Conference Breakdown: Big Ten

5 things to know about the Big Ten

Biggest game: Michigan at Ohio State, Nov. 26

Player to always watch: Michigan's Jabrill Peppers, who might line up anywhere on the field, in the stands, or at your tailgate.

Team nobody wants to play: The Indiana mayhem vortex, as always

Coach who really needs wins: Things could go south for James Franklin or Tracy Claeys, but Purdue's Darrell Hazell leads this list.

Don't be surprised if ... The Huskers up and win the West.

Bill Connelly's Power Rankings

Tier 1


The hype train is charging down the tracks. Is Jim Harbaugh's team ready?

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Michigan State

Read about why you shouldn't count Mark Dantonio's Spartans out of the Big Ten race:

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Ohio State

Ohio State will slip in 2016 and surge back in 2017. (The slip might not even be noticeable.)

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Tier 2

Penn State

Upside! And anxiety! James Franklin's Nittany Lions have a long way to go in this division.

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Making one fewer mistake per game could equal a Big Ten West championship.

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Expect the Badgers to improve on the field, but still fall short of their recent standard.

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That was a boring coaching hire. So what?

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2015 was total magic. Don't expect it to happen again. (But the Hawkeyes could still win the West!)

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Can Pat Fitzgerald take the Wildcats from lucky to just plain good?

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More amazing offense, confounding defense, and chaotic finishes? LOL yeah!

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Can DJ Durkin take the Terps from sleeping giants to actual giants?

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Tier 3


Finally rebuilding after a decade of sadness? At least the roster's got athletes.

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Hey, it's Lovie Smith! He can probably deliver the stability Illinois needs.

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Tier 4


Purdue ... will field a team.

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Tier 5