Big Ten football predictions 2022 Conference stand

  • Michigan shook up the Big Ten in 2021.The Wolverines finally broke through under coach Jim Harbaugh for the program’s first Big Ten championship since 2004, and that snapped Ohio State’s run of four straight conference titles.The Buckeyes, however, are the prohibitive favorite to strike back in 2022. Fourth-year coach Ryan Day brings back a loaded offense that features Heisman Trophy finalist C.J. Stroud, and Ohio State has a favorable schedule with most of the tough games at home. Michigan State and Penn State will stay in the mix in the Big Ten East, but it still comes down to the Buckeyes and Wolverines.MORE:| ||What about the Big Ten West? Iowa won the division in 2021 before being dumped 42-3 by the Wolverines at Lucas Oil Stadium. Wisconsin is expected to bounce back, but the pre sure is on veteran quarterback Graham Mertz to make that happen. Iowa, Wisconsin and Northwestern are 0-8 in the Big Ten championship game since the conference switched to the East and West division setup.All 14 coaches returned to the Big Ten, but Nebraska’s Scott Frost is on the hottest of hot seats. The Huskers revamped the coaching staff this offseason, and the conference season kicks off Aug. 27 when Nebraska and Northwestern meet in Dublin, Ireland.MORE: Will there be another shakeup this season? A closer look at the Big Ten, with predictions, big games, Heisman contenders and more:2022 predicted order of finishBig Ten EastOhio StateMichiganMichigan StatePenn StateMarylandRutgersIndianaOhio State plays most of its tough Big Ten games in the comforts of home this season with Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan all coming to Ohio Stadium (not to mention the non-con blockbuster with Notre Dame). The Buckeyes have won 25 straight conference games at home by an average of 30.9 points per game. Michigan will have a tough test there in the finale. The Wolverines do get Michigan State and Penn State at home, but Harbaugh is 3-4 against those schools at the Big House. That’s the game that turns the Spartans’ season one way or the other. Penn State is 4-5 in Big Ten play each of the last two seasons. Maryland is coming off a bowl win in 2021, but the Terps are 4-21 against the Big Four in the division since joining the Big Ten in 2014. That’s the next step.Big Ten WestWisconsinIowaPurdueMinnesotaNebraskaIllinoisNorthwesternWisconsin is the pick to win the division, but the Badgers are going to earn it. Wisconsin opens Big Ten play at Ohio State on Sept. 24, and it has road games at Michigan State and Iowa. The Hawkeyes play cro s-over games against Ohio State and Michigan. Will that allow a school such as Purdue or Minnesota to sneak up the standings this year? The Boilermakers are an interesting sleeper, but they have the Badgers and Gophers on the road this season. They lost to both teams at home in 2021. Nebraska lost nine games by nine points or le s last season, and Northwestern is trying to bounce back after its own nine-lo s season. The Wildcats did win the Big Ten West in 2018 and 2020. Is there more even-year magic in store? The opener in Dublin is a huge tone-setter for both teams.Big Ten top storyline: Ohio State and who else?The Big Ten added USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 starting in the 2024; a blockbuster realignment move that could lead to further expansion for the soon-to-be 16-team conference. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said those schools can help “carry some weight” for the Big Ten.Was that an indirect shot at the rest of the competition? Ohio State is 93-11 in the College Football Playoff era, an .894 winning percentage. The Buckeyes won the conference’s only titles in the CFP era (2014) and BCS era (2002). Ohio State is 7-3 in New Year’s Day Six bowls, too.Five other schools in the conference have a winning percentage better than 60% in the CFP era. That’s Wisconsin (.745), Iowa (.693), Michigan (.680), Penn State (.643) and Michigan State (.643). They are 6-7 in New Year’s Day Six Bowls, and the Spartans and Wolverines were routed in their lone CFP appearances.That weight is on the big stage, and Ohio State is all-but penciled in to get back to the CFP in 2022. Can any of those other schools disrupt that?MORE: Impact freshmenNick Singleton, RB, Penn StateSingleton, a five-star running back from Governor Mifflin High School (Reading, Pa.), gives the Nittany Lions an exciting backup option for junior Keyvone Lee. Singleton has good size at 6-0, 210 pounds, and the is predictably amazing. Four-star running back Kaytron Allen (IMG Academy) also will be in the mix for carries.C.J. Hicks, LB, Ohio StateNew defensive coordinator Jim Knowles will bring a more aggre sive scheme to Ohio State, and Hicks (Archbishop Alter, Dayton, Ohio) is a five-star linebacker that could work into the middle two-linebacker rotation with Steele Chambers and Tommy Eichenberg. Four-star safety Kye Stokes (Armwood, Seffner, Fla.) also was impre sive in the spring game.Will Johnson, CB, MichiganWolverines’ fans always get excited about five-star cornerbacks, and Johnson (Gro se Pointe South, Mich.) is the next in line. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound cornerback has the versatility to play either in the slot or safety think Dax Hill and that could lead to early playing time for new defensive coordinator Je se Minter.Impact transfersCasey Thompson, QB, NebraskaThompson replaces four-year starter Adrian Martinez, who transferred to Kansas State. Thompson played in 15 games at Texas, where he had 30 TDs and nine interceptions. The Huskers also have a new offensive coordinator in Mark Whipple, who worked with Heisman Trophy finalist Kenny Pickett at Pitt last season. It’s a new QB for Frost, and it might just work this time.Trey Palmer, WR, NebraskaNebraska also brought in a new pa sing game coordinator in Mickey Joseph from LSU. Palmer, who had 41 catches for 458 yards and three TDs with the Tigers the last three seasons, followed Joseph. Palmer should thrive in a more pronounced role and will emerge as a breakout player for the Huskers.Jarek Brou sard and Jalen Berger, RBs, Michigan StateBrou sard (Colorado) and Berger (Wisconsin) are tasked with replacing the production from Kenneth Walker III, who rushed for 1,636 yards and 18 TDs last season. This might be more of a tandem effort, but you know Mel Tucker is going to rely on that strong running game around quarterback Peyton Thorne.Victor Oluwatimi, C, MichiganMichigan had a dominant offensive line last season, and Oluwatimi should help that trend continue. He started 35 games for Virginia the last three seasons and was a semifinalist for the Rimington Trophy. The Wolverines rushed for a le

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