When we sit down to iron out our Top 25 Poll each year at Athlon Sports, we are trying to project the final year-end standings not build a preseason power poll. It might be a small and subtle difference but an important one to acknowledge.
The countdown to the 2017 college football season is already underway, as spring practices and position battles for spots on the depth chart for all 130 teams across the nation are already in progress in offseason workouts.
The Big Ten closed the gap with the SEC last year in the race to be college football’s No. 1 conference, and the league is in great shape as spring ball opens for 2017. Ohio State and Penn State should be among the nation’s frontrunners to win it all next year, while Michigan and Wisconsin will also rank in many preseason top 10 lists.
Ranking the college football and basketball head coaching tandems for the Power 5 conferences is no easy assignment. But that’s what Athlon Sports has set out to do this offseason, as spring practice is just starting around the nation for all 130 teams and tournament time is approaching for teams on the hardwood.
Just a few years ago, there were question marks about the Big Ten’s ability to churn out NFL talent in large numbers. That’s no longer the case however, as the league is sending an impressive 51 players to the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine this year.
The Big Ten isn’t hurting for talent in its coaching ranks. The duo of Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio ranks as the best in the conference, but Ohio State (Urban Meyer and Thad Matta) and Michigan (Jim Harbaugh and John Beilein) round out a strong top three. And the conference also features some up-and-coming duos, including Minnesota, Northwestern and Penn State.