Every team has one -- a wild-card guy who could be great or inconsequential, or anything in between. Here are the 14 biggest X factors in the Big Ten for 2016.
2015 ScheduleAll times ET
Maryland is in need of playmakers, and Tyrell Pigrome should be one who makes an impact on the offense.
Predicting who will make the most interceptions is often a futile exercise, but two Big Ten defensive backs have a solid track record.
There's a clear-cut No. 1 quarterback in Columbus, and Ohio State fans know the success of their offense rests with J.T. Barrett. Who are the Big Ten's other indispensable players?
Some are more widely recognized than others, but all of these coaches had a positive impact on Maryland.
Cornerback William Likely, who adds value on defense, special teams and even occasionally offense, is critical to Maryland's success.
Defending national champion Alabama faces a treacherous path back to the College Football Playoff. One three-game stretch, in particular, is the most difficult of any team in the nation.
How do Big Ten coaches think 2016 will play out? With anonymity assured, they dish on why Michigan is the team to beat, how J.T. Barrett could struggle again and more about the league.
why not live in Fantasyland for a bit? Here are potential matchups for the totally nonexistent 2016 SEC/Big Ten challenge.
The Terrapins have a more manageable schedule this season, and if they can take care of business, a bowl is not out of the question.
Terrapins running back Tehuti Miles, who earned 11 medals during a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2011, is now trying to earn some playing time.
The collection of coaching acumen in the Big Ten East is astounding. Mark Dantonio has a leg up on his competition in at least one area.
The Terrapins have a decorated defender and one of the nation's most dangerous kick returners in William Likely.
The Big Ten-SEC rivalry is real, but many Big Ten officials don't view the two leagues as diametrically opposed, even if it's how they're portrayed.
As Big Ten teams settle into the offseason, questions from fans focus on some new faces on the sidelines and Wisconsin's tough schedule.
In the span of four weeks, DJ Durkin's first Maryland team will have three chances to test itself against the programs he was hired to chase down.
We continue our examination of the coming Big Ten season with the second half of the conference schedule.
Renewed energy and youth have helped the Terrapins land ESPN 300 Joshua Kaindoh and have others interested.
It should come as no surprise that Jim Harbaugh is quickly taking Michigan's quarterback situation from a weakness to a strength.
How B1G could a new Big Ten be?
In the spirit of conference expansion chatter, our Ryan McGee has an idea. He shook up the Big Ten, added four schools and juggled the divisions to help create a more balanced CFB map. Which teams are in the new East and West? Flipping the field
Mitch Sherman ESPN Staff Writer
Between the ESPN networks and BTN, Big Ten-scheduled night kickoffs in 2016 feature Nebraska in a league-high five games, followed by Ohio State (4), Northwestern, Iowa and Penn State (3), Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Rutgers (2), Illinois, Indiana, Maryland and Minnesota (1).
Will Steelers' second-round pick star?
Sean Davis projects to be a strong safety, a position with an open spot on the depth chart in Pittsburgh. The team feels that he could become a mainstay in the secondary for years to come. Best rookie for every NFL team
Terps have thin nonconference slate
Maryland and new coach D.J. Durkin will travel to play Florida International and UCF. They'll also host Howard, considered one of FCS' weakest teams. 10 easiest nonconference skeds (Insider)
Baylor has one of the nation's weakest nonconference schedules in 2016, according to ESPN Stats & Info. But four Big Ten teams ended up dominating the list of 10 softest Septembers.
As Maryland transitions to a new coaching staff, there's still plenty of work to do on offense -- starting at quarterback -- but the line looks strong.
Maryland vs Howard Bison
Maryland Stadium - Sat 9/3