1. Wisconsin: The Badgers return as the co Big Ten Champs and represented the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl vs TCU. They picked up the biggest Free Agency like move of the summer when former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson decided to come to Madison and play for the Badgers in the upcoming season. Wilson will be helped by running backs James White (1,052 yards) and Montee Ball, 777 yards and 14 touchdowns... in the last 5 games. Its very hard to replace 1st team All Americans's (OT Gabe Carimi and OG John Moffitt) as well as 2nd team AA's (DE J.J. Watt and TE Lance Kendricks) but the Badgers should manage.
|Wisconsin running back Montee Ball|
2. Penn St: Joe Pa's Nittnay Lions return a lot of players from last years team, just not many stars. The quarterback situation between Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden has yet to be decided and they lose star running back Evan Royster. Receiver Derek Moye will look to improve on his 800 yard season no matter who is under center and the offensive line should be very good with 5th year seniors at the tackles. The Nittnay Lions first big test will be vs the Crimson Tide week 2.
3. Ohio St: The Buckeyes were rattled to the core with off season problems but even with all the suspensions and losses they will still be in contention for another Big Ten title. Once Dan "Boom" Heron, DeVier Posey, and Mike Adams come back into the lineup after their five games suspensions we should see the good old Ohio St. More on the Buckeyes in 2011 here: Ohio St Post Tressel
4. Illinois: After being predicted to finish last in the Big Ten last season the Fighting Illini surprised many with a 7-6 record and a bowl win over Baylor. They lose power running back Mikel LeShoure but dual threat QB Nathan Scheelhasse is back and with improved throwing mechanics. The Illini secondary will be very strong, maybe best in the Big Ten, but the front seven will be very questionable come September.
5. Indiana: The Hoosiers bring in former Oklahoma offensive coordinator to take over as head coach in Bloomington. The Hoosiers will have to rely on their big men up front for a successful upcoming season. They return four starters on their line and return five of their front seven on defense. QB Ben Chappell graduated and they are still one year away from five star recruit Gunner Kiel coming in to led the Hoosiers so the quarterback situation is up for grabs.
|2nd team All American Jared Crick had 9.5|
sacks last season for the black shirts
1A. Michigan St: The Spartans shared the Big Ten title but got embarrassed by SEC powerhouse Alabama in their bowl game. Mark Dantonio looks to lead the Spartans back into the Top 10 and he has a very good shot with veteran players on the roster. Quarterback Kirk Cousins will enter his third season as the starter, RB's Edwin Baker and Le'Von Bell return with Tackle Dan France leading the way. The defense loses All American Middle Linebacker Greg Jones but should still be very good with one of the conferences best corners in Johnny Adams and DT Jerel Worthy.
|Reigning Big Ten offensive player of |
the year Denard Robinson
3. Michigan: Michigan starts the Brady Hoke Era in Ann Arbor and he comes in with 18 returning starters. Speedster and reigning offensive player of the year in the Big Ten, Denard "shoelace" Robinson, will be at command of the offense once again. Roy Roundtree will be his top target, 925 yards last season, and RB Vincent Smith will join him in the backfield. If the Wolverines want to improve on their 7-6 season then they will need to completely change a defense that ranked last in practically every category last season. The future looks bright for Michigan but this looks to be just an adjustment year for Brady Hoke and Co.
4. Iowa: Long time starter Ricky Stazi heads to the NFL but the new starting QB is in good hands. RB Marcus Coker dominated for the Hawkeyes in their bowl game, 219 yards and 2 touchdowns, and leading receiving target Marvin McNutt both return. They will struggle mightily upfront on defense with only two starters returning to the front seven and the loss of all american DE Adrian Clayborn. Iowa doesnt have the talent that they've had in years past but no one wants to play in Iowa City come November.
|Northwestern's Dan Persa|
6. Minnesota: Jim Kill takes over in his first full season as head coach for the Golden Gophers and will return with all of his key skill players returning. The struggle for the upcoming season will be replacing the offensive and defensive lines. Kill has a lot of work a head of him if he wants to get Minnesota back to where they were when Marion Barber and Laurence Maroney in the backfield back in 2003-2006.
Championship Game: Wisconsin over Michigan St
Player of the Year: Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
Defensive Player of the Year: Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska
Coach of the Year: Joe Paterno, Penn St
Freshman of the Year: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio St