. Can he get a talented roster to reach its potential? The Wolverines have to stop the run better after ranking 10th in the conference last year. Also, the secondary struggled and gave up too many big plays.

True Freshman to Watch: LB Junior Colson

Incoming Transfers: DL Jordan Whittley

Breakout Player: S Dax Hill

5. Maryland

The Terrapins played in only five games last year, but coach Mike Locksley’s team showed improvement and are poised to push for a bowl in 2021. Also, thanks to Locksley’s work on the recruiting trail, the program’s overall talent level is on the rise.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa could be one of the best in the Big Ten, and the Terrapins have one of the top receiving corps in the conference.

Concern: A new No. 1 running back must be found with Jake Funk leaving College Park. Three starters are back up front, but the offensive line must improve after giving up 16 sacks over five games.

True Freshman to Watch: None

Incoming Transfers: WR Marcus Fleming; QB Reece Udinski

Breakout Player: QB Taulia Tagovailoa

Previewing the Defense

Strength: New play-caller Brian Stewart inherits a group that improved slightly on the stat sheet last season but still has a ways to go. Promising talents in safety Nick Cross, cornerback Tarheeb Still, linebacker Ruben Hyppolite II and edge rusher Durell Nchami are back.

Concern: How big of a step forward can this group take in 2021? Improving a rush defense that allowed 230 yards a game is a must. Maryland also needs more pressure on opposing quarterbacks and has to create more takeaways (just four last year).

True Freshman to Watch: LB Terrence Lewis/Branden Jennings

Incoming Transfers: None

Breakout Player: CB Tarheeb Still

Related: Athlon Sports' College Football Top 25 for 2021

6. Rutgers

Rutgers showed marked improvement in Greg Schiano’s return to the sidelines last year. After winning just three conference games from 2016-19, the Scarlet Knights won three last season. Another step forward is within reach with nearly everyone back on the two-deep from 2020.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: How big of an impact did new play-caller Sean Gleeson make on this offense last year? Rutgers averaged 26.7 points a game in 2020 – up from 5.7 in conference-only matchups in ’19. The Scarlet Knights should continue the improvement with quarterback Noah Vedral returning, along with running back Isaih Pacheco and receiver Bo Melton.

Concern: Better play is needed up front after allowing 21 sacks last season. Rutgers needs to convert more third downs, while Vedral has room to grow after averaging only 5.5 yards per attempt in 2020.

True Freshman to Watch: RB Al-Shadee Salaam

Incoming Transfers: WR Brandon Sanders; OL David Nwaogwugwu; WR Josh Youngblood

Breakout Player: OL Raiqwon O’Neal

Previewing the Defense

Strength: After giving up 6.5 yards per play in Big Ten games in 2019, Rutgers cut that total to 5.88 last fall. Olakunle Fatukasi leads an underrated linebacker unit, and the defense returns plenty of experience and depth up front and in the secondary.

Concern: The Scarlet Knights forced 19 turnovers last season. Can this defense replicate that total again? Eliminating big plays allowed and improving in red-zone defense are also a must. With the bulk of last year’s key players returning, how far can Schiano and coordinator Robb Smith improve a group that ranked 11th in the Big Ten versus the run and 13th in pass efficiency defense?

Redshirt Freshman to Watch: DL Aaron Lewis

Incoming Transfers: CB Christian Braswell; CB Patrice Rene; DL Ifeanyi Maijeh

Breakout Player: S Avery Young

7. Michigan State

Mel Tucker faced an uphill battle in his debut after a post-Signing Day arrival in East Lansing and a limited (and very unusual) offseason. Tucker did deliver wins against Michigan and Northwestern last year and tapped the transfer portal for instant help.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: The Spartans have an underrated pair of receivers in Jayden Reed and Jalen Nailor, and Wake Forest transfer Kenneth Walker III should provide a spark for the ground game. Quarterback play and the offensive line need to improve, but there’s experience to lean on.

Concern: The Spartans have ranked ninth or worse in the Big Ten in yards per play for four straight years. Also, last year’s scoring average (18 ppg) was last in the conference and the 20 lost turnovers were the most in the Big Ten. The offense needs better play up front and for Temple transfer Anthony Russo or Payton Thorne to stabilize the quarterback position.

True Freshman to Watch: TE Kameron Allen

Incoming Transfers: QB Anthony Russo; OL Jarrett Horst; RB Kenneth Walker III; WR Maliq Carr; WR Christian Fitzpatrick; RB Harold Joiner

Breakout Player: RB Kenneth Walker III

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Last season, Michigan State limited teams to 5.3 yards per play and finished sixth in the conference in pass efficiency defense. Led by end Jacub Panasiuk, the line should be a strength. Tucker sought instant help through the transfer portal.

