Gary Brown of CollegeSportsMatchups plays the game of how each Big Ten team CAN win the conference titlle, and then why they CAN’T.
Penn State Nittany Lions
Why they can: Penn state football fans can be grateful their team has a solid running back in Evan Royster and depth in the receiving corp. There is also plenty of experienced talent coming back along the offensive line.
Why they can’t: Kevin Newsome has thrown eleven passes in his college football career and while the defense may mature over the year, the three top tacklers from last year are gone; this unit will be a question mark as the season begins.
Will they? Newsome will have to really mature quickly, but don’t count on a Big Ten title for Joe Pa this year.
Interesting that the defense is not even mentioned. And he presupposes Newsome will be the starting QB–a safe assumption though. But I think the 2010 defense will be as good if not better than last year’s, even despite the losses of Bowman and Lee. And defense wins championships, doesn’t it???
In fact, if the receivers and o-line are as solid as he thinks, then that will only help the QB situation. But I’m not sold on the o-line yet, and I’m not sure any of our QB prospects will be able to succeed this year. As I noted in my pigskin prediction entry, though, the limiting factor will likely be the coaching staff and how willing they are to open things up and let the kids play to win, instead of playing not to make mistakes (and thereby lose.) The latter gameplan works best with an experienced QB/leader and a lot of talent.
Other tidbits of interest/amusement:
- If the Badgers go 4-0 in October they will be the Big Ten champs. This means they will have to reel off wins against Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Iowa. Look for the Badgers to get it done and win the conference. [I’m not so sold on the big red W.]
- Will they [Iowa]? Only if Kirk Ferentz and crew can coach the offensive line up.
- Do Michigan State fans expect to win the Big Ten? Not really. So enjoy another good season with a good bowl game, but no Big Ten title. [lowered expectations?]
- Michigan football is as unstable as it has probably ever been. With enough losses this year a new coaching staff will be in place, the NCAA penalties will be known and the journey to becoming Michigan football once again can be embarked on. [Sorry, but I think RichRod should stay.]
- Indiana football just does not have enough playmakers anywhere on the team to make much noise in conference. [That’s kind of harsh. OK, we all thought it, but he actually typed it out loud.]
- Will they [Minnesota]? Have you seen the Gopher’s new stadium? It is really nice. See, we said something nice to avoid saying something else. [Why did they fire Mason, anyway?]
- So what to expect from the Big Ten? Look for a very solid Wisconsin team to be a surprise champion with Ohio State next in line. Penn State will improve as the season progresses and Iowa will disappoint. [Except for the Wisconsin winning it all part, I think the rest could be an accurate assessment.]
- The rest of the conference will be looking ahead to the 2011 season. Illinois fans will start thinking how great the guy who replaced Ron Zook at Florida has done, while Bama fans will continue to be grateful that Michigan’s Rodriguez decided to pass on the opportunity to be their head coach.