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.
What is your prediction for final standings in the Big Ten East?
Scott: 1. Ohio State 2. Michigan 3. Penn State 4. Michigan State 5-7 is grab bag of crap...I wish I could put The Fighting Sanduskys in the bottom 3, but for some reason that program has been sickeningly resilient
Bri: 1. Ohio State 2. Michigan 3. Michigan State 4. Penn State 5. Maryland 6. Indiana 7. Rutgers
Brian J: 1. Ohio State 2. Michigan State 3. Michigan 4. Penn State 5. Maryland 6. Rutgers 7. Indiana. Ohio State is the clear top team. Spots 2 through 4 could be pretty fluid but both Michigan and Penn State just lost too much from last year.
Nate M: Boring! Why is everybody picking Ohio State? Bunch of sheep.
Anyways, here’s mine. 1. Ohio State 2. Michigan 3. Penn State 4. Michigan State 5. Rutgers 6. Maryland 7. Indiana.
Patrick: 1. Boise State 2. Air Force 3. Utah State 4. Wyoming 5. Colorado State 6. New Mexico
Kevin: 1. Ohio State 2. Michigan State 3. Penn State 4. Michigan 5. Maryland 6. Rutgers 7. Indiana
Mike: 1. Ohio State 2. Michigan 3. Penn State 4. Maryland 5. Michigan State 6. Rutgers 7. Indiana
Andy: 1. Ohio State 2. Michigan 3. Penn State 4. Maryland 5. Rutgers 6. Michigan St. 7. Indiana. I really don’t believe in Michigan St. They were as lucky last year as we were unlucky and I think will be exposed this season.
Nate P: 1: Ohio State, 2: Michigan, 3: Penn State, 4: Michigan State, 5: Maryland, 6: Rutgers, 7: Indiana
What is your prediction for final standings in the Big Ten West?
Todd: 1. Iowa, 2. Minnesota, 3. Wisconsin, 4. Nebraska, 5. Purdue, 6. Northwestern, 7. Illinois. I threw up putting Iowa number one, but until someone in the west proves they are better, They get the top spot. Nebraska has to prove they can beat the teams in front of them to be picked any higher.
Scott: Unlike Todd my gag reflex won't allow me to put Iowa as #1 so I have to go Wisconsin #1, 2. Iowa, 3. Nebraska 4. Minnesota 5. Northwestern 6. Purdue 7. Illinois
Bri: 1. Wisconsin 2. Nebraska 3. Iowa 4. Minnesota 5. Purdue 6. Northwestern 7. Illinois. I am a hopeless optimist and I just can’t put Iowa ahead of Nebraska, even with the last decade.
Brian J: 1. Iowa 2. Minnesota 3. Wisconsin 4. Nebraska 5. Purdue 6. Illinois 7. Northwestern. This side of the division is pretty open but with Wisconsin getting such a hard draw from the East I think they slide a bit. I’m not buying Purdue as a sleeper.
Nate M: 1. Minnesota 2. Nebraska 3. Iowa 4. Purdue 5. Wisconsin 6. Northwestern 7. Illinois.
Minnesota is turning into a hate/jealous relationship with me. They love running the ball and they get back Mohamed Ibrahim who was the best running back in the conference two seasons ago before he got injured last year.
Patrick: 1. Fresno State 2. San Diego State 3. San Jose State 4. UNLV 5. Nevada 6. Hawai’i
Kevin: 1. The team with the best punting 2. The team with the second best punting 3. Not Nebraska 4. Not Nebraska 5. Not Nebraska 6. Nebraska 7. Northwestern, even though it is an even year
Andy: 1. Purdue 2. Wisconsin 3. Nebraska 4. The B1G’s HWCU - Iowa 5. Minnesota 6. Illinois 7. Northwestern
Mike: Oh hell... I’ll do it. 1. Nebraska 2. Purdue 3. Wisconsin 4. Minnesota 5. Iowa 6. Illinois 7. Northwestern
Nate P: 1: Wisconsin, 2: Nebraska, 3. Purdue, 4: Minnesota, 5: Iowa, 6: Illinois, 7: Northwestern
Who hoists the trophy as the B1G champion?
Todd: How about Michigan again? Coach Harbaugh has it figured out!
