The 3 most overrated Big Ten teams in 2024

Iowa is looking to be involved at the top of the new-look Big Ten in 2024. Which teams are they closer to than the experts think?
Indiana v Purdue
Indiana v Purdue / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Step outside of Iowa and most college football fans and analysts don't expect Iowa to return to the Big Ten Championship for the third time in four years. Some of that perception is rooted in the loss of Cooper DeJean, the questionable status of Cade McNamara and the stink of being recognized more for quality punting than putting points on the scoreboard last year.

Still, Iowa has a strong unit, and most Big Ten rankings ahead of the 2024 season seat the Hawkeyes in the No. 5 or No. 6 slots, which is largely fair. After all, Iowa needs many things to go their way to get back to Indianapolis in January.

However, the teams often ranked ahead of Iowa in these power rankings have their own question marks heading into the season. So, which teams in the Big Ten are the most overrated?

No. 3: Michigan Wolverines

The reigning, defending college football national champions are going to have a tough time defending that title.

While there is little doubt that Michigan will be an elite team in 2024, there are still considerable questions about the program.

The obvious issue is the loss of head coach Jim Harbaugh, quarterback JJ McCarthy and a host of talented players on both sides of the ball. Sherrone Moore steps in as the new head coach after picking up the slack during Harbaugh's suspensions while Alex Orji is expected to be the starting quarterback.

Michigan returns just five starters, only one on offense. Only Washington returns less.

Michigan has the fifth-hardest schedule in the league with Texas, USC, Oregon and Ohio State on the slate.

While they'll be competitive in the league and have a rather solid shot at making the trip to Indianapolis, there is truly little to warrant an expectation that Michigan will march through their schedule as they have the past three seasons.

Their consistent presence in the top 3 or 4 of Big Ten power rankings is a nod to their recent accomplishments rather than what they bring to the table on paper.

No. 2: USC Trojans

USC went 8-5 last year despite having one of the best quarterbacks in the nation on their roster. Why they are consistently in the top 5 of Big Ten power rankings is a mystery.

Now, Miller Moss will step in at quarterback, and he put on a show in the Holiday Bowl with six touchdowns. It's worth pointing out that Louisville really struggled down the stretch and every other look at Moss, a 4-star redshirt junior, has been in mop-up duty, there isn't much to go on to suggest he'll be as talented as his predecesor.

The Trojans return the third-fewest players with just seven, three on the offensive side of the ball. They'll need more production out of their running game and their wide receivers, neither of which gave Williams much help in 2023.

USC's defense was abysmal last year too, giving up 433 yards and 34 points per game in 2023. The seven new starters on that side need to be considerably better to make the Trojans a real threat to win the Big Ten.

USC also has the toughest schedule in the conference. Notably, they'll play LSU, Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State.

Lincoln Riley does have USC trending back into relevance, but they struggled in a competitive PAC-12 last year that is not as talented as the Big Ten in 2024. They'll be good, sure, but there is plenty of reason to believe that, once again, USC is a bit overrated.

No. 1: Ohio State Buckeyes

Consistently projected to win the conference, the Ohio State Buckeyes will no-doubt be an elite team in 2024. Ohio State was electric in 2023 despite getting sub-par quarterback play, however, that is where their problem lies in 2024 as well.

Ryan Day is choosing between five potential starting quarterbacks. While each is wildly talented, if the saying is "If you have two quarterbacks, you have none," what do they say when you have five?

This is naturally the largest sticking point for the Buckeyes. Their roster is loaded with talent, returning 15 starters, and they have one of the easier schedules in the league. Their toughest opponents on paper are Penn State, Michigan and Iowa.

However, the point of calling them overrated isn't to hate Ohio State for the sake of it. It's because there is one team that may have a stronger chance of fielding a better roster on paper: the Oregon Ducks.

This comes down to the quarterback and the consistency of Oregon under Dan Lanning. The Ducks have proven to be a strong team offensively and defensive under Lanning. Returning 10 starters is a bonus for the Ducks.

However, their biggest advantage is already having the quarterback in place. Dillon Gabriel transfers in for 2024 and he's instantly one of the best starters in the conference.

Oregon also has an easier schedule where Ohio State and Michigan are its toughest opponents ahead of Wisconsin and UCLA.

It might be splitting hairs as both Oregon vs. Ohio State could likely be the 2024 Big Ten Championship Game, but for my money, on paper, Oregon looks a bit better.

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