College football has been in the news for a whole bunch of reasons recently because the game is changing right before our eyes. But that won’t stop us from breaking down the biggest conferences and the best teams as we embark on another year of the great sport we all love and know. No amount of conference realignment or NIL money can take away our passion for the game. Here is our 2023 Big Ten football preview.
You could say they are one of the culprits of conference realignment and what happened to the Pac 12. Let’s just say this, you better play well this season because this conference is going to be so incredibly difficult a year from now. Adding USC, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon makes the Big 10 just as competitive as the SEC in certain years and it only adds to the powerhouses that are Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State. This is going to be a very competitive conference for many years to come. With that being said, the Big Ten currently has Michigan who in recent years has cemented themselves as a college football playoff power. Of course, there is no denying Ohio State as they will be hungry to knock off the rust of a couple straight losses to the Wolverines.
It was a bit of an ugly year in the Big 10. Outside of Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State. The league was incredibly average as Purdue won the other division with just an 8-6 record. We saw teams like Michigan State, Nebraska, and Northwestern all struggle mightily and finish the season under .500. On top of that, a hazing scandal rocked Northwestern in the off-season which led to the demise of their long tenured head coach Pat Fitzgerald. Ultimately, it was Michigan who knocked off Ohio State in their storied rivalry game which has ultimately become the conference title in the last few seasons. The Wolverines had no issue taking down Purdue in the conference title game and then fell to the TCU Horned Frogs in the semifinal game.
What to Watch
I want to see how Ohio State bounces back after two straight seasons where they have lost to the Wolverines. There is a lot of pride in that rivalry, and I can’t imagine the fan base will be too pleased if they fall for a third straight year. It’s the kind of loss that gets a coach fired and Ryan Day could easily feel the heat and the pressure if they lose once again.
Outside of them, I am interested to see what happens with Nebraska. Matt Rhule knows how to build a college football program, just look at what he did at Baylor after one of the worst scandals in college football history. He has a much taller task because the fan base is tired of losing and ready to win again. I loved the hire from the jump and know not much will change in year one but imagine good things could be coming this year as positive signs emerge.
Kyle McCord takes over for C.J. Stroud as the quarterback at Ohio State and should be a front runner as long as the Buckeyes play well. When you get your team into the CFP as a first-year starter, the odds are high. I also like Blake Corum out of Michigan as he is one of the most talented backs in the country and could put up a special season.
Ryan Day knows the road only gets tougher from here, he must make quick moves to win this conference before the Pac 12 members join, give me Ohio State.