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Penn State the favorite to win Big Ten East, according to ESPN’s FPI

Early analytic models have the Nittany Lions ahead of both Ohio State and Michigan

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 Idaho at Penn State Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Just one game into the college football season, advanced metrics are already attempting to give us a glimpse into how 2019 is going to play out. The Football Power Index (FPI) is one such measure, meant to predict a team’s performance moving forward based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using its own rating system. While it is hard to put a ton of stock into these projections after just one game, it is currently Penn State who is favored to win the Big Ten East based on FPI.

After their whopping 79-7 win over Idaho this past Saturday, the Nittany Lions rank fifