I’m rolling through the predictions this week on CFB Country, with a quick and easy guide to how the 2017 season should play out.
Check out the other previews here:
Now, on to the Big 10:
Team Conference Overall
Ohio State 9-0 12-0
Michigan 7-2 10-2
Penn State 7-2 10-2
Maryland 4-5 6-6
Michigan State 3-6 5-7
Indiana 2-7 4-8
Rutgers 0-9 2-10
Team Conference Overall
Wisconsin 8-1 11-1
Northwestern 5-4 7-5
Nebraska 7-2 9-3
Purdue 4-5 5-7
Minnesota 3-6 6-6
Iowa 3-6 4-8
Illinois 1-8 3-9
3 Bold Predictions
Ohio State bounces back big
The Orange Bowl left an awful taste in everyone’s mouth. Urban Meyer’s first career shutout was as ugly of a performance as we’ve seen from the Buckeyes in a long time. There are questions at receiver, and along the offensive line…but the defense is loaded beyond belief. Nick Bosa, Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis is the best trio of pass-rushers in America. The secondary is young but full of five-star recruits. The addition of Kevin Wilson to the offensive staff should help JT Barrett recapture his 2014 form, when he nearly won the Heisman. The Buckeyes were a blocked kick away from running the table in the Big 10 last year. They’ll take care of business this year en route to an unbeaten season and a Playoff berth again.
Harbaugh’s honeymoon ends
Ask anyone who’s been a part of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, and they’ll tell you how important it is to win that game. Jim Harbaugh has made great strides at Michigan in just two years, but the fans are already asking when he’ll break through and beat the Buckeyes. He damn near did it in his second season, losing in overtime after a questionable fourth-down spot. This year the Buckeyes must come to the Big House, but I still think they take down Harbaugh yet again. It won’t put Harbaugh in any sort of jeopardy, but it’ll certainly ratchet up the heat underneath those khaki pants in 2018.
Wisconsin flirts with the Playoff
For several years, the Big Ten West has lagged far behind its Eastern counterpart and this year is no different. Wisconsin looks like a team that can follow a similar path to Iowa from 2015, when the Hawkeyes finished the regular season 12-0. I have the Badgers going 11-1, losing only to Nebraska on the road on October 7th. The Badgers must replace the leadership of Jack Cichy, who was lost for the season with an offseason injury. The running game has always produced at Wisconsin, and there’s still plenty of experience on both sides of the ball (33rd most experienced team in FBS according to Phil Steele). I believe if Wisconsin is a one or zero-loss team heading into the Big 10 Championship Game, they’ll be playing for a spot in the CFB Playoff on December 2nd.
Player of the Year: JT Barrett, QB Ohio State
Newcomer of the Year: Tanner Lee, QB Nebraska
Conference Champion: Ohio State over Wisconsin
Urban Meyer won’t let the sting of last season’s Playoff loss last long. JT Barrett will be a Heisman finalist, the defense will dominate and the playmakers all over the offensive side of the ball will be too much for Wisconsin in the championship game. It’s a 13-0 season for the Buckeyes, who have as good a chance as anyone to win the national championship.