Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

One-Line Big Ten Football Previews for 2022

July 25, 2022

The Big 12 kicked off talking season a couple of weeks ago, and the SEC took its typically maximal approach (four days!) to Atlanta last week for conference media days. Now it’s the Big Ten’s turn in front of the microphones in Indianapolis.

Nebraska’s stay in Indy will be short. Coach Scott Frost, linebacker Garrett Nelson, cornerback Quinton Newsome and tight end Travis Vokolek will be the first team representatives to speak at Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday morning, an altered schedule made necessary because fall camp begins for the Huskers on Wednesday.

But what’s to come isn’t really about Nebraska. The Huskers are included, sure, but if you’re reading this it’s likely you’ve been busy dissecting the football months ahead since the last football months ended. You may not need a one-line preview of Nebraska.

What about the other teams? When Mike Locksley follows Frost at the podium on Tuesday, will you wonder “What’s Maryland’s deal?”

If you do, maybe the following one-line previews help. While I’ll always encourage people to get the Hail Varsity Yearbook and read the detailed team previews therein, sometimes you just run out of time. You planned to read about Indiana, just didn’t get to it.

That’s OK (as long as you agree to go back and get the full experience when you have a little more free time). Here I have taken those Yearbook previews and reduced them down to one bite. It’s not everything you need to know about these teams, of course, but it’ll do to get you started.

Illinois – Does a ton of turnover on the offensive line help or hurt what should be a solid set of running backs?

Iowa wide receiver Keagan Johnson had a promising debut season, making 18 catches for 352 yards with a pair of touchdowns in 2021. Photo by John S. Peterson.

Iowa – If an experienced defense (yet again) bails out a subsistence offense (which does have intriguing skill talent), anything up to a division title is possible.

Minnesota – The skill positions are well-stocked, but there’s a ton to replace on the o-line and on defense.

Nebraska – There’s plenty of change and it has to work right away; the season (and the future) is defined before October is over.

Northwestern – There’s an elite player on both lines—a solid starting point—but last year’s lows felt different from previous fallow seasons.

Purdue – Jeff Brohm finally found his full-time quarterback, but new receivers need to step up and the defense can’t take a step back for the Boilermakers to follow up last year’s gains.

Nebraska Football linebacker Damian Jackson Reaches for the Ball

Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz could set the Badgers’ ceiling in 2022. He threw 10 touchdowns to 11 interceptions in 2021. Photo by Eric Francis.

Wisconsin – The next great running back is in place and the defense will find a way to excel despite a lack of experience; quarterback play is the ceiling-setter.

Indiana – After two strong seasons, and having his staff raided, Tom Allen faces a hard reboot with the least-experienced defense in the league.

Maryland – How many teams can the Terps outscore behind a strong quarterback and big-play receivers?

Michigan – Now do it again, this time without three NFL-caliber defenders and with yet another new defensive coordinator.

Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III was the transfer success story of the season last year, and the Spartans will turn to two more transfers in 2022 to try and replace the Soak Walker Award winner. Photo by Eric Francis

Michigan State – Now do it again, this time without the best running back in the country, two NFL-caliber pass-catchers and while banking on another portal windfall.

Ohio State – Last year’s 11-2 season was what the Buckeyes look like in a down year; this year won’t look that way.

Penn State – The offensive line, replacing three starters, has the burden of proof after an ugly 2021, and the front seven has holes to fill, too.

Rutgers – Can a pair of transfer WRs add some pop to a passing game and help a defense likely to take a small step back?

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