Wednesday, June 20, 2012

2012 Early Big Ten Predictions

Read any sports mag, or sports site online and they always have mock rankings, drafts, etc...Well people--here is my first attempt at doing the same. Below you will find a 2012 version of how I believe our B1G Ten teams will finish, both conference wise and overall. Keep in mind I reserve all rights to my opinion, and the views expressed are mine and nobody else's. I will be doing a more in-depth analysis into each team every week from now till the beginning of the season. So let me give you a brief synopsis into the season.

Legends Division
IowaIowa Hawkeyes--(4-4 Big Ten, 8-4 overall) Kirk Ferentz always has his team ready to play every season. James Vandenburg has the potential to be a good QB, but the Legends Division seems to be pretty strong this year. Wins--NIU, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, CMU, Minn, MSU, PSU, Indiana.  Losses--Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan, Nebraska

MichiganMichigan Wolverines--(8-0 Big Ten, 11-1 overall) I know it might seem ambitious to have Michigan to have this record, but it's what I truly believe will happen, save for a season opening loss vs Alabama. If Denard cuts down on his turnovers and increases his completion percentage, and if the defense can build on the progress made last season, there is no ceiling for this team. Wins--Air Force, UMASS, ND, Purdue, Illinois, MSU, NEB, Minn, Northwestern, Iowa, OSU. Losses--Alabama

Michigan StateMichigan State Spartans--(4-4 Big Ten, 7-5 overall) Dantonio has proven himself to be a steady coach for the Spartans in recent years, which is something they've usually lacked. What they do lack this year is a proven QB to take over from Cousins, and an experienced wide receiver core. Their defense with William Gholston will only be able to do so much. Wins--CMU, ND, EMU, Indiana, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Minn. Losses--Boise State, OSU, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska

MinnesotaMinnesota Golden Gophers--(1-7 Big Ten, 4-8 overall) Minnesota has not had a winning record in almost a decade, and there are 10 starters returning for second year coach Jerry Kill. There might be some improvement this year, but they don't have the talent or experience to do much. Wins--UNLV, New Hampshire, WMU, Illinois. Losses--Syracuse, Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa

Nebraska Nebraska Cornhuskers--(5-3 Big Ten, 9-3 overall) I don't think many Nebraska fans thought it'd be this hard to switch conferences, but since the Big-12 is mainly focused on offense I'm not surprised. However, that doesn't mean count them out. They get most of their players back on a team that could be right on the verge of peaking. Wins--Southern Miss, UCLA, Ark. St, Idaho St, OSU, MSU, PSU, Minn, Iowa. Losses--Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan

NorthwesternNorthwestern Wildcats--(5-3 Big Ten, 8-4 overall) I could be taking a big chance on this prediction. Losing a QB like Dan Persa hurts, and their defense is never anything to make national headlines. Yet with some mettle, I think they can pull it out. I'm just not betting on it. Wins--Syracuse, BC, SD, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois. Losses--Vandy, PSU, Michigan, MSU

Leaders Division

IllinoisIllinois Fighting Illini--(2-6 Big Ten, 5-7 overall) With a lot of programs, the transition of coaching staffs can take a toll. Seeing what an Illinois team can do going from Ron Zook to Tim Beckman should be interesting. Zook was terribly inconsistent so maybe Beckman, coming from Toledo, can change all that. Good thing Scheelhaase is returning, or I'd take them straight to the cellar. Wins--WMU, Char. Southern, La Tech, PSU, Indiana. Losses--Arizona St, Wisconsin, Michigan, OSU, Minn, Purdue, Northwestern

IndianaIndiana Hoosiers--(1-7 Big Ten, 4-8 overall)  Will Indiana once again be the doormat of the conference? Yes, they had a first year coach and 1 win last season. Yet there seemed to be more aggressiveness in their losses, if you can look for that kind of trait. Still a long ways away from success. Wins--Indiana St, Ball St, Navy, PSU. Losses--UMASS, Northwestern, MSU, OSU, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Purdue

Ohio StateOhio State Buckeyes--(5-3 Big Ten, 9-3 overall) Tressel leaves, Fickell takes over, Meyer comes in, and Fickel is still there. Einhorn is Fickell, Fickell is Einhorn!! I've been waiting to say that for awhile now. Meyer will bring cohesiveness to the team, and along the way increase the scoring and shut a lid on that defense which was porous last season.Still no bowl chance or Big Ten title though due to sanctions. Wins--Miami (OH), CFL, CAL, UAB, MSU, Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Wisconsin. Losses--Nebraska, PSU, Michigan

Penn State Penn State Nittany Lions--(2-6 Big Ten, 5-7 overall) Pure chaos reigns in Happy Valley. With JoePa's death, Sandusky's trial, and the first new coach in over 40 years is huge for any conference, much less one school. ON the surface Bill O'Brien seems like a good fit, but can he decide on a starter at the QB position? Wins--Ohio, Navy, Temple, Northwestern, OSU. Losses--Virginia, Illinois, Iowa, Purdue, Nebraska, Indiana, Wisconsin

Purdue Purdue Boilermakers--(5-3 Big Ten, 8-4 overall) This might be another one of my predictions that could be a complete letdown. 15 starters return off a season in which they did finish strong, and a very manageable non-conference schedule. Wins--E. Kentucky, EMU, Marshall, Minn, PSU, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana. Losses--ND, Michigan, Wisconsin, OSU

Wisconsin Wisconsin Badgers--(6-2 Big Ten, 10-2 overall) So this is the team I predict will meet up with Michigan for the second Big Ten title game in Indianapolis. yes, they lost Russell Wilson. But it's Montee Ball's team to run with, and Bret Bielema is a heck of a good coach. Wins--Northern Iowa, Oregon St, Utah St, Texas El-Paso, Nebraska, Illinois, Purdue, Minn, Indiana, PSU. Losses--MSU, OSU


So that's it people. Like I said, I will break down the individual teams later on, but these are my predictions and I'm sticking to it. Just don't count on me for betting in Vegas.

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