Congratulations, college football fans far and wide: We did it! We have endured another long offseason without football, but that all changes this Saturday.

Beginning Aug. 27, college football will grace our televisions every weekend into December with a thrilling season to be had by all.

Coming out of 2021, the college football world is left chomping at the bit for a chance to dethrone the SEC with Georgia beating Alabama for the title last year.

In the B1G, a topsy-turvy year ensued with Michigan putting an end to Ohio State’s run of dominance. The Buckeyes responded with a new defensive coordinator.

Elsewhere in the conference, Maryland won a bowl game and Michigan State exploded for 11 wins. Unfortunately for Penn State, Northwestern and Indiana, those programs all regressed in 2021 while Nebraska is still searching for a bowl game under Scott Frost.

Entering 2022, there is enough intrigue – and question marks – to go around for every team in the conference. So without further delay, here are Tradition’s official preseason power rankings.

14. Indiana

Last Season: 2-10

Coming off 14 wins combined across 2019-20, Indiana crashed back to earth with a thud in 2021. To be fair, there were enough injuries to go around for the Hoosiers, but that happens to every team. Micah McFadden is off to the NFL and Michael Penix Jr. – a key piece of the 2020 success – is now the starting QB at Washington. Indiana replaced those key pieces and added more help via the transfer portal, but the B1G East landscape is remarkably tougher in 2022 than it was entering 2020.

13. Northwestern

Last Season: 3-9

Hey, has anyone pointed out it’s an even-year season? If recent history holds true, pencil the Wildcats into the B1G Championship Game! Unfortunately, that seems unlikely, to say the least. In 2021, Pat Fitzgerald’s squad was downright bad in every facet of the game, ranking 125th nationally in scoring offense and 89th in scoring defense. The Wildcats will be more competitive this season, but piling up wins is a long shot.

12. Rutgers

Last Season: 5-8

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Rutgers seemingly took another step forward in Greg Schiano’s rebuild last season, posting a 5-7 record in the regular season before serving as a late bowl fill-in during the postseason. However, the program does lose some key pieces from both sides of the ball, and the depth of talent just isn’t quite there yet for the Scarlet Knights. Like any Schiano squad, Rutgers will fight hard this season, but results will be tough to find.

11. Illinois

Last Season: 5-7

Bret Bielema announced his presence in Champaign right away, knocking off Nebraska in Week 0 last season before pulling off upsets against Penn State and Minnesota. Unfortunately for the Illini faithful, the two biggest moments of the season took place on the road. Illinois stands to find itself in a similar position in 2022 with an outside shot at a bowl game but needing some major upsets to make that happen. Defensive coordinator Ryan Walters remains a coaching star on the rise after producing the 29th best scoring defense in the country last season.

10. Maryland

Last Season: 7-6

Credit where credit is due: head coach Mike Locksley and star QB Taulia Tagovailoa have stabilized the program after the Terrapins won 5 total games from 2019-20. And with another electric year in 2022, Tagovailoa could topple some Terrapin program records. The defense remains a question mark after Kevin Steele’s switcharoo in the offseason, but the offense returns enough pieces to be lethal. Maryland should secure back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 2013-14, and don’t count the Terrapins out of posting at least one major upset this year with the way Tagovailoa can sling it.

9. Nebraska

Last Season: 3-9

Ah, Nebraska. At this point, one can be accused of “drinking the Koolaid” for predicting the Huskers to have a winning season. Then again, putting the Huskers at 5th in the B1G West can get one accused of not drinking the Koolaid enough after the offseason they had. We get it: Nebraska should be much improved in 2022. We also said that in 2021, and in 2020, and… At this point, Scott Frost and company are squarely a “prove it” program. That starts right out of the gate with Northwestern in Week 0 and a manageable September schedule.

