The Big Ten has become something of a laughing stock among college football circles (at least SEC ones), but the Buckeyes look to be the sole driving force to save face for the rest of the conference. But is there anyone left in the conference who can take down OSU, particularly after a potentially season-defining win over a decent Penn State team?
We’ll look at the rest of the schedule for the Buckeyes, as well as potential contenders in the championship game, weighing up each team’s chances. Feel free to offer your opinions/lambast me in the comments box, or hit me up on Twitter.
The Remaining Schedule
Expecting a letdown after last week’s emphatic victory? Unfortunately, it’s not coming at the hands of the struggling Boilermakers. I really like their defense, but they have neither the depth, nor even the talent to stick with Ohio State for more than a quarter. This could be ugly.
Odds of taking down the champ: Lloyd Christmas had better odds with Mary Swanson.
The Illini are about as middle-of-the-road as you can get – they’re not a bad team, but there’s nothing particularly good about them either. Still, that’s a hell of a lot better than last season, which is a step in the right direction, and they have a shot at a bowl, needing 3 wins out of their last 5 games. Make that 4 games, as they ain’t winning this one.
Odds of taking down the champ: If they played a perfect game, they’d probably still lose.
Last season, the Hoosiers nearly gave Ohio State and their fans a collective prolapse as they lost a 52-49 shootout. This year’s incarnation is a better team, and they could cause similar problems this year. Let’s be honest, the Buckeyes defense hasn’t exactly been a rock, so Indiana could cause some problems. The Hoosier defense is worse, so expect lots of points. The game is in Columbus, which tips the odds in favor of OSU, but they may be focused on another game the following week. Just a mere trifle of a game…
Odds of taking down the champ: Don’t write off the Hoosiers. I don’t think they’ll win, but I won’t be surprised if they do.
If someone’s going to knock off the Buckeye’s, their hated rivals TSUN are the most likely to do it. They are the one team in the conference with the talent and depth to run with Ohio State, and there’s the small matter of utter hatred for each other. The game is in Ann Arbor, giving Michigan the edge, but they need to avoid turnovers and don’t let Ohio State build a lead – kind of like Penn State did. This will be fun.
Odds of taking down the champ: Good, and it could be necessary to win the Legends.
The Title Game (aka Legends Division)
Can they make it, can they win: The Hawkeyes played Ohio State hard earlier in the season, yet still lost by 10. Even if they did make the title game, tough with 2 conference losses, they may find it a tougher game this time round.
Can they make it, can they win: Already covered it. Interestingly, should the Wolverines win at the end of the season, it could be a strong possibility that they play each other in the championship game too.
Can they make it, can they win: Despite the tough closing kick to their schedule, my gut says the Spartans are heading to the title game. Their defense isn’t just good, it’s downright nasty, but their offense struggles at times under Connor Cook and that should be the case against the Buckeyes talent. Their running game is tough, but you won’t beat OSU with it.
Can they make it, can they win: The Golden Gophers are a surprise team this year, and are already bowl eligible, but 2 league losses make it unlikely they’ll be representing the Legends at the big dance. I can’t see them taking down Ohio State this year regardless.
Can they make it, can they win: If the Cornhuskers can navigate their nasty schedule to make the title game, I could see them giving OSU a battle. However, they lack toughness on defense, and I’d be surprised to see them representing the Legends.
Can they make it, can they win: Four conference losses already? Yooouuu’rrree out!
Tags: Big Ten Leaders Big Ten Legends Connor Cook Illinois Fighting Illini Indiana Hoosiers Iowa Hawkeyes Michigan State Spartans Michigan Wolverines Minnesota Golden Gophers Nebraska Cornhuskers Northwestern Wildcats Ohio State Buckeyes Purdue Boilermakers