College Football Odds: Positives & Negatives For Each Big Ten Team

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, May 28, 2015 5:01 PM GMT

Thursday, May. 28, 2015 5:01 PM GMT

The Big Ten Conference ended its long championship drought last season as Ohio State won the College Football Playoff. The new season is less than 100 days away so here is a positive and negative for each Big Ten team with odds to win the conference.

 

Ohio State (-180)
Positive:
Where to start? The best coach in the country in Urban Meyer. The Heisman Trophy favorite in running back Ezekiel Elliott. The greatest quarterback depth in NCAA history with Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller.

Negative: The Buckeyes will be the hunted. It's not easy to repeat. Will that QB competition tear the team apart?

 

Michigan State (+350)
Positive: One of the nation's top quarterbacks in Connor Cook, who could be the first QB taken in the 2015 NFL Draft. Cook could have been a first-round pick this season had he declared.

Negative: Three big losses in leading rusher Jeremy Langford (1,522 yards, 22 TDs), top receiver Tony Lippett (1,198, 11 TDs) and one of the nation's best defensive coordinators in Pat Narduzzi (now head coach at Pitt).

 

Wisconsin (+700)
Positive: Plays in the much, much weaker Big Ten West Division. Has a very capable former backup running back in Corey Clement, a likely breakout star this season.

Negative: Yet another coaching change with Paul Chryst replacing Gary Andersen. The loss of Heisman finalist Melvin Gordon, who had one of the five best seasons for a running back in  NCAA history last year.

Don't forget to check out our college football picks for more updates!

Nebraska (+1000)
Positive:
Like UW, plays in the weaker Big Ten West. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong returns. Gets Wisconsin and Iowa at home.

Negative: Is Mike Riley an upgrade in coaching over the departed Bo Pelini? Loss of star running back Ameer Adbullah to NFL.

 

Michigan (+1400)
Positive:
UM now has one of probably the five best football coaches on the  planet, at any level, in Jim Harbaugh.  Michigan's two rivalry Big Ten games are in Ann Arbor.

Negative: Brady Hoke left the cupboard pretty bare. Who plays quarterback? Shane Morris or Iowa transfer Jake Rudock?

 

Penn State (+1400 at college football odds)
Positive: If Cook isn't the Big Ten's best pure passing quarterback then PSU's Christian Hackenberg might be. Expect him to bounce-back from a disappointing 2014 season.

Negative: Still not much depth from all those recruiting sanctions. PSU also plays in the ultra-tough East Division; it could win the West this season if in there.

 

Minnesota (+1600)
Positive: Coach Jerry Kill is so underrated. The Gophers are on the rise and were a win against Wisconsin away from playing for the Big Ten championship last year.

Negative: Loss of offense's two best players: running back David Cobb (1,626 yards, 13 TDs) and perhaps the nation's best tight end last season in Maxx Williams (569 yards, 8 TDs).

 

Iowa (+2500)
Positive:
Have as easy as a crossover schedule with the East Division as possible: No Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan or Penn State.

Negative: This team perennially underachieves under vastly overpaid coach Kirk Ferentz. Since 2011, the Hawkeyes are 15-17 in conference play.

 

Rutgers (+2500)
Positive: Rutgers returns five running backs with at least 63 carries last season as well as leading receiver Leonte Carroo (55 catches, 1,086 yards, 10 TDs).

Negative: Four-year starting QB Gary Nova is gone and the school's five conference defeats last year were by an average of 27.8 points. This ain't the Big East!

 

Maryland (+3300)
Positive: The defense can only improve under new coordinator Keith Dudzinski. The Terps allowed 30-plus points seven times last season, including 41 to offensively challenged Rutgers in blowing a 25-point lead.

Negative: Quarterback C.J. Brown, top receivers Deon Long and Stefon Diggs and three starters on the offensive line are gone.

 

Illinois (+5000)
Positive: Quarterback Wes Lunt was very good when healthy last season, and he's back as is top running back Josh Ferguson (735 yards rushing, 8 TDs, 50 catches).  

Negative: Leading receiver Mike Dudek (70 catches, 1,038 yards, 6 TDs), a freshman All-American, returns but he likely won't be ready until midseason as Dudek tore his ACL in spring practice early last month.

 

Northwestern (+5500)
Positive:  Justin Jackson was one of the better freshmen running backs in the country last year, rushing 245 times for 1,187 yards and 10 scores. Former top receiver Christian Jones should be back after missing all of 2014 injured.

Negative: Academic restrictions in recruiting is clearly No. 1. Still not clear who the quarterback will be.

 

Indiana (+6600)
Positive: The basketball team should be excellent this coming season. Football-wise, Hoosiers welcome UAB transfer running back Jordan Howard, who set the UAB single-season rushing record with 1,587 yards in 2014.

Negative: The defense has been putrid for years and that's not likely to change. Star running back Tevin Coleman, who was the offense last season, is gone.

 

Purdue (+8000)
Positive: There's nowhere to go but up? It's likely to be the final season for Coach Darrell Hazell, who is 4-20 in two seasons with one Big Ten win. That's a positive in the eyes of most Boilers fans.

Negative: Who is the quarterback? Last season running backs Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert had 1,887 total yards and 11 scores on 332 touches (rushes and catches). Both are gone.

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