Concern: The Spartans did a fine job on a per-play basis last season but gave up 35.1 points a game (largely as a result of the turnovers on offense) and struggled to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. How fast can Tucker blend the returning talent and transfers within the scheme to generate improvement?

True Freshman to Watch: LB Ma’a Gaoteote

Incoming Transfers: CB Ronald Williams; LB Itayvion Brown; CB Marqui Lowery; LB Ben VanSumeren; LB Quavaris Crouch; CB Khary Crump; CB Chester Kimbrough; DL Drew Jordan; DB Kendall Brooks

Breakout Player: DL Jalen Hunt

West Division

1. Wisconsin

The Badgers – like most of the Big Ten – had an unusual 2020 season. But with a full offseason to develop quarterback Graham Mertz and get healthy at receiver, Wisconsin should use a favorable schedule to return to the top of the Big Ten West Division.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: Mertz is primed for a breakout year, and a healthy season from Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor should make a big difference in the sophomore quarterback’s development. As usual, Wisconsin should have one of the Big Ten’s top offensive lines, and running back Jalen Berger is ready to lead the way on the ground.

Concern: The Badgers need to generate more big plays (only three of 40-plus yards last year). Depth is needed at running back and receiver.

True Freshman to Watch: RB Loyal Crawford/Jackson Acker/Antwan Roberts

Incoming Transfers: RB Chez Mellusi

Breakout Player: QB Graham Mertz

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Under Jim Leonhard’s watch, Wisconsin limited teams to 17.4 points a game and 5.01 yards per play last fall. With eight starters back, including one of the Big Ten’s best linebacker and secondary units, the Badgers will be near the top of the conference once again. 

Concern: More pressure on opposing quarterbacks is needed after generating only 11 sacks last year. The line must replace the steady play of Garrett Rand and Isaiahh Loudermilk.

True Freshman to Watch: LB TJ Bollers

Incoming Transfers: DL Isaac Townsend

Breakout Player: LB Nick Herbig

Related: Athlon Sports' College Football Top 25 for 2021

2. Iowa

The Hawkeyes finished 2020 on a six-game winning streak after an 0-2 start. The ’21 schedule features an opener versus Indiana, a road trek to Iowa State in Week 2 and a showdown in Madison against Wisconsin in late October.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: Running back Tyler Goodson is poised to push for All-America honors. Iowa has holes to fill along the offensive line, but this program generally does a good job of filling the voids up front – and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have All-America center Tyler Linderbaum leading the way. Tight end Sam LaPorta is primed for a big year, and the receiving corps still has options for quarterback Spencer Petras despite the departure of Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Brandon Smith.

Concern: Petras had an up-and-down debut last year. Can he take a step forward in 2021? The line may need a few games to mesh. The Hawkeyes finished 13th in the Big Ten in third-down offense in 2020. 

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True Freshman to Watch: WR Keagan Johnson/Arland Bruce IV

Incoming Transfers: None

Breakout Player: OL Cody Ince

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Iowa is usually strong on this side of the ball, so even with concerns up front, it’s hard to doubt coach Kirk Ferentz’s defense. The linebacker unit should rank among the best in the conference, and the secondary should as well after finishing 2020 ranked second in the Big Ten in pass efficiency defense.

Concern: Reloading in the trenches. Chauncey Golston, Daviyon Nixon and Jack Heflin leave big shoes to fill on a defense that led the conference in fewest yards per play (4.3) in 2020.

Redshirt Freshman to Watch: DL Yahya Black

Incoming Transfers: DB Xavior Williams

Breakout Player: LB Jack Campbell

3. Minnesota

The Golden Gophers were unable to build off their 11-2 record from 2019 last fall with a 3-4 mark in seven contests. However, with normalcy returning this offseason,  Minnesota hopes to rebound in a big way for 2021.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: Mike Sanford Jr. took over the play-calling duties last year, but the unusual offseason limited his ability to develop this group. A normal spring and fall practice should help Minnesota’s offense get back on track after averaging 5.7 yards per play in 2020. Quarterback Tanner Morgan, a strong offensive line and running back Mohamed Ibrahim are back in ’21.

Concern: Can Sanford get Minnesota back to its 2020 production (34.6 ppg)? Who steps up to replace first-round pick Rashod Bateman at receiver? Also, the Golden Gophers need to find an answer at kicker.

True Freshman to Watch: WR Lemeke Brockington

Incoming Transfers: OL Karter Shaw; K Matthew Trickett; WR Dylan Wright

Breakout Player: WR Chris Autman-Bell

Previewing the Defense

Strength: The Golden Gophers struggled on this side of the ball last year but held Big Ten opponents to 20.1 points a game in 2019. Was the unusual nature of the ’20 season to blame for the dip in production? Each level of the defense features an All-Big Ten candidate – DL Boye Mafe, linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin and cornerback Coney Durr. Clemson transfer Nyles Pinckney should provide a boost to a struggling run defense.

