It’s that time of the preseason. We’re past lists (thank God!) and into guessing games.
The CN staff gathered to give you all of our very well-thought-out and serious predictions on how the Big Ten football season will shake out.
And then in December, we’ll all have a good laugh over them.
Also - new writer alert! Jon’s working toward Title IX compliance in the staff. Please welcome Brianna to Corn Nation.
I am from a small town in Northeast Nebraska. I’m the mother of two boys. I teach 3rd grade. The Husker radio announcers drew me in at a young age as they made everything sound exciting even though I wasn’t watching it. I love football and am excited to write about The Huskers.
Fortunately, she hasn’t had to use her teacher voice in the office...yet. Cobby calls her “professor”. She’s joining us just in time to crank out #content for football season.
What is your prediction for final standings in the Big Ten East?
Jill: Both divisions have an easy bottom pick for me, but the top is much harder. I’ll go with:
- Fightin’ Harbaughs - I think hiring an offensive coordinator and having THE GAME in Ann Arbor makes the difference.
- Team formerly coached by Urban Meyer is talented but I’m still leary of picking a first-time head coach to win the division.
- Penn State had too much attrition for me to pick them to win but I think they do enough for third.
- Michigan State is unwatchable on offense but their defense should keep them above .500.
- Maryland beat Texas a couple times in recent history. It has no bearing on this season, but I’m not sure how to pick between them and Indiana, so this is the tiebreaker.
- Hoosiers. I know nothing about them. That’s why.
- I will be surprised if this isn’t unanimous (cue Patrick to be difficult) - Rutgers brings up the rear.
Patrick: This is a top heavy league and I’m not going to buck tradition.
- the Oh-io State University - I really didn’t like the Ryan Day hire, but I think he will be fine.
- Michigan - Something will keep the Wolverines out of the top spot. I have no idea what, but something will happen. It always does.
- Pennsylvania State - It’s a young team. Maybe next year.
- Michigan State - They could very well win it for all I know. But, there is too much talent above them to move them any higher right now.
- Indiana - Not the worst.
- Maryland - New coach, close to the worst.
- Rutgers (Nope Jill, not being difficult on this one...though, you know me too well.) Thanks for the B1G money from the NY media market.
Jon: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Maryland, Indiana, Rutgers
I’d pick Michigan State here, but they have Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin on the road. Their defense is incredible. I’m going with Michigan even though I don’t believe Harbaugh can break through his demons, i.e., beating Ohio State. The Buckeyes are too young. Too much to replace.
Mike: Weasels, Bucknuts, Sparty, State Penn, Candy Stripes, Turtles, New York TV Market
If Harbaugh can’t do it this year, he’s likely not going to in Ann Arbor. I do think that Michigan State bounces back.
Brianna: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers
Michigan gets the top spot because defense with no offense won’t win it for Michigan State, and I’m so over Ohio State. Penn State will be all right and then there are the rest of them.
UNLWiebe: 1. Ohio State 2. Michigan 3. Penn State 4. Michigan State 5. Maryland 6. Indiana 7. Rutgers
Andy: Ohio St., Michigan, Michigan St, Penn St, Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers
Everything says pick Michigan, but you bet the streak until the streak ends & the streak says Harbaugh gags again. I’m pulling for Michigan hoping karma will step up at some point and do its goddamned job by sandblasting Ohio St. & Penn St’s programs to Rutgers-esque levels of play. Covering up wife-beating and child rape still calls for a devastating cosmic response
And Michigan St, don’t get me started on you. The East is just icky.
What is your prediction for final standings in the Big Ten West?
Jill: This one is harder. Six teams really could win it.
- Nebraska.OF COURSE I’M GOING TO PICK THEM TO WIN. I KEEP SAYING i WON’T BUY IN BUT I DID. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? Mostly the schedule is what makes me put them here.
- Minnesota might have a pretty good offense and their schedule isn’t bad either - they get Maryland and Rutgers as very winnable crossovers and Penn State as the third crossover.
- (tie for 3rd) Wiscy. I think they might be a better team than last year. Maybe. But that schedule. Yeesh. Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State as crossovers.
