Can't Wait For Saturday | New coach, new conference, plenty of new problems for Bruins

May 15—***

The Big Ten football season will be here before you know it. Illinois is one of the two Big Ten teams opening Aug. 29 (Minnesota is the other). The rest of the league opens that weekend.

Over the next 2 1/2 weeks, I am counting down the 2024 Big Ten race. Feel free to disagree.

New coach DeShaun Foster knows the place as a former star running back for the Bruins. He provides a bolt of energy following the Chip Kelly era. Given the location, campus and history of the program, Foster should be able to build a respectable team as it moves into a new conference. Expectations are not sky high. Foster has time. Running back T.J. Harden has potential for a monster season.

UCLA has one of the lowest number of returning starters in the Big Ten and lost star power on both sides of the ball. The offensive line and secondary need work. Playing in the cavernous Rose Bowl with a bunch of empty seats is never a good look.