Power Ranking Every Big Ten Football Team Heading into 2014

Power Ranking Every Big Ten Football Team Heading into 2014

Jim Delany Big 10
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The Big Ten conference is going to have a historic season this year. With several very good teams this year in Ohio State and Michigan State as well as newcomers Rutgers and Maryland, the Big Ten conference will have plenty of storylines.

Before the Big Ten season kicks off, here are my power rankings for the conference by division.

7. Big Ten East: Maryland Terrapins

Randy Edsall Maryland
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7. Big Ten East: Maryland Terrapins

Randy Edsall Maryland
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Another program that is starting to get back to form after several poor years, Randy Edsall and the Maryland Terrapins became bowl-eligible last year and will look to improve that mark in the Big Ten. The Terrapins will have a tough inaugural season, especially with home games against West Virginia, Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan State. The Terrapins also have road games against Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan.

6. Big Ten East: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers Scarlet Knights
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6. Big Ten East: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers Scarlet Knights
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As one of two new entrants to the Big Ten conference, the Scarlet Knights will look to revive their program after a year filled with controversy and a school tarnished in scandals. The Scarlet Knights will have a tough season next year, especially with road games against Washington State, Ohio State, Nebraska and Michigan State. Rutgers also has tough home contests against Penn State and Wisconsin.

5. Big Ten East: Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana Hoosiers
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5. Big Ten East: Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana Hoosiers
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After several lean years, the Indiana Hoosiers have some hope for the future, even after the departure of second-round wide receiver Cody Latimer. The Hoosiers have a tough road ahead, especially with road games against Missouri, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio State. The Hoosiers also have some tough home games against the likes of Michigan State and Penn State.

4. Big Ten East: Penn State Nittany Lions

James Franklin Penn State
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4. Big Ten East: Penn State Nittany Lions

James Franklin Penn State
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In year three of their bowl ban, the Nittany Lions won't be playing for anything but pride again this year; but that doesn't mean that they can give other teams a run for their money. Penn State will host the likes of Ohio State and Michigan State and travel to Michigan. The Nittany Lions got a particularly great draw in terms of their schedule and could win at least nine games this year.

3. Big Ten East: Michigan Wolverines

Michigan Wolverines
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3. Big Ten East: Michigan Wolverines

Michigan Wolverines
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After being a favorite last year, the Michigan Wolverines and Brady Hoke struggled so much that Hoke is now on the hot seat. The Wolverines will have to turn it around this year, but it will be difficult given their schedule. Michigan will host the likes of Utah, Minnesota and Penn State and travel to Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State.

2. Big Ten East: Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State Spartans
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2. Big Ten East: Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State Spartans
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The Michigan State Spartans were able to upset the heavily favored Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship game and the Stanford Cardinal in the Rose Bowl, but a repeat of last year will be very difficult. The Spartans travel to Oregon and Penn State as well as home games against Nebraska, Michigan and Ohio State.

1. Big Ten East: Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State Buckeyes
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1. Big Ten East: Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State Buckeyes
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The Ohio State Buckeyes lost plenty of star players to the NFL, including Carlos Hyde, Ryan Shazier and Bradley Roby, but the Buckeyes do return several great players in Braxton Miller, Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington. Ohio State will host the likes of Virginia Tech and Michigan along with road trips to Penn State and Michigan State. The Buckeyes are the clear favorites in the Big Ten.

7. Big Ten West: Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue Boilermakers
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7. Big Ten West: Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue Boilermakers
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Another program that has fallen on hard times, the Purdue Boilermakers have been a shell of what they once were. For the Boilermakers to get back to some form of relevance, they also will have to do so against a tough schedule that includes road games against Notre Dame, Minnesota and Nebraska as well as home games against Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin.

6. Big Ten West: Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois Fighting Illini
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6. Big Ten West: Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois Fighting Illini
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The Fighting Illini have steadily gone downhill after a Rose Bowl appearance not too long ago. For Illinois to get back to some form of respectability and relevance, they will have to do so against some tough competition. The Illini will travel to Washington, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Ohio State as well as host Minnesota, Iowa and Penn State.

5. Big Ten West: Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern Wildcats
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5. Big Ten West: Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern Wildcats
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The Northwestern football program is in the headlines for all of their work on the unionization of college athletes, but no headlines are made about a poor 2013 campaign. If the Wildcats don't want to fall victim to an off-field distraction, they will have to do it against tough competition like Penn State, Minnesota, Iowa and Notre Dame on the road and Wisconsin, Nebraska and Michigan at home.

4. Big Ten West: Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota Golden Gophers
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4. Big Ten West: Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota Golden Gophers
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Last year, the Golden Gophers were one of America's favorite stories as the team played hard for Jerry Kill, who suffered a seizure during the season. The Golden Gophers are now on the map instead of being the team that flies under the radar. Minnesota will have tough contests against TCU, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin on the road and at home against Iowa and Ohio State.

3. Big Ten West: Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa Hawkeyes
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3. Big Ten West: Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa Hawkeyes
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After a 4-8 finish in 2012, the Iowa Hawkeyes turned things around in 2013 by posting an 8-4 record. For the Hawkeyes to improve on this mark, they will have to do it against a tough schedule, especially with home games against Wisconsin and Nebraska as well as road games against Pittsburgh and Minnesota.

2. Big Ten West: Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska Cornhuskers
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2. Big Ten West: Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska Cornhuskers
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After yet another 10 or less win campaign, the Nebraska Cornhuskers will have to replace some great players if the program wants to get back to national prominence. The Cornhuskers will have to replace Taylor Martinez, Quincy Enunwa, Spencer Long and Stanley Jean-Baptiste as well as play a tough schedule. Nebraska will host Minnesota and Miami and travel to Fresno State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Iowa.

1. Big Ten West: Wisconsin Badgers

Gary Andersen Wisconsin
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1. Big Ten West: Wisconsin Badgers

Gary Andersen Wisconsin
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The Wisconsin Badgers lost plenty of great players from last year's squad, especially Chris Borland and Jared Abbrederis, but the Badgers seemingly reload year after year. They do return star running back Melvin Gordon and underrated quarterback Joel Stave. The Badgers will have tough road games against LSU and Iowa and have some good home games against Nebraska and Minnesota.

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