- (tie for 3rd) Northwestern. The defending division champs don’t have the magic this year.
- (tie for 5th) Iowa. I don’t know what to make of Iowa. They have some tough crossover games. They will be boring but they might pull a #2018Northwestern and just let the rest of the division beat up on each other and surprise.
- (tie for 5th) Purdue. Their schedule isn’t bad and I wanted to put them above Wiscy and Iowa on that alone, but I couldn’t.
- Illinois - Another likely unanimous pick for bottom feeder.
Possibly interesting side note - I googled each team’s schedule by typing “Nebraska schedule”, “Iowa schedule”, etc. and got the football schedule at the top of the results for everyone except - Purdue. That search brought up their academic calendar. I just about put them first in the division because of it.
Patrick: This division could go anywhere. Even my dogs know that.
- Wisconsin - This is hopefully the last year I don’t pick Nebraska.
- Nebraska - Close, but not there yet.
- Iowa - Barring injuries they should be battling for the top spot.
- Northwestern - It’s Northwestern, anything can happen. Pat Fitzgerald is the top coach in the conference for developing talent. Even better than Ferentz at Iowa.
- Minnesota - I wouldn’t be surprised if they jump to #2.
- Purdue - They lost a lot from last year so this is a “wait and see” team for me.
- Illinois - This is an improved team. Unfortunately for them so is everyone else and they’re starting at a lot lower place.
No side note. I just like putting random thoughts in. Anyone else think that the PAC-12 should move offices to a more cost effective area like western Washington? Think about it, they move to Walla Walla and they can harvest lentils in their spare time.
Jon: Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois
Picking the Gophers because they don’t seem to have as many question marks as Nebraska and they get the Huskers in Minnesota. Everyone else is a razor’s edge away, although we’re going to see Wisconsin drop a notch under Chryst. Purdue is very young. Northwestern... could pull through.
Mike: Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa, Illinois, Purdue
I’m going Huskers because their top line talent is the tops in the west. Wisconsin has some holes, but if Quintez Cephus gets reinstated as I expect, they’ve got all of the skill players they need to support a true freshman quarterback. Iowa just has too many question marks on both sides of the ball to me. And I believe that Illinois is going to knock a couple of teams off to become bowl eligible.
Brianna: Nebraska, Minnesota, Purdue, Wisconsin, Northwestern. Iowa, Illinois
The Huskers get the top spot because I’m new here and why not jump on the hype train. Minnesota has a schedule that will make second manageable. Purdue started as sixth on my list but then started moving up as I remembered Rondale Moore. Then there is Wisconsin and Northwestern in that order because I’m still pissed about that Northwestern game last year. Iowa is ugh, Iowa. Illinois gets the bottom mainly due to the fact that my husband is from there and bets me on this game every year. He’s not actually a fan but I guess he feels some sort of home state obligation. I don’t know, but it’ll just be more fun if they are at the very bottom.
Nate M: Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Northwestern, Illinois, Purdue
UNLWiebe: 1.Nebraska, 2. Iowa, 3. Northwestern, 4. Wisconsin, 5. Minnesota, 6. Purdue, 7. Illinois
Andy: Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois
Yep, I’m going there. The offense clicks from the start and the defense improves just enough to win some shootouts.
Who hoists the trophy as the B1G champion?
Jill: I have Michigan vs Nebraska as my division winners. I’m picking Michigan mostly because I’m already feeling too optimistic for picking the Huskers for the division.
Patrick: Ohio State - This is still an eastern power conference for at least one more season.
Jon: Michigan, although you know Harbaugh is going to do something to screw this up. I don’t believe he’s consistent enough to win the Big Ten and get to the playoff. He’s like that guy you know who works his way up the ladder, then decides subconsciously he’s not supposed to have nice things, then insults his boss’ wife at the Holiday Party without even knowing he did it.
Mike: Oh, what the hell. Nebraska. I know I shouldn’t do that, but I just don’t see Frost going 0-3 against Harbaugh.
Brianna: I guess I’ll ride the train the whole way and say Nebraska. I just can’t pick Michigan to beat us...ever.
