BIG 10 | Buckeyes, Wolverines & Hawkeyes

By Sean Kreager


The college preseason rankings are out and once again the Ohio State Buckeyes are in the top five. Ohio State is ranked number two in the ESPN AP polls right behind number one ranked Alabama. If you need a lock for a playoff team, Ohio State will be one of those teams. The Buckeyes have J.T. Barrett returning for his senior year and he is one of the favorites to win this year’s Heisman award. Not only do they have a dynamic offense, they also have one of the top defenses. Greg Schiano, the Ohio State defensive coordinator, came out and said his defensive line is the best he has coached. Schiano was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, and he is even saying his defensive line is better than what he had in the NFL. Tyquan Lewis is one of the many reasons Schiano is praising the defensive line so much. Lewis will be a senior this year and is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Lewis led the team in sacks last season with eight. Another reason is Nick Bosa, brother of Joey Bosa who was picked third in this year’s NFL draft from Ohio State. Nick will be a sophomore this season and had five sacks, which was second most on the team. The Buckeyes open their season August 31st at Indiana, where they hope to set an early tone for the rest of the season.

Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines come in at number nine on the AP poll. The Wolverines would like to start the season on a positive note after a disappointing ending to their season last year. In the last game of the season the Wolverines were taking on the Buckeyes, and whoever won was going into the college playoffs; the game went into double overtime. The Wolverines would go on to lose 30-27 but not until a controversial 4th and 1 call that cost them the game. Instead of playing in the playoffs, Michigan fought Florida State in the Orange bowl. Florida State scored with less than two minutes left in the game and won 33-32. Then to top it off, Harbaugh lost two of his best players. Heisman-finalist, Jabrill Peppers, left after three seasons to go to the NFL draft. Peppers was one of the most versatile players in college football. He played linebacker, defensive back, and played on offense. Peppers is someone that will leave a big void for the Wolverines on defense. The Wolverines also lost All-American tight-end Jake Butt. Butt won the John Mackey Award, awarded to the best tight-end in college football and voted first team All-Big Ten. Even with those two gone, Harbaugh hopes this is the year for the Wolverines. In the first game they will be put to the test when they take on the Florida Gators on September 2nd.

The Iowa Hawkeyes would like to reclaim their spot as Big Ten West Champions after winning it two seasons ago. It was a disappointing season for the Hawkeyes when they went 8-5, after going 12-0 in the regular season two seasons ago, followed by losing to MSU in the Big Ten Championship and Stanford in the Rose Bowl. The Hawkeyes are looking for their new QB to lead the team now that C.J. Beathard has finished his college career. Junior QB Tyler Wiegers will be battling against sophomore QB Nathan Stanley for the starting spot. On the bright side for the Hawkeyes, they do have Akrum Wadley returning for his senior year. Wadley had 10 rushing touchdowns and had 1081 rushing yards on the year. Wadley is also dependable catching the ball out of the backfield. Wadley had 36 catches, 315 yards, 3 touchdowns and an average 8.8 yards per catch. On the defensive side the Hawkeyes are led by Josey Jewell. Jewell has been one of the top linebackers in college football. Last season, Jewell was named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, the award for the top linebacker. He finished the season with 124 tackles and has started 30 straight games over the last three seasons. With Wadley and Jewell leading the team, Hawkeyes fans are hoping to find their way back to buying tickets for the Big Ten Championship game.