2017 Big Ten Preview

 

Big Ten had an outstanding 2016 campaign. Perhaps a bit overrated based on bowl performances, but considering where they have been the last decade it was a win for this historic conference. This year we think you will still have 4 very good teams that are there at the end of the year, but we think the middle and bottom of the conference will be worse. Big Ten has sent a team to the playoffs every year. We don’t think this year will be any different with much of the same cast as last year competing for that spot. Michigan loses a lot but has recruited very well under Harbaugh. Penn St, Wisconsin, and Ohio St return a LOT of players from last years successful teams.

 

For each Conference we will have the Simplified Football predictions (record) with the Projected Win-Shares and rating of each team next to it. We will also have Bowl Projections for each conference.

 

Big Ten Predictions:

East

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Ohio St – 11-1 (8-1)  /  10.06 (7.36)  /  4.93
  2. Penn St – 11-1 (8-1)  /  9.16 (6.49)  /  4.76
  3. Michigan – 10-2 (7-2)  /  8.43 (5.95)  /  4.45
  4. Maryland – 6-6 (4-5)  /  6.02 (4.17)  /  3.90
  5. Michigan St – 5-7 (3-6)  /  4.88 (3.18)  /  3.58
  6. Indiana – 4-8 (1-8)  /  4.91 (3.06)  /  3.78
  7. Rutgers – 3-9 (1-8)  /  4.47 (2.29)  /  3.06

West

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Wisconsin – 10-2 (7-2)  /  8.38 (6.03)  /  4.59
  2. Northwestern – 9-3 (6-3)  /  7.33 (5.08)  /  4.20
  3. Nebraska – 7-5 (5-4)  /  6.44 (4.4)  /  3.87
  4. Iowa – 6-6 (4-5)  /  6.1 (4.02)  /  3.99
  5. Minnesota – 6-6 (4-5)  /  6.72 (4.5)  /  4.04
  6. Illinois – 5-7 (3-6)  /  4.95 (3.27)  /  3.36
  7. Purdue – 3-9 (2-7)  /  3.97 (2.97)  /  3.21

 

Wisconsin wins the West out-right and Ohio St gets revenge on Penn St winning the head to head and the tie-breaker.

 

Championship game – Ohio St beats Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game. It will beat Wisconsin’s 5th Championship game in 7 years. Ohio St’s 3rd.

 

 

That makes 9 bowl teams for the Big Ten

Rose Bowl – Ohio St (Playoff)

Fiesta Bowl – Penn St

Peach Bowl – Michigan

Citrus Bowl – Wisconsin

Outback Bowl – Northwestern

Holiday Bowl – Nebraska

Pinstripe Bowl – Minnesota

Armed Forces Bowl – Maryland

Foster Farms – Iowa

Big Ten Preview and Predictions

For each of the conference Predictions I will put in both the Predicted Finish according to Win-Shares, as well as my own personal predictions (which are largely very similar).

 

B1G Win-Shares

East

 

Michigan – 9.68 (6.85)

Ohio St – 8.7 (6.32)

Michigan St – 7.52 (5.4)

Penn St – 6.77 (4.74)

Rutgers – 6.4 (4.4)

Maryland – 5.67 (3.6)

Indiana – 3.42 (1.91)

 

West

 

Minnesota – 7.06 (4.53)

Nebraska – 6.73 (4.46)

Northwestern – 6.79 (4.39)

Wisconsin – 6.47 (4.32)

Purdue – 6.53 (4.23)

Iowa – 6.35 (4.0)

Illinois – 6.53 (3.85)

 

Michigan over Minnesota in the Big Ten championship.

 

The class of the Big Ten once again lies in the East with Ohio St, Michigan, and Michigan St with those 3 battling it out for the division title. Things are about as murky as they can get in the west. With very little separating last place Illinois from first place Minnesota. The Formula says that the West is WIDE OPEN, and any of the 7 teams could win that West division crown. Formula has Minnesota winning it.

