2019 NCAAF Big Ten Power Rankings
2019-2020 NCAA Football Season
Cover the Spread 365 2019 Big Ten Power Rankings
The Big Ten is one of the more powerful conferences in the nation, with that being said it is time to look at and breakdown every team in the conference and where they rank amongst each other.
With little to no standouts in their recruiting class, along with an awful track record over the past few seasons, it is going to be hard for this team to play well within the conference. The Big Ten is a strong conference throughout, but unfortunately for Rutgers, they will be one of the only weak links and will struggle to rally a few wins throughout the course of the season.
With Rutgers being the worst team in the conference, Illinois can possibly pull off an extra win by defeating Rutgers in Illinois which places them above the Scarlet Knights in the power rankings. When looking at Illinois’ in conference record over the last 3 seasons, it is hard to make a case for them to be a good football team. They only won 4 conference games in that span. They also have the worst recruiting class grade in the conference.
Ranking 8 in the Big Ten’s recruiting class grades, Indiana has already made some improvements from last year. By landing 4-star running back Sampson James, Indiana is looking to make improvements on an offense that is steadily getting better, just missing the mark late in games. It is also important to note that although Indiana’s offense has the potential to be explosive, their defense who had 30+ points put up on them for the majority of the season just lost their top 2 tacklers. Under new defensive coordinator Kane Wommack, Indiana can hold their own on both sides of the ball if their defensive backs can limit the long balls.
Purdue lost their top running backs last year which takes a toll on their offense for the upcoming season. The main reason Purdue struggles to win games consistently is because they have such poor pass defense. Ranking 4th worst in the nation last year, the Boilermakers need to figure it out in order to come out with a few wins. If Elijah Sindelar can remain healthy throughout the year, there can be some positives to look forward to for this upcoming season.
Maryland football showed some improvements last season from recent years, but they are still not in the top half of the Big Ten for a few reasons. One of them being the inconsistency they showed on the offensive side of the ball. Maryland’s defense was not terrible last season, and by landing Clemson transfer Shaq Smith along with the new 4-3 defense, the linebackers should have improved numbers over last season. Another reason being that the hardest games in their schedule are mostly coming at the end of the season, which will likely result in losses.
Minnesota is returning their running back duo who ranks at the top of the Big Ten. Coming off a bowl win last season, it seems as though the Gophers are making progress every year and becoming a respectable team. P.J. Fleck has changed the program drastically since he arrived there, and now that he is a few years in, Fleck and his team are finally starting to understand the system he brought with him and showing signs of a winning football team. Minnesota’s biggest question is their quarterback situation where they have 2 options and it could be competition that could go into the fall.
Northwestern had the 3rd worst recruiting season amongst the Big Ten and it may have to do with their record over recent years. They are not a bad team by any means. Over the last 4 seasons, they finished above .500 every year but by losing players and bringing in such a week recruiting class, it will be hard for Fitzgerald and his team to replicate his 9 win season last year.
Iowa is a very interesting team. Some weeks they show that they can hang with the best in the Big Ten, but some weeks they look like they don’t even belong in the same conference. With a team that has such inconsistencies, it is hard to see what this season will bring for them. Iowa opens up the season with 4 games that they can win to put them in great position to hold onto a top seed in the Big Ten, but with their inconsistent play being a huge factor throughout all of last year, it is hard seeing this team make the necessary adjustments to put them at the top of the Big Ten.
Big Ten Power Rankings NCAAF 2019
6. Penn State
With Trace McSorely and Miles Sanders leaving for the NFL, along with Tommy Stevens transferring out of the program, PSU football is going to take a big hit on the offensive end of the ball. The defensive unit for Penn State will have to keep up their impressive stats from last year if this team has a true chance to win the Big Ten. They landed 1 5-star recruit along with 17 4-star recruits. If James Franklin can help the young guys develop quickly and get them into the system, PSU should have no problem fighting for a top seed in the Big Ten.
Head coach Scott Frost is poised to do big things in the upcoming years at Nebraska. In his first season he finished with a 4-8 record which is not terrible for a first year head coach, but with seeing what he could do at UCF, bigger things are expected from Frost in the 2019-2020 season. With Adrian Martinez becoming the first freshman to accumulate over 3,000 yards, it is clear that the team has a guy they can rely on. With that being said, look for an explosive year out of Martinez and look for Nebraska to get back on track with a bowl game birth.
4. Michigan State
Michigan State is ranked 4th simply because of what Big Ten opponents they need to play on the road this season. With road games against Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio State, MSU has their work cut out for them in this upcoming season. They will have to take advantage of every easy matchup they have and hopefully they can win the majority of their other games which will give them a chance to compete for the Big Ten crown.
The Wisconsin offense is highlighted by star running back Jonathan Taylor. Taylor is going to put the nation on Heisman watch. Last year he posted an extremely impressive stat line of 2,194 yards to go with 16 touchdowns as a sophomore. Wisconsin has yet another back they will potentially send to the NFL, and if their offense can get behind him then they march down the field as Taylor marches up the Heisman watch list. As for their defense, the linebackers will look to be at the top of the Big Ten in rankings. Wisconsin had an off season last year by having their first single digit win season under Chryst, but the team should have a bounce back season, and once again reach double digits in the win column.
Michigan was set up to win the Big Ten last year until they faced Ohio State and got absolutely annihilated. Michigan has the best coach in the conference and always has a solid foundation, but last year’s loss to Ohio State may have left it’s mark for more than just one game. That loss kept Michigan from potentially being a final 4 team in the playoff, and losing starters on the defensive side of the ball may take a bigger hit to defensive minded Harbaugh than expected.
Ohio State is on top because of what they did last season. They went into Happy Valley and defeated PSU in the biggest sell out in recent memory for the school. They then proceeded to stomp Michigan in Ohio to prevent them from being selected for the final 4. Although Ohio State did not make it in, they certainly had a case to be right there with the best. Losing Urban Meyer and Dwayne Haskins is going to be a huge blow to the team, but Justin Fields is clearly good enough to help them maintain such a high success rate. Fields is projected to be so good that Tate Martell transferred to Miami because he knew that Fields was going to start. This team is too good in too many positions to be ranked anywhere but first in the Big Ten rankings, and throughout the 2019 season they will prove why.