Do you smell that? No, no. It’s not Cedar Rapids. The smell of football is in the air, and unless you count this weekend’s slate of mostly irrelevant games (hey, I don’t blame you for taking a day to booze and watch football), the season starts in just a week. We’re getting pretty excited here at Black Heart Gold Pants, and after making some bold predictions about how the season will unfold for our beloved Hawkeyes last week, this week we’re going macro. Yes, it’s our second annual Big Ten predictions. Last year, we were way off the mark and this year, our predictions are much less bold - with a few exceptions, we tend to go pretty chalk this time around.
Take a look at our predictions below, and let us know where you agree and disagree with us. We tackle who will win each division, the conference, players/coach of the year, sleepers, and much more. Without further ado, it’s time for us to be wrong again. Why don’t you join us?
Big Ten East Predictions
Max Brekke: 1) Ohio State; 2) Penn State; 3) Michigan; 4) Maryland; 5) Michigan State; 6) Indiana; 7) rutger
JP Scott: Penn State
BoilerHawk: Michigan (9-0); Ohio State (8-1); Penn State (7-2); Michigan State (4-5); Indiana (3-6); rutger (2-7); Maryland (0-9)
After my brother decided to take his talents to Ann Arbor (and Jim Harbaugh’s arrival a season later), I have adopted them as my team from the East. I look through all the warts with unbridled optimism. Unless someone paints their visiting locker room pink in the lead up to hosting Michigan - forcing Harbaugh to have his staff decorate it in an insane collage of maize, blue, and Jordan brand insignias - I think they get to Indianapolis.
JPinIC: 1- OSU, 2- PSU, 3- UM, 4- MSU, 5- Maryland, 6- Indiana, 7- rutger
Jordan Hansen: 1- OSU, 2- UM, 3- PSU, 4- Maryland, 5- MSU, 6- Indiana, 7-rutger
Hello Jerry: Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan are logged jam at the top again with Ohio State standing alone at the top when it’s all said and done.
Ben Ross: Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, the rest.
Big Ten West Predictions
Max: 1) Wisconsin; 2) Iowa; 3) Northwestern; 4) Nebraska; 5) Purdue; 6) Minnesota; 7) Illinois
JP Scott: Northwestern
BH: Wisconsin (7-2); Northwestern (6-3); Iowa (5-4); Nebraska (5-4); Purdue (5-4); Illinois (1-8); Minnesota (1-8)
I actually have Wisconsin losing to Nebraska in Lincoln and Michigan at home. If Iowa can swing a W in Madison, they’d go to Indy in my scenario.
JPinIC: 1- Wisconsin, 2- Northwestern, 3- Iowa, 4- Nebraska, 5- Minnesota, 6- Purdue, 7- Illinois
Jordan Hansen: 1- Wisco, 2- jNW, 3- Iowa, 4- Nebby, 5- Minny, 6- Illinois, 7- Purdon’t
Hello Jerry: I see a scenario where Iowa and Wisconsin are tied with the same conference record at either 7-2 or 6-3, making their November 18th matchup the ultimate tie breaker. Gimme Iowa.
BR: Iowa, Wisconsin, the rest. This is it. This time we take down Wisconsin in Camp Randall (again!) and Iowa claims its second West title in three years.
Big Ten Champions
Max: I guess I have to be the only guy who picks a Big Ten West team to upset one of the giants, huh? The Badgers take down Ohio State after last year’s collapse.
JP Scott: Penn State
BH: Michigan over Wisconsin. Michigan sweeps Wisconsin after Harbaugh throws away the playbook from two weeks prior.
JPinIC: Ohio State
Hello Jerry: Ohio State… ugh
BR: Ohio State
Game of the Year
Max: Penn State at Ohio State for all the marbles on the East side.
JP Scott: Wisconsin at Nebraska
BH: Ohio State at Michigan. With a trip to Indy on the line, the game plays out as a mirror image of 2016, with home field advantage swinging it back to Michigan.
JPinIC: Penn State at Ohio State
Hello Jerry: Penn State at Iowa
BR: How do you not say Ohio State-Michigan?
Max: I can’t possibly imagine that Rutgers can be as bad as they were last year, but their games against Illinois and Michigan are going to be atrocious, for different reasons.
JP Scott: Ohio State at Nebraska
BH: In terms of ineptitude, probably Illinois at Minnesota (I have Illinois winning); in terms of lopsidedness, Rutgers at Michigan
JPinIC: Rutgers at Illinois - it may be competitive, but in the way my 3-year old’s soccer is competitive
Hello Jerry: I’m with my FFF partner here. Rutgers at Illinois is a dungheap. I’d rather go airboating at Gatorland in 100 degree Florida heat than watch any part of that game.
BR: Anything involving Rutgers.
Offensive Player of the Year
Max: Justin Jackson, Northwestern. I trust that Penn State will have a usable passing attack, which means less work for Barkley. Northwestern couldn’t pass the ball at all last year and Jackson is going to have a million carries. Get this man in a bubble STAT.
JP Scott: Saquon Barkley
BH: Saquon Barkley, Penn State - no sense trying to get cute with a Wilton Speight pick. PS: I still think his name is Wilson.
JPinIC: sigh… Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Hello Jerry: Mannnnnn, my head says Saquon but my heart says Akrum Wadley. Always follow your heart.
BR: JT Barrett.
Defensive Player of the Year
Max: Jabrill Peppers, probably.
JP Scott: Steven Richardson, Minnesota
BH: Rashan Gary, Michigan. With a lot departing from last year’s defense, Gary will be the cornerstone of a stout Michigan defense.
JPinIC: Josey Jewell, Iowa
Hello Jerry: Josey Jewell
BR: Josey Jewell.
Max: The sleeper team definitely isn’t in the east, because no one from the lower tier has a shot at usurping the upper echelon. Unfortunately, that means I can’t pick a Maryland team I think is going to be much improved. Give me Northwestern, who isn’t really a sleeper but could make a ton of noise in 2017.
JP Scott: Indiana
BH: Purdue - Jeff Brohm’s arrival means a return to Basketball on Grass (not marijuana). If they exceed even my lofty predictions, Brohm might win himself the coach of the year.
JPinIC: Iowa - figure out this passing game and the West is in trouble; don’t and Iowa is in trouble
Hello Jerry: It’s Iowa baby! People are sleepin’, which means Kirk Ferentz is going to have ‘em weepin’.
BR: Iowa. You read it here first. On a Hawkeye blog.
Coach of the Year
Max: Going to go with Kirk Ferentz. This should be a good team this year even though expectations aren’t the highest, and Iowa could surprise a lot of people.
JP Scott: Pat Fitzgerald
BH: Jim Harbaugh
JPinIC: Urban Meyer
Hello Jerry: Urban Meyer
BR: Urban Meyer. Hiring Kevin Wilson is going to make him look like a genius.