Bri: Ohio State...again
Scott: Ohio State
Brian J: Ohio State. They are the clear best team in the conference and nobody else is close.
Nate M: Geez. Again. What about bunch of losers!
Patrick: Fresno State
Kevin: The guy who fixes the end zone turf as that is again a problem during the second half of the game... which ends with Ohio State claiming victory despite the turf guy getting all the attention and love.
Andy: This train keeps on rolling. Purdue, baby. (Hey, if it’s Ohio State, everyone’s got them well covered. But if this Purdue thing goes down…)
Mike: Kevin Warren
Nate P: Ohio State
Does the Big Ten champ make it to the playoff or does ESPN lobby behind closed doors to punish them for jettisoning the network off to Venus?
Todd: Yes, a Big Ten team gets in. Maybe two!
Nate M: If Ohio State is the champion then yes.
Brian J: Yes the B1G Champ will make the playoffs as long as they don’t have two or more losses.
Patrick: Sure, why not?
Kevin: Venus? What about Pluto? Why are kids these days being taught the solar system wrong? Pluto is a planet, damn you! Oh, and yeah, as long as Ohio State figures out its defense so it can once again slice through its regular season schedule like the Rohirrim do an army of orcs on the Pelennor Fields, then the Buckeyes make the playoffs once again.
Andy: Any B1G team that runs the table is in. A 1-loss Big Ten champ? Ohio State or Michigan, yes. Penn State, maybe, but I’m not holding my breath. Anyone else, no chance. The number of teams doesn’t matter until they get rid of the closed-door horseshit which will follow the money in those tight battles for the last spot.
Mike: ESPN isn’t going to turn down the eyeballs the Big Ten provides, now that they know that’s the only way they’ll get the Big Ten audience.
Nate P: A one-loss Ohio State team will make the playoff.
Which B1G head coach is out of a job by New Year’s Day? (You can’t pick Scott Frost for this one)
Todd: The dude from Indiana, Tom Allen.
Scott: Nobody from the East, so Allen is most likely if not Frost.
Nate M: That’s easy. Pat Fitzgerald.
Actually, I don’t see anybody in this conference getting fired (outside of non-football reasons) besides Tom Allen or Scott Frost.
Brian J: Jim Harbaugh. I think Michigan takes a step back from last year and he goes to the NFL.
Patrick: Marcus Arroyo of UNLV
Kevin: Allen just signed a big extension so IU has to wait a while before pulling the trigger I expect. I could see the Terps cratering this season due to injuries and realizing Mike Locksley was a weird hire that won’t work out long term, but they also blew the piggy bank of hiring the new hoops coach. Man, I really painted myself into a corner here saying we can’t pick Frost. Okay, fine, then Kirk Ferentz finally retires, thus rendering him “out of a job” due to retirement.
Andy: Barring some sort of complete internal meltdown or other horrifying scandal, I think the other 13 jobs are pretty safe. And what are the odds of something like that happ-
Oh, that’s right. It’s the Big 10 - the conference that’s made an art form out of “horrifying scandal”. Let’s say PJ Fleck - there’s got to be some reason he got that witness protection program level face-lift.
Mike: Kirk Ferentz, who agreed to retire in three years rather than be sanctioned in the wake of the Brian Doyle scandal.
Nate P: Possibly Tom Allen at Indiana. Although it’s Indiana so they might keep him for another year or two.
Will the Big Ten have a/any player(s) among the top names for the Heisman Trophy come November, and if so, who?
Todd: Yep, C.J. Stroud
Scott: Stroud most likely
Nate M: I’ll go with a revitalized Mohamed Ibrahim to go outside of the box.
Patrick: Jake Haener - Fresno State
Kevin: Jaxon Smith-Njigba surprises folks by ranking ahead of his QB despite the Heisman becoming a QB exclusive award anymore
Andy: I believe Stroud’s currently the odds leader over Bryce Young, but he could end up being upstaged by Smith-Njigba.
Maybe that’s what blows a tire for Ohio St. JSN starts getting the headlines and Stroud begins “spreading the ball around more”. The locker room turns toxic and when Ryan Day invites Urbs back for a pep talk to the boys, it goes horribly wrong and the Buckeyes finish 7-5, Day is fired, and 26 players transfer. What were we talking about again?
Nate P: One of the Wisconsin running backs...maybe Braelon Allen.