It’s never too early for power rankings. The 2018 college football season is still more than seven months away, but on Monday the Chicago Tribune released its extra-early look at the season ahead in the Big Ten. Wisconsin, fresh off its 34-24 win over Miami in the 2017 Orange Bowl, led the power rankings ahead of No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan State.
The Badgers certainly return a talented group, led by rising sophomore running back Jonathan Taylor, who rushed for 1,977 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’ll joined by quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who won Orange Bowl MVP honors after throwing for four touchdowns against the Hurricanes, and a talented stable of linemen including Beau Benzschawel, Michael Deiter, David Edwards and freshman All-American center Tyler Biadasz.
Don’t forget about Ohio State, though. The Tribune noted that it’s unclear how many Buckeyes will be returning in 2018, and that uncertainty makes it hard to properly evaluate coach Urban Meyer’s program. But it’s clear that Ohio State will need to adjust without longtime quarterback J.T. Barrett.
Michigan clocked in at No. 4 on the list, with Penn State coming in at No. 5 and Nebraska at No. 6. Northwestern, Iowa, Purdue, Rutgers, Minnesota, Indiana, Maryland and Illinois rounded out the rankings.