The Big Ten is known for its play in the trenches, both on offense and defense, and this year will be no exception.
Despite the loss of seven all-conference honorees—both coaches and media—the Big Ten returns a number of quality players. Moreover, it sees the return of at least two difference-makers that missed the majority of 2011.
The number of asterisks next to a players' name indicates how many years he has started. A "starter," for my purposes, had at least four starts to his credit in any one season.
Players in italics are returning all-conference honorees.
A pound sign (#) indicates a player who hasn't started consecutive years or didn't start last year.
I based my ranking on returning experience, inherent talent (recruiting rankings), as well as what the teams and coaches have turned out in the past. For example, Iowa and Kirk Ferentz have proven they can regularly turn out quality defensive lines. Indiana and Kevin Wilson, on the other hand, have not.
Finally, a lot can change in the next few months.
This article is based on what the rosters of Big Ten teams look like, and what we know, right now.
Check out previous articles in this series, beginning with the most recent, Power Ranking the Big Ten Offensive Lines.