 

Simplified Football Predictions

East

 

Ohio St = 10-2 (8-1)

Michigan = 11-1 (8-1)

Michigan St = 9-3 (7-2)

Penn st = 7-5 (5-4)

Rutgers = 4-8 (2-7)

Indiana = 4-8 (2-7)

Maryland = 3-9 (1-8)

 

West

 

Iowa = 8-4 (5-4)

Wisconsin = 7-5 (5-4)

Nebraska = 7-5 (5-4)

Northwestern = 7-5 (4-5)

Minnesota = 7-5 (4-5)

Illinois = 6-6 (4-5)

Purdue = 6-6 (3-6)

 

Ohio St over Iowa in the B1G Conference Championship game.

 

SF has really flipped things up with our predictions in the Big 10. Diverting vastly from the formula. We have Ohio St beating Michigan and thus winning the East and beating the West in the Conference championship, but by virtue of their loss to OU, missing out on the Playoffs. SF has Iowa winning the 3 way tie-breaker between Wisconsin and Nebraska to win the West crown. Should be a very tight race in the West.

 

That is 9 bowl teams for the Big Ten with Illinois and Purdue missing out.

 

Rose Bowl – Ohio St

Cotton Bowl – Michigan

Outback Bowl – Michigan St

Holiday Bowl – Iowa

Music City Bowl – Penn St

Pinstripe Bowl – Wisconsin

Foster Farms – Nebraska

Quick Lane – Northwestern

Heart of Dallas – Minnesota

Week 7 Match Ups

Last week went 4-2, brings total on season to 17-13.

Had 6 games picked for the week, but wasn’t able to publish picks yesterday, so I will leave off the Stanford over UCLA pick as it’s a day late, and add the FSU v Louisville Game.

  1. Northwestern 17 – Iowa 14
  2. Michigan 24 – Michigan St 17
  3. Alabama 31 – Texas A&M 28
  4. LSU 24 – UF 17
  5. Notre Dame 38 – USC 28
  6. FSU 28 – Louisville 17

Week 6 Top Match-Ups

2 Weeks ago I was 3-3 which brings me to 13-11 on the season.

This weeks games:

  1. Clemson 24 – Georgia Tech 17: In a defensive battle Clemson is able to run the ball against GT and come out on top in this rivalry game.
  2. Michigan 17 – Northwestern 10: In a game that pits 2 of the better defensive teams, both with little offense, expect a very low scoring game. Michigan continues to impress in this game and comes up victorious.
  3. West Virginia 30 – Oklahoma St 28: In what will be the biggest defensive battle in the Big 12 this year, WVU is able to a tenacious OK St pass rush to win.
  4. Florida 24 – Missouri 17: Florida continues their assent to the top of the SEC East and is able to get a little more offense than Missouri in this game.
  5. Florida State 31 – Miami 21: Florida State is able to control the line of scrimmage and keeps the ball on the ground against Miami. The key will be turnovers. FSU has less turnovers than Miami.
  6. California 28 – Utah 24: Cal upsets Utah on the road, as Utah struggles to stop the Cal passing attack.

Week 2 Top Match-Ups

Last week was a very good start to the season getting all 6 games correct. This week there is only 5 match-ups, and one of them is a stretch to include in this. But there are 3 match-ups including Ranked teams, and 1 match-up of Group of 5 teams that could end up impacting the Playoff race.

