Three teams that could be Big Ten football sleepers for 2022

·2 min read

The Big Ten conference is extremely competitive, but as what is typical in Power Five conferences, we see a fairly large talent gap between the haves and have-nots. Ohio State is typically running 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.

Maybe nowhere is a bit extreme, but there are a number of Big Ten teams who have consistently underachieved and Michigan winning the title last season after nearly a decade of shining the shoes of Ohio State should give some hope to others. The following three teams could be primed to exceed expectations.


Feb 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 Might Be a Problem

Nebraska hasn’t been in a bowl game since 2016, when Mike Riley, who is now in the USFL, was the head man in charge. This is unacceptable and they have enough talent to be a force in the Big Ten. Last season, Nebraska lost eight games by one possession. So close 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-White game at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, April 23, 2022, in State College. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Why They Might Be a Problem

Penn State has been terrible the last two seasons with a combined record of 11-11, but we know that they are tough and we know that they have elite talent, especially on defense. If Sean Clifford can elevate his play to just average then Penn State could make some noise.

Ohio State

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

Why They Might Be a Problem (For the Rest of the Country)

How can Ohio State be a sleeper, when they are projected to win the Big Ten? That is a fair question but in the national landscape of college football, most people have the Buckeyes a step behind Alabama and I think by the end of the season we could possibly be talking about the greatest offense in college football history.