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Sports

27 Aug 2014 12:12 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: MSU’s Jeremy Langford rushed for 1,422 yards and 18 TDs last season. (Image Source: Al Goldis/AP Photos)

Here are this week’s power rankings:

(1) Michigan State Spartans; 2013 Record: 13-1 (8-0)

The combination of an established playmaking quarterback in Connor Cook, a plethora of talented skill players at running back and receiver, the return of defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and strong special teams makes them the favorite.

Coming Up: 8/29: vs. Jacksonville State; 9/6: @ Oregon

(2) Ohio State Buckeyes; 2013 Record: 12-2 (8-0)

Top to bottom the Buckeyes might still have the best roster in the Big Ten along with the best head coach in Urban Meyer. Nevertheless, the loss of Braxton Miller cannot be overestimated. Who knows how the offense responds without him.

Coming Up: 8/30: vs. Navy (Baltimore, MD); 9/6: vs. Virginia Tech

(3) Michigan Wolverines; 2013 Record: 7-6 (3-5)

Count me among the few that is still on the Brady Hoke bandwagon. Last season was a disaster and the Wolverines are still a year away from really being Big Ten contenders, however if the offensive line isn’t a debacle they’ll be better this season.

Coming Up: 8/30: vs. Appalachian State; 9/6: @ Notre Dame

(4) Maryland Terrapins; 2013 Record: 7-6 (3-5)

With the talent and experience the Terps have coming back they’re my sleeper in the East Division. The keys to taking the next step this season are staying healthy and becoming more consistent. If the O-line gels the offensive will be dynamic.

Coming Up: 8/30: vs. James Madison; 9/6: @ South Florida

(5) Penn State Nittany Lions; 2013 Record: 7-5 (4-4)

Sophomore Christian Hackenberg is one of the top two or three NFL QB prospects in college football regardless of class, however with four new starters on the O-line and not much proven talent at receiver, can he play up to his potential this season?

Coming Up: 8/30: vs. Central Florida (Dublin, Ireland); 9/6: vs. Akron

(6) Indiana Hoosiers; 2013 Record: 5-7 (3-5)

Since taking over, coach Kevin Wilson has built one of the most explosive offenses in the Big Ten, if not the nation. However, to make his first bowl as headman, the Hoosiers will need to improve defensively, which shouldn’t be all that hard.

Coming Up: 8/30: vs. Indiana State; 9/6: Idle

(7) Rutgers Scarlet Knights; 2013 Record: 6-7 (3-5)

With a strong backfield and good run defense Rutgers would have been a good fit in the Big Ten back in the day. However, their pass D was among the worst in the nation last season and quarterback Gary Nova has been a model of inconsistency.

Coming Up: 8/28: vs. Washington State (Seattle, WA); 9/6: vs. Howard

Big Ten Preseason Links:

4 Reasons Why the Michigan State Spartans Will Repeat as Conference Champs

Ohio State Buckeyes Swing Game, Trap Game & Game of the Year For 2014

Michigan State Spartans Swing Game, Trap Game & Game of the Year For 2014

Video: Buckeyes Look For New Leader Without Braxton Miller

3 Reasons Why Ohio State Can Still Win the Big Ten Without Braxton Miller

Ohio State Quarterback Braxton Miller Out for the Season

3 Reasons Why Ohio State Will Not Make the Playoffs (Pre-Miller Injury)

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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