 

Notre Dame @ Virginia

  • Notre Dame looked mighty impressive last week dismantling the Texas Longhorns. Virginia looked the opposite against UCLA. I included this game as I think there is a mild chance of an upset here with Virginia likely having a bounce-back game and looking better against Notre Dame than they did against UCLA. However in the end Notre Dame is just much more talented than UVA, and should pull away at the end. I do think Virginia’s defense will have some success against Notre Dame with Folston out for the year.
  • Notre Dame 28 – Virginia 14

Oklahoma @ Tennessee

  • I am a lot more bullish on Tennessee than most, and not sold on Oklahoma. Tennessee is more talented and is playing at home. A win here should solidify them as a top 25 team and people will start to talk about them in SEC East Championship circles. I don’t think this will be quite as high Scoring as many do. I think Tennessee out lasts Oklahoma and blasts Rocky Top all around campus all night long.
  • Tennessee 31 – Oklahoma 24

Oregon @ Michigan State

  • This is the biggest game of the day and the one with the most playoff implications on the line. A loss for either team could see them on the outside looking in, but won’t knock either from contention. Oregon is more talented overall, but Michigan State has quite a bit of talent. Both offenses looked very stellar and this should be a different looking game than last years. The score in this game could potentially get out of hand pretty quickly and perhaps approach 100. Although I think both offenses will be slow to start before gaining traction. Look for a very exciting 2nd half. In the end I think Oregon is just too much for Michigan St.
  • Oregon 42 – Michigan St 38

LSU @ Mississippi State

  • First SEC West match-up of the year. I do not think this one will disappoint. I am very high on LSU this year, and not so much for Mississippi State. However looking at the match-up I think Mississippi State matches up well with LSU and with it being at home (MORE COW BELLS??!!) I think Mississippi St could pull the upset. I think MSU’s front 7 on defense will be able to slow down Fournette and the LSU ground attack, which should severely limit what they do on Offense. In close games I like to go with the better QB. Miss St has the decided advantage in that category.
  • Mississippi St 24 – LSU 21

Boise St  @ BYU

  • Most when they see those 2 names would think you are going to get a lot of offense. However with Boise St having the #1 Defense (S&P) in the nation and BYU without QB Taysom Hill, and with Boise St’s offense looking pretty inept against Washington, I think this is going to be a low scoring affair.  This is a very even match-up with both teams having equal talent (slight advantage to Boise St). Both lines are matched up very evenly. I’m going with Boise St in a nail-biter, luck goes away from the Cougars this time as they fail to convert another Hail Mary (and luck stays with Boise St as they squeak out another win).
  • Boise St 21 – BYU 20

Week 1 Top Match-ups

Last year I finished the season 46-23 on my predictions, that is 67% correct. I will look to improve on that this year. This week there is only 1 match-up between ranked teams, however there are several others that are good match-ups and could figure into the Playoff picture (and several more that do not make the top 6).

 