Nate M: Iowa. I think Ohio State will take a few steps back and I don’t trust Harbaugh..yet. So since I have picked Iowa to win the division I’ll go with Iowa.
UNLWiebe: I think Ohio state wins the B1G because I believe Nebraska beats them in the regular season. It’s hard to beat a team twice in a year. Now if Ohio State beats Nebraska in the regular season, Nebraska will come out of Indianapolis victorious.
Andy: After upsetting Ohio St in Lincoln in the regular season, the Buckeyes take revenge after trailing at halftime. Up in a luxury suite at halftime watching the game, Urban panics and grabs his head, intentionally craps himself and starts screaming “Heart attack!”
Realizing he doesn’t coach anymore, he runs to the bathroom, flushes his soled boxers and quietly watches the second half commando.
Does the Big Ten champ make it to the playoff or do they settle for the Rose Bowl for the third straight year?
Patrick: Bowl Alliance Championship
Mike: Rose, because I think Ohio State is going to weasel their way into the playoff with an 11-1 record.
Nate M: Well if it is my choice of Iowa then no. But if Ohio State or Michigan win the conference championship then yes...playoff.
UNLWiebe: I believe whether Ohio State or Nebraska wins the result is the same, the winner will be in the Rose Bowl.
Which B1G head coach or coordinator ends up being the hottest name in coaching searches in December?
Jill: Hmmm. Brohm turned down offers last year. Fleck is going to be a popular choice, so yeah. Fleck.
Patrick: P.J. Fleck
Jon: PJ Fleck may not be a bad choice here. If Minnesota wins the West, there might be some bigger names calling. Jeff Brohm at Purdue has already turned down multiple suitors. Would Chris Ash be sought after when he’s done at Rutgers this season?
AND WHAT ABOUT JIM HARBAUGH?
Mike: I think one of the things we learned last year is that with B1G money, it’s going to be tough to poach a successful head coach from this conference. So it’s probably going to be a coordinator, and I’m going with Gopher defensive coordinator Joe Rossi, who turned the Big Ten’s worst defense into a respectable group in just one week last season.
Nate M: Do we really think Fleck is going to stay at Minnesota? He just screams “MINNESOTA IS A STEP TO.....”
UNLWiebe: Troy Walters. Ryan Day probably would’ve been the hottest name if Urban Meyer was still the head coach.
Andy: I going to go with this Frost cat.
Which Big Ten player finishes highest in Heisman Trophy balloting?
Jill: Adrian Martinez or Rondale Moore come to mind first...but then I read what Patrick wrote below. I go with Taylor as well.
Patrick: Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin
Jon: I’ll go with Jonathan Taylor as well, not because I think Wisconsin is going to have a great season, but because they’re going to lean on him so much he’ll get to 2,000 yards.
Mike: Well, since I took a huge flyer on the Big Ten championship game, I might as well go “All-N” with that reach. A-Magic gets a trip to New York between Indy and Pasadena.
Brianna: Martinez- His numbers are going to be even better than last year and this time he’s going to have those numbers on a winning team.
Nate M: Beyond Adrian Martinez there is Shea Patterson and Rondale Moore. Oh and that QB transfer from Georgia who is playing at Ohio State. What about Nate Stanley?
Truthfully I don’t believe Adrian is going to win it this year so I am going to pull for Rondale Moore.
UNLWiebe: I don’t think any player in the B1G will be high enough to get Heisman recognition, but I’ll be a homer and say Adrian Martínez will end the year being a top five candidate for 2020.
Andy: I’m on a homer run like I haven’t been in years. What flavor of Kool Aid goes with Sailor Jerry, because, brother, it can’t just be the Kool Aid that has me completely losing my shit. Since I’m already picking Nebraska to win the division, I humbly predict the media will will be treating Scott Frost like a bunch of drunk trust fund college boys slobbering at a stripper onstage. Hell, Coach Frost might be leaving those press conferences with dollar bills hanging out of his belt.
Adrian Martinez will ride this wave of forbidden love to a seat in New York and finish 3rd or 4th.