Big Ten Football: Breaking Down the ESPN 'CFB Live' Preseason Top 25
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ESPN's College Football Live program debuted its Preseason Top 25 list on Tuesday. Let's take a look at where the Big Ten sits in the rankings, and where things might change between now and next January.
12. Michigan State
20. Ohio State
Being that there are five SEC teams all ranked above Michigan, it's pretty clear where the tiers are being set, and while that set of tiers is largely accurate, it would be hard to imagine that the SEC could put five teams ahead of the Big Ten's best by the end of the season.
That's not the way polls shake out.
Speaking of which, let's take a look at some potential changes to anticipate once the season gets underway.
Who's going to be the highest-ranked B1G team by the end of the regular season?
Most Likely to Rise: Michigan State
The Spartans are buoyed by an absolutely ferocious defense, but what really sets MSU apart is its slate of tough but eminently winnable early games.
Boise State comes to town, and while that's usually a harbinger of doom, Michigan State is ranked 11 spots ahead of the Broncos and has the advantage of both talent and the home field.
If Sparty wins the Notre Dame game as well, we're seriously looking at a case to be made for top-five status.
Most Likely to Fall: Nebraska
Nebraska's non-conference schedule is cake—at best, you can make the case that going to UCLA will be a challenge, but come on—so the Huskers won't get much credit from pollsters for going 4-0 there.
After that, it's a date with Wisconsin, a trip to Ohio State and even a road game at Northwestern (who won at Lincoln last season).
If Nebraska's ranked 17th or better after that three-game spree, color us surprised.
Most Likely to Crash the Top 25: Penn State
In terms of impressing voters, Penn State's early slate doesn't do the team a whole lot of favors; a road game at Virginia is tough, but the Cavs' preseason hype isn't great.
Nonetheless, it is totally plausible that even without a legitimate quarterback, Penn State could be walking out of Iowa City after Week 8 at 7-0 and preparing for a showdown at home against Ohio State.
Um, think the voters would notice that?
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