Can't Wait For Saturday | Welcome to the party, pal ... who is the new quarterback?

May 25—***

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.

Lincoln Riley's offense has been special both at Southern California and Oklahoma, producing a string of stars that moved on to the NFL. In a new conference, he will have the advantage of his opponents not being used to the level of the team's play. The Trojans are plenty motivated coming off a disappointing five-loss season. And because of that finish, the expectations/pressure aren't quite as great.

Well, the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner is now the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears. Caleb Williams will go down as one of the best in school history. Lots of pressure on likely replacement Miller Moss. The defense was a huge trouble spot in 2023. Riley is hoping new coordinator D'Anton Lynn provides a spark. The schedule is brutal, with the opener against LSU in Las Vegas followed by September games at Michigan and against Wisconsin. The Trojans also face Penn State, Washington and Notre Dame.