8. Purdue

Last Season: 9-4

Jeff Brohm pulled the Boilermakers out of a nosedive in 2021 after a pair of losing seasons. He also has Aidan O’Connell to thank for a lot of the success in 2021 and the big bowl win. Fortunately, O’Connell and Brohm are teaming up again in 2022. Depth is a concern – along with the shifts to the defensive staff after that unit progressed last season – but a healthy Purdue should be in the thick of the B1G West race for much of the year.

7. Minnesota

Last Season: 9-4

In terms of stability and continuity, Minnesota is one of the top teams in the conference. The Gophers return 67% of their 2021 production for this season and get Mohamed Ibrahim back from a season-ending injury. Tanner Morgan is back at QB for one more season, the defense should be solid and Kirk Ciarrocca is back as PJ Fleck’s OC. The schedule – with crossover games against Michigan State and Penn State – likely keeps the Gophers out of Indy, but they’ll be making noise in the West all season long.

6. Penn State

Last Season: 7-6

Will the real Penn State program please stand up? The Nittany Lions still have a talented roster and plugged some key holes via the transfer portal. However, the defense lost some true leaders in each level of the unit, and the offensive line remains a giant question mark. Sean Clifford – for all the criticism he receives – has never been the issue in Happy Valley and should play well this season. In the end, the success of Penn State’s season likely rests in the trenches, particularly with the offensive line.

5. Wisconsin

Last Season: 9-4

Wisconsin came out of the gates in 2021 with a number of clunkers before finding a groove midseason. Unfortunately, the Badgers ended the season with a thud in a loss to Minnesota. The Badgers were the preseason pick to represent the West in Indianapolis, but there are issues to account for with new faces on the defense and the team’s top 3 receivers now off to the NFL. Either way, Wisconsin can probably win 6-7 games strictly on its run game and defense in 2022. Will Graham Mertz be up to the task of pushing this team over the top?

4. Iowa

Last Season: 10-4

The question mark for the Hawkeyes is the offense, and it’s admittedly a big question mark. In particular, Iowa must rely on a number of young(er) skill players and the QB work of Spencer Petras. However, Iowa’s defense is still a thing, and it should be one of the best defenses in the country with veteran star power all over the field. The Hawkeye defense is likely the No. 2 overall individual unit in the conference behind Ohio State’s offense, and that still counts for something. Then again, this team is a negative TD-to-interception ratio away from falling 2-3 spots down this list.

3. Michigan State

Last Season: 11-2

This feels odd, right? The Spartans – with their near-historically bad passing defense – do not feel right at No. 3 in the B1G. In fact, we’ll go out on a limb and admit Michigan State likely does not stay at No. 3 at season’s end. All that aside, there is still a lot to like in East Lansing. The Spartans return a talented QB in Payton Thorne who looks like a leader of the offense who has chemistry with his WR room. All eyes will be on a backfield tandem of Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard. And of course, the pass defense must be better. MUCH better.

2. Michigan

Last Season: 12-2

After leading Michigan to its first College Football Playoff, Jim Harbaugh embarked on an admittedly weird offseason. But come kickoff, none of that will matter too much. Sure, he has new coordinators that need to settle in, but the schedule provides that perfect opportunity. Oh, and the QB “controversy” in Ann Arbor is one most programs not named Ohio State would love to have on their hands right now with Cade McNamara and JJ McCarthy both viable options. Yes, the defense lost some key pieces, but the offense has the potential to be more balanced than ever before in 2022. Look for that unit to do Michigan’s heavy lifting this season.

1. Ohio State

Last Season: 11-2

There’s no getting around this one. Top to bottom, Ohio State has the most talented roster in the B1G, and Jim Knowles was brought on to fix the one unit that underachieved last season. And to this point, Knowles and head coach Ryan Day are saying all the right things about a “top-10 defense” in 2022. We know all about CJ Stroud, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and the offensive firepower for the Buckeyes. The lack of experience for receivers not named Smith-Njigba is likely to be a thing of the past by the time we hit October, and the only serious question surrounding the program is the defense. Even if the defensive improvements are marginal, it should be more than enough for the offense to put the Buckeyes back on top of the B1G and back into the Playoff.