I’ve mentioned it before, I like predicting stuff. It’s fun. Hit on a couple of guesses, ignore those that you whiffed on, and you’re feeling like a million bucks.
We’re now in the dog days of summer, with nothing left but baseball to save us from absolute sports boredom. For me, that’s just not enough, and my brain is already on football mode (honestly, it never leaves it).
We’ve talked about how the Buckeyes will fare in 2018. Some have contemplated whether or not Wisconsin will drop off or continue their dominating run through the division. Will Iowa take another playoff-altering swing at one of the big dogs? What should we make of Purdue, Northwestern, Minnesota and Nebraska?
The Hayes and Cannon group got together and made it easy for you. We’ve done our best to answer a lot of those questions by laying out the 2018 schedule and results… for every single team in the conference. Yesterday we did the Big Ten East.
Opinions varied a bit this time as well, and here are each of our individual picks for every team and game in the Big Ten West.
*steps up to the mic*
*taps mic to make sure it’s on*
That’s really all that you need to know for the Big Ten West.
Iowa should be good, but not too good. I’m guessing just good enough to ensure that Kirk Ferentz gets another contract extension, pushing it out to roughly 2036.
I have Northwestern, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Purdue all log-jammed at 6-6. I think there will be improvements for some, setbacks for others, but nothing drastic enough to push any of them to the top of the division just yet. If they were in the SEC, this would mean that they are ALL awesome. But, they’re not, so they’re just meh.
Illinois, once again, is the Brick Tamland of the Big Ten. Their second straight 0-9 record in conference, the football equivalent of Brick’s I.Q. of 48, will be enough to send Lovie elsewhere. But, hey, they killed Western Illinois with a trident!
In the West, Wisconsin is way ahead of everyone else, but rumor has it that Iowa can surprise people too. I’m working to confirm. They have a pretty favorable schedule and I only see the Hawkeyes dropping two games (vs Wisky and at PSU). If they can pull off the upset at home against the Badgers, they could easily find themselves in the driver’s seat for the Big Ten championship game. Who wouldn’t love a chance for the Buckeyes to face Iowa this season? Urban may drop 100 on those fools.
Luckily for the West, their out of conference schedule is pretty darn soft so it helps a few teams get bowl eligible even though I project everyone but the Hawkeyes and Badgers to have a below .500 B1G record.
As much as we would all love a little more balance, once again the East is so far ahead of the West it has become more of a joke than the Leaders and Legends bull crap we put up with a few years ago.
Wisconsin at Iowa on 9/22 might be the first elimination game of the B1G season, as it pertains to division races. I may be too high on Nebraska, but I think they will be better by season’s end, despite being outmanned. Adrian Martinez is going to take his lumps as a true freshman QB, but should have the Huskers poised for bigger things in 2019.
On the other side, I may be too harsh about Minnesota, but the offensive woes in 2017 did not inspire too much confidence in me. PJ Fleck better show he can coach a good game versus just talk a good game.
How good is Northwestern going to be? Is Clayton Thorson going to be ready for the season?
I probably have Iowa wrong, but that is a chance I am willing to take.
I wonder if Illinois is going to pull the plug on the Lovie Smith experiment after this season. The youth movement is a great idea, but results need to be shown, and fast.
For the West, Wisconsin will continue to cakewalk to Indy, although I fully expect Scott Frost and Nebraska to take a giant leap from the dismal 2017 campaign.