2019 Big Ten Football Predictions

Big Ten Championship: Michigan over Iowa

Big Ten East

1. Michigan Wolverines

Projected Record: 10-3 (7-2 Big Ten)

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The offense returns most of it’s offensive line and some dangerous receivers with Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins, and Tarik Black. Shea Patterson will have plenty of weapons to work with in their new spread offense. The only question I have is how do they replace all of their losses in the front seven. The defense is going to take a step back. Think this is the year they finally beat Ohio State though.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

Projected Record: 10-2 (7-2 Big Ten)

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There is talent all around Ohio State on both sides of the ball. But replacing four starters on the offensive line and expecting Justin Fields to be the answer at QB will be tough. If they had an experienced quarterback I would be much higher on them.

3. Michigan State Spartans

Projected Record: 9-3 (6-3 Big Ten)

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Their top ten ranked defense returns almost all of their starters. The defensive front is stacked especially with Kenny Willekes at defensive end. The offense was absolutely pitiful after QB Brian Lewerke was injured in Week 6. If Michigan State can get some improvement to their offense they will be a dangerous Big Ten team.

4. Penn State Nittany Lions

Projected Record: 8-4 (5-4 Big Ten)

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It is life after Trace McSorley. Their expected starter at QB transferred to Mississippi State and now I don’t think they have an answer on how to replace him. The defense should be solid with two big time front seven guys in DE Yetur Gross-Matos and OLB Micah Parsons. They’ll be 8-4 Penn State.

5. Maryland Terrapins

Projected Record: 6-6 (4-5 Big Ten)

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I’m a lot higher on Maryland than others. Josh Jackson at QB and Anthony McFarland at RB should keep this offense respectable. The defense replaces quite a few starters, but they will be decent enough not to give up too many points. Mike Locksley in his first year has a chance to make this Maryland team bowl bound.

6. Indiana Hoosiers

Projected Record: 5-7 (2-7 Big Ten)

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Indiana has been 5-7 the last two seasons… this year is going to be the third. They return a decent amount of starters and their QB Peyton Ramsey is alright. But the schedule does them no favors in their division and  a few tough cross divisional matches with Nebraska and Northwestern.

7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Projected Record: 2-10 (0-9 Big Ten)

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This is a bad football team that really isn’t worth my time. Their returning starting QB Artur Sitkowski threw 4 TDs and 18 INTs last year and they were embarrassed by KANSAS 55-14. Somehow McLane Carter, the Texas Tech transfer, hasn’t beat Sitkowski out yet. There is a chance they don’t win a football game this year. Alright, that was four sentences too long on the current state of Rutgers football.

Big Ten West

1. Iowa Hawkeyes

Projected Record: 10-3 (7-2 Big Ten)

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In the division anybody can win (except Illinois) I like Iowa’s chances the best. They are going to have one of the best defenses in the Big Ten and return a very good QB in Nate Stanley. Their offensive line is also loaded with one of the best left tackles in College Football Alaric Jackson. If they can get a little explosion from their offensive playmakers this will be a good football team.

2. Wisconsin Badgers

Projected Record: 9-3 (6-3 Big Ten)

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Wisconsin has a great running back in Jonathan Taylor, but other than that theres not much star power. Replacing four starters to the offensive line and a new quarterback will be tough. I believe true freshman Graham Mertz ends up starting at QB and he will be pretty good. The defense and running game will have to win games for this team though.

3. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Projected Record: 8-4 (5-4 Big Ten)

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I’m not going as far as a lot of people and picking Nebraska to win the division, but this will be a good football team. QB Adrian Martinez finished his true freshman year strong and he will look to take his game to another level. There’s a lot of young talent, but this is still a defense that finished the year ranked 94th. Tough to win in the Big Ten that way.

4. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Projected Record: 7-5 (4-5 Big Ten)

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They’re a sneaky team with 16 returning starters and one of the best/most underrated receivers in College Football in Tyler Johnson. P.J. Fleck has this team improving and I think this is the year they finish the regular season with seven wins.

5. Northwestern Wildcats

Projected Record: 6-6 (4-5 Big Ten)

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Expect Northwestern takes a step back this year. They are replacing a lot of defensive starters and they are not known for their offensive weapons. They also have a tough first game at Stanford. It will be tough for Clemson transfer QB Hunter Johnson to take over with not a whole lot to work with.

6. Purdue Boilermakers

Projected Record: 5-7 (4-5 Big Ten)

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Rondale Moore is electric and one of the best players in the Big Ten. Brycen Hopkins is a legitimate threat at Tight End. The rest of the roster isn’t great however. Purdue must replace a really solid QB in David Blough. Playing TCU and Vanderbilt in non-conference play won’t be easy either. They’re not a bad team, they just have a tough schedule.

7. Illinois Fighting Illini

Projected Record: 4-8 (1-8 Big Ten)

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This is year four of Lovie Smith and he is going into the season 9-27. The defense was ranked 128th last year and there isn’t a lot of signs of improvement. Illinois has recruited better, but at some point there has to be results on the field. They’ll sneak up on one Big Ten team, but that’s about it.

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