2016 BIG Ten Preview

Posted on August 31, 2016. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2016 BIG Ten Preview

August 31, 2016

PrezRo
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The Big Ten remains top heavy heading into this season but their best teams all reside in the same division so there will be some major collusions featuring Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. The winner of the East could very well be the champion of the Big Ten but I’m certain Iowa and Wisconsin will have something to say about that.

The Hawkeyes are currently the favorites to repeat as West but Wisconsin has restocked their roster as well as  Nebraska. The Big Ten may not be the deepest conference of the so-called Power 5, but its top teams should play significant roles when it comes to the national title picture that’s for sure.

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The conference had more players drafted in the first three rounds – the ones that matter – than the SEC, and everyone else. B1G joins the ACC as the only league to have two different teams in the first two years of the College Football Playoff, it had some high-profile moments this last bowl season – nothing to see here with the Rose, Sugar and Outback, though – and more than anything else, the conference’s programs are really, really, really rich, and getting richer.

Eight Big Ten schools – with newbies Maryland and Rutgers, along with Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern and Purdue just on the outside – are in the $100 million athletic department club in annual revenue generated, while the Big Ten Network is definitely printing money for the schools.

In short, all this means it’s easier to keep around the Harbaughs, and the Meyers, and the Franklins, and the Dantonios and it’s easier to attract the Lovies, and have the Schianos as assistants. And soon, it might be easier to attract more programs to expand even further. But that’s for another day.

On the field, the Big Ten is better when Michigan is one of college football’s elite programs. It’s back with Jim Harbaugh the most interesting man in the world, while Ohio State continues to be special, Michigan State not going anywhere, and a resurgent Penn State about to be a whole bunch better over the next few seasons.

AP Poll

Throw in the improved coaching situations at Maryland and Rutgers, and with Indiana no longer a speedbump, and the East is going to be fascinating.

Can Nebraska start to get the right breaks and be better and stronger under Mike Riley? Probably. Iowa has another great team returning, Wisconsin is going to have a running game again and be dangerous, Northwestern and Minnesota are still solid, Illinois should be far better in a hurry under Lovie Smith, and Purdue has its best team yet under Darrell Hazell.

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NOTE: Big Ten Game of the Year
Michigan at Ohio State, Nov. 26 – All due respect given to Michigan State, who gets the Wolverines and Buckeyes at home, but the rivalry of all sports rivalries will matter more than ever now. It might be for the Big Ten East – and, effectively, the Big Ten title – after the game not making a difference in the race last year, and while Jim Harbaugh can’t do any wrong, it’s not going to sit well if he’s 0-2 against Urban.

Here is our overall Big Ten Predictions….

EAST

WEST

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“IF” all things go according to our prediction, Ohio State and Wisconsin will face off December 3 in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship with the Buckeyes winning it all going into the BCS Playoffs.

Even by the Big Ten Network poll, Ohio State was chosen to win it all – click here to read!

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