Lookbacks & Lookaheads ... Big Ten
- 2010 Big Ten Team-By-Team Schedule Analysis
- 2010 Big Ten Composite Schedule
- 2010 Big Ten Pre-Preseason Rankings
- 2010 Big Ten Recruiting Rankings
Click on each team for the 2009 Lookback & 2010 Lookahead
- Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota
- Northwestern | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin
Illinois Click for the Lookback & Lookahead
Eight starters return on defense so the hope has to be that experience turns into production. The entire linebacking corps is back with smallish, quick players like Ian Thomas certain to get more room to roam. The O line was relatively young, and even though it loses star guard Jon Asamoah, it should be a wee bit better with more developed depth. RB Mikel Leshoure could be a breakout star with more work.
Indiana Click for the Lookback & Lookahead
Darius Willis is a talent. The star running back recruit of last year was banged up a bit and didn't get to show all he could do, but he had three 100-yard rushing games and showed flashes of greatness at times. Eight offensive starters return including three on the line and the strong pitch-catch combo of Ben Chappell to Tandon Doss. All the top defensive tackles are back.
Iowa Click for the Lookback & Lookahead
The defense should be among the best in America after finishing tenth in the nation overall, eighth in scoring D, and fourth in pass defense. Nine starters return with LB Pat Angerer the one rough loss. DE Adrian Clayborn decided to come back for his senior year when he would've been a top 60 pick in this year's draft, and SS Tyler Sash should be on everyone's preseason All-America list.
Michigan Click for the Lookback & Lookahead
15 starters are back; experience isn't going to be a problem. While three of the losses on defense are huge (DE Brandon Graham, LB Stevie Brown, and CB Donovan Warren), there's no excuse for the D to not be far better. The offense has a few interesting playmakers to work around at all the key spots, and there's plenty of speed and athleticism to hope for even more pop and explosion. While the schedule might have several bowl teams to deal with, two of the toughest games, Iowa and Wisconsin, are at home.
Michigan State Click for the Lookback & Lookahead
Greg Jones decided to come back for another year. He was the best linebacker that no one talked about last year, and he'll be the leader of a veteran defense that should be far better in the front seven. Top WR Blair White is gone, but eight starters return on an offense that should be more explosive, more balanced, and far more effective if all the experience makes a difference. The schedule isn't awful early with four of the first five games and five of the first seven at home. There's no Ohio State on the schedule.
Minnesota Click for the Lookback & Lookahead
The offense won't be hurting for experience. QB Adam Weber might have struggled, but he's a four-year veteran who won't have as much pressure on his shoulders with MarQueis Gray getting more and more work. Duane Bennett is a nice-looking back, but he needs the experienced line to pave the way for more consistent yards. Schedule-wise, four of the first five games are at home with the one road game at Middle Tennessee. Two of the Big Ten road games are winnable against Purdue and Illinois, while Penn State, Ohio State, and Iowa all have to come to TCF Bank Stadium.
Northwestern Click for the Lookback & Lookahead
The Cats play two bowl teams in the first six: Central Michigan and Minnesota. If Northwestern is any good, it can win those two games and a 6-0 start is a legitimate goal. Yet again, there's no Michigan on the schedule, which isn't necessarily a good thing, but there's also no Ohio State to deal with. Eight starters return on offense, and while the passing game needs to be rebuilt but the offensive line that was so young and so mediocre last year should be far more experienced and far better.
Ohio State Click for the Lookback & Lookahead
The average fan probably can't name a Buckeye defender, but seven starters are back from the Rose Bowl team and nine are back on offense including four linemen and everyone in the backfield. Remember, OSU had (arguably) the nation's No. 1 recruiting class in 2009 and will get an influx of supremely talented redshirt freshmen ready to provide solid depth. Basically, if you're waiting for the Buckeyes to slip, this isn't going to be the year.
Penn State Click for the Lookback & Lookahead
Pencil in Penn State for a sure-thing nine wins just by showing up because of the schedule. (However, the hammer drops in the other three games.) The offensive line that was so underwhelming throughout last year comes back loaded in the interior led by all-star center Stefen Wisniewski, while the defense should boast one of the Big Ten's top secondaries even with the loss of corner A.J. Wallace.
Purdue Click for the Lookback & Lookahead
Considering Notre Dame has a lot of work to do and isn't likely to be fully jelled right away in the season opener, Purdue has a chance in South Bend. A win over the Irish will likely mean a 4-0 start with Western Illinois, Ball State, and Toledo to follow. There's no Penn State or Iowa on the schedule, and they're almost certainly going to be two of the four best teams in the league. With Indiana, Minnesota, and Michigan coming to West Lafayette, the slate is in place to come up with a winning season to get to a bowl game.
Wisconsin Click for the Lookback & Lookahead
There's only one road game on the schedule (Michigan State) until an October 23rd trip to Iowa. The non-conference schedule only has one game worth worrying about, Arizona State, and that's in Camp Randall. There's no Penn State on the schedule and Ohio State is a home date. The offense should be unstoppable with every starter returning if tight end Lance Kendricks was considered a co-starter along with Garrett Graham, while RB John Clay will be an early Heisman favorite working behind a tremendous line that should be just coming into its own. The 1-2 receiving punch of Nick Toon and David Gilreath, along with Kendrick, should give the Badgers one of the nation's most underappreciated passing games.
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