Big Ten Conference logo

As we’ve passed the halfway point of the college season, I like to see where everybody in the conference stands and guess on the likely outcome for each team. From the BCS bound to the bowl-ineligible, here we go:

Leaders Division

Ohio State University Buckeyes LogoOhio State: Currently sitting at #4 in the BCS rankings, the Buckeyes have been dominant all year. However, I don’t see them jumping in the BCS rankings to #2 unless Oregon, Florida State, and/or Alabama lose a game. They will probably finish their year in the Rose bowl, playing against either #3 Oregon or #5 Stanford. Final record: 13*-0 (Big 10 Champs)

Wisconsin Badgers LogoWisconsin: #21 in the BCS rankings, the Badgers head west to BYU for their next game. Wisconsin is sitting behind Ohio State in the division and having already lost to them, it unlikely to play for the Big 10 Championship. They also have Penn State and Minnesota to deal with before bowl season, and I’d be willing to bet that they will drop one of those games and end up either 3rd or 4th in the conference. Final record 8-4

Penn State Logo

Penn State: While Penn State is still sitting beneath a bowl ban, they can still manage to finish strong with a bit of effort. At 5-3, on the season, it is up to them to finish the year with a winning season. Besides Purdue, they have yet to play Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, so I believe Penn State will win 6 games, but not many more. Final record: 6-6

indiana Univserity LogoIndiana: Kevin Wilson’s high powered offense returned this year, but hasn’t found much success. Currently having won only one conference game and three games total, Indiana will not only miss bowl eligibility but will not reach .500 on the season. Final Record: 5-7

 

Illinois Fighting Illini LogoIllinois: Illinois currently has an 18 game conference losing streak, but I think there is a slim chance Illinois breaks that streak before next year. Games against OSU and Northwestern are going to get ugly, and average Indiana should give the Illini more than they can handle. Purdue offers Illinois the only chance of earning a victory from a conference team this year. Final record: 4-8

Purdue University Boilermakers logoPurdue: This is a bad year for a bad program, it’s no wonder why Notre Dame wants to keep this cream puff rivalry over Michigan. The only game Purdue has won this year is against an FCS team, their neighbors to the south, Indiana State. Final record: 1-11

Legends Division

Michigan State University Spartans logoMichigan State: Sitting at the head of the class and master of it’s own destiny, State has yet to lose to a conference opponent. If State’s defense can play as dominant against all other teams as it did against Michigan, they should finish the year 11-1 going into the championship game. However, knowing State, I have to imagine they’ll drop a game to either Nebraska or Northwestern. That won’t be enough to derail their doomed Big 10 Championship match up with OSU. Final record: 10-3* (loses in the Big 10 Championship)

Nebraska University CornhuskersNebraska: Thus far, Nebraska seems to be under performing. That is silly to say about a team with only 2 loses, but coming into the season at #18 with aspirations of winning the Big 10, having 2 loses is a disappointment. With a tough schedule to finish the year, the Cornhuskers should finish in the conference between 3-5, depending on how Minnesota and Wisconsin do. Final record: 8-4

Minnesota University Gophers logoMinnesota: The surprise success of the year. The Gophers currently sit at #5 in the conference, but could move up quickly if Nebraska or Wisconsin lose. This team is intriguing because when they win, it’s usually a convincing win, but when they have lost, it has been bad. The gophers have a rough finish to the season with Penn State, Wisconsin and MSU, and I imagine Penn State will be the only win they get in the final three games. Final record: 8-4

University of Michigan Wolverines LogoMichigan: An otherwise good team that got blown out by instate rival MSU, Michigan has played inconsistent, but generally well this year. With the ability to score on big plays, the offense has put up over 40 points in 5 games this season. However, they have some stingy defenses to finish out their schedule. Home for Nebraska should be a win for UM, same with at Northwestern. Iowa’s defense could trip up UM and Ohio State is looking impress BCS voters, so I expect a lopsided defeat of the Wolverines despite being at the Big House. Final record: 8-4

Iowa University HawkeyesIowa: For as good a defense line as Iowa always seems to have, they certainly allow their opponents to score points this year. Sitting at 4-5, Iowa isn’t going to make a national splash, but they will finish the year with a bowl. With three more games to go, they will win at least one of them. The Hawkeyes should store Purdue with no problem. UM is a toss up and I can’t imagine them beating Nebraska at Omaha. Final record: 6-6

Northwestern University WildcatsNorthwestern: Northwestern started off so strong, what happened? They dominated their first five games and nearly beat OSU in week 6. Since their homecoming defeat by the Buckeyes, the wheels have come off and they have not won a game. Finishing the season with UM, MSU and Illinois, I imagine they will beat Illinois. UM and MSU both play at Ryan Field, but UM is looking to recover from their MSU loss and MSU’s defense is looking too tough to bet against. Final record: 6-6

Obviously, based on my predictions, that puts OSU and MSU head-to-head in Indianapolis on December 7th for the Big 10 Championship. As much as I love and respect MSU, OSU is looking to campaign for a BCS title game and the best way to make a statement is to win your conference.