Nov 17, 2012; Madison, WI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes right tackle Reid Fragel (77) blocks for quarterback Braxton Miller (5) as their team plays the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Ohio State defeated Wisconsin in overtime 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Preview: 2013 Big Ten Season Predictions


Numerous preseason predictions have Ohio State penciled in to the BCS National Championship Game. We, at Saturday Blitz, don’t see an obvious loss on the schedule, either.

That, of course, is no guarantee the Buckeyes will be there in the end. One only needs look back as far as last season when Oregon and Kansas State blew their national championship hopes on the same night. Little drama exists in the Leaders division, but the Legends division isn’t nearly as clear.

Big Ten Leaders

Ohio State

Projected record: 12-0, 8-0 Big Ten

Most important game: at Michigan (Nov. 30)

Potential to be upset: at Michigan (Nov. 30)

Forecast: If anyone trips up the Buckeyes, it will most likely be Michigan, Wisconsin or Northwestern. QB Braxton Miller makes a run at the Heisman Trophy as long as health allows.

Wisconsin

Projected record: 9-3, 6-2 Big Ten

Most important game: at Ohio State (Sept. 28)

Potential to be upset: vs. Northwestern (Oct. 12)

Forecast: The Badgers run roughshod over the majority of their opponents but can’t pass their way out of trouble in a few critical games.

Penn State

Projected record: 7-5, 4-4 Big Ten

Most important game: at Indiana (Oct. 5)

Potential for an upset: vs. Nebraska (Nov. 23)

Forecast: Even quarterback whisperer Bill O’Brien struggles with the inexperience at the position this season, but the team matures in the second half and pulls off a late-season upset.

Indiana

Projected record: 6-6, 3-5 Big Ten

Most important game: vs. Penn State (Oct. 5)

Potential for an upset: vs. Minnesota (Nov. 2)

Forecast: Third-year coach Kevin Wilson leads the Hoosiers to a bowl game behind a strong if not consistent offense and a just-good-enough defense.

Purdue

Projected record: 4-8, 2-6 Big Ten

Most important game: vs. Iowa (Nov. 9)

Potential for an upset: vs. Notre Dame (Sept. 14)

Forecast: A brutal non-conference season bleeds into a gauntlet of a start to the Big Ten slate, creating a remarkably tough open to coach Darrell Hazell’s first year at Purdue.

Illinois

Projected record: 3-9, 1-7 Big Ten

Most important game: at Indiana (Nov. 9)

Potential for an upset: vs. Michigan State (Oct. 26)

Forecast: Year 2 for Tim Beckman doesn’t go much better than his first year at Illinois.

Big Ten Legends

Nebraska

Projected record: 11-1, 7-1 Big Ten

Most important game: at Michigan (Nov. 9)

Potential to be upset: vs. Northwestern (Nov. 2)

Forecast: The Nebraska defense takes advantage of an easy first half of the season, gelling for the pivotal stretch run. QB Taylor Martinez and RB Ameer Abdullah combine to be one of the nation’s most explosive backfields.

Michigan

Projected record: 10-2, 6-2 Big Ten

Most important game: vs. Ohio State (Nov. 30)

Potential to be upset: at Michigan State (Nov. 2)

Forecast: The Wolverines get to the final week of the regular season needing to beat arch-rival Ohio State to earn a rematch the following week in the Big Ten Championship Game. Michigan is unable to win that game, but returns to a BCS bowl.

Michigan State

Projected record: 7-5, 4-4 Big Ten

Most important game: vs. Michigan (Nov. 2)

Potential to be upset: at Iowa (Oct. 5)

Forecast: One of the nation’s best defenses can’t overcome an uneven offensive performance, but the Spartans still play as a tough spoiler down the stretch against divisional opponents.

Northwestern

Projected record: 7-5, 3-5 Big Ten

Most important game: vs. Michigan State (Nov. 23)

Potential for an upset: vs. Michigan (Nov. 16)

Forecast: Though Northwestern has a talented team, inter-divisional games against Ohio State and at Wisconsin derails its chances to take advantage of the November divisional round-robin before it starts.

Iowa

Projected record: 6-6, 3-5 Big Ten

Most important game: at Minnesota (Sept. 28)

Potential for an upset: vs. Michigan State (Oct. 5)

Forecast: Iowa starts strong but fades in the second half of the season by losing five of its last seven.

Minnesota

Projected record: 5-7, 1-7 Big Ten

Most important game: vs. Iowa (Sept. 28)

Potential for an upset: vs. Penn State (Nov. 9)

Forecast: Too much inconsistent play keeps the Gophers from advancing to consecutive bowl games. The run game fails to take the next step and QB Philip Nelson isn’t ready to carry the offense.

Big Ten Championship Game prediction: Ohio State 43, Nebraska 24

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Football Iowa Hawkeyes Michigan State Spartans Michigan Wolverines Nebraska Cornhuskers Northwestern Wildcats Ohio State Buckeyes Wisconsin Badgers

Comments are closed.