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Big Ten Conference 2023 Football Preview

Big Ten Conference 2023 Football Preview

Big Ten Conference 2023. This is the last year the conference will have 14 teams and two divisions. USC and UCLA will join the Big Ten to make it 16 teams and only one division. With football season soon approaching, let’s see which Big Ten teams could have the winningest regular season. 

The East Has Them Beat

The top three schools are in the Eastern division, overshadowing teams like Maryland, Indiana, Rutgers, and Michigan State. The Western division is more evenly matched with Purdue, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. Northwestern has the worst conference standings in the last two football seasons. It’s hard to believe that they topped the conference standings in 2020. 

Michigan Wolverines

The two-time Big Ten football champions are still going strong. They will enter the season with most starters returning to the lineup. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy and tailbacks Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards will spearhead the top college offensive line in the nation. McCarthy played in 14 games last season, throwing for 2,719 yards, 22 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Corum had 1,463 rushing yards before being sidelined from a torn meniscus and sprained MCL in November. 

Their offense finished second in the Big Ten, just behind Ohio State, averaging 458.8 yards per game. Their defense was third in the Big Ten, behind Iowa and Illinois. Linebacker Junior Colson will lead the defense. He had 101 total tackles last season, which is ranked fourth in the Big Ten.

The Wolverines’ schedule was one of the easiest last season and isn’t much more difficult this time. Their biggest challenge will likely come in their season finale against Ohio State, which could make for a fantastic opportunity for bettors and bookies alike. However, their away game against the Nittany Lions at Penn State could be one of their only losses for the season. Their over/under is at 10.5 wins, and their odds of winning the conference for a third straight year are +180. 

Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes don’t have a starting quarterback yet, but somehow, they’ve got the same odds as the Wolverines to win the 2023 Big Ten Conference this year (+180). That’s because they have a roster filled with talent. C.J. Stroud was the No. 2 overall pick by the Houston Texans in this year’s NFL Draft. With him gone, they’ll have to choose between Kyle McCord and Devin Brown. Whoever gets picked, they’ll have one of the best wide receiver / running back combinations in college football. All-American Marvin Harrison Jr. is the best wide receiver in the country with 1,264 yards and 14 touchdowns (the most in the Big Ten). Depending on the abilities of the new quarterback, this team could win the conference and make it to the national 2023 Big Ten championship. 

Their over / under is the same as Michigan’s at 10.5 wins. 

Penn State Nittany Lions

The Lions continue to improve each year. Last season, they surprised everyone and finished 11-2. They have two things going in their favor this year. Former five-star prospect Drew Allar will be the starting quarterback. He is the highest quarterback recruit in Penn State’s history. 

They could have the easiest football schedule of the conference this year based on the painless non-conference games and the manageable road games. 

Last year, the oddsmakers weren’t convinced that the Nittany Lions could win ten games. This year, they have an over/under of 9.5 wins. They’re only given +550 odds to be crowned champions of the Big Ten this December. Last season, they only lost to two opponents, Michigan and Ohio State. If they can beat one of those teams, they could make their way to the playoffs. 

Wisconsin Badgers

Topping the West for the best odds to take the crown is Wisconsin. They welcome new head coach Luke Fickell, whose record with Cincinnati in six seasons was 57-18. He wasted no time working the transfer portal to bring in two key players, quarterback Tanner Mordecai and junior wide receiver Bryson Green from Oklahoma State.

Returning to the team is running back junior Braelon Allen, who racked up 2,510 yards and 23 touchdowns in his first two years as a Badger. Redshirt senior Maema Njongmeta is also returning as the inside linebacker who led the team in tackles. 

Wisconsin’s odds of winning the conference are also at +550. 

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota will have the most challenging schedule this season. But don’t feel too sorry for them. They had the easiest schedule last year and consistently get easier schedules each year. They finished 2022 with a 9-4 record and have won at least nine games in the previous three full seasons. This season, they play Ohio State and Michigan State, the top two teams in the East Division. Their over/under for this season is 6.5 wins. But that’s not all due to the tougher schedule. They lost offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarroca, quarterback Tanner Morgan, and all-time leading running back Mohamed Ibrahim. 

Athan Kaliakmanis will be the redshirt freshman taking over as starting quarterback. Their odds of topping the Big Ten conference is +3000. 

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