The Big 10 East Divisions may have 4 potential playoff contenders. Yes, you read right, one division 4 playoff contenders. The Big 10 East is far from a friend division. It will be grind, it will gritty, tough, and no games will be easy. Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State are all more than capable of the making the playoff in 2018.Not to mention Indiana too, who always gives Big 10 heavyweights tough games. Obviously they could never all make the playoff, as they all will have to play each other, and that fact may be the division's own worst enemy. They may very well beat itself up to much, but even if it goes that way, it will still extremely exciting to watch play out.
Of the 4 playoff contenders Michigan State is probably the weakest. They are no slouch, but they may not be up to snuff with their opponents. Despite this though, they will get Michigan, and Ohio State at home. This is huge as when the Spartans are good, it is quite the task to pull out a win in East Lansing. Mark Dantonio is still the MSU head coach, so you know they will play fundamentally sound and have an above average defense. If Sparty can score consistently though, don't count them out
Then there is Ohio State. OSU as dominated the Big 10 in recent years, is the most established team by far of the 4 in the playoff era. They don't look like they are stopping anytime soon. The Buckeyes are retiring many players on defense, and may have the best player on that side of the ball in the country, Nick Bosa. They lost QB JT Barrett, but with new starter Dwayne Haskins at the helm they should ok in their passing game. What will really help out Haskins is retiring RB JK Dobbins. He was very productive as the true freshman last season, and should only improve this year, and be one the best players in the country.
Next up, Penn State. The Nitanny Lions have strung together a couple really solid seasons in the last couple years. One of the main reasons's for this has been star RB Saquan Barkley. Unfortunately for James Franklin's squad he is gone to the NFL. Despite this, I think this may be a blessing in disguise as now Trace Mcsorley will be the guy on offense, and the team will run through him. I am thrilled to see this play out, and think he could contend for a Heisman trophy. He see flashes of the great Baker Mayfield in his game, can't wait to watch him play this year.
Lastly, there is the wildcard of the group, Michigan. The Wolverines may be a bit of a question mark going into the season. The past two seasons have been disappointing for UM but Shea Patterson may be the man to turn it around for Jim Harbough. Shea was a very highly touted recruit, and after his transfer from Ole Miss to Michigan many UM fans rejoiced. Just like many Big 10 teams they will have a stand defense lead by Rashad Gary, but the X-factor is Shea Patterson, if he is a great season, we may very well see Michigan playing in the playoff.
Overall however it plays out, this will truly be the wild, wild, east, and whatever happens, it will be very exciting to watch