The Big Ten wraps up spring practice Saturday, when Iowa, Rutgers and Michigan State hold their annual spring games. It’ll be a new-look conference this fall, with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers, giving the league 14 teams split into East and West divisions. Here’s a glance at where each team stands now and how that might change by this fall:
Big Ten West
Coach: Jerry Kill (fourth year).
2013: 8-5, 4-4 Big Ten. Bowl game: Lost to Syracuse 21-17 in Texas Bowl.
Starters returning: Offense 8, defense 7.
Top returnees (2013 stats): RB David Cobb (1,202 rushing yards), DE Theiren Cockran (7 ½ sacks).
Spring news: LB Cody Poock looked like a potential starter at outside linebacker but tore the ACL in his right knee and is questionable for the season.
Schedule notes: The Gophers play at Texas Christian (Sept. 13) and drew two tough Big Ten East crossovers: at Michigan (Sept. 27) and vs. Ohio State (Nov. 15).
Football fever temperature: 60. The Gophers are coming off their best finish since 2003. This team might be better, but the big test comes with this November finish: Iowa, Ohio State, at Nebraska, at Wisconsin.
Coach: Tim Beckman (third year).
2013: 4-8, 1-7.
Starters returning: Offense 7, defense 8.
Top returnees: RB Josh Ferguson (779 rushing yards), S Earnest Thomas (101 tackles).
Spring news: Despite a shaky spring game, Will Lunt, a transfer from Oklahoma State, is the favorite to take over at quarterback. He’ll replace Nathan Scheelhaase, who quietly led the Big Ten in passing last year.
Schedule notes: Illinois plays at Washington (Sept. 13) and faces Ohio State and Penn State in its Big Ten East crossover games.
Football fever temperature: 45. An unheralded recruiting class did little to quell fans’ angst about Beckman, who is 6-18 at Illinois, including 1-15 in the Big Ten. Beyond Scheelhaase, this team must replace linebacker Jonathan Brown, the conference’s second-leading tackler.