SportsCrack's 2016 Big Ten Predictions

Projected Finish

East Division

1. Ohio State (11-1) - You can never underestimate an Urban Meyer led football program but I feel a lot of pundits are doing just that. The Buckeyes are 50-4 since Meyer took over.  They should again win the conference with playmakers like QB JT Barrett and LB Raekwon McMillan back.

2. Michigan State (10-2) - Sparty should have one of the better defenses in the college game led by DE Malik McDowell.  They get Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State all at home which should help.

3. Michigan (9-3) -  Road games at Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State will torpedo a tremendous first half start by the Wolverines because of the lack of good QB play.

4. Penn State (7-5) - As the norm the Nittany Lions have a tremendous group of linebackers and a great tailback in Saquon Barkley.  Problem is the rest of the roster is very young and will be starting a new QB.

5. Indiana (6-6) - The Hoosiers have one of the better offensive lines in the conference and should score a lot of points.  If the defense can step up they could make another bowl game.

6. Maryland (6-6) - I might be underestimating the Terps with new coach DJ Durkin.  They got talent but they still don't have a QB.

7. Rutgers (4-8) - All I can say is good luck to new coach Chris Ash.  He's got a complete rebuild in store for him and the schedule does him no favors.

West Division

1. Iowa (10-2) - Hawkeyes again will benefit from a joke of a schedule with their toughest road game being in Happy Valley.  Desmond King is surprisingly back at cornerback and many pundits are high on QB C.J. Beathard.

2. Wisconsin (9-3) - The early season schedule is brutal for the Badgers with LSU in the opener and Michigan State, Michigan, and Ohio State  all before mid October.  If they can manage to pull off a couple of upsets they should finish strong.

3. Nebraska (8-4) - I feel like the Cornhuskers are a legit QB from wining this division.  Tommy Armstrong Jr put up some decent stats last year on paper but if you watched him live you would say why is this guy even playing much less starting for Nebraska.

4. Northwestern (8-4) - Pat Fitzgerald is one of the better coaches in the conference and has a big time LB in Anthony Walker leading the defense.  If they can pound the ball with RB Justin Jackson I could see them pulling off some upsets including 1 of the road games vs Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State.

5. Minnesota (7-5) - Like Iowa the Gophers play a joke of a schedule and they get the three worst teams in the East Division instead of the best.

6. Illinois (4-8) - It's a total rebuild for new coach Lovie Smith who hasn't coached at the collegiate level since 1995.  I like who Lovie brought in as assistants but it's going to take some time to get their talent up to winning standards.

7. Purdue (4-8) - Purdue is 1-11, 3-9, and 2-10 the last 3 seasons.  Holy shit they are terrible!  Congrats Boilermakers you win 4 games this season.

OVERRATED TEAM - Michigan is top 5 in the nation in the preseason polls but I got them finishing third in their division because of their QB play or lack thereof. 

UNDERRATED TEAM - Wisconsin is being written off of their schedule but talent and coaching wise they could be the best team in the Big Ten West Division.

BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYMAKER - Ohio State's J.T. Barrett was a top 5 Heisman vote getter his redshirt freshman season.  This year he has the starting job and should put up monster numbers.

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYMAKER - Sparty's Malik McDowell is basically unblockable at times and should rack up double digit sacks.

TOP FRESHMAN - Michigan got the #1 recruit in the nation in DT Rashan Gary who is expected to contribute right away.

COACH OF THE YEAR - Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.  He's 50-4 as the Buckeyes coach and has 3 Natty's under his belt.

FINAL PREDICTION - Ohio State (11-1) beats Iowa (10-2) to advance to the College Football Playoffs.

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