Can't Wait For Saturday | Iowa defense good as ever, but the O is the question

May 24—***

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.

Between now and May 29, I am continuing to count down the 2024 Big Ten race. Feel free to disagree.

Here's a shocker: the defense. Eight starters are back for the best coordinator at any college program in the country: Phil Parker. He could be a head coach, but apparently likes the current gig and hefty pay that goes with it. The linebackers are especially good. There will be no knocking Brian Ferentz anymore. The coach's kid and former offensive coordinator is on Mike Locksley's staff at Maryland. Tim Lester is now in charge of the Iowa offense and it can't help but be better.

Projected starting quarterback Cade McNamara is recovering from an injury. Word is he will be back, but Iowa is worried enough that it added transfer quarterback Brendan Sullivan from Northwestern just in case. The Hawkeyes always have standout specialists, but there are no guarantees the next guy will be as good as punter Troy Taylor, now with the Bears. He won games for Iowa.