Large stadiums. Low Scoring. B1G Football.
2015 In Review
The 2015 season continued the trend of ambiguity of the state of the B1G as a whole. Despite falling short of the playoff, Ohio State continued their assertion as a national powerhouse, while Jim Harbaugh brought a stumbling Michigan program back from the abyss and programs such as Michigan State and Iowa were exposed on the national stage. During the regular season the conference went a mediocre 10-9 versus other power five conferences. Six teams finished the season in the AP top 25 including three in the top 10. During bowl play, the conference finished 5-5 overall with a lackluster showing in the “New Years Six” going 1-2. The Big 10 did shine on the recruiting stage with nine in the top 50 and four programs with top twenty recruiting classing, along with the commitment of the nation’s highest ranked recruit Rashan Gary.
Iowa 12-2 Michigan State 12-2
Northwestern 10-3 Ohio State 12-1
Wisconsin 10-3 Michigan 10-3
Nebraska 6-7 Penn State 7-6
Minnesota 6-7 Indiana 6-7
Illinois 5-7 Rutgers 4-8
Purdue 2-10 Maryland 3-9
2016 Projected Standings
Big 10 West
After a disastrous end to the 2015 season with loses in the Big 10 championship and the Rose Bowl, Iowa is looking to show they are a top flight program in 2016. To the delight of Iowa fans, Star CB Desmond King has decided to stick around for his senior year was second in the FBS with eight interceptions last season. Look for him to be the leader of another fantastic Hawkeye defense.The Hawkeyes will continue to be the consistently strong team of 2015 in the relatively easy Big 10 West, but will that be enough to take the program to the next level?
Wisconsin comes in with an experienced team returning eight starters on both offense and defense. Look for running back Corey Clements to be the leader of the ground and pound Badger offense. The badgers will need to face LSU, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. If they are able to pull out a 2-3 wins in these big games, Wisconsin is in for a strong year.
When your best win in a season is versus Illinois chances are you did not have a good year. Coming off an extremely tough 2015, I predict the Gophers will bounce back strong with an easier schedule and an influx of talent across the board.
After an impressive 10-3 showing in 2015 , Northwestern fans should not get their hopes up for 2016. With games at Iowa, Michigan state, and Ohio State in line for a five week period the Wildcats have an uphill battle to repeat the success of last season.
Sorry Nebraska we are still not in an alternate reality where it is the 1990’s again. Look for a slightly above average season from the huskers of corn, but I would not expect anything groundbreaking. #bringbackBoPelini
Illinois I am going to say this in advance. I’m Sorry. Once again the Illini (what the heck is an Illini?) look to be a pretty…. mediocre? football team… In all seriousness, I am excited to see what Lovie Smith can bring to the program. I would keep an eye on Illinois in 2016.
A wise man once told me that Purdue is only good at two things: large drums and astronauts. Unfortunately for the Boilermakers, neither of those makes their football team any better.
Big 10 East
It is year two of the Haurbaugh era in Ann Arbor and look for the Nike Jumpman Wolverines to be contenders for the Big 10 East. Keep an eye out for the consensus number 1 overall recruit defensive tackle Rashan Gary. He has been touted as the best overall recruit since Jadeveon Clowney. Look for him to make an immediate impact to Michigan’s defense. After hitting the ground running in 2015 this will be a big year for the Michigan program to set up success for years to come. #teamkhakis
With Braxton Miller and Cardale Jones now gone, it is now up to quarterback J.T. Barrett to lead the Buckeyes. After showing flashes of greatness the past two seasons how will J.T. handle the pressure? With the loss of a plethora of key players including Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliot, it will be up to the young talent of the buckeyes to continue their line of recent success. Look for the east to come down to The Game at the horseshoe come late November.
After an embarrassing end to 2015 with a blowout loss to Alabama in the semis of the CFB playoffs, I am less high on the Spartans coming into 2016. Will Michigan State be a solid team in 2016? Yes. Though given their complete obliteration at the hand of the crimson tide Michigan State needs a marque win to elevate their program to a national powerhouse. Please prove me wrong Sparty.
This is a monumental year for Franklin’s Nittany Lion. With the sanctions behind them Penn State is on the cusp on returning to being a national powerhouse. The lions absolutely need a win versus a top 25 program this season, or James Franklin will be looking for a new job come January. Look for phenom sophomore running back Saquon Barkley to play a huge part in Penn State’s success or failure in 2016. After breaking Penn State’s rookie rushing record last season Barkley has the potential to emerge as one of the best running backs in college football. Will Saquon break onto the national stage or hit a sophomore slump?
Ah yes the basketball line in the Big 10. Don’t worry Hoosier fans basketball season is only a few months away. Though, keep an eye out for the JUCO transfer QB Richard Lagow. He has been receiving high praise after winning the starting job for 2016. Also he graduated from high school with me so that is kinda cool (shout out to Plano).
The terrapins ( just call it a freaking turtle) came into 2015 with high expectations as the number three team in the nation. They were able to keep up this success until the post season… Oh wait that was their basketball team…. How is the whole Oregon of the East going for y’all?
*- Makes a bowl game
Big 10 Championship
Michigan- 21 Iowa- 10
Look for the game to be close and low scoring (a must for the Big 10) throughout. Given this is a rematch from earlier in the season, look for Jim Harbaugh to come in with a solid game-plan in place. The Wolverines will pick up steam in the second half on their way to their first Big 10 championship since 2004 and their first berth in the College Football Playoff.
Feature image provided by: http://www.mlive.com/wolverines/index.ssf/2016/09/jim_harbaugh_on_michigan_state_1.html