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Big Ten predictions

Andrew Mouranie

With Big Ten media day being held in Chicago this week, I figured it was time to start thinking ahead to my favorite sport, college football. Hard to believe it is already late July and camps will be starting in a couple weeks, but there is no better time of the year than college football season

The Big Ten race in 2009 should be as wide open as it has been in recent memory. Unlike the past few years, Ohio State is not the clear-cut No. 1 team. Usually, the Buckeyes are the prohibitive favorite in the conference, but this summer has seen many “experts” go with Penn State, Iowa or even Michigan State as potential champions.

I am under the motto… the champs are still the champs until someone beats them. So I will pick Ohio State to win the Big Ten again this year. I know Penn State earned a share of the title and a Rose Bowl berth a year ago, but this is still Jim Tressel’s league and everyone else plays in it.

I will pick the Nittany Lions to finish second, as they do have a ton of talent returning including QB Darryl Clark, RB Evan Royster and linebackers Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee. They do, however, have plenty of holes to fill in the receiving core and in the secondary.

I have Michigan State finishing third, with Iowa and Illinois tied for fourth. Since the Hawkeyes and Fighting Illini do not play one another, I have Iowa ranked higher with more overall victories.

The middle of the pack in the conference could go any which way as Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, and Minnesota are all teams that could win anywhere from 5-8 games.

The two schools in the state of Indiana, Purdue and IU, are in line to struggle in 2009.

With all that said, here are my official 2009 Big Ten predictions.

Honors

Offensive player of the year: Darryl Clark, Penn State quarterback
Defensive player of the year: Greg Jones, Michigan State linebacker
Newcomer of the year: Tate Forcier, Michigan quarterback
Sleeper team: Minnesota
Disappointing team: Wisconsin
Team on the rise: Michigan State
Team with most to prove: Illinois
Coach on the hot seat: Bret Bielema, Wisconsin

My 2009-2010 projected final standings

1. Ohio State: 11-1 overall, 8-0 in the league. Wins: Navy, @ Toledo (in Cleveland), Illinois, @ Indiana, Wisconsin, @ Purdue, Minnesota, New Mexico State, @ Penn State, Iowa, @ Michigan. Loss: USC
2. Penn State: 11-1 overall, 7-1 in the league. Wins: Akron, Syracuse, Temple, Iowa, @ Illinois, Eastern Illinois, Minnesota, @ Michigan, @ Northwestern, Indiana, @ Michigan State. Loss: Ohio State
3. Michigan State: 9-3 overall, 6-2 in the league. Wins: Montana State, Central Michigan, @Wisconsin, Michigan, Northwestern, Iowa, @ Minnesota, Western Michigan, @ Purdue. Losses: @ Notre Dame, @ Illinois, Penn State
4. Iowa: 9-3 overall, 5-3 in the league. Wins: @ Iowa State, Arizona, Arkansas State, Michigan, @ Wisconsin, Indiana, Northwestern, Minnesota. Losses: @ Penn State, @ Michigan State, @ Ohio State.
5. Illinois: 8-4 overall, 5-3 in the league. Wins: Missouri (in St. Louis), Illinois State, Michigan State, @ Indiana, @ Purdue, Michigan, Northwestern, Fresno State. Losses: @ Ohio State, Penn State, @ Minnesota, @ Cincinnati
6. Minnesota: 7-5 overall, 4-4 in the league. Wins: @ Syracuse, Air Force, @ Northwestern, Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois, South Dakota State. Losses: California, @ Penn State, @ Ohio State, Michigan State, @ Iowa.
7. Northwestern: 7-5 overall, 3-5 in the league. Wins: Towson, Eastern Michigan, @ Syracuse, @ Purdue, Miami (Ohio), Indiana, Wisconsin. Losses: Minnesota, @ Michigan State, Penn State, @ Iowa, @ Illinois.
8. Wisconsin: 7-5 overall, 3-5 in the league. Wins: Northern Illinois, Fresno State, Wofford, Purdue, @ Indiana, Michigan, @ Hawaii. Losses: Michigan State, @ Minnesota, @ Ohio State, Iowa, @ Northwestern
9. Michigan: 5-7 overall, 2-6 in the league. Wins: Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Delaware State, Purdue. Losses: Notre Dame, @ Michigan State, @ Iowa, Penn State, @ Illinois, @ Wisconsin, Ohio State
10. Purdue: 3-9 overall, 1-7 in the league. Wins: Toledo, Northern Illinois, @ Indiana. Losses: @ Oregon, Notre Dame, Northwestern, @ Minnesota, Ohio State, Illinois, @ Wisconsin, @ Michigan, Michigan State
11. Indiana: 2-10 overall, 0-8 in the league. Wins: Eastern Kentucky, @ Akron. Losses: Western Michigan, @ Michigan, Ohio State, @ Virginia, Illinois, @ Northwestern, @ Iowa, Wisconsin, @ Penn State, Purdue

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