  1. Washington at Boise St
    • This figures to be one of Boise States most talented teams ever, on the other side Washington has lost a lot of talent over the last few years. Coach Peterson has his work cut out for him there. Despite being a Group of 5 school Boise State is actually the more talented team. Add that to Boise State being at home and I am going with Boise State in this game.
    • Boise State 32 – Washington 24
  2. Louisville vs Auburn
    • Many expect Auburn to have a very explosive offense this season, despite many of their best on offense being gone. They certainly have the talent to reload and not rebuild. Louisville is rebuilding in Coach Petrino’s image and it will be a project. However they do have some talent (some transferred in) on defense and at least in the first half should be able to slow down Auburn’s attack. Auburn’s defense which has been atrocious in the last few years, has one of the top Defensive Coordinators now, and has recruited very well on that side of the ball.  Louisville does not have many play-makers on offense. Auburn will likely give up a few plays on mistakes and I like this game to be close through the first half. Auburn pulls away in the 4th though.
    • Auburn 34 – Louisville 21
  3. Arizona St at Texas A&M
    • Arizona State is a trendy pick to win the Pac 12 and be a playoff team to some experts. I don’t see it. I have them finishing 4th in the Pac 12 South (behind USC, UCLA, and Arizona). Texas A&M I feel could challenge in the SEC if they continue to improve on defense.  Arizona State was torched at times on defense last year, I see that happening again this year and in this game. Expecting a pretty high scoring game in this one. As both offenses out match the defenses. But with the 12th man behind them I have Texas A&M shocking Arizona State.
    • Texas A&M 45 – Arizona State 35
  4. Texas at Notre Dame
    • This Notre Dame team will surprise a lot of people. They are as talented as the squad that took them to the National Championship game a few years ago. Texas is still in the rebuilding process, but they do have a defense that was pretty good last year and should improve even more this year. The difference in this game however will be Texas’ lack of a QB/offense. After this game Notre Dame fans will be clamoring for Everett Golson at QB as Zaire will likely struggle some against a good Texas defense. However being at home, with more weapons and a better QB and more talent gives Notre Dame the advantage still.
    • Notre Dame 28 – Texas 21
  5. Wisconsin vs Alabama
    • Alabama looks as though they are going to have another juggernaut defense and a power running game, however their QB situation is very unsettled and has lots of question marks. Wisconsin is breaking in a new coach, in previous years it has taken them at least half of the season to start to gel and work together with new coaches, although they adjust pretty quickly. The biggest problem in this game is the match-up for Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s strength (it’s power running game) is exactly what Alabama excels at stopping. I don’t expect Wisconsin to have much room to run in this game and relying on Joel Stave to move the ball against Alabama is not a recipe for success. However Alabama’s offense will keep Wisconsin in the game. Look for a lot of running and a low scoring affair.
    • Alabama 28 – Wisconsin 17
  6. Ohio State at Virginia Tech
    • The game Buckeye fans and players alike have been waiting for all summer. REVENGE. Virginia Tech looked like they had derailed Ohio State’s plans at a National Championship run last year, obviously that proved to not be true as they ran the table and won the National Championship. However i’m sure it still stings in Columbus that Tech upset them at home last year. This year they have to travel to Blacksburg to face what is potentially one of the best defenses in the nation. They have a very solid front 7 that uses a lot of blitz packages to keep offenses on their heels, and perhaps the best Cornerback combo in the nation. Many expect Ohio State to run it all over Virginia Tech. We do not think that will happen, especially with some key WR’s out for Ohio State.  On the other side of the ball is where Virginia Tech has been lacking recently, and this year should be no better. They have not been able to find any consistency on offense in several years. The one thing that will be to their advantage is Ohio State is without perhaps the best defensive player in the nation in Joey Bosa for this game. In the end I expect Ohio State to pull this game out as I just don’t think Virginia Tech will be able to put enough points on the board.
    • Ohio State 24 – Virginia Tech 17

Big Ten Win Shares

Here are the 2015 Big Ten Win Shares:

TEAM Total (B1G)

EAST

Ohio State 10.21 (6.51)

Michigan 8.83 (5.48)

Michigan St 8.73 (5.33)

Penn State 7.63 (4.09)

Rutgers 6.51 (3.12)

Maryland 5.96 (3.06)

Indiana 4.97 (2.22)

WEST

Wisconsin 7.89 (4.87)

Nebraska 7.41 (4.44)

Northwestern 6.75 (3.97)

Iowa 6.43 (3.63)

Purdue 6.06 (3.37)

Minnesota 5.85 (3.22)

Illinois 5.29 (2.69)

 

Ohio State vs Wisconsin again in the Championship game. Ohio State with a .75 Win Share in that game.

Notes: This is the best the Big Ten has been. With Michigan rebounding and Michigan State having perhaps their most talented team the East division is no gimme for Ohio State. Whoever wins the East division (should be noted that Michigan is the only Power 5 team that is favored in every game) should be in the playoffs, provided they beat the West champion. Should be a lot more fireworks and competition in the Big Ten than many are expecting for Ohio State. 

