Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’


After all the talk of realignment, the Big 10 (excuse me, the B1G) was definitely a winner.  Even though they only added Nebraska, they were able to split into two divisions: the Leaders and the Legends.  The Legends division consists of Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Northwestern.  Out of the gate, it looks like the Legends Division could be deeper than the Leaders.  Regardless, here is the preview.

Iowa

2010 Record: 8-5

2010 Bowl Game: Insight Bowl vs. Missouri W 27-24

2011 Projected Record: 6-6

This Hawkeye team will not resemble the team from two years ago that went to the Orange Bowl.  Iowa lost six players to the NFL Draft, including quarterback Ricky Stanzi.  They also had three defensive linemen taken.  At quarterback this year, they will start Junior James Vandenberg.  Vandenberg has three career TDs at Iowa and has already been recognized as a leader by his teammates.  He also made the Academic All-Big 10 team in 2009.  If the Hawkeyes want to have significant success this season, Vandenberg will have to lead them.

Michigan

2010 Record: 7-6

2010 Bowl Game: Gator Bowl vs. Mississippi St L 52-14

2011 Projected Record: 10-2

The Wolverines benefit from having one of the easiest schedules in the country.  Their first five games are all in Ann Arbor.  And this is a huge benefit for new head coach Brady Hoke.  Equally as important,

Denard Robinson
Michigan Quarterback Denard Robinson

Michigan only lost two players to the NFL Draft.  Ironically, both were picked by San Diego, the same city where Hoke coached last season.  The most important factor this season though is junior quarterback Denard Robinson.  Robinson was the clear Heisman front-runner last season when Michigan was 5-0.  Robinson will be a preseason Heisman favorite this season, especially considering two of the past four Heisman winners were dual threat quarterbacks.  Lastly, I have Michigan beating Ohio State.  This is Michigan’s time to show that they aren’t an opponent to be taken lightly and they will show it come late November.

Michigan State

2010 Record: 11-2

2010 Bowl Game: Capitol One Bowl vs. Alabama L 49-7

2011 Projected Record: 11-1

Like Michigan, Michigan State also benefits from an easy schedule.  But unlike the Wolverines, they’re coming of a highly successful season (minus the bowl game) and they have their head coach coming back.  Mark Dantonio will have his Spartans ready to repeat their 11 win season.  A big part of this will be quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins is coming off his best statistical season and will have a huge impact in the Spartan locker room this season. Also, junior running back Edwin Baker is coming off a 1,000 yard season and he looks to be a big part of their offense.

Minnesota

2010 Record: 3-9

2010 Bowl Game: NONE

2011 Projected Record: 3-9

Minnesota is probably the worst team in this division.  New head coach Jerry Kill is hoping to improve upon last year’s dismal 3-9 record, but I doubt he’ll be able to do anything more than Tim Brewster.  The fact that quarterback Adam Weber is now playing for the Denver Broncos does not help either.  Weber is the all-time leader in touchdown passes at Minnesota.  Junior Marqueis Gray will try to fill his shoes, but he played mostly wide reciever last season and he might have trouble adjusting to being the full time quarterback for the Golden Gophers.

Nebraska

2010 Record: 10-4 (Big 12)

2010 Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl vs. Washington L 19-7

2011 Projected Record: 11-1

The newest member of the Big 10 looks like they will have a lot of success in their first season.  Quarterback Taylor Martinez started to live up to expectations last year and he looks to improve on that in his sophomore year as a Cornhusker.  Last year, he threw for 10 TDs and ran for 12 in only 13 games.  This put him on the All-Freshman team.  Another plus for Nebraska is their coach, Bo Pelini.  Pelini was

Taylor Martinez
Nebraska Quarterback Taylor Martinez

a former defensive coordinator at LSU and is very SEC minded when it comes to coaching.  Now, he’s coaching in a conference that is absolutely dreadful against SEC opponents as Michigan and Michigan State showed in last years bowl games, losing by a combined score of 101-21.  All of these things put the Huskers in a position to win this division.

Northwestern

2010 Record: 7-6

2010 Bowl Game: TicketCity Bowl vs. Texas Tech L 45-38

2011 Projected Record: 6-6

Unlike some other teams in this division, the Wildcats have a tough schedule this year.  Despite this, I think Northwestern (better known for its academics than its football) can still get to six wins.  The Wildcats have gotten to the six win mark each of the past four seasons.  If they hope to keep this going, they will need to get another solid year out of quarterback Dan Persa.  Persa was a captain as a junior last season and he proved he was worthy, passing for 15 touchdowns in just 10 games.  Northwestern has also launched a “Persa for Heisman” campaign.  Another big factor for the Wildcats will be sophomore running back Mike Trumpy, who averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season.

By Taylor Frank