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The Big Ten will come down to whoever wins the East Division between Michigan and Ohio State. Michigan beat Ohio State last year, and the Buckeyes will be looking for revenge. The Buckeyes are favored to win the conference with a high-powered offense, but Michigan State and Penn State should not be overlooked.
Quarterback C.J Stroud will lead the Buckeyes' high-powered offense. TreVeyon Henders is back after rushing for 1,248 yards as a freshman. Receiver Jaxon Smith-Njiba is back at receiver, so the Buckeyes have plenty of offensive weapons. The key for Ohio State will be a defensive improvement; they gave up 22.8 points per game last season.
The Wolverines' defense was outstanding last season, but they lost defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald and many key players left for the NFL. Jesse Minter is the new DC and is looking to rebuild Michigan's defensive line. In addition, Michigan has two good quarterbacks on offense in Cade McNamara and J.J McCarthy. They have Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards at the running back position, but the critical piece, receiver Ronnie Bell is coming back from injury. So it's clear Michigan is going into this season with a physically solid offensive threat.
Braelon Allen led the Badgers in rushing last year with 1,268 rushing yards. Allen is looking to do it again this year. Wisconsin has three returning starters back on the offensive line and will look to run the ball often. We all know the Badgers can run the ball, but passing is their downfall. Graham Mertz threw 11 touchdowns and ten interceptions last year and averaged only 6.8 yards per play. In addition, Wisconsin has only three starters returning on defense. Last year, they were the No.1 rushing defense and No.4 in scoring defense.
Payton Throne will lead the Spartans' offense after passing for 3,233 yards, 27 touchdowns, and ten interceptions last season. In addition, he will have some talented receivers to throw to in Jayden Reed and Tre Mosley. Unfortunately, they lost Kenneth Walker III to the NFL but transfers Jarek Broussard, and Jalen Berger will carry the load for Michigan State. In addition, Michigan State must improve their defense as they were 130th against the pass last season. Georgia transfer Ameer Speed should help the secondary and other transfer players along the defense.
Penn State will be an interesting team to keep an eye on. Sean Clifford is back and must take a big step forward for the Nittany Lions. Penn State struggled on the offense last season. Penn State finished 82nd in total yards, 90th in scoring, 94th in sacks allowed, 96th in red-zone offense, 106th in tackles for loss allowed, and 118th in rushing. A lot of that was due to poor offensive line play. The Nittany Lions' offensive line must improve in Penn State is to be any good. Manny Diaz has taken over Penn State's defense, and they should be aggressive and be able to force turnovers.