clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Pants Predicts the Big Ten in 2021

New, 10 comments

Can anyone stop Ohio State? Will the Hawkeyes win the West? Those and more as we predict the Big Ten Conference in 2021.

2021 Big Ten Football Media Day
Who will win the Big Ten in 2021?
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Prediction week marches on here at The Pants as we count down our final days before the return of college football. After submitting our season long predictions for the Hawkeyes, as well as some Iowa-specific bold predictions, we’re expanding our crystal ball viewing to include the Big Ten at large. Today, the staff is predicting who will win the conference in 2021, as well as each division winner and some of the individual conference awards.

In a shock to absolutely nobody, we’re in complete agreement that Ohio State is going to win the East and march to their fifth consecutive Big Ten Championship. In the West, there’s a bit more dispersion. Wisconsin gets the most votes here, but a few of the staffers are on Iowa to make it back to Indy and there’s another familiar face that sneaks in here as well.

In the individual awards, things are also a bit more divided. Ryan Day is the most popular pick to win coach of the year while Purdue’s George Karlaftis is our most popular pick to be named defensive player of the year. On the offensive side of the ball, there really is no clear cut winner as virtually all the staff has a differing opinion on who takes home the honors for offensive player of the year.

Here’s a look at each of our individual views on how things shake out across the Big Ten in 2021.


JPinIC

This feels like a relatively standard season for Big Ten football. Ohio State is going to be Ohio State and the rest of the conference is going to be good but a strong below them. Indiana promises to be good again but don’t appear to be any sort of real threat in the East and nobody in the West is going to stay within two scores in the title game.

West Winner: Wisconsin

East Winner: Ohio State

Big Ten Title Winner: Ohio State

Coach of the Year: Tom Allen, Indiana

Offensive Player of the Year: Master Teague III, OSU

Defensive Player of the Year: Jack Sanborn, Wisconsin

MattReisener

Picking Ohio State and Wisconsin to meet in the Big Ten Championship may be the prognosticator’s equivalent of picking chalk, but I’ll balance that out with a few bold predictions to compliment those below: Illinois is bowl eligible in Bret Bielema’s first season, Jim Harbaugh does what Scott Frost cannot and retains his job after a rebound season in Ann Arbor, and the Big Ten announces its plans for further expansion before the end of 2021.

West Winner: Wisconsin

East Winner: Ohio State

Big Ten Title Winner: Ohio State

Coach of the Year: Ryan Day

Offensive Player of the Year: Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota

Defensive Player of the Year: Micah McFadden, Indiana

Kendall Phipps

I don’t expect anything too crazy to happen this year in the Big 10. I feel like in the East Ohio State will handle business and in the West it’ll be Iowa and Wisconsin fighting for the title. I have a somewhat bold prediction: Illinois finishes top 3 in the West in Bilema’s first year.

West Winner: Iowa

East Winner: Ohio State

Big Ten Title Winner: Ohio State

Coach of the Year: Bret Bielema

Offensive Player of the Year: Michael Penix Jr, Indiana

Defensive Player of the Year: Haskell Garrett, Ohio State

Rob Donaldson

This season has all the feels of what probably amounts to a pretty mundane season for the Big Ten conference in football. That said, with no clear dominating presence in either division, it opens the door for a lot of potential madness and opportunity for teams who have traditionally been seated near the bottom of the standings year after year.

“Chaos is a ladder” - Little Finger (Game of Thrones quote because I’m a dork)

West Winner: Iowa

East Winner: Ohio State

Big Ten Title Winner: Ohio State

Coach of the Year: Mike Locksley, Maryland

Offensive Player of the Year: Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

Defensive Player of the Year: George Karlaftis, Purdue

Ben Ross

It’s Ohio State’s world and we’re just living in it as the Buckeyes once again run away with the conference while the rest of the Big Ten Pretenders try and bail out the lifeboats one bucket full of water at a time.

West Winner: Northwestern

East Winner: Ohio State

Big Ten Title Winner: Ohio State

Coach of the Year: James Franklin

Offensive Player of the Year: Tyler Goodson

Defensive Player of the Year: Jack Campbell

Thad Nelson

I’m not sure how anyone could pick a team other than Ohio State to claim the Big Ten crown again this year. They have things rolling and no team seems poised to derail them in 2021. My only bold Big Ten prediction is Penn State will finish outside the top 3 in the East.

West Winner: Wisconsin

East Winner: Ohio State

Big Ten Title Winner: Ohio State

Coach of the Year: Ryan Day, Ohio State

Offensive Player of the Year: Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland

Defensive Player of the Year: George Karlaftis, Purdue

Bartt Pierce

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Soooo, Ohio State and Wisconsin. I think the West will be a battle with Wisconsin, Northwestern, and the Hawks separated by the slightest of margins. I hope it doesn’t come down to Covid issues, but with a significant player missing a key game, that’s all it may take. Fingers crossed for our squad on that. Ohio State will continue to roll. Khaki Pants will continue to do the opposite of roll (remain sedentary?)

West Winner: Wisconsin

East Winner: Ohio State

B1G Champ: Ohio State

Coach of the Year: Ryan Day (OSU)

Offensive Player of the Year: C. J. Stroud (OSU)

Defensive Player of the Year: George Karlaftis (Purdue)

BoilerHawk

Penn State climbs the Big Ten East mountain after starting strong out of the gate. They were as impacted by COVID-19 with Micah Parsons opting out and then Indiana body swapping with them in the first game of the 2020 season. Wisconsin does what Wisconsin does, which is have the West wrapped up with a couple games in hand. Fun times. Who ever wins the knockdown dragout to open the season loses the rematch, which I have as Wisconsin right now for the West’s first title since the conference went to 14 teams.

West Winner: Wisconsin

East Winner: Penn State

B1G Champ: Wisconsin

Coach of the Year: Bret Bielema (Illinois)

Offensive Player of the Year: Jalen Berger (Wisconsin)

Defensive Player of the Year: Jack Campbell (Iowa)


There you have it: The Pants’ takes on how things will shake out in the conference this season. What are your thoughts on the Big Ten as we enter a full season of football with fans back in the stands for 2021?