2014 Big Ten Preview

Michigan St had a huge turnaround last year, taking a mediocre 2012 team and making it in to a top 5 team in the country and B1G champions.  Ohio State faltered at the end of the season, but continued their winning streak (undefeated in 2012) through much of 2013.  Those 2 teams have had some significant off-season losses (most notably Braxton Miller the QB for Ohio State being lost for the season with shoulder surgery in pre-season camp). However both of them should compete for the East division title, as well as dark horses Michigan and Penn State. On the other side you have what should be a 2 team race between Wisconsin and Iowa, as we are not believers in Nebraska. However we would not rule out Nebraska or Northwestern. The B1G should have potentially their best year top to bottom in quite a few years as there are a lot of solid teams. However they unlike years past do not have the one or two standout teams.  Look for a very competitive race between the top 7-8 teams in the B1G, we think that the middle teams have gotten better recently, and the top teams will not be as good.

 

Moving on to the preview:

East

OHIO STATE:

Overall Rating – 4.30

Big Ten Win Share – 5.16 (Total of 8.32)

MICHIGAN:

Overall Rating – 4.20

Big Ten  Win Share – 4.98 (Total of 8.00)

MICHIGAN STATE:

Overall Rating – 4.05

Big Ten Win Share – 4.94 (Total of 8.06)

PENN STATE:

Overall Rating – 4.03

Big Ten  Win Share – 4.62 (Total of 8.25)

MARYLAND:

Overall Rating – 3.92

Big Ten  Win Share – 3.59 (Total of 6.35)

INDIANA:

Overall Rating – 3.71

Big Ten  Win Share – 3.51 (Total of 6.02)

RUTGERS:

Overall Rating – 3.36

Big Ten  Win Share – 1.96 (Total of 4.32)

 

 

West

WISCONSIN:

Overall Rating – 4.46

Big Ten  Win Share – 6.11 (Total of 9.25)

IOWA:

Overall Rating – 4.12

Big Ten  Win Share – 5.03 (Total of 8.22)

NORTHWESTERN:

Overall Rating – 4.00

Big Ten  Win Share – 4.21 (Total of 6.96)

NEBRASKA:

Overall Rating – 3.91

Big Ten  Win Share – 4.28 (Total of 7.14)

MINNESOTA:

Overall Rating – 3.82

Big Ten  Win Share – 3.56 (Total of 6.70)

ILLINOIS:

Overall Rating – 3.61

Big Ten  Win Share – 2.98  (Total of 5.98)

PURDUE:

Overall Rating – 2.84

Big Ten  Win Share – 1.07 (Total of 3.34)

 

 

We have Wisconsin playing Ohio State in the Big Ten championship, with Wisconsin winning that and vying for the last playoff spot.

 

 

Top 5 Offenses:

Wisconsin

Indiana

Northwestern

Michigan

Iowa

Top 5 Defenses:

Iowa

Michigan State

Wisconsin

Ohio State

Michigan

Storylines to watch for:

  1. Will Ohio State replace Braxton Miller’s production?
  2. Will Gary Andersen’s defensive mind, be able to again produce a top 10 defense in Wisconsin to pair with their offense?
  3. Will Michigan State be able to replace so many defensive standouts and have a top 5 defense again?
  4. If there is a 1 loss Big Ten team, will they be get a bid to the Playoffs?
  5. Will Michigan or Nebraska finally take a step forward and live up to their talent?
  6. How will the off-season hoopla affect Northwestern? Will they look like the 4-0 team from last year or the team that finished 1-7 down the stretch?
  7. How good can Iowa be?

B1G – 2013 SF Power Ratings

Here are the 2013 Simplified Football Big Ten Power Ratings:

Legends
Michigan – 4.25
Michigan St – 3.87
Nebraska – 3.83
Iowa – 3.64
Northwestern – 3.62
Minnesota – 3.35

Leaders
Ohio St – 4.77
Penn St – 3.87
Indiana – 3.70
Illinois – 3.58
Purdue – 3.56
Wisconsin – 3.42

It’s pretty much Ohio State and everyone else. Surprise in Indiana being so high (LOT of experience on that team).