Three teams that could be Big Ten football sleepers in 2022

The Big Ten conference is extremely competitive, but as is typical of Power Five conferences, we see a fairly large talent gap between the haves and have-nots. Ohio State usually runs the show in the Big Ten, but I think there are some unique opportunities for someone to potentially come out of nowhere and take the crown.

Perhaps nowhere is a bit extreme, but there are a number of Big Ten teams that have consistently underperformed and Michigan winning the title last season after nearly a decade of polishing the state of Ohio should give some hope to others. The next three teams could be prepared to exceed expectations.


February 3, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; East tight end Samori Toure of Nebraska (83) runs out of bounds after scoring a touchdown during the East/West Shrine Bowl at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Why they can be a problem?

Nebraska hasn’t played in a bowl game since 2016, when Mike Riley, who is now in the USFL, was in charge. This is unacceptable and they have enough talent to be a force in the Big Ten. Last season, Nebraska lost eight games in one possession. So close and yet so far away, but the potential is there.

Penn State

Penn State freshman quarterback Beau Pribula (9) celebrates with offensive lineman Golden Israel-Achumba after scrambling into the end zone during the 2022 Blue and White game at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, April 23, 2022 at State College. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Why they can be a problem?

Penn State It’s been terrible the last two seasons with a combined record of 11-11, but we know they are strong and we know they have elite talent, especially on defense. If Sean Clifford can raise his game to just average, then Penn State can make some noise.

Ohio state

Ohio State Buckeyes’ Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) makes a catch against Michigan Wolverines, defending defender Daxton Hill (30) during the first quarter of their NCAA college football at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mi on Nov. 27, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network

Why they can be a problem (for the rest of the country)

How can Ohio State be a sleeper when they are expected to win the Big Ten? That’s a fair question, but in the national college football landscape, most people have the Buckeyes one step behind Alabama and I think by the end of the season we can talk about the biggest offense in college football history.



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