Big Ten Preview

Projected Records & Standings
1. PENN STATE         11-1  (7-1)
2. OHIO STATE 10-2 (6-2)
3. ILLINOIS 8-4 (5-3)
4. MICHIGAN 9-3 (5-3)
5. MICHIGAN STATE 7-5 (4-4)
6. IOWA 7-5 (4-4)
7. NORTHWESTERN 8-4 (4-4)
8. MINNESOTA 5-7 (3-5)
9. WISCONSIN 6-6 (3-5)
10.PURDUE 4-8 (2-6)
11.INDIANA 3-9 (1-7)
Champion: PENN STATE
The schedule sets up nicely for Penn State with Ohio State visiting Happy Valley. Those two are enough ahead of the rest of the pack that the conference title will probably come down to that game. Give the Nittany Lions the advantage because of senior quarterback Daryll Clark and what should again be a very good defense. The return of Sean Lee at linebacker will only make Navorro Bowman better. And Jared Odrick and Ollie Ogbu make up one of the best defensive tackle duos in the land. Add to that a running back who is one of the most underappreciated players in the nation in Evan Royster running behind an athletic offensive line and there is a real possibility Penn State could run the table and sneak their way into the National Title game.

Could Surprise: MICHIGAN
With seemingly everybody rooting against Rich Rodriguez at this point, it’s time to bring up the fact that his teams usually take the biggest step forward in year two. The defense didn’t always play well, but with players like DE Brandon Graham and LB Obi Ezeh the Wolverine defense should be in fine form. If the offense shows even the slightest bit of improvement – and there’s really no where else to go but up – Big Blue should find themselves in the top half of the Big Ten standings where they belong.

Here’s an early upset pick: Michigan will beat Ohio State in Ann Arbor this November.

Question the Hype: BIG TEN CONFERENCE
This conference is in a state of flux. Penn State and Ohio State are clearly the front-runners, but neither has proven capable of beating good teams from other conferences in recent seasons. Somebody is going to have to pick up a big NON-conference win in order to reverse the perception that the Big Ten is lagging behind the other major conferences. Unfortunately, outside of Ohio State playing USC, most of these schools seem content to avoid playing big non-conference games. So don’t be surprised if the Big Ten gets their clocks cleaned come bowl season yet again.

Bo Jackson Trophy Candidates:
Top 3:
QB-Juice Williams, Illinois
QB-Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State
RB-Evan Royster, Penn State

Ten to Watch:
WR-Arrelious Benn, Illinois
RB-Carlos Brown, Michigan
OT-Bryan Bulaga, Iowa
OT-Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
QB-Daryll Clark, Penn State
WR-Eric Decker, Minnesota
RB-Jewel Hampton, Iowa
RB-Dan Herron, Ohio State
RB-Jaycen Taylor, Purdue
C-Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State

Arrington Trophy Candidates:
Top 3:
DE-Brandon Graham, Michigan
DT-Jared Odrick, Penn State
LB-Martez Wilson, Illinois

Ten to Watch:
LB-Pat Angerer, Iowa
LB-Navorro Bowman, Penn State
CB-Chimdi Chekwa, Ohio State
SS-Kurt Coleman, Ohio State
LB-Obi Ezeh, Michigan
LB-Greg Jones, Michigan State
DE-Jammie Kirlew, Indiana
DT-Ollie Ogbu, Penn State
CB-Donovan Warren, Michigan
DE-Corey Wootton, Northwestern

No comments: