As the Elldee Sports staff continues to look at the upcoming season, the Big Ten is now in the crosshairs! Will the Ohio State Buckeyes reign supreme for a third straight season or can a newcomer steal the crown? Will Harbaugh finally be able to lead Michigan to a conference championship? Is this the year that a team from the West Division finally breaks through and ends the 6-year championship drought? Only time (and the Elldee Sports Formula) will tell.
Let’s begin in the West Division, where no team has won the conference since the Wisconsin Badgers pulled it off in 2012! Nebraska could be a dark horse to win the West but that really comes down to how well the Cornhuskers have picked up Coach Scott Frost’s system. When he coached at UCF, the Golden Knights were winless in year one and undefeated in year two. I don’t think that Nebraska will go undefeated but they may be a contender or play spoiler at a minimum. Iowa has been close a few times but have not been able to close the deal. It does not appear they are going to be able to pull it off this year either, although they have a better chance than most. The schedule looks tough, including a road game in Madison which will decide the division. Wisconsin will win the division on virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker as they will defeat Iowa at home. The Badgers are always tough and prove to be so again this year, in a bounce back spot after a disappointing 2018 (according to Wisconsin standards). Who will they play, though?
The East is a much different animal than the West. While the traditional powers in the West lean on a strong defense and methodical offense, the East plays a more up-tempo game with solid defense and high-powered offenses. Penn State and James Franklin are a solid group but Elldee Sports only predicts a 9-win season for the Nittany Lions. A good year but not where Penn State wants to be year in and year out. The reason they are predicted to lose three matchups plays mainly from the fact that they have to play Ohio State and Michigan. Ohio State, the two-time defending conference champion, is on a roll and hopes to continue it’s strong play (and they will). They have continued to recruit at an amazing pace, ensuring they will be formidable for years to come! It just won’t be strong enough as this is the year that Michigan will finally give Jim Harbaugh his much anticipated win over their hated nemesis from the state to the East. The Big House will be rocking and all the pieces will fall into place.
The Big Ten Championship Game will feature the Wisconsin Badgers vs. the Michigan Wolverines for the second time this season. The Wolverines will win in Madison early in the season, on Sept. 21st and then win again in Indianapolis to finish the season. This will cap off an undefeated season and sneak the Wolverines into the College Football Playoffs as the #3 seed for a date with the Clemson Tigers. Until next time, Good Luck!