By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.com — Well Stocked. Again. The 2021 All-Big Ten team from Athlon’s Sports is led by 13 selections from Ohio State, while Wisconsin (11), Iowa (11), Penn State (10), and Indiana (10) also landed double-digit selections.
Meanwhile, seven other programs had at least six selections on the 2020 All-Big Ten squad.
Key position first-team players include QB Michael Penix (Indiana), RBs Tyler Goodson (Iowa) and Mohamed Ibrahim (Minnesota), along with WRs Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson (Ohio State) and Jahan Dotson (Penn State).
Let’s Go Bowling
Big Ten teams have fared exceptionally well as underdogs in bowl games dating back to 1998, going 67-48 ATS Overall.
When coming off a win they zoom to 45-27 ATS, including 34-20 ATS when coming off a SUATS win.
There is only one new head coaching change in the Big Ten for the 2021 season, but it is a significant one.
Former Wisconsin head coach Brett Bielema is back in the conference, replacing Lovie Smith at Illinois.
In his first season as head coach of the Badgers in 2006, Bielema’s team ended the regular season 11–1, including 7–1 in Big Ten Conference play. Meanwhile, Bielema coached Wisconsin to victories in 17 of his first 18 games. That represents the third-best start to a head-coaching career in Big Ten history. Michigan’s Fielding Yost, who went 55–0–1 from 1901 to 1905, and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, who won 24 straight games to begin his Big Ten career had better starts.
After going 68-24 overall and 37-19 in Big Ten games, Bielema went 29-34 overall and 11-29 IN SEC play at Arkansas.
Note: Team write-ups are excerpts from the 2021 PLAYBOOK Football Preview Guide magazine – on sale at newsstands nationwide or PlaybookSports.com. A breakdown of the numbers includes the team’s national recruiting ranking, of 130 teams, by 247Sports as well as the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback. The RPR represents each team’s overall, offensive, and defensive rankings in overall returning production experience among all Group of 5 programs.