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Can't Wait For Saturday | Second time running Rutgers working well for veteran coach Schiano

May 20—***

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.

Much to my surprise, Greg Schiano 2.0 seems to be working. Getting back to a bowl and winning in 2023 was huge for the Scarlet Knights. The defense returns eight starters from one of the stingiest groups in the country. Minnesota transfer Athan Kaliakmanis will be the starting quarterback and he knows the Big Ten well. The home game Nov. 9 against the Gophers should be interesting. The schedule doesn't include Ohio State, Oregon or Michigan.

The offense struggled in a big way last season and there are no certainties it will improve with a new quarterback. There are two difficult trips the first month of the season with games at Virginia Tech and Nebraska. Schiano has raised expectations, but a slip or two might bring out the naysayers.