2022 Big Ten Football Preview

posted September 2, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Adam Sheetz

The Big Ten has been one of the premier conferences in the Big Ten for years, and it should be no different in 2022, as multiple teams in the conference have College Football Playoff aspirations. Here is what the conference could look like heading into 2022.

14. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska was inventing ways to lose games in 2021, as they were a 3-9 team that played everyone tough and lost countless one-possession games. The trend continued in Ireland last week as the Cornhuskers lost in week zero to Northwestern 31-28.

Scott Frost is now 5-21 in one-possession games, and the Huskers will need to prove they can win close games before they close the gap with the rest of the Big Ten schools.

13. Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern pulled off the upset in Ireland over Nebraska and looked good in a way. However, they still have an uphill battle for the remainder of the season.

Pat Fitzgerald has had success in his career, but the holes on this team may be too much for the Wildcats to overcome in the West.

12. Indiana Hoosiers

The Hoosiers had a phenomenal 2020 and high hopes for 2021 but fell short due to injuries and a lot of tough losses.

Tom Allen has done a tremendous job with the Hoosiers, but it will take time to get the Hoosiers back to the level they were at in 2020.

11. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers has been in the basement of the Big Ten since they joined the conference in 2014, but Greg Schiano has done a good job getting talent to come to Piscataway.

Rutgers is starting to close the gap with some of the Big Ten schools but is far away from contending in the loaded Big Ten East.

10. Illinois Fighting Illini

The Illini had a good year under Bret Bielema in 2021, including a dramatic 9-overtime win over Penn State.
The Illini have their identity of being a physical running team, and adding transfer quarterback Tommy DeVito should improve their offense and make them dangerous in the West.

9. Maryland Terrapins

The Terps have acquired a lot of talent since Mike Locksley arrived but have still been unable to consistently succeed on the field. 

With Taulia Tagovailoa back at quarterback and a lot of dangerous receivers, the Maryland offense has the potential to be one of the top groups in the conference in 2022.

8. Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa is coming off a successful 2021, where they rose to number 2 in the AP poll and earned themselves a trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship game. 

Iowa achieved this success by forcing turnovers, which is historically not something you can bet on continuing into future seasons. With quarterback still a question mark, Iowa could take a step back in 2022.

7. Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue is coming off an impressive 9-4 season in 2021 and the return of Aiden O’Connell at quarterback.

Purdue is expected to have one of the best offenses in the conference and could be a contender in the West if they can defeat Penn State in week one. 

6. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota has been a strong team under P.J. Fleck but has not reached the highs of their 2019 season in the last two seasons.

Minnesota returns quarterback Tanner Morgan who is reunited with former offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, and they expect Morgan and the Gophers’ offense to return to their 2019 form.

5. Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin is consistently one of the best teams in the Big Ten every year, and they hope to return to their place at the top of the West in 2022.

The Badgers have a great rushing attack led by Braelon Allen and a strong defense, but they will need better play from starting quarterback Graham Mertz if the Badgers want to return to Indy this year.

4. Michigan State Spartans

The Spartans surprised a lot of people in 2021 with the production of all the transfers Mel Tucker added to the Spartans roster. This year Tucker hopes to build on that success with another strong year.

Tucker returns quarterback Payton Thorne and leading receiver Jayden Reed and expect to have a solid passing attack for the Spartans in 2022.

3. Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State is one of the most talented teams in the conference but has struggled in the last two seasons.

The Nittany Lions return quarterback Sean Clifford and have the best secondary in the conference. With the addition of receiver Mitchell Tinsley and running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen, expect Penn State to be a contender in the conference this year.

2. Michigan Wolverines

Michigan is the reigning Big Ten champs and coming off a Playoff appearance in 2021. They should be a contender again in college football, but they have some questions to answer.

The Wolverines lost their best defender in Aiden Hutchinson and the most productive offensive player in Hassan Haskins. They also have yet to set in stone, who their starting quarterback will be for the 2022 season, as Cade McNamara will start week one, and J.J. McCarthy will start week two.

Michigan has a favorable schedule early to answer these questions and should compete for the conference title again in 2022.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State is the runaway favorite to win the conference this year. They return quarterback C.J. Stroud and the best receiver in the country in Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

The Buckeyes have the best offense in the nation this year, with the only question being if the Buckeyes defense, led by new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, can hold up on their side of the ball.

Adam Sheetz is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ads360@psu.edu.

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Adam Sheetz

Junior / Broadcast Journalism

Adam Sheetz is a third year student from Reedsville, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism. He has been a broadcaster for WCHX 105.5 FM in Mifflin County covering high school sports. He has also been a member of CommRadio since his first semester at Penn State, being involved in both the Arts and Sports departments. Adam has extensive experience in a play-by-play setting within CommRadio, covering football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and volleyball for the station. He has done written content for CommRadio ranging from Penn State football articles all the way to discussing Disney Channel movies. To contact Adam, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).