There are fourteen teams that make up the Big Ten in college football. This is the 121st season for this league. When considering facility, head coach, staff, returning players, budget, community support, several teams stand out to win the title in theory. The Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes are anticipated to be strong competitors. Penn State and Wisconsin are likely to be right there in contention too. Big Ten Network likes Iowa in the West and Ohio State in the East.
An article that ranks the Big Ten school coaches considered many of the factors mentioned to propose preseason school rankings. Also resumes by head coaches and their previous win/loss record at other football programs.
1. Urban Meyer of Ohio State, and Jim Harbaugh, University of Michigan, stand out as two coaches with excellent past win/loss records. Statistically, Meyer had twelve wins in 2015, and one losing season in 2001.
2. Harbaugh completed his first season in 2015 with the Wolverines; they went 10-3. Previously, Harbaugh is credited to have transformed Standford’s football program, and led the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers to 44 wins in four seasons.
3. In terms of record, Mark Dantonio of Michigan State University has 87 wins to 33 losses over the past eight years.
4. Based on achieving bowl bids, Northwestern University under Coach Pat Fitzgerald has six previous bids. One common denominator shared in the above listing is consistency.
It is noted by Athlon.com that Rutgers, Penn State and Michigan have the highest number of returning players on offense. Experience may translate into moving the ball down field and putting points on the scoreboard.
* Ohio State University has the fewest number of returning players on offense, but three all-Americans in Elflein, Barrett, and McMillan.
* Michigan State is anticipated to have a strong line backer corp with three returning linebackers. This includes Ed Davis, who is returning after injury forced him to sit out the 2015 season. Plus Malik McDowell is a dominant defensive tackle.
* The Indiana Hoosiers will have strength in the back end. They have seven returning starters and new starters up front. Thus, if players can build team confidence and unity based on experience, it could be a great season for Indiana.
* Penn State has nine returning starters. This is noted to be the highest number for the offensive squad in the Big Ten East division. They too have the experience that may translate into several wins in the 2016 season.
* In the Western division, Iowa has 13 players returning. They lost one game in the 2015 season, and lost their bowl game. Iowa is noted for being resilient, and they could match or surpass their previous season record in 2016.
*Nebraska has 12 players returning. The team could improve and alter its past by learning from its mistakes.
Building A Program
It takes a rich blend of coaching ability, recruiting ability, community and corporate backing to build a solid football program. Recently, Bleacher Report featured a detailed article as to how this was accomplished at Georgia’s Kennesaw University near Atlanta, Georgia.
-Feasibility Study: A detailed study that takes time will assess the strengths and weaknesses facing a potential football program.
-Corporate Backing: A major player needs to fund stadium construction or revision and other major necessities.
-Community Support: The Board of Regents examine finances and other factors to determine a football program has a solid foundation.
Good football programs require ongoing commitment by all participants. Quarter breaks and half-times are unheard of behind the scenes.