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Athlon: Nebraska A 9-3 Team, Ohio St. Over Michigan In Indianapolis

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In the Athlon Big Ten preview for 2013, their prognosis for the Huskers is another 9-3 season, but no Legends title.

Eric Francis

On the heels of Phil Steele's prediction that Nebraska wins the Legends West title and heads to Indy, Athlon sports came out with their 2013 Big Ten Conference prediction for the football calendar.

The order of finish is quite intriguing, especially all the East and the top of the West. The first record is prediction of conference play, the second is overall record.

Ohio St 7-0/13-0
Wisconsin 6-2/9-3
Penn State 4-4/8-4
Indiana 3-5/6-6
Purdue 2-6/4-8
Illinois 1-7/4-8

Michigan 6-2/10-3
Nebraska 6-2/9-3
Northwestern 5-3/9-3
Michigan State 4-4/7-5
Minnesota 2-6/6-6
Iowa 1-7/4-8

What did Athlon say about the top of the Legends and why did they give Michigan the nod over Nebraska?

Both teams have some solid talent, but both teams are flawed. Michigan is breaking in three new starters on the offensive line and is looking for playmakers at wide receiver. In addition, the Wolverines must replace key personnel on each level of their defense. Nebraska should be terrific on offense, but the Huskers’ defense is a concern. Remember, this team gave up an average of 53.5 points and 595.0 yards in its four losses last season. Nebraska, which doesn’t play Ohio State or Wisconsin from the Leaders Division, has the easier schedule. But in the end, we went with Michigan for two reasons — the Wolverines host Nebraska in November, and the Huskers are tough to trust; they have had some puzzling losses in the last two years.

Some thoughts about this:

- Even though there's going to be a new Quarterback starting, I can't see Penn State being below Wisconsin. Granted, PSU has to go to Madison this year, but I'm not sure if the Badgers are going to be much better than they were last year.

- I also can't see Northwestern winning more than 9 games unless a massive upset occurs. Ohio State on a Saturday night in Chicago will be a big game, and having that back to back with Wisconsin is a true test of the schedule. Then again, having OSU after a bye helps tremendously.

- If Michigan and Ohio St are in the CCG, this means they will play on back to back weeks. I wonder, if both teams do have the division titles locked up, how much they play starters and such. That only changes if Ohio State is indeed undefeated, then those 2 games have the potential to be some fantastic games.

- Minnesota only 6-6 on the year? Furthermore, Purdue above Illinois? Indiana to a bowl game?

- Iowa.... if that happens and Ferentz ISN'T fired, you know there are pictures somewhere.

What say you, think Athlon is wrong? GO INTO THE COMMENTS BELOW AND HAVE AT IT.