This group contains two of the favorites from last season, both of which have been under a lot of scrutiny in the past year.
Ohio State went from sure favorite to an unknown after it was announced that the "tattoo five" would be suspended for the first five games. Now it is even more of an unknown with the departure of star quarterback Terrelle Pryor and coach Jim Tressel. Other top players, such as Dan Herron and DeVier Posey, are still suspended for the first five games.
This could be a rough year for the Buckeyes, but this is also still Ohio State, and it would be crazy to write off the Buckeyes just yet.
Like OSU, Iowa was considered a Big Ten favorite last year but struggled in close games and ended the regular season on a three-game losing streak.
Now, with many top players gone, Iowa is in the shadows once again. However, it will have arguably the best offensive line in the conference, a talented young quarterback and a budding star at running back in Marcus Coker.
With a very easy schedule, the Hawkeyes could surprise a lot of people in 2011.
The last sleeper, Northwestern, seems to always play this role but can't get over the hump. However, thanks to a very easy schedule and the return of star quarterback Dan Persa, this could be the year that the Wildcats break through and win a Big Ten title.
Persa finally has a solid supporting cast on offense, and if the defense improves from last year, Northwestern could be in the thick of the Legends Division race in November.