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Post-Spring Big Ten Football Power Rankings

The spring football season is over in the Big Ten conference. 

Big Ten's B1G logo.

The final spring games were held last weekend. Ohio State (which set a national attendance record), Nebraska and Michigan State had the best spring game showings, fan wise. 

Now it's time to start thinking about the summer and the lead-in to the 2016 college football season. 

What's the Big Ten landscape look like, post-spring? Let's take a look. 

We're power ranking all 14 teams in the Big Ten conference based on what kind of shape they're in heading into the summer. 

Start With No. 14 ??? >>>

14. Purdue

The Boilermakers have been the basement of the Big Ten for a couple seasons now. Purdue has won just six games (two in the conference) over the last three seasons. 

Unfortunately, Purdue fans, it looks like that will continue this season. 

The Boilermakers do return a decent amount of their starters from a season ago, including quarterback David Blough and running back Markell Jones, so there's room to grow. 

">April 22, 2016

Really, a five-win season could be seen as a success in West Lafayette, Ind. 

Next: No. 13 ??? >>>

13. Rutgers

From a football perspective, the Scarlet Knights move to the Big Ten has been pretty rough. It started off decently, with Rutgers going 8-5 in 2014, but 2015 was extremely disappointing, ending in a 4-8 season and a firing of Kyle Flood. 

There's a new season of hope in New Jersey now, though, with the hiring of former Ohio State assistant Chris Ash. 

">April 22, 2016

On the field, Rutgers returns a Big Ten-high 85 percentof its production from a season ago.

Whether or not that's a good thing remains to be seen (that 85 percent did go 4-8 last season, after all) but Rutgers will have experience on its side this fall. 

Next: No. 12 ??? >>>

12. Indiana

The Hoosiers appear to be trending upward under Kevin Wilson. 

Indiana went 6-7 in 2015, making a bowl game. It was the program's first postseason appearance since the 2007 season. 

It ended brutally, unfortunately. 

">December 27, 2015

There's optimism in Bloomington, Ind., though. But there are also some pretty big holes to fill. 

Indiana has to replace its starting quarterback, one of its top running backs and its best offensive lineman. 

The Hoosiers will probably be a close-to-the-bottom team in the Big Ten this fall. 

Next: No. 11 ??? >>>

11. Illinois

The Fighting Illini are now led by former NFL coach Lovie Smith. There's definitely a sense of excitement surrounding this program that hadn't been there in a while. 

Still, Illinois probably won't be too great on the field. 

The Fighting Illini have had some injuries this spring - wide receiver Mike Dudek and running back Dre Brown both tore their ACLs and will miss the season - and there's not a ton of talent in Champaign, Ill. 

The recruits should start to flock to play for Smith, at least. 

">April 27, 2016

A five or six win season would be a nice starting point for the Smith era. 

Next: No. 10 ??? >>>

10. Maryland

The Terrapins are in a similar state as Rutgers, with a new first-year coach who was previously an assistant for one of the Big Ten's best programs. 

Now led by D.J. Durkin, who spent the 2015 season at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh, Maryland is looking to get to a higher level within the Big Ten. 

The Terps have more talent to work with than Rutgers and the conference's other bottom teams, though. Maryland returns a lot of its offensive production. 

">April 19, 2016

The biggest question Maryland has to answer heading to the fall is this: who will be the team's starting QB? Durkin has yet to decide between Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe. 

Next: No. 9 ??? >>>

9. Minnesota

Minnesota had a great 2014, winning eight games, and had high hopes entering 2015. The previous season was extremely disappointing, though, as the Golden Gophers went 6-7 and tied for fifth in the Big Ten West. 

What will the upcoming season bring? 

Hopefully a more consistent campaign.

">@TonyDungy for speaking to the team. Terrific advice. Always great to have you on campus. — Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball)

Thank you to former Gopher @TonyDungy for speaking to the team. Terrific advice. Always great to have you on campus.

— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) April 13, 2016

">April 13, 2016

The Golden Gophers do return most of their starters, including three-year starting quarterback Mitch Leidner. Next: No. 8 ??? >>>8. Penn StateThe Nittany Lions have a lot to replace, including former five-star quarterback Christian Hackenberg and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Carl Nassib. It feels like this is a team that could benefit from a fresh start, though. As talented as Hackenberg is, his era in State College, Pa. was a rough one. The team's offensive and defensive coordinators are both new. Heading into the season, Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens will battle for the starting QB job. 

">@saquonb21 show me anyone who can do this! 390 LB Clean no strap!

— Josh Gattis (@Coach_Gattis)

#BeastMode the best RB in the country @saquonb21 show me anyone who can do this! 390 LB Clean no strap!

— Josh Gattis (@Coach_Gattis) March 1, 2016

">March 1, 2016

Sophomore running back Saquon Barkley should be one of college football's biggest stars. 

Next: No. 7 ??? >>>

7. Northwestern

The Wildcats were one of college football's biggest surprises in 2015. Northwestern went 10-2 before getting blown out by Tennessee in the Outback Bowl. 

Can Northwestern continue to trend upward? 

The Wildcats return their starting quarterback, Clayton Thorson, and their stud running back, Justin Jackson. 

">@coachfitz51 — Bobby Baehr (@DABAEHR)

Right now: Empty
In 136 Days: Completely full#B1GCats@coachfitz51 ?

— Bobby Baehr (@DABAEHR) April 20, 2016

">April 20, 2016

Winning 10 games again could prove to be difficult, but an 8 or 9 win season is likely in Evanston, Ill. Next: No. 6 ??? >>>6. WisconsinThe Badgers' schedule is the main topic of discussion for this program, and for good reason. Wisconsin has arguably the toughest schedule in the country, with a non-conference game against LSU and a five-game stretch against Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska. 

">April 23, 2016

This is a team good enough to win the Big Ten West Division - Corey Clement should be one of the best tailbacks in the country - but with that schedule, it's hard to imagine Wisconsin playing for a conference title in December. If the Badgers are, it'll be one hell of an accomplishment. Next: No. 5 ??? >>>5. NebraskaThe Huskers were, simply put, the unluckiest team in college football in 2015, losing six games by single-digits and a seventh game by just 10 points. Pretty much all of Nebraska's games came down to the final possession and it rarely went well for Mike Riley's team. That should change this fall. 

">April 16, 2016

Nebraska returns its quarterback, Tommy Armstrong, its top wide receivers, much of its offensive line and some defensive playmakers. The Huskers will challenge Iowa for the Big Ten West Division crown. Next: No. 4 ??? >>>4. IowaThe Hawkeyes won't be going undefeated this fall like they did in 2015. Probably. But Kirk Ferentz's squad should still be pretty formidable during the 2016 season, and head into the fall as the Big Ten West Division favorite. Iowa returns a lot, including quarterback C.J. Beathard and Thorpe Award winner Desmond King.