The Big Ten has always been about pounding the football.
Whether it was the wishbone, three yards and a cloud of dust or the modern spread option, the key has been to move the ball on the ground.
In 2010, the Big Ten had the second highest percentage of rushing plays of any AQ conference with 57.2 (the SEC had the most with 57.50).
In short, no matter the scheme, the key to scoring in the Big Ten is the rushing game, same as it was throughout the 20th century and same as it will probably remain.
The following list will rank the Big Ten position group that will receive the lion's share of the carries—the running backs.
A few notes
The players in italics are returning starters. A "returning starter," for my purposes, is any player that has started four or more games in his career.
Players in italics and bold denote multi-year starters.
Players with an asterisk next to their names were first or second team, media or coaches, all-conference last season.