The Big Ten Conference has gone two straight years without a representative in the College Football Playoff. But given that the Big Ten representative has been beaten by over 30 points, it seems that the bar is being set a little higher for the conference.
Ahead of the 2019 season, CBS Sports did a breakdown of the upcoming regular season for all Big Ten teams, and ranked them in terms of schedule difficulty.
The biggest cupcake conference schedule belongs to the Indiana Hoosiers. But Penn State isn't too far off with the 12th-ranked non-conference schedule.
Ohio State's schedule has middle-of-the-road difficulty, while Michigan State is ranked fourth.
The toughest non-conference schedule belongs to Michigan.
Here is the full Big Ten schedule ranking from CBS Sports:
12. Penn State
7. Ohio State
3. Michigan State
The Wolverines have not won the Big Ten title since 2004, and have gone through several head coaches in that span. But their arch-rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes, are going into next season with a new head coach.
If there was ever a year for Michigan to take advantage of a brutal schedule and brute-force their way into the College Football Playoff, it would be this one.