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Big Ten football: seven Big Ten teams make preseason top 40

Michigan is the top-ranked team among all Big Ten football programs heading into the 2023 season.



Big Ten football, Michigan football
Dec 5, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; A Big Ten logo on the field before the Big Ten Conference football championship game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Michigan State Spartans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

This week, Phil Steele released his full college football preseason top 40 teams, featuring numerous Big Ten football programs. After winning back-to-back Big Ten titles, it should come as no surprise that Michigan football ranks the highest among all Big Ten programs, coming in at No. 3 nationally.

Michigan football headlines top Big Ten football teams in Phil Steele’s top 40

Half of all Big Ten football programs made Phil Steele’s preseason top 40, with the 3rd-ranked Michigan Wolverines leading the charge. Below Michigan are six other notable teams, including a few top 10 programs from the Big Ten East alone.

Sitting at No. 5 in Steele’s top 40 is the Ohio State Buckeyes, who have been a national powerhouse for many years now. Heading into the 2023 season, it appears that the Wolverines must overcome Ohio State for the third year in a row to keep their national title hopes alive.

Following the 5th-ranked Buckeyes is the 6th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions, who are coming off an impressive 11-2 overall season in 2022. After winning the Rose Bowl last year, Penn State has high hopes for the coming season. The Nittany Lions appear to be a significant threat on Michigan’s 2023 schedule as they will host Jim Harbaugh’s squad for a mid-November matchup in Beaver Stadium.

After these three Big Ten East giants are two Big Ten West programs: the Wisconsin Badgers (13) and Iowa Hawkeyes (17). Both programs are looking to bounce back into Big Ten title contention this fall after stumbling through their 2022 slate.

Finishing off the Big Ten’s top teams are the Illinois Fighting Illini (38) and Maryland Terrapins (40), both of which are looking to break out during the coming year after finishing 2022 with an 8-5 record.

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CJ has covered college athletics in paid roles for around five years, including numerous sports and beats. His most recent work revolves largely around Penn State and Michigan football and basketball. Right now, CJ is the publisher of Blue by Ninety, where he also serves as the site's credentialed football reporter. Previously, CJ has made stops with Fansided, The Michigan Daily, and more.