Wednesday, August 4, 2010


So let me get this straight, Nebraska is going to leave the Big 12 to join the Big Ten, who will have 12 members... My bad, that's for a whole different post, but it has been the same story in the Big Ten for quite some years, with a twist. Ohio State has shared at least a piece of the Big Ten title every year since 2005, but just finally went to its first Rose Bowl since 1997. Michigan has continued to let the 2007 loss to Appalachian State affect them, as they have missed a bowl game for the second year in a row, after making one for 33 straight years. This year, expect Ohio State to be around the top again, but teams like Iowa and Penn State will try to knock them off once again.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0, 8-0)
-After finally exercising their demons in the Rose Bowl against Oregon, Ohio State can now focus on the next step, a national title. All the tools are in place, as the Buckeyes are just loaded with talent all over the depth chart, including QB Terrelle Pryor. Ohio State will be tested right away with a game against Miami on Sept. 11. Get past that, and there's a three-game stretch against Penn State (home), Iowa (away), and Michigan (home) to close the season. If the Buckeyes do not have a let down, they'll be playing for it all in Glendale.

2. Iowa Hawkeyes (11-1, 7-1)
-10 points was the difference between a possible national championship and 11-2 record last year for Iowa. However, eight other points could have meant 6-6, a middle-tier bowl game, and a loss to a Sun Belt and an FCS team. Nevertheless, Iowa is a talented team, with a senior quarterback in Ricky Stanzi, and they have a favorable schedule as Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin all come to Iowa City this year. It all depends on Stanzi's health and Iowa's luck.

3. Wisconsin Badgers (10-2, 6-2)
-Bret Bielema has not allowed Wisconsin to let up in the Big Ten with four straight bowl appearances since Barry Alvarez stepped down after the 2005 season. The Badgers have enough to contend for a Big Ten title with a strong power running attack lead by John Clay. However, with Ohio State on the schedule and a trip to Iowa, Wisconsin will fall just short of the title and Rose Bowl bid

4. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-3, 6-2)
-Joe Paterno is 84 years old and still better off than coaches half his age! All he needs is six wins and he will be the first I-A/FBS coach to win 400 games. This season will a good one for Penn State, however the road portion of the schedule will be brutal with games at Alabama, Iowa, and Ohio State looming. If they can score a couple of upsets, they can get in the BCS picture.

5. Northwestern Wildcats (8-4, 4-4)
-After unexpectedly taking over for the late Randy Walker when he passed in 2006, Pat Fitzgerald has changed the culture at Northwestern. For only the second time in school history, the Wildcats went to bowl games in consecutive years, but they have never made it past two straight years. This season, that will change as a manageable schedule, good linebacker corps, and a decent offense will allow Northwestern to be on the winning side of close games. Maybe they might win their first bowl game since the 1949 Rose Bowl, in the process.

6. Purdue Boilermakers (7-5, 4-4)
-Last season, Purdue began the season 1-5, and was mired in a five-game losing streak with four of those being a touchdown or less. Enter in an upset of Ohio State, and the Boilermakers steamed to a 4-2 finish. Even though the team missed a bowl game, Purdue can make a bowl game this year. The team will go as far as Miami transfer Robert Marve will take them, as running back Ralph Bolden will miss the season.

7. Michigan Wolverines (6-6, 3-5)
-Michigan's fallen through a rough stretch since the 2006 #1 vs. #2 showdown against Ohio State. They have not beat the Buckeyes since 2003, and eight of the last nine match-ups. Check this out, Michigan has the same record as DUKE over the last two years...that's right, Duke, and not I am talking about basketball. This year expect Michigan to finish in the middle of the Big Ten, but they will barely make a bowl game. Will it save Rich Rodriguez's job? Only time will tell...

8. Michigan State Spartans (6-6, 3-5)
-Last year was an up-and-down season for Michigan State that ended with a lost to Texas Tech in the Alamo Bowl. This year, expect the same for the Spartans, as Greg Jones leads the defense and Charlie Gantt leads the offense. They escape Ohio State on the schedule, but trips to Iowa, Michigan, and Penn State could doom them.

9. Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-7, 2-6)
-Star receiver Adam Weber is gone, but Minnesota is still going to be an average team. In 2010, they will take a step back. Even though they will have USC, Penn State, Ohio State, and Iowa coming to them, they will lose to all of those quality teams and just leave one victory short of a bowl game.

10. Illinois Fighting Illini (2-10, 1-7)
-The team in orange will be without its Juice this year, as Juice Williams graduated from Illinois in the offseason. Without him and a Mendenhall in the backfield (Rashad or Walter), it might be hard for the the Illini to win a Big Ten game even though they have home games against both Indiana and Purdue this year. They simply do not have enough for a bowl run this year, leaving coach Ron Zook on the hot seat despite his great recruiting.

11. Indiana Hoosiers (4-8, 0-8)
-If only the football team was as good as the basketball program. Indiana has not sniffed the Rose Bowl since making it in 1967, and do not expect them to make it to a bowl game this year. The good news is that the Hoosiers have an easy non-conference schedule that will allow them to start the season 3-0. The bad news is that the favorable teams that Indiana can beat will host them.

Ohio State

Ohio State- BCS National Championship Game
Iowa- Rose
Wisconsin- Capital One
Penn State- Outback
Northwestern- Gator
Purdue- Insight
Michigan- Texas
Michigan State- Dallas Football Classic
At-Large- Little Caesar's Pizza

Terrelle Pryor (QB from Ohio State)
-It took until the Rose Bowl until Pryor made himself known to the public, but it finally happened with a win over Oregon. He most certainly could be the second Buckeye QB in the last five years to win the Heisman trophy, but he has drawn comparisons to another recent Heisman finalist -- Vince Young.

1. Michigan @ Ohio State (Nov. 27)
2. Ohio State @ Iowa (Nov. 20)
3. Miami @ Ohio State (Sept. 11)
4. Penn State @ Alabama (Sept. 11)
5. Penn State @ Ohio State (Nov. 13)

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