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NCAA Football Conference Preview: Big Ten

The Big 10 football conference now has 14 teams participating. This past spring the conference welcomed both Maryland and Rutgers in. For football, the Big 10 has now separated their divisions into an East and West. While this year, these divisions do not seem competitively balanced, the conference feels over time, this will be the best way to split up the teams.

The divisions are mixed according to geography. Starting out East, which seems to be the tougher of the two, at least in 2014. The East will feature the new comers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Maryland Terrapins. These two teams will join the Big Ten favorite Ohio State, both Michigan schools in the Wolverines and the Spartans, along with Indiana and Penn State.

The West in 2014 appears to be Wisconsin’s until a team proves them otherwise. The Badgers will be challenged mostly by the Iowa Hawkeyes and Nebraska Cornhuskers. Those three teams will see Northwestern Wildcats, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue; four of the worst teams in the league a season ago.

A few notable games on the Big Ten schedule for 2014 are November 29th when the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines square off. Ohio State also goes to East Lansing on November 8th to take on the Spartans as well. Michigan State sees just the one ranked team from a season ago on their schedule, but they will face a tough opener on October 4th when they take on Nebraska. Maryland opens up their Big Ten slate on September 27th at Indiana, while Rutgers will kick off on September 13th against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

For Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes,, they will see Braxton Miller’s final go ‘round as the quarterback of the squad. Ohio State also has possibly the best defensive line in the entire nation. Michigan State, led by Mark Dantoni have several holes to fill from a season ago, so expectations of beating Ohio State for the third time in four years should simmer down a bit. A team to look out for is James Franklin’s Penn State Nittany Lions. They are looking for big things out of quarterback Christian Hackenberg. The Nittany Lions will look to patch work the offensively line to keep Hackenberg upright. Wisconsin will feature Melvin Gordon at running back, along with their always solid passing attack. The question mark for the Badgers will be the defensive front seven, in which they will have all new starters. One more team to look out for in the Big Ten is the Indiana Hoosiers. While they will not compete at the very top, look for Indiana to make a run at bowl game with head coach Kevin Wilson. New defensive coordinator Brian Knorr will significantly help one of the worst defenses in all of college football a season ago.

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