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Conference Preview: Big Ten

crystalballIn an effort to address all the teams and conferences that make the fall so exciting, OTP’s All-Star Editorial staff is putting on their prognosticatin’ hats and taking a stab at each of the conferences and all of the teams in FBS. Alan and Edge are giving you the conference’s order of finish, the records, the superlatives for offense and defense, and the biggest surprise for each conference. At the conclusion of our series, we’ll have the Bowl Projections for all 34 Bowl Games.

OTP Conference Preview: The Big 10

big ten logoThe Big 10 has been an interesting beast the last several years. There is a clear divide between the haves and have nots with a bevy of teams falling somewhere in the middle. Ohio State and Penn State have dominated recently, while traditional powers like Michigan have fallen a bit by the wayside.

Most of the conference coaches have turned over save for the stalwarts like Jim Tressel and Joe Paterno, along with Kirk Ferentz who has entrenched himself at Iowa. And with more years like last one, Indiana may be the newest school to accept applications for the head coaching job in the near future. In fact, barring a remarkable improvement by the Hoosiers, Bill Lynch’s days in Bloomington may be numbered less than 180.

The Big 10 has taken a beating on the national stage as Ohio State has underperformed in BCS National Title games, and this year, despite having two teams in most Top 10’s in OSU and Penn State, the conference itself is getting very little respect when it comes to picking teams to upset the prearranged apple cart of Florida. And while the Big 10 may not be getting many looks on a national stage, both Ohio State and Penn State figure to be in the national title picture by year’s end. The upper level Big 10 programs like Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin will all give the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions hard fought games. The mid-tier programs in the Big 10 all have a great shot at being bowl eligible, and there is only two programs that have an uphill battle to Bowl eligibility… the Hoosiers and Boilermakers.

It is certainly interesting to watch the Big 10 fans and the amount of grief they have to take on messageboards, blogs, and in sports bars all over the country, but this doesn’t look like a year that will make that behavior stop.

Last 5 Conference Champions
2008: Ohio State/Penn State
2007: Ohio State
2006: Ohio State
2005: Ohio State/Penn State
2004: Iowa/Michigan

Bowl Tie Ins
The Big Ten Conference has seven bowl tie-ins:
#1– Bowl Championship Series. The Big Ten champion gains an automatic berth to a BCS bowl game, preferentially the Rose Bowl.
#2– The Capital One Bowl receives the second choice from the Big Ten, but must choose from remaining teams with the best overall record, or within one win of the best overall record.
#3– The Outback Bowl receives the third choice of Big Ten teams.
#4– The Alamo Bowl receives the fourth choice of Big Ten teams.
#5– The Champs Sports Bowl receives the fifth choice from the Big Ten, but must choose from remaining teams with the best overall record, or within one win of the best overall record.
#6– The Insight Bowl receives the sixth choice of Big Ten teams.
#7– The Motor City Bowl receives the seventh choice from the Big Ten, but must choose from remaining teams with the best overall record, or within one win of the best overall record.

Alan’s Big 10 Predictions
Order of Finish:
Penn State 12-0 (8-0)
Ohio State 11-1 (7-1)
Wisconsin 9-3 (5-3)
Illinois 9-3 (5-3)
Iowa 9-3 (5-3)
Minnesota 7-5 (4-4)
Northwestern 7-5 (3-5)
Michigan St. 6-6 (3-5)
Michigan 6-6 (3-5)
Purdue 3-9 (1-7)
Indiana 1-11 (0-8)

League Champion: Penn State

League MVP: Daryll Clark, Penn State
Offensive MVP: Jewel Hampton, Iowa
Defensive MVP: Navorro Bowman, Penn State

Biggest Surprise This Season: Ohio State and Penn State go unbeaten until their conference showdown in November. It won’t be enough to propel either to the national title, but does propel the Nittany Lions to #3 in the BCS standings.

Edge’s Big 10 Predictions
Order of Finish:
Ohio State 11-1 (7-1)
Penn State 11-1 (7-1)
Michigan State 10-2 (7-1)
Iowa 9-3 (5-3)
Wisconsin 9-3 (5-3)
Illinois 7-5 (5-3)
Michigan 5-7 (3-5)
Minnesota 6-6 (3-5)
Northwestern 5-7 (2-6)
Purdue 3-9 (1-7)
Indiana 1-11 (0-8)

League Champion: Ohio State… and Penn State… and Michigan State. Ohio State wins the tiebreaker for the Rose Bowl.

League MVP: Evan Royster, PSU
Offensive MVP: Juice Williams, Illinois
Defensive MVP: Corey Wootten, NW

Biggest surprise this season: We have a Big Ten menage-a-trois! Welcome to NCAA Controversy 2009.


2 Responses

  1. Offensive MVP Juice Wiliams?

    Because of my lovely wife’s family I follow U of I football in addition to my beloved Hoosiers. Williams should be thanking the stars that Arrellious Benn is still at IL.

    Juice sits on top of a wall of top 5 recruiting classes created by the unbelievable recruiting of The Zooker’s staff, with one of the best receivers in the nation and still cant get the ball within his reach half the time because his arm is so erratic.

    Most overrated Big10 QB ever.

    There are at least 4 QBs in the league better and to say Juice will beat Pryor for MVP? I’m a Hoosier fan not a Buckeye but no fricking way.

  2. Both of you picked OSU to be 11-1 (7-1). Does that mean you both believe that OSU beats USC this year, but still loses a Big Ten game?

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