Concern: The numbers weren’t pretty for this group in 2020. Minnesota allowed 30.1 points a game, ranked 12th in the Big Ten versus the run, generated only eight sacks and gave up too many big plays.

True Freshman to Watch: CB Justin Walley

Incoming Transfers: DL Nyles Pinckney; DL Val Martin

Breakout Player: DL Boye Mafe

Order a Copy of Athlon Sports' 2021 College Football National and SEC Preview Editions

4. Northwestern

The Wildcats have won two out of the last three Big Ten West Division titles. Even with only seven returning starters for 2021, expect coach Pat Fitzgerald’s team to be in the mix for the division crown once again.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: The Wildcats return a solid foundation up front, which includes rising star left tackle Peter Skoronski. Running back Cam Porter should push for All-Big Ten honors. Transfer quarterbacks Hunter Johnson and Ryan Hilinski were both top-100 recruits out of high school.

Concern: After averaging only 3.9 yards a play in Big Ten games in 2019, Northwestern upped that mark to 4.7 last fall. Is there more improvement on the way for ’21? More big plays are needed after recording only two of 40-plus last year. Will Johnson or Hilinski provide steady play under center? Also, no returning Northwestern receiver or tight end caught more than seven passes last season.

True Freshman to Watch: WR Jordan Mosley

Incoming Transfers: RB Andrew Clair; QB Ryan Hilinski; WR Stephon Robinson

Breakout Player: RB Cam Porter

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Track record. Even with new play-caller Jim O’Neil replacing Mike Hankwitz, Northwestern has a track record of producing standout defenses under Fitzgerald. Several key players are gone, but there’s a good foundation in place, which includes safety Brandon Joseph and linebacker Chris Bergin.

Concern: Matching last year’s yards per play allowed (4.86) might be tough with all of the new faces in starting roles. Can O’Neil provide a seamless transition from Hankwitz?

True Freshman to Watch: LB Mac Uihlein

Incoming Transfers: CB Trent Carrington; DL Jeffery Pooler; DL Jeremy Meiser

Breakout Player: CB Cameron Mitchell

5. Nebraska

The Cornhuskers hope for a breakthrough in coach Scott Frost’s fourth year at the helm. Nebraska doesn’t have a bowl appearance under Frost, but an experienced roster provides optimism for reaching six wins in 2021. 

Previewing the Offense

Strength: Quarterback Adrian Martinez hasn’t quite played up to his freshman level over the last two years. However, he’s entering his fourth year as the starter and key transfer portal additions at running back and receiver should help the offense get back on track. There’s also potential for an improved offensive line.

Concern: Nebraska’s scoring average has decreased from 30 points a game in Frost’s first year (2018) to 23.1 last year. Can Martinez get back on track? And how fast can the transfer additions turn the skill positions into a strength? The Cornhuskers have to do a better job at limiting turnovers (18 lost in ’20).

True Freshman to Watch: RB Gabe Ervin

Incoming Transfers: RB Markese Stepp; WR Samori Toure

Breakout Player: LT Turner Corcoran

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Nebraska’s defense is on the right track going into 2021. After allowing 5.96 yards a play in 2019 (Big Ten-only games), this unit cut that total to 5.46 in ’20.

Concern: The Cornhuskers need to continue last year’s improvement in a big way for this program to reach a bowl. This defense also needs to do a better job at limiting big plays and creating more pressure (13 sacks last year) on opposing quarterbacks. Linebacker Will Honas is out indefinitely after a spring knee injury.

Redshirt Freshman to Watch: LB Nick Henrich

Incoming Transfers: LB Chris Kolarevic

Breakout Player: DL Ty Robinson

Related: Athlon Sports' College Football Top 25 for 2021

6. Purdue

The Boilermakers posted a winning record and bowl trip in coach Jeff Brohm’s debut but have since recorded three straight losing seasons. Can Purdue navigate a tough schedule to return to the postseason?

Previewing the Offense

Strength: A full offseason for Brohm to gameplan should help a unit that averaged only 27.2 points a game in 2020. Skill talent isn’t a problem here, as receiver David Bell is back after catching 53 passes last year, and running back Zander Horvath anchors the ground attack. Aidan O’Connell and Jack Plummer provide experience at quarterback.

Concern: Will Plummer or O’Connell claim a clear hold on the starting QB job? Horvath’s return is big, but Purdue needs more punch (3.3 yards a carry) and better play up front. The offense also needs to generate more big plays.

