The 2017 Daly Dose College Football Preview: The Big 10

The Big 10 Conference

It was just a few seasons ago that the Big 10 was being talked about as being too slow, and too out of date. Then Urban Meyer went to Ohio State, and the Big 10 won a national title, and has been to all three of the College Football Playoffs. Just forget the fact that they have been outscored 69-0 in the past two. Okay?

Big-Ten-Teams

East Division

1. Penn State Nittany Lions

Predicted finish: 11-1

The Nittany Lions are for real. After going 11-3 in 2016, and beating Ohio State, they are looking for more in 2017. Penn State returns 16 starters from that team, including QB Trace McSorley, but this team will see something this year that they haven’t seen since like 2009. Actual expectations. So, a 7-5 season is probably coming.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

Predicted finish: 10-2

Urban Meyer will return a ton of talent from a team that went to the College Football Playoff last year including a terrific defensive front and QB JT Barrett. The Buckeyes should once again find themselves in the…wait a second…JT Barrett? He’s still around? How old is that guy? What is he, like a seventh-year redshirt senior? I think he was handing off to Eddie George as a freshman.

3. Michigan Wolverines

Predicted finish: 9-3

2016 has to feel like a missed opportunity for the Wolverines, who probably lost too much to contend in 2017. The schedule looks to be too difficult for this team, that will be talented, but inexperienced. But at least Michigan has head coach Jim Harbaugh. Remember when that used to be worth getting excited about?

4. Indiana Hoosiers

Predicted finish: 9-3

The Hoosiers are heading into unfamiliar territory this year, as they actually have an aggressive, stingy defense. If the offense could generate a running game, IU could find themselves in even stranger territory, with a shot at a big bowl game. If not, they will struggle to finish above .500. Now that, they’re used to.

5. Michigan State Spartans

Predicted finish:: 7-5

The Spartans knew they would need to rebuild in 2017 anyways, so they decided to  go 3-9 in in 2016 too, just to hurry the process along. Now they actually don’t have much talent returning. If you thought head coach Mark Dantonio was grouchy before…

6. Maryland Terrapins

Predicted finish: 5-7

Head coach DJ Durkin inherited a mess when he took the job in College Park, but he somehow got the Terrapins to be competitive, in his first season at the helm. Durkin’s enthusiasm helped bring in a solid recruiting class, and could propel this team back to another bowl game. Unfortunately, the schedule has visits to Texas, Ohio State, and Wisconsin on it. That should sap that darned enthusiasm.

7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Predicted finish: 4-8

The Scarlet Knights still have a ton of work to make themselves look like an actual Big 10 football program, but we are saying that they are going to double their win total from a season ago. So that’s something.

 

West Division

1. Wisconsin Badgers

Predicted finish: 10-2

Don’t be surprised to see the Badgers have an excellent season, as they return talent on both sides of the ball. The defense should be terrific, and the offense could take some major strides, if they can develop a running game. A more manageable schedule, could be a recipe for another loss in the conference championship game. Keep your fingers crossed!

2. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Predicted finish: 9-3

The Cornhuskers haven’t been to a conference championship since 2012 when they lost to Wisconsin 70-31. They have a fair amount of transition to overcome this season, so at least they shouldn’t have to worry about another embarrassing loss like that in a championship game for a few more years.

3. Northwestern Wildcats

Predicted finish: 8-4

Northwestern just keeps surprising everyone, going to back-to-back bowl games in 2015, and 2016. Could this be the year that they actually contend for a Big 10 championship? Considering their first two conference games will be against Wisconsin, and Penn State, no….no, it will not.

4. Iowa Hawkeyes

Predicted finish: 7-5

As a true Kirk Ferentz team should be, the 2017 Iowa Hawkeyes football team will be tough. They will have a physical defensive front, and a solid running back tandem in Akrum Wadley, and transfer James Butler. That should be enough to get them to another crappy bowl game that no one cares about.

5. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Predicted finish: 6-6

New head coach PJ Fleck has proven himself up to the challenge of getting a program like Western Michigan into the national conversation. But that change didn’t happen overnight, and neither will this one. The Golden Gophers have a number of questions on both sides of the ball, but could be scrappy enough to go 9-3, or thin enough to go 3-9. So we will just save some time, and split the difference.

6. Purdue Boilermakers

Predicted finish: 4-8

Purdue hired what may have been a steal in Western Kentucky coach Jeff Brohm. He has proven to be a very capable offensive mind, and could eventually get the Boilermakers back to a level of respectability. At least, until he leaves for a better job.

7. Illinois Fighting Illini

Predicted finish: 3-9

How can a football program located in such a talent-rich state like Illinois manage to be terrible every single year? Focus and determination, mostly. And you probably thought we were going to say something negative here, didn’t you? Nope. We are glass half-full at the Daly Dose.

 

Did you miss the Daly Dose ACC preview?

Coming tomorrow: the Daly Dose Big 12 preview!

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