Big Ten Football: Power Ranking the Most Talented Offenses of 2013
The Big Ten has traditionally been built around running offenses and strong defensive play.
However, times are changing for the conference, with a number of teams beginning to rely on their offense to win ballgames.
Offensive talent is everywhere in this conference, and this is a look at the best the Big Ten has to offer.
One team that is making a major shift to offense is Ohio State under Urban Meyer. Nebraska has become an offense team under Bo Pelini, and teams like Northwestern and Indiana are using offense to become rising stars in the conference.
Looking ahead to the coming year, there are a number of teams that will become national leaders on offense in the Big Ten.
Best of the Rest
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The Big Ten appears top-heavy, but the conference does have a lot of talented offenses.
Purdue is one of the better offenses in the conference, but the team has struggled to produce consistently on the field.
Others like Penn State had huge seasons in 2012, but in the new year are expected to decline somewhat. Here is a look at the best of the rest in the Big Ten:
No. 12: Minnesota Golden Gophers
No. 11: Iowa Hawkeyes
No. 10: Illinois Fighting Illini
No. 9: Penn State Nittany Lions
No. 8: Purdue Boilermakers
No. 7: Michigan State Spartans
No. 6: Wisconsin Badgers
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Wisconsin is entering a new era of football in 2013, as Gary Andersen takes over the program this season. He will bring a multifaceted look to the offense and could open up the production a little bit this year.
Andersen put Utah State on the map using the spread-option offense to shred defenses throughout the country.
The same tools won’t be available at Wisconsin in his first season, but he does have a stable of backs and some scattered experience among his quarterbacks to build upon.
Mixing in elements of the spread with the traditional sets this team is used to will bring a solid mix of production from the Badgers. Instead of producing a ton of points sporadically, this team will be a consistent offensive unit every Saturday.
No. 5: Michigan Wolverines
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Wolverines entered a new era of football at the end of last year. This program turned away from the Denard Robinson style of offense to the Brady Hoke way of football.
Devin Gardner stepped in and became the incumbent at the quarterback position for the Wolverines, and the power-running game became a focus for gaining yards.
Robinson was moved to a hybrid receiver and running back role, opening up the offense by year’s end.
This team heads into 2013 without Robinson and with an injured Fitz Toussaint, but the program is bringing in stud power-runner Derrick Green, who should contribute immediately.
The receiver position is a big question, but there is enough scattered talent to create plays.
The Wolverines are on the rise, and the transition into the Hoke years becomes complete this season.
No. 4: Indiana Hoosiers
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana is surprisingly on the rise in the Big Ten, and the offense has been the reason.
This team finished last year as the No. 2 offense in the Big Ten (cfbstats.com) and is returning nearly every star from last season.
The Hoosiers were able to push the ball on the ground, but the most impressive aspect of the offense was the passing game. This team finished with 3,744 passing yards—the most in the conference.
There is nowhere to go but up for this program offensively.
Expect the Hoosiers to be one of the rising stars in the conference this season, as they push for the postseason.
No. 3: Northwestern Wildcats
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
Northwestern has become the Vanderbilt of the Big Ten.
This is a program that constantly challenges its division. They have found their way to the postseason each of the last five seasons, and found a win this past year over Mississippi State.
The Wildcats return two experienced starters at quarterback and a host of playmakers at running back. There is also a host of talented receivers who return to the fold for this program.
Pat Fitzgerald is known as a defensive guru, but his offense has been what has pushed his program to the top of the Big Ten discussion the past few seasons.
Look for that climb to continue this fall.
No. 2: Nebraska Cornhuskers
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
The Cornhuskers have always been a defense-oriented team, and the thought was that Bo Pelini would continue that tradition.
Instead, this program has become one of the most potent offenses in the country and finished as the No. 1 offense in the Big Ten (cfbstats.com) a year ago.
Taylor Martinez has been a huge part of that rise from the quarterback position, but the backfield and receiver corps has also been stacked with talent.
This program has to start playing better defense, but heading into the new year it will be at the top of the Big Ten offensively once again.
This is a talented offense that will help keep Nebraska in the Big Ten title discussion for 2013.
No. 1: Ohio State Buckeyes
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The Buckeyes are on the rise under Urban Meyer.
This program is one of the best in the country, and the offense is what is helping Ohio State to turn the corner back into the national discussion.
Braxton Miller was raw last season in his first year under Meyer, but he has a lot of talent and will get the technical side of the game down this offseason. Add to the backfield the returning talents of Carlos Hyde, and this team will be unstoppable.
Ohio State is full of impact players at receiver, and the future looks bright heading into the second year under Urban Meyer.
This team finished No. 3 in the conference (cfbstats.com) a year ago on offense—expect them to be No. 1 this season.
The Big Ten is going to be back next year, and Ohio State will be leading the way offensively.