Back in July, the Hayes and Cannon brain trust looked at hours upon hours of Big Ten game film, studied fall weather patterns, evaluated player and coach tendencies, and prognosticated every single game for the conference’s football teams.
Alright, truth be told, some of the guys may have gone to those lengths.
Others may have selected by the color of uniform, mascot name, or by throwing darts.
I don’t really know how we all came to our choices, but, nevertheless, the choices were made and now it’s time to judge and mock them all… along with my own picks.
Oh, no, Wisconsin, what is you doin’?!
I’ll go ahead and take the brunt of this for the rest of my cohorts… but, man, we were all so far off on Wisconsin. Don’t get me wrong, I think we all knew that Alex Hornibrook was not a very good quarterback, despite what his friends and family at Pro Football Focus will tell you. That said, he managed to regress significantly in 2018, as did much of the roster. The Badgers finished a mediocre 7-5, only managing five conference wins. In short, we were all way off on UW.
I hit the overall records for Iowa (8-4), Minnesota (6-6) and Purdue (6-6) on the nose, while missing their exact conference wins and losses. I overestimated Nebraska’s first year under Scott Frost, and managed to underestimate Lovie Smith’s Illini. As for Northwestern, well, tip of the cap to Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats this year. I had them marked as a 6-6 team, with a losing conference record.
Adam’s Big Ten West Prediction Record – 55-29
As was the trend, Brandon had the Badgers cruising through the West. As you know, that didn’t happen. He also awarded Kirk Ferentz his 4,000th (estimate) Big Ten Coach of the Year Award in July, placing his Hawkeyes at an impressive 10-2. Ferentz had other plans, however, opting for his usual eight wins.
Minnesota and Nebraska were the killers for Brandon’s projections. The former won three more than he proposed and the latter three less. Illinois… well, they Illinoised, as we all assumed that they would.
Overall, Brandon started off very strong, but Northwestern’s surprising late-season run, coupled with the Gopher and Husker blunders, ultimately led to his downfall in the West Division picks.
Brandon’s Big Ten West Prediction Record – 52-32
Not to cut Chip’s summary short, but to see where his picks went wrong, see Brandon’s notes above. Like BZ, Chip had Minnesota at just three wins and Nebraska at seven.
Aside from that, he was able to curb the Hawkeye enthusiasm enough to save him a couple of games. Chip made up some ground by having Purdue with more wins than anyone else, though a couple of them got shuffled in the mix.
Chip’s Big Ten West Prediction Record – 53-31
Mike had the slowest start of the bunch, owning a losing record in his predictions through six weeks of play (probably the result of a brief mental lapse in which he thought he were putting the mid-90s Cornhuskers against the rest of the current conference). Once he worked out his Nebraska issues, Mike went on a tear, correctly projecting a large portion of the remainder of the year.
Mike nailed the final records of Purdue and Minnesota, avoided putting too many eggs in the Iowa basket, and knew that Illinois would be bad at football again.
Mike’s Big Ten West Prediction Record – 53-31
**Worth noting, though we all picked the winner of the Big Ten Championship game correctly, none of us had Northwestern as the opponent. I added a tally to all of our loss columns in this article.