The Big Ten releases only the top three teams in its media poll. The following rankings are from a Chicago Sun-Times poll of Big Ten writers.
Losing their top quarterback and running back, John Navarre and Chris Perry, means the Wolverines' offense likely will feature a talented receiving corps highlighted by Braylon Edwards.
2. Ohio State
Jim Tressel has big shoes to fill after Chris Gamble, Michael Jenkins and Will Smith were all selected in the first round of the NFL draft.
Coach Barry Alvarez lost just five starters from a team that started last season 6-1 before taking a nose dive to finish 7-6.
The Hawkeyes are coming off consecutive seasons with 10 or more victories for the first time in school history.
The Golden Gophers finished the 2003 season third in the nation in rushing offense behind their two 1,000-yard runners, Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney, both of whom are back.
The Boilermakers must replace all of their linebackers on a defense that returns only three players, but with Kyle Orton running the offense, that might not always matter.
7. Penn State
Despite signing a new four-year contract in the offseason, Coach Joe Paterno will feel the heat if the Nittany Lions don't rebound from last season's 3-9 finish.
8. Michigan State
With quarterback Jeff Smoker gone, the Spartans have to sort out their three-way race among senior Damon Dowdell, sophomore Drew Stanton and redshirt freshman Stephen Reaves.
After a surprising 2003 bowl appearance, the Wildcats lost 1,388-yard rusher Jason Wright and will have to rely on senior Noah Herron to pick up their rushing attack.
Quarterback Jon Beutjer returns from the back injury that forced him to miss the second half of last season, but his form remains a question mark.
After gaining 938 yards and seven touchdowns as a freshman in 2003, BenJarvus Green-Ellis is poised for a breakout season -- which could be a lone bright spot for the Hoosiers.