We kicked off our 2021 college football previews last week with the SEC, highlighting Alabama's dominance in the country's toughest conference. Although their trophy case might be a little lighter on a national level, the Ohio State Buckeyes have been in a class of their own in the Big 10.
The program has won the last four conference titles and is responsible for the Big 10's lone national championship during the College Football Playoff era. Will the Buckeyes reign supreme again? Or is there value elsewhere?
Paul Chryst is one of the nation's most underrated head coaches. He owns the third-best winning percentage (.750) of any active sideline boss who's been at a program for six-plus years, trailing only Clemson's Dabo Swinney and Alabama's Nick Saban. That's elite company.
Although the Badgers trudged to a 4-3 record during last season's COVID-19-riddled campaign, there were plenty of positive developments, primarily on defense.
Wisconsin finished No. 4 in the country in defensive SP+, giving coordinator Jim Leonhard his third top-15 result in four years. A unit that didn't allow an opponent to score more than 28 points in a game could be better in 2021, as 82% of the group's starters from last season are returning.
Offensively, the Badgers need a major tuneup. Scoring was an issue last season, especially when it mattered most. In three games against ranked opponents, Wisconsin mustered just 20 total points.
However, that unit brings back even more production than the defense (88%), with a star-studded pass-catching core featuring all seniors headlining the attack.
Lastly, how could you not love the Badgers' schedule? Every major game - including clashes with Penn State, Iowa, Michigan, and Northwestern - is at Camp Randall Stadium, where they're 31-6 straight up during the Chryst era.
This is a laughable price on a program the market continues to support, for whatever reason.
Michigan will likely draw five or six AP Top 25 teams in 2021, so you can automatically count me out. Head coach Jim Harbaugh has posted an 11-22 overall record against ranked teams during his six-year tenure, with a penchant for choking on the big stage.
The Wolverines visit Indiana and Wisconsin before drawing Penn State, Northwestern, and archrival Ohio State - which has taken eight straight matchups in the series - over the final month.
Pump the brakes big time.
If there's one team to take a pure flier on with a legitimate shot at winning the Big 10, it's Minnesota.
P.J. Fleck can coach in big games, the offensive line will be littered with seniors, quarterback Tanner Morgan is one of the most experienced in the conference, and the Golden Gophers rank among the top 25 overall in returning production.
This team is the definition of value.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.