Last fall the Big Ten Championship belonged to Penn State as they tied with Ohio State at 7-1 in Big Ten play but held the tie breaker against them. With the fall quickly approaching here is a season overview and what you should expect from a very talented and deep league . Here are the predicted standings with last seasons overall record:
- Ohio State (10-3) – Last year with championship aspirations the Buckeyes had a disappointing season with losses to three perennial powers; USC, Penn State, and Texas. They lose the most star power than any other team in the conference with James Laurinitis, Chris Wells, Malcolm Jenkins, and Brian Robiske all departing for the NFL. However, they do return the Big Ten Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Terrelle Pryor. The Buckeyes season will depend on how his young supporting cast develops. Expect guys like Daniel Herron at tailback, and Ray Small at wide receiver to have breakout years.
- Penn State (11-2) – Following last years Rose Bowl season expect the Nittney Lions to have another stellar year with Daryll Clark Leading the troops. They will have a young group of receivers taking over for the dangerous three some of Derrick Williams, Deon Butler, and Jordan Norwood. All Big Ten running back Evan Royster will take some of the heat while Clark and his receivers work out the kinks. On Defense they return a highly talented linebacker who sat out last year with a knee injury in Sean Lee, and the rest of the defense will be just fine.
- Michigan State (9-4) – Last Year Mark Dantonio Said he wanted to contend for a Big Ten Championship and his team surprised everyone by doing just that. Running Back Javon Ringer carried the Spartans all year and had title hopes all the way till a loss to Penn State in the last game of the year. This year they lose Ringer and Veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer, but expect the Spartans to fill in the holes nicely with a running back by committee system. There is a quarterback battle brewing in East Lansing but the winner will be more than capable. The defense will be spear headed by Preseason Defensive Player of the Year linebacker, Greg Jones. With Ohio State off the schedule, they have a chance for the title.
- Iowa (9-4) – Last year, carried by tailback Shon Green, the Hawkeyes had a surprising season and look to keep the program at the top of the Big Ten. They lose Green but will be lead by veteran quarterback Ricky Stanzi. Expect Kirk Ferentz to have his Hawkeyes ready to go.
- Wisconsin (7-6) – Last year the Badgers were ranked in the preseason top 15 but stumbled out of the gate. Look for the running game headed by John Clay to really carry this improved team throughout the season.
- Michigan (3-9) – After suffering their first losing season in 33 years, Michigan and second year head coach Rich Rodriquez look for a rebound season. With more of his spread style players getting into the system the Wolverines will fair much better this year.
- Illinois (5-7) – The Illini took a step back last year not making a bowl game following up big a rose bowl appearance. They return three year starter Juice Williams who returns his favorite receiver Arrelious Benn. After those two the talent level drops off though and will produce a middle of the pack team.
- Minnesota (7-6) – The Golden Gophers had a surprising year last year and return a lot of talent but will slip in a year the Big Ten is the deepest it has been in awhile. Gutty quarterback Adam Weber will carry this team as far as he can.
- Northwestern (9-4) – Pat Fitzgerald has his team playing hard nose football and last year lead them to a bowl game. The high scoring offense will keep them in games and maybe even a few upsets but they will ultimately fall due to the overall strength of the Big Ten.
- Purdue (4-8) The Boilermakers are a team that has slipped from perennial contenders the last couple years. This years’ team is better however so is every other team in the Big Ten. Be prepared for another disappointing season this year.
- Indiana (3-9) – Last year the Hoosiers didn’t perform as expected due to to injuries and off the field trouble. This years they just don’t have the talent to compete at a high level. They are in the middle of a rebuilding era.