If you’re a Big 10 college football fan it’s time to plan your weekends around the conference gridiron schedule. Most of
the teams will begin their seasons on Saturday, August 31.
Minnesota – Golden Gopher fans may be taking their coach’s last name literally when asked what to do with Jerry Kill’s
program should it suffer another unsuccessful campaign. Minnesota was just 2-6 in the Big Ten last year and 6-7 overall.
Nines are wild when it comes to jersey numbers this year on both sides of the ball. The offense will be in the hands of
sophomore QB, #9 Philip Nelson. They also should have a capable power running game with 8 offensive linemen
The defensive line is also in good shape with 6’6”, 311 lb. Ra’Shede Hageman (#99) being asked to fill the void left by
Iowa – The Hawkeyes are without an experienced quarterback. The competition is between sophomore Jake
Rudock (#15) and JC transfer Cody Sukol (#19).
The defense should be solid but they lost their top pass rusher who, even with him, finished last in the Big Ten in sacks
with just 13 last year.
Michigan State – Mark Dantonio is a good enough coach to deliver 9 wins to Spartans fans even with 14
returning starters from a team that was 7-6 one year ago (3-5 Big Ten).
The running game is weak and the defensive line shaky, but an easy early schedule should help.
Nebraska – The offense IS quarterback Taylor Martinez. Twenty three TD’s through the air and 10
more rushing in 2012 is all you need to know about number 3.
A weak defense will make it rough for the Cornhuskers to duplicate their 7-1 2012 Big Ten record.
Northwestern – Wildcats fans were treated to their teams first bowl win in 64 years with the Gator Bowl win
vs. Mississippi State last year.
More good things will be in store on offense with the return of running back Venric Mark (#5).
The defense will need improvement, especially in the secondary to have another successful run.
Michigan – Wolverines fans expect to face Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship and with good reason. QB
Devin Gardner (#12) is not the departed Denard Robinson, but he is capable of leading the Wolverines way. The defense is
Illinois - It looks like another long season for Fighting Illini fans. It appears as if Coach Tim Beckham doesn’t have a
clue what to do with the little talent left to him from Ron Zook.
Senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhasse (#2) has a strong arm but no one to throw to.
Purdue - The Boilermakers don’t have the talent to compete this year. They have a capable QB and running backs on offense but no quality receivers.
The defense has many starters returning, but they’ll have to perform better than last year to give Purdue fans something
to cheer about.
Indiana – Hoosier fans will enjoy the teams’ very easy home schedule in Bloomington which should equal some wins, but
not much more, with a 3-way quarterback controversy and terrible defense.
Penn State – After enduring the horrible situation surrounding Jerry Sandusky, Nittany Lions fans deserve better and should receive it thanks to great coaching by Bill O’Brien and the running of “ZZ Top” Zack Zwinak (#28) if he can remain healthy.
Wisconsin – After 3 straight losses in the Rose Bowl, Badgers fans are looking to new Coach Gary Andersen to complete the job this year. Wisconsin’s best player is linebacker, Chris Borland who wears jersey number 44.
Ohio State - Clearly the best team in the Big Ten, Buckeye fans can enjoy a run to the “Roses” and beyond now that Ohio State is “bowl eligible” after last year’s sanctions. Another unbeaten season is likely, so let the party begin!
I love college sports, especially football. You may not always agree with me, but you will see I'm passionate.