Predicted order of finish, with preseason AP ranking.


1. Nebraska (No. 24)

The Cornhuskers have a favorable schedule and a talented quarterback in Adrian Martinez. That 0-6 start under Scott Frost seems long ago.

2. Wisconsin (No. 19)

Jonathan Taylor, the best running back in the nation, will carry this team, literally.

3. Iowa (No. 20)

Nate Stanley is one of the few returning starting quarterbacks in the conference this year, and that experience will aid the Hawkeyes.

4. Northwestern

Last year’s West winners have six preseason Top 25 foes on the schedule, including a season opener at No. 25 Stanford.

5. Gophers

The offense looks great, but the defense is still the looming question for a team that is 5-13 in Big Ten play under coach P.J. Fleck.

6. Purdue

The Boilermakers lost several offensive players from last season, and receiver Rondale Moore can only do so much.

7. Illinois

This team hasn’t seen a bowl game in four years or a winning season in seven.


1. Michigan (No. 7)

This is coach Jim Harbaugh’s year to finally best Ohio State, which could mean an East title and eventual Big Ten championship.

2. Ohio State (No. 5)

Ryan Day takes over for Urban Meyer with new quarterback Justin Fields and the most talent-rich team in the Big Ten.

3. Michigan State (No. 18)

Defense wins championships — er, bronze medals. The Spartans must improve an offense that ranked 126th of 130 FBS teams last year.

4. Penn State (No. 15)

The Nittany Lions have the depth to replace losses like longtime quarterback Trace McSorley, but it’s still a youthful team at key positions.

5. Maryland

Mike Locksley’s first year as coach will be respectable for an inaugural season.

6. Indiana

For the third consecutive year, the Hoosiers will miss out on a bowl game at the hands of in-state rival Purdue.

7. Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights must win only two games to do better than last season, but that likely won’t make coach Chris Ash’s seat any cooler.


Michigan over Nebraska