ESPN senior writer Matt Schlabach released his post-spring top-25 NCAA football power rankings on Tuesday, and five Big Ten programs were listed among the best teams in the country.
- Ohio State Buckeyes, No. 5
- Indiana Hoosiers, No. 11
- Iowa Hawkeyes, No. 14
- Wisconsin Badgers, No. 18
- Penn State Nittany Lions, No. 23
To no surprise, Ohio State was the top-ranked Big Ten team on the list. But the Buckeyes are tasked with replacing the production of quarterback Justin Fields after he was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Fields contributed 78 total touchdowns in two seasons at Ohio State. He was named the 2020 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. And with 10 total Buckeyes being selected in the NFL Draft, the team will have holes to fill all over its roster this upcoming season.
However, Schlabach still projects Ohio State to have the best chance of all Big Ten teams to compete for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
As for the Indiana Hoosiers, their ranking at No. 11 comes with an asterisk. The program's success is largely dependent on the health of quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who has seen each of his last three seasons cut short due to injury.
Penix is currently on pace for the team's season opener on Sept. 4 against Iowa, but backup quarterback Jack Tuttle would take the starting role should there be any setbacks.
Iowa looks to build off a strong 6-2 showing last year and will look to earn a bid to another bowl game after the Music City Bowl was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Wisconsin ranked 88th in scoring (25.1 points) and 103rd in total offense (345.6 yards) in the FBS in 2020. The Badgers will attempt to improve on those marks with coach Paul Chryst handling the team's playcalling duties and coaching the quarterbacks.
After a disastrous start to the 2020 season, Penn State ended on a four-game win streak and will look to return to form this upcoming season.
Izaiah Brockington transfers Iowa State
After playing two years with the Nittany Lions, Penn State's Izaiah Brockington announced Wednesday he was committing to Iowa State for the 2021-22 season.
Brockington, a senior next season, averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds a year ago. The 6-foot-4 guard is the sixth transfer addition for Iowa State.
He initially entered the transfer portal on March 16 after Penn State hired coach Micah Shrewsberry. Brockington removed his name from the portal on March 26 and said he would return to the Nittany Lions. But, he then re-entered and announced he would complete his college eligibility with another program.
Chester Frazier agrees to become Illinois assistant
After two seasons as the associate head coach at Virginia Tech, Chester Frazier has agreed to join the Illinois coaching staff as an assistant, according to Stadium.com insider Jeff Goodman.
Illini Now and Sports Illustrated confirmed from sources close to the basketball program that Frazier met with Illinois coach Brad Underwood in Chicago earlier this week to discuss an opening on the coaching staff.
The Fighting Illini lost two assistant coaches — Orlando Antigua and Ronald "Chin" Coleman — to Kentucky earlier this week. Frazier played for Illinois between 2005 and 2009, helping the program to three 20-win seasons and three trips to the NCAA Tournament.
He ranks seventh in Illinois history with 484 career assists and ninth in career assists per game with 3.9. He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten Conference and Big Ten All-Defensive Team honors while leading the Big Ten in assists (5.3 per game) his senior season.
For the full story on our Sports Illustrated Illinois website, click here.