True Freshman to Watch: WR Deion Burks/Preston Terrell

Incoming Transfers: WR Broc Thompson; OL Tyler Witt

Breakout Player: WR Milton Wright

Previewing the Defense

Strength: Brad Lambert is a solid hire to improve a defense that has struggled in recent years and allowed 29.8 points a contest last year. A healthy George Karlaftis should make a big difference for the pass rush and the overall play up front. Cornerback Cory Trice is underrated.

Concern: How much improvement can Lambert generate out of this group in one year? The pass defense ranked 12th in the Big Ten last year, and the Boilermakers struggled to get off the field on third downs.

True Freshman to Watch: LB Yanni Karlaftis

Incoming Transfers: DL Damarjhe Lewis; CB C.J. McWilliams; DL Joseph Anderson; LB O.C. Brothers; DB Jamari Brown

Breakout Player: LB Jalen Graham

7. Illinois

Illinois hasn’t had a winning season since 2011, but the program hopes new coach Bret Bielema can transform the Fighting Illini into a consistent bowl team in the Big Ten West.

Previewing the Offense

Strength: The offense averaged only 20.1 points a game last year, but new play-caller Tony Petersen isn’t inheriting an empty cupboard. The offensive line could be among the best in the Big Ten, and the Fighting Illini have a solid stable of backs in place. Quarterback Brandon Peters will be a three-year starter in 2021.

Concern: Illinois has finished eighth or worse in the Big Ten in offensive yards per play in seven straight years. Playmakers at receiver are a big need, although converted QB Isaiah Williams and Notre Dame transfer Jafar Armstrong should help.

Redshirt Freshman to Watch: WR Isaiah Williams

Incoming Transfers: QB Artur Sitkowski; OL Jack Badovinac; WR Jafar Armstrong

Breakout Player: TE Daniel Barker

Previewing the Defense

Strength: This unit struggled last season, but new coordinator Ryan Walters has experience to build on, including edge rusher Owen Carney, linebacker Jake Hansen and safety Tony Adams.

Concern: Walters is going to be busy this offseason. The Fighting Illini gave up 230.1 rushing yards a game last season, ranked last in the Big Ten in pass efficiency defense and surrendered 34.9 points a game. Improvement is needed everywhere.

True Freshman to Watch: LB Dylan Rosiek

Incoming Transfers: DB Eddie Smith; DB Prather Hudson; LB Calvin Hart

Breakout Player: DL Jer’Zhan Newton

Big Ten Championship: Ohio State over Wisconsin


Offensive POY

Pick by Steven Lassan: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Pick by Mark Ross: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

Defensive POY

Pick by Steven Lassan: Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Jack Sanborn, LB, Wisconsin

Pick by Mark Ross: Jack Sanborn, LB, Wisconsin

Coach of the Year

Pick by Steven Lassan: Ryan Day, Ohio State

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Pick by Mark Ross: Ryan Day, Ohio State

Top Freshman

Pick by Steven Lassan: TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Emeka Egbuka, WR, Ohio State

Pick by Mark Ross: Donovan Edwards, RB, Michigan

Top Newcomer

Pick by Steven Lassan: Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State

Pick by Mark Ross: Ryan Hilinski, QB, Northwestern

Sleeper Team

Pick by Steven Lassan: Minnesota

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Minnesota

Pick by Mark Ross: Minnesota

Key Position to Watch

Pick by Steven Lassan: Ohio State QBs

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Ohio State QBs

Pick by Mark Ross: Ohio State QBs

Best Coordinator Hire

Pick by Steven Lassan: Mike Yurcich, OC, Penn State

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Mike Yurcich, OC, Penn State

Pick by Mark Ross: Mike Yurcich, OC, Penn State

Hardest Team to Evaluate

Pick by Steven Lassan: Michigan

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Michigan

Pick by Mark Ross: Michigan

Coach on the Rise

Pick by Steven Lassan: Sean Gleeson, OC, Rutgers

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Mike Locksley, HC, Maryland

Pick by Mark Ross: Jim Leonhard, DC, Wisconsin

Must-See Game

Pick by Steven Lassan: Ohio State at Indiana

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Oregon at Ohio State

Pick by Mark Ross: Oregon at Ohio State

Breakout Player

Pick by Steven Lassan: Graham Mertz, QB, Wisconsin

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Daxton Hill, DB, Michigan

Pick by Mark Ross: Jalen Berger, RB, Wisconsin

Comeback Player

Pick by Steven Lassan: Aidan Hutchinson, DL, Michigan

Pick by Ben Weinrib: Michael Penix, QB, Indiana

Pick by Mark Ross: Noah Cain, RB, Penn State

Podcast: Big Ten Preview and Predictions