We continue our roundtable look at the 2013 football season, this time focusing on the Big Ten. Previously, we'd focused specifically on Ohio State. Now we shift gears exclusively to the rest of the conference: who may surprise, who may disappoint, and who everybody will be talking about come award season:
Which B1G team is most likely to surpass expectations this year?
Purdue 1 (Brett)
Illinois 1 (Charles)
Michigan State 1
Iowa 1 (Luke)
Just about everybody in the league got a little love here, but Indiana, with their high flying offense and stable of QBs, got the most attention. Quite a few people seem to think that Indiana should be a bowl team this year. It's unclear if the diversity of other options had a lot to do with the fact that expectations are *so low* for like, half of the conference.
Luke on Iowa: "Greg Davis is an abomination and Kirk Ferentz is stealing money at this point, but with the consensus being they finish 5th in the Legends division, would anyone be shocked if they're a soft fourth or have a surprise run and finish third?"
Charles on Illinois: "They were god awful last season but it seems like Beckman is geeked up about this years team. They return some key pieces on both sides of the ball and added a few decent recruits who should be able to battle for playing time. I don't see them being a ranked club but I do think they have a much better season"
What B1G team is most likely to wildly disappoint?
Penn State 1
Much closer vote here, as several writers were wary of Nebraska's lack of defense (it appears Wisconsin just scored again, btw), or Michigan's general reliance on youth and Devin Gardner. Northwestern was also a strong choice, not because many people thought they would do poorly, but because of suddenly very high expectations around the program. That's a good thing for the Wildcats that a 7 or 8 win season would be disappointing.
Also, Wisconsin just scored AGAIN.
Who is your B1G offensive player of the year?
I'm not even going to bother digging through my email and double checking. Everybody said Braxton Miller, because duh. Even taking off the homer glasses for a minute, it's hard to not imagine him as the prohibitive favorite.
Who is your B1G defensive player of the year?
Ra’Shede Hagemann 1
There might be a titch of homerism here, but Shazier just edges out Wisconsin's Borland. Borland might be in the position to put slightly better numbers, but as Ian so helpfully reminded us, Shazier stood up pretty well to Heisman contenders last season, and if the Buckeyes are undefeated, it might be hard to keep him from getting the award.
Predicted order of finish:
(lets give 6 points for a 1st place prediction, 5 points for 2nd place, etc)
Ohio State – unanimous = 78
Wisconsin 5, 5, 5,5,5,3,5,5,4,5,5,5,5 = 62
Penn State 3, 4 ,3,4,4,4,3,4,5,4,4,4,4 = 50
Indiana 4 ,2,4,3,3,5,4,3,3,3,2,3,3 = 42
Purdue 2, 3,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,3,1,1 = 26
Illinois 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,2,2 = 15
Not too many big surprises here, although despite many claims that Indiana would surpass expectations, the staff voted Penn State above them to finish 3rd in a fairly close vote. Illinois was virtually a unanimous last place choice, and not many are taking a flier on Purdue either.
Michigan 5,5,6,5,4,3,5,5,5,6,4,5,6 = 64
Nebraska 6,6,4,6,6,5,4,6,3,5,6,6,4 = 62
Michigan State 4,4,3,3,5,6,3,4,4,4,3,3,5 = 51
Northwestern 3,2,5,4,3,4,6,3,6,3,5,4,3 = 51
Minnesota 1,1,1,2,1,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,1 = 21
Iowa 2,3,2,1,2,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,2 = 19
This division was much closer, which Michigan baaaarely edging out Nebraska, while MSU and Northwestern tied, with both receiving 1st place votes. It does seem strange to reconcile having the team you think is most likely to disappoint winning the division, but there you go. You'll see those four schools in just about every possible combination throughout prediction lists across the internet. As for Iowa, well, good job, good effort. At least Luke believes in you.
Who is one player in the B1G that isn't being talked about, but will be at the end of the year?
Christan Hackenberg 1
Akeem Hunt 1 (Brett)
Max Bullough 1
Lots of good answers here (I'm partial to Brett mentioning Purdue's Akeem Hunt, who could really break out this year), but Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin was the only player to get more than 1 vote. Gordon will pace what could be a prolific Wisconsin rushing attack, and should put up video game numbers in a game or two. If you don't know that name, make sure you know it now.