2012 Big Ten Football predictions
Now it’s time to get a little dirty…for weeks..hopefully…you have been reading our Big Ten previews on each and every team….it gave some pretty good information and what to look for…but it’s time I throw some specifics at you….so here is how I think the Big Ten will shake down in 2012.
What goes into this?…well…a lot of research…I study each team…their history vs their opponents, their tendencies, a lot of statistical information…especially the last 5 years or so. But I also take into consideration returning starters, seniors on each team and schedules..coaching plays a big role too….but I also go with my gut…so while many of you may bash whatever you don’t agree with or don’t like…and that’s fine. To each his own…I hope you find it informational and entertaining….Read on Big Ten football lovers!!!
Week one preview is up next…look for it early next week….
- Ohio State 10-2, 7-1 Urban Meyer will get as much out of his team as he possibly can in his first season in Columbus…there will be growing pains…such as when Cal comes to town on September 15th…but November will present his toughest challenge..when they face an upstart Illinois team, travel to Madison and close with Michigan.
- Wisconsin 8-4, 4-4 Bret Bielema will struggle this year…and yes..8-4 is a struggling season for the Badgers…the reason for this hunch is I just don’t think Montee Ball will go another season without some kind of setback…he will be counted on much more in 2012 than in the past…The Badgers will find out how good they are right away with roadies vs Nebraska and Purdue sandwiching the Illinois game…their season will be made in this three week period.
- Purdue 7-5, 4-4 watch out for the Boilers in 2012…this is Danny Hopes best shot yet to win a Leaders title…tons of experience guys coming back, a three-headed QB position that has all kinds of playing time…all they need to do is beat the teams they should…and there are 7 of those on the schedule and you may include PSU in that mix…if they can pull an upset between Michigan, Wisconsin at home or at Columbus…they could be playing for the Big Ten title in December.
- Illinois 7-5, 4-4 The Fighting Illini have a lot of things going in their favor…a pretty decent core of players, one of the better defensive players in the Big Ten in Michael Buchanan and one of the better QB’s in the conference too with Nathan Scheelhaase…and they may have a better season than this…but with a brand new coach and almost entirely new coaching staff…there is too much turnover for them to make a run…but don’t be surprised if they do.
- Penn State 6-6, 2-6 If it were any other year…I might give PSU a break…but with an entirely new coaching staff, a respectable nonconference schedule and other than a bye in mid-October, the Lions do not have an easy week until Indiana the next to last week of the season…PSU doesn’t get any breaks in 2012…so 6-6 is a best case scenario…and that is them winning just two games AFTER September ends.
- Indiana 4-8, 1-7 I think Kevin Wilson’s team will show dramatic improvement…they will win four times as many games in 2012 than they did last season…the really unfortunate thing about playing for Indiana is this…you don’t get Indiana on your schedule so the Hoosiers schedule is very tough…there’s a pretty good chance that they will go two full months without a W…and STILL have four times as many W’s as 2011.
What to look for in the LEADERS…..
In my eyes, the game that will determine who wins this division and goes to the Big Ten title game will be on October 13th when Wisconsin has to go to West Lafayette to play Purdue. The Boilers haven’t beaten the Badgers since 2003 (0-6) and haven’t beaten them in Ross Ade since 1997 (0-4)….If Danny Hope can somehow get the Badger off his back, it could be a special year in northwestern Indiana.
For the first time since the 1991 season…Penn State does not have a team from the state of Michigan on its schedule…
Speaking of Penn State…with WR’s Devon Smith leaving to Marshall and Justin Brown bolting to Oklahoma along with HB Silas Redd enjoying the weather in Southern California…it means that Matt McGloin will have to be that much better for the Nittany Lions to have success on the field. I think he has decent ability and I also believe that Bill O’Brien will make him better…but he needs more help than he has….so my point is this…a team that had difficulties moving the ball last year will struggle to get 1st downs in 2012.
The Buckeyes may have the most difficult start to the Big Ten season than any other school in the conference….they start on the road in East Lansing then come home to play Nebraska.
Three Leaders schools play Pac 12 teams this fall…on September 8th Wisconsin will play in Corvalis against Oregon State and Illinois plays at Arizona State…then next week, Ohio State hosts California.
Keep an eye on the Indiana Hoosier backfield…QB Tre Roberson and HB JUCO transfer Stephen Houston…these two for a full season in Bloomington will get the offense rolling…but much more help is needed.
Illinois is a team that it just so hard to read…they have the most difficult first two games in the Leaders in my eyes…opening with a game vs Western Michigan, one of the contenders for the MAC title is going to be interesting for an entirely new coaching staff….then hitting the road and playing in the Pacific time zone is always challenging for Big Ten teams after the regular season begins…they get the Sun Devils the next week…both are winnable and if the Illini win them both…they could be a team to watch.
The Badgers are straying from their comfort zone a bit with their nonconference scheduling this year…they are playing two teams whom they have never played before…Northern Iowa & UTEP, a team they have never lost to…Oregon State (2-0) and a team they have never beaten…Utah State (0-1).