Predicting the Big Ten

Scout.com College Football
Posted Oct 29, 2013


There is still much left to be determined in the Big Ten season. Scout takes a look through the rest of the conference schedule and predicts the winners of each game and who the eventual conference champion will be.

The thing about this season in the Big Ten that will make these last weeks exciting is that almost anybody is capable of beating anybody else. When you have good teams like Northwestern still winless in the conference, that shows how much parity there is in the league. The Wildcats are a dangerous landmine for teams like Michigan and Michigan State who have conference title aspirations, and Minnesota's recent surge makes them a similarly dangerous opponent. With several rivalry games and big showdowns still to come, much is left to be determined.

Legends Division

Michigan State Spartans
OPPONENTPrediction
MichiganWin
at NebraskaWin
at NorthwesternWin
MinnesotaWin
Final Record11-1 (8-0)

It has not always been pretty, but the Spartans have been consistently winning. The defense has carried them, but the offense and quarterback Connor Cook have been steadily improving. Should Cook continue to take care of the football, the Spartans will be tough team to beat. Michigan will be a tough game, but the bye will come at a good time to get them ready for tough road tests against Nebraska and Northwestern, both of which they will have to guard against let downs in after their tilt with Michigan.

Michigan Wolverines
OPPONENTPrediction
at Michigan StateLoss
NebraskaWin
at NorthwesternWin
at IowaWin
Ohio StateLoss
Final Record9-3 (5-3)

The Wolverines may be the conference wild card down the stretch. After defeating Notre Dame, they struggled with UConn and Akron, but beat a good Minnesota team handily before dropping a tough one to Penn State. They've reshuffled the offensive line, and it remains to be seen if the newest combination is the right one. Generally speaking though, as Devin Gardner goes, they go, and if he takes care of the football, they have an opportunity to make a run towards the title game, but their schedule down the stretch is not an easy one.

Nebraska Cornhuskers
OPPONENTPrediction
NorthwesternWin
vs MichiganLoss
Michigan StateLoss
vs Penn StateLoss
IowaLoss
Final Record6-6 (3-5)

There is no time for the Huskers to dwell on the loss to Minnesota last week, as they have a string of tough games coming up. Their home field advantage should help them down the stretch and get them the one win they need to get into a bowl game. However, the questionable health of Taylor Martinez raises questions, and the Husker offensive line must perform better than it did against the Gophers if the team is to get back on track.

Minnesota Golden Gophers
OPPONENTPrediction
at IndianaWin
Penn StateLoss
WisconsinLoss
vs Michigan StateLoss
Final Record7-5 (3-5)

Can Minnesota continue to ride the wave of momentum they built in the last two weeks? Going to Indiana will be a tough task this week, then the Gophers face three good teams to end the year. They do catch Penn State and Wisconsin at home, but they will likely be underdogs in their final three games. Luckily for them, that has been a role they have relished in all season. The two quarterbacks have been playing well and they may have found a gem in David Cobb. After what they have done recently though, no one will be taking this team lightly.

Iowa Hawkeyes
OPPONENTPrediction
WisconsinLoss
vs PurdueWin
MichiganLoss
vs NebraskaWin
Final Record7-5 (4-4)

After a big win in overtime against Northwestern, the Hawkeyes are one win away from bowl eligibility. We believe they will get that when they head to Purdue. The defense has been playing really well and this team is built to be able to slug it out in these late season, bad weather throwback type games. They hung tough with Ohio State and Michigan State, two of the conference's top teams, and the Hawkeyes have an opportunity to be a surprise down the stretch.

Northwestern Wildcats
OPPONENTPrediction
at NebraskaLoss
MichiganLoss
Michigan StateLoss
vs IllinoisWin
Final Record5-7 (1-7)

The Wildcats have lost a couple of heartbreakers, and we believe they will test all of the teams they play down the stretch, but can they get over the hump and pull out some of these close games? They do get both Michigan and Michigan State at home and both schools will have to be on upset alert against the Wildcats.

Leaders Division

Ohio State Buckeyes
OPPONENTPrediction
at PurdueWin
vs IllinoisWin
IndianaWin
vs MichiganWin
Final Record12-0 (8-0)

The Buckeyes have passed tough tests against Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa, and if their destruction of Penn State is a trend and not an anomaly, they should easily get through the next three games. They will have to guard against looking ahead, and Indiana has been known to pop up and give them a tough game from time to time, but in all likelihood, the season will come down to that Michigan game in Ann Arbor to end the year.

Wisconsin Badgers
OPPONENTPrediction
at IowaWin
BYUWin
IndianaWin
vs MinnesotaWin
Penn StateWin
Final Record10-2 (7-1)

The Badgers could be undefeated right now, dropping only close games to Arizona State and Ohio State. The running game is firing on all cylinders thanks to the offensive line and having two backs like Melvin Gordon and James White. They do get three of their final five at home. The sneaky tough game might be this week at Iowa, against a good Hawkeye defense.

Indiana Hoosiers
OPPONENTPrediction
MinnesotaLoss
IllinoisWin
at WisconsinLoss
vs Ohio StateLoss
PurdueWin
Final Record5-7 (3-5)

The Hoosiers need three wins to be bowl eligible. They have three good opportunities against Minnesota, Illinois, and Purdue, but they catch a hot Golden Gophers team who will be playing with a lot of confidence. Scoring points is rarely a problem for Kevin Wilson's crew, but it's the defense that must step up if they are to hit that six win mark.

Penn State Nittany Lions
OPPONENTPrediction
IllinoisWin
vs MinnesotaWin
PurdueWin
NebraskaWin
at WisconsinLoss
Final Record8-4 (5-3)

After Bill O'Brien's crew pulled off a thrilling win over Michigan, they were brought back down to earth by Ohio State. However, we think the schedule sets up nicely for the Nittany Lions to rebound and string together some victories here.

Illinois Fightin' Illini
OPPONENTPrediction
at Penn StateLoss
vs IndianaLoss
Ohio StateLoss
vs PurdueWin
NorthwesternLoss
Final Record5-7 (1-7)

The Illini are looking for their first conference win in the last 17 tries. To get off that skid, they must limit mistakes and not beat themselves. Luckily, they have quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase at the controls. The senior has had a great season thus far. We like them to finally get of the schneid against Purdue.

Purdue Boilermakers
OPPONENTPrediction
Ohio StateLoss
IowaLoss
at Penn StateLoss
IllinoisLoss
at IndianaLoss
Final Record1-11 (0-8)

It has been a tough year for head coach Darrell Hazell, but brighter days are ahead, especially since they have been able to get freshman quarterback Danny Etling's feet wet. Still, it will be tough for the Boilers to get a first conference win, but they will have their best opportunities at the end of the season when they get Illinois at home then take on in-state rival Indiana.

Big Ten Championship Game: Ohio State vs Michigan State

Big Ten Champion: Ohio State



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