By Tyler Fenwick @Ty_Fenwick on May 18, 2014
The Big 10's Eastern Division is fairly consistent from top to bottom. Though the top two teams seem to commonly be Michigan State and Ohio State, the remaining slots are mostly up for grabs. Both newcomers Maryland and Rutgers find themselves in this Eastern division as well. Needless to say, fans are excited to watch this thing unfold.
Rutgers could very well be looking at a shaky 2014 season. Quarterback Gary Nova coughed up his starting job in the middle of last season to senior Chas Dodd, but he's coming back to take a second crack at it. Defensively, holes exist all over the place, especially in the secondary.
Penn State's offense is going to take a hit this season, and I don't see a way to avoid that. Leading receiver Allen Robinson is departed and so are three starters on last year's offensive line. Sure, Christian Hackenberg is going to be a good quarterback, but who's going to be there to help him?
Maryland will get a huge boost this season with the return of wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who could end up being the most productive receiver in the Big 10. The problem lies in figuring who will get him the ball and how. The quarterback job is between C.J. Brown and Caleb Rowe, both of whom struggle in their own ways. A big plus, though: The Terrapins return four starters on the offensive line.
I'm so excited to watch these Hoosiers. Yes, the defense is severely lacking, but when you can score points at will, you're in every game. It'll be very interesting to see how Kevin Wilson utilizes his two quarterback talents in Tre Roberson and Nate Sudfeld.
Michigan lost two offensive linemen to the NFL Draft, and that's not going to help a run game that was already struggling. Hopefully new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier can fix the kinks. On defense, the Wolverines could be a tough group, especially at a very deep linebacker position.
Ohio State's biggest question mark this season on offense is going to concern the supporting cast to Braxton Miller. Most of the offensive line from a year ago is graduated away, along with Carlos Hyde. On defense, linebacker Ryan Shazier and cornerback Bradley Roby will be missed, but the defense is in need of reform anyway.
Coming off a Rose Bowl championship, Michigan State holds the top spot in the East. The Spartans' offense hit stride in the middle of last season, and there's really no reason to think that won't stick for this year. The defense will be taking a few shots in the gut, though. Linebackers Max Bullough and Denicos Allen and cornerback Darqueze Dennard are all out, leaving a lot of room for opportunity.
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