If there is one thing us sports fans love to do, it is rank things. We here at Rutgers Wire have ranked everything from Rutgers football recruiting classes of the past ten years, to Big Ten mascots.
It may still be mid-summer, but it is never too early to talk college football – and never a bad time to talk rankings. On3.com is ranking things as well. Their experts are doing a series of ranking schools in each of the Power Five conferences. They recently released their power ranking of the Big Ten football programs.
Rutgers did not fare well at all. They came in dead last in the ranking, despite finishing the regular season at 5-7, finishing tied for No. 10 in the conference, and being named a replacement for a bowl game. There is a slight surprise at the top of the list as well.
On3 is clear that these rankings do not take into account 2022 schedules, and is their view of the current talent and potential of each team at this point in time. Let’s take a look at the entire list, starting with the Scarlet Knights.
No. 14:00 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
On3 was blunt when it came to the Scarlet Knights. “Greg Schiano has done an admirable job breathing some life into the program, but the Scarlet Knights still aren’t very talented.” That’s harsh, but Rutgers doesn’t have a ton of experience coming back this season.
With Gavin Wimsatt likely slowly taking over the helm at quarterback, there could be growing pains. I don’t know if I agree, sound off in the comments Scarlet Knight fans.
No. 13:00 Illinois Fighting Illini
Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports Illinois is the program that tied with Rutgers at No. 10 in the regular season. They finished their year with a 5-7 record. On3 credits their strong offensive line, the return of 1,000-yard rusher Chase Brown, and returning experience on defense.
No. 12:00 Indiana Hoosiers
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indiana were the basement dwellers of the Big Ten last season. They have an experienced, strong secondary but question marks across the rest of the defense. They underperformed last season and will have to rely on transfers at quarterback and running back if they want to out perform their ranking.
No. 11:00 Northwestern Wildcats
Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The Wildcat defense is not great, but the offensive line and running game are still strong. Northwestern finished last season at 3-9 but should be a tough matchup in 2022.
No. 10:00 Maryland Terrapins
Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Maryland should have a strong offense in 2022. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and their strong receiving core are returning and their defense can do enough to keep the offense in games. The Terps finished with a winning record (7-6) and a victory in the Pinstripe Bowl.
No. 9:00 Nebraska Cornhuskers
(AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)
Nebraska cracked the single digits even after they finished with only three victories a year ago – although they were expected to be better than that. The Cornhuskers have some returning veterans on defense, but there are some holes to fill on offense.
No. 8 o’clock Iowa Hawkeyes
(Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports)
Lower than I expected for a team that finished 10-4 last season. On3 relied on the defense as a strength for Iowa in 2022.
The Hawkeyes always seem to be able to rely on their defense, and that shouldn’t change in 2022 with a slew of veterans back in the front seven.”
Their offense has questions, but being as strong as they have been on defense should go a long way to them having another strong showing.
No. 7:00 Purdue Boilermakers
Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
The Boilermakers were one of four Big Ten squads to finish at 9-4. They were victorious in the Music City Bowl in a shootout, 48-45. Purdue’s quarterback and receivers are a strong unit. Their defense last season can be defined as ‘fine,’ the same should be true in 2022.
No. 6:00 Minnesota Golden Gophers
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
The Golden Gophers also finished 9-4 including a win in the Guaranteed Rate bowl over West Virginia. They will have returning starters at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver, but just like last season their line will be a question. Minnesota’s strength last year was their defense, however, and that should continue into 2022.
No. 5:00 Penn State Nittany Lions
Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Penn State is a confusing case. Based on On3’s notes about these rankings, their placement makes sense. They continue to have great recruiting classes year after year, and on paper should be one of the best teams in the country each season. And despite that, they have been just barely above .500 over the last two years.
No. 4: Wisconsin Badgers
(AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
Wisconsin handled opponents on defense with ease throughout the 2021 season. The Badgers need some replacements in the secondary, but have been known for their defensive prowess for a few years now. Their starting quarterback and running back are both returning and should continue to bring consistency to the offense.
No. 3: Michigan State Spartans
(Lansing State Journal photo / USA TODAY Network)
It is no surprise the Spartans were ranked this high after finishing No. 10 in the final USA Today Sports AFCA Coaches Poll in 2021. Michigan State is relying on the transfer portal to address holes once again. Replacing Kenneth Walker is near impossible, but with the way this staff has developed talent they could get close and continue to make noise both in the Big Ten and nationally.
No. 2: Michigan Wolverines
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Michigan surprised everyone when they went 12-2 and despite starting the year unranked, finished No. 2 in the USA Today coaches poll. They made the college football playoff and lost to the eventual champion, Georgia, in the Orange Bowl.
No. 1: Ohio State
Sat., Jan. 1, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Teammates celebrate with Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) after he scored a touchdown during the second quarter of the 108th Rose Bowl Game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl.
Rose Bowl Game Ohio State Buckeyes Against Utah Utes
What else can be said about the Buckeyes? No one else in the Big Ten – possibly the country – can match the Buckeyes on sheer talent or star power. The offensive line has two of the best tackles in the country. The defense has the talent to continue to improve. They finished 2021 with a record of 10-2.