Big Ten Weekly Football Release
Aug. 25, 2014
The Big Ten is set to kick off its 119th season of competition when teams begin play Aug. 28-30. The 2014 season will mark the beginning of a new era in Big Ten football, with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers and new divisions.
This season, the Big Ten will feature the largest and most diverse postseason lineup in conference history highlighted by games against quality opponents in California, Florida, Michigan, New York, Tennessee and Texas, along with the opportunity to visit four other outstanding venues as part of the College Football Playoff.
The 2014 Big Ten campaign will feature 21 All-Conference players from last season, with 11 first-team honorees and 10 second-team selections returning to the field.
This weekend will feature four games at neutral sites, including Rutgers meeting Washington State on Thursday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash. On Saturday, Ohio State will face Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md., Penn State will take on Central Florida at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland, and Wisconsin will meet LSU at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Michigan State enters the season as one of only two Football Bowl Subdivision teams riding a winning streak of 10 or more games. The Spartans' 10 consecutive wins trail only Florida State's 16 straight victories.
Nine different Big Ten teams received votes in the Associated Press (AP) or Amway Coaches' preseason top 25 polls, led by Ohio State at No. 5/6 (AP/Amway). Michigan State is No. 8 in both polls and is followed by No. 14/14 Wisconsin and No. 22/22 Nebraska. Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern and Penn State also received votes in at least one poll.
Michigan State aims to repeat as Big Ten Champion for the first time since 1965-66 and to become the first Big Ten team to win back-to-back titles since Wisconsin (2010-12).
The Big Ten will feature the top two returning rushers in the nation this season in Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah (1,690 yards) and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon (1,609 yards). Michigan State's Jeremy Langford (1,422 yards) ranks fifth among returning rushers.
Michigan State and Ohio State both look to repeat as division champions this season, as the Spartans and Buckeyes posted perfect 8-0 conference marks in 2013. This season, the Spartans and Buckeyes will face off in the East Division, battling for the same divisional crown.