The College Football News 2021 Big Ten preseason rankings along with a quick take on every team.
This is NOT a ranking of where the teams are going to finish. This is based on how good we think the Big Ten teams are going into the 2021 season.
2021 CFN Big Ten Preseason Rankings: East
1. Ohio State Buckeyes
Quick Take: Is this team as good as the 2020 version? No. Is it as good as the 2019 version? No. Does that mean it can’t be in the mix for the national title? Nope – it’s going to be more than good enough to rip through the schedule and improve as the season goes on.
Ohio State Preview | Schedule
2. Penn State Nittany Lions
Quick Take: Don’t get hung up by the problems of last year, and don’t read too much into it if there’s a loss at Wisconsin right out of the gate. There are a whole lot of good parts in place to come up with a big rebound season.
Pnn State Preview | Schedule
3. Michigan Wolverines
Quick Take: The Wolverines will be a whole lot better than the 2020 version, and that still probably won’t be good enough with Washington, Ohio State to deal with along with road games against Wisconsin and Penn State. The D should be terrific, but can the quarterback play finally be there to make the O go?
Michigan Preview | Schedule
4. Indiana Hoosiers
Quick Take: Is QB Michael Penix Jr.’s knee okay? Can the Hoosiers handle being taken seriously by everyone on the schedule? There’s enough in place to come up with another big season, but it’s going to be a tougher fight – the Big Ten East will be a whole lot better.
Indiana Preview | Schedule
5. Michigan State Spartans
Quick Take: Give it one more year under Mel Tucker before this starts to flip around. More solid than sensational, the Spartans will battle defensively, but the offensive firepower might not be there to come through in key moments.
MSU Preview | Schedule
6. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Quick Take: You know the Greg Schiano team will crank up a nasty defense, a tough offense – at least on the ground – and a big effort every time out. There’s enough on the starting 22 – especially at linebacker – to be a problem for the big boys on the slate.
Rutgers Preview | Schedule
7. Maryland Terrapins
Quick Take: One of the Big Ten’s toughest teams to read, will the offense be consistently explosive? Are the lines in place to hold up? There aren’t a whole lot of schedule breaks, but the O will rise up and rock in an upset or two.
Maryland Preview | Schedule