2017 Big Ten Football Prospectus
• Penn State was crowned Big Ten Champion after its 38-31 victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game. It was the Nittany Lions' fourth Big Ten title and first since 2008. Penn State will look to repeat as conference champions for the first time in program history.
• Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin will all look to repeat as division champions this season, as the Badgers finished 7-2 to win the West Division and the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions both completed the season with 8-1 marks to finish tied atop the East Division. Last season's divisional crowns marked the second for Penn State, third for the Badgers and fifth for the Buckeyes.
• The 2017 campaign will feature 33 All-Big Ten players (seven first-team, 12 second-team, 14 third-team) and 46 honorable mention selections from last season.
• The winners of five of the 14 regular-season individual awards from last season will also hit the field again this fall. Penn State's Saquon Barkley was named the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year and the Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year, while Ohio State's J.T. Barrett was tabbed the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year and Mike Weber was chosen as the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year. Minnesota's Emmit Carpenter was named the Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year.
• The Big Ten will welcome three new head coaches to the sidelines for the 2017 campaign in Indiana’s Tom Allen, Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck and Purdue’s Jeff Brohm.
• Allen first joined the Indiana football staff as associate head coach in 2016. A 25-year coaching veteran, Allen helped lead a dramatic turnaround of Indiana's defense in 2016, just as he had done before at Ole Miss and South Florida.
• Fleck heads to Minnesota after spending four years as the head coach at Western Michigan, where he was 30-22 overall and 21-11 in the Mid-American Conference. While leading the Broncos, Fleck authored one of the most memorable turnarounds in college football history. The Broncos were 1-11 in his first year in 2013, but ended last season with a 13-1 record, a conference championship and a berth in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
• Brohm comes to Purdue from Western Kentucky, where he compiled a 30-10 overall record, including a 19-5 Conference USA mark, from 2014 to 2016. The Hilltoppers were league champions in 2015 and 2016, the first back-to-back titles as an FBS member in school history.
• The seventh annual Big Ten Football Championship Game will once again determine the Big Ten Champion. The 2017 Big Ten Football Championship Game will be broadcast in prime time by FOX on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
• Beginning in 2016, each school played three teams from the other division as part of its nine-game schedule. The cross-division games include one protected matchup on an annual basis between Indiana and Purdue. As a result of the nine-game conference schedule and the Big Ten's schedule rotation, every player will have the opportunity to play against every other team in the conference at least once during a four-year period. The Big Ten returned to a nine-game conference schedule for all teams for the first time since the 1983 and 1984 seasons. The Big Ten schedules through the 2019 season can be found at bigten.org.
• The Big Ten continues to feature the largest and most diverse postseason lineup in conference history this season, with 16 potential bowl destinations spread across the country. The Big Ten's bowl lineup is highlighted by games against quality opponents from the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC, Conference USA and Mountain West in California, Florida, Michigan, New York, Tennessee and Texas, along with the opportunity to visit four other outstanding postseason venues as part of the College Football Playoff. The Big Ten's bowl lineup allows teams and fans to visit world-class cities while having the opportunity to experience 11 different NFL stadiums, along with some of the most iconic venues in the country, including Rose Bowl Stadium, Cotton Bowl Stadium and Yankee Stadium. These outstanding facilities have hosted or will host 30 different Super Bowls in 11 different stadiums.
• Eleven Big Ten teams will square off against at least one non-conference team that participated in a bowl game last season, with 17 total games against squads coming off bowl trips. Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Purdue and Rutgers will each face two non-conference bowl teams in 2017, while Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin will each play one bowl opponent outside the conference schedule.