Big 10 Leaders Football Preview 2011

Posted: August 4, 2011 in Football
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The Big 10’s new divisions make for some interesting match-ups. And, despite the SEC’s dominance, look for some Big 10 teams to possibly make a run.

Wisconsin Badgers
2010 Record: 11-2 (7-1 Big 10)
2010 Bowl Game: Rose Bowl vs. TCU Horned Frogs, L 19-21
2011 Projection: 11-1 (7-1)

Despite playing Ohio State, Michigan St., and Illinois on the road, I’m predicting that the Badgers will come out on top of the Big 10 Leaders division this year. Last year they showed that could beat the best, and they’ll be in the Top 5 of all teams this year. Their QB situation is a mess, but with RBs Montee Ball and James White, they may be able to overcome that issue. Other than the QB issue, both the offense and the defense are set to make a run back to one of the best Bowl games. Only Michigan State will be able to overcome the Badgers this season.

Penn State Nittany Lions
2010 Record: 7-6 (4-4)
2010 Bowl Game: Outback Bowl vs. Florida Gators, L 24-37
2011 Projection: 9-3 (6-2)

Rob Bolden

Penn State Quarterback Rob Bolden will be Fighting for his Job this Season.

With the new divisions in the Big 10, and Ohio State having troubles, look for the Nittany Lions to capitalize and be one of the top teams. They have some holes to fills, but it doesn’t look like the holes will hinder their season. In the QB situation, Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin will again be battling for the starting job. Both are good enough to lead Penn State to a solid record. And whoever wins the starting job will have senior WR Derek Moye, who is one of the best receivers in the Big 10, to catch the ball. I’m predicting their only losses will be against Alabama, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.

Illinois Fighting Illini
2010 Record: 7-6 (4-4)
2010 Bowl Game: Texas Bowl vs. Baylor, W 38-14
2011 Projection: 8-4 (5-3)

The Illini are definitely the giant killers in the Big 10 this year. They have a lot of potential, and it’s possible for them to go 10-2, but also to go 2-10. So to be realistic, I have them as the third best team in the Leaders division. Sophomore QB Nathan Scheelhaase is most probably the starter, and he also has the potential to be the best QB in the Big 10. Unfortunately for the Illini, they lost star RB Mikel Leshoure to the NFL, which means they need to either find a good RB, or work more on their passing game.  If Illinois wants to prove itself on a national scale, it must beat Arizona State in Week 3. Head coach Ron Zook will definitely have a challenge on his hands, but if he can overcome it, Illinois can definitely have a solid season this year.

Ohio State Buckeyes
2010 Record: 12-1 (7-1) (Wins Vacated)
2010 Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl vs. Arkansas, W 31-26 (Vacated)
2011 Projection: 6-6 (3-5)

The Buckeyes 2011 season will be torturous… for Ohio State standards anyways. Despite an offseason filled with controversy and the two most important pieces (coach and QB) gone from the program, the Buckeyes still have talent, and I’m predicting that they will still end up at .500, or possibly with a winning season. The possibly comes with the game at Miami. I didn’t give it to them, but if they can come out with a win, they could still manage a winning season. Their talent everywhere else is still great, which will allow them to beat the lesser Big 10/out of conference teams. Coaching will be a problem this year for the Buckeyes, because they will have to learn head coach Luke Fickell’s new system. And unfortunately for fans, this will also be the year the Michigan steps up and beats Ohio State. The controversy and sudden change will have been too much for the team to handle, and Ohio State will probably end up being a .500 team.

Purdue Boilermakers
2010 Record: 4-8 (2-6)
2010 Bowl Game: NONE
2011 Projection: 5-7 (2-6)

How the season goes for the Boilermakers will all be based on how well QB Robert Marve plays. There were high hopes for him, but he blew out his ACL last season, and Purdue suffered without him. All in

Robert Marve
Purdue Quarterback Robert Marve

all, the Boilermakers’ offense isn’t that bad, and last year they didn’t have a true QB. This year, all they can hope for is that their offense outplays the other team’s offense, because their defense will not be able to win them games. This year they will be better, but not enough to surpass Wisconsin, Penn State, Illinois, and Ohio State.

Indiana Hoosiers
2010 Record: 5-7 (1-7)
2010 Bowl Game: NONE
2011 Projection: 4-8 (1-7)

The Hoosiers are again going to have a tough season. Not only are they not very good, they have a terribly difficult Big 10 schedule. They face Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio State, and Michigan State on the road. One thing that could help is the fact that they have 18 returning players, which makes them one of the most experienced teams in the NCAA.  But, despite the experience, the other Big 10 teams’ talent will be too much, and they will only have four victories this year.

By Gaurav Shastri


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