Angelique S. Chengelis breaks down Big Ten East

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Ezekiel Elliott

Angelique S. Chengelis of The Detroit News breaks down the Big Ten East Division, with teams listed in predicted order of finish.


Trending up: The Buckeyes have three starting quarterbacks, including one – Braxton Miller – who has moved to receiver. They also have a potential Heisman Trophy running back in Ezekiel Elliott and have key starters back on the offensive and defensive lines.

Trending down: Four players, including top defensive end Joey Bosa, will miss the season opener at Virginia Tech. That's about as negative as things get for the Buckeyes right now.

Last season: 14-1, 8-0 Big Ten, defeated Oregon 42-20 in national championship game.

Coach: Urban Meyer, 38-3 at Ohio State, 142-26 overall.


Trending up: The MSU offense is feeling pretty good with third-year starter Connor Cook returning, and the Spartans must feel even better he's playing behind a veteran offensive line.

Trending down: Michigan State suffered a blow early in camp with the loss of fifth-year senior linebacker Ed Davis to a knee injury. He will miss the season.

Last season: 11-2, 7-1 Big Ten, defeated Baylor 42-41 Cotton Bowl.

Coach: Mark Dantonio, 75-31 at Michigan State, 93-48 overall.

Christian Hackenberg


Trending up: Quarterback Christian Hackenberg was lauded for his 2013 freshman season but last fall he threw 15 interceptions to 12 touchdowns. He was working behind a porous offensive line, so he's got to return to 2013 form, right?

Trending down: This is not a bad thing that Penn State seems most uncertain about ... punting.

Last season: 7-6, 2-6 Big Ten, defeated Boston College 31-30 in Pinstripe Bowl.

Coach: James Franklin, 7-6 at Penn State, 31-21 overall.


Trending up: Have you heard? There's a new coach in town, Jim Harbaugh, who has had success at every coaching stop. Does this mean he can win at Michigan? Time will tell, but he's already changed the attitude of a fan base without coaching a single game.

Trending down: Michigan has too many unknowns on offense. Who's going to be the starting quarterback? Who's going to be the starting tailback? Will the offensive line be improved?

Last season: 5-7, 3-5 Big Ten.

Coach: Jim Harbaugh, first season at Michigan, 58-27 overall.


Trending up: While Maryland sorts out its quarterback situation and tries to replace receiver Stefon Diggs, kicker Brad Craddock returns. He made but one of 19 field-goal attempts last season.

Trending down: The Terps lost linebacker Abner Logan for the season after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament early in camp. This is a big blow considering Maryland didn't return a starter at linebacker.

Last season: 7-6, 4-4 Big Ten, lost to Stanford 45-21 in Foster Farms Bowl.

Coach: Randy Edsall, 20-30 at Maryland, 94-100 overall.

Leonte Carroo


Trending up: Leonte Carroo is one of the Big Ten top receivers and opted to skip an early departure to the NFL to return to Rutgers. He had 1,086 receiving yards last season. Rutgers also boasts a deep group of running backs.

Trending down: The Scarlet Knights are on their sixth offensive coordinator in six years, although Ben McDaniels did spend last season learning under 2014 offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen. He also needs to settle a quarterback competition to replace Gary Nova.

Last season: 8-5, 3-5 Big Ten, defeated North Carolina 40-21 in Quick Lane Bowl.

Coach: Kyle Flood, 23-16 at Rutgers and overall.


Trending up: The good news for the Hoosiers is quarterback Nate Sudfeld, sidelined by a shoulder injury last fall, is back and expectations are he will be as accurate as he was before the injury. The Hoosiers feel good about receiver Ricky Jones.

Trending down: Indiana ranked at or near the bottom of most defensive categories in the Big Ten last season. The secondary was poor and must replace two starting cornerbacks.

Last season: 5-6, 1-7 Big Ten.

Coach: Kevin Wilson, 14-34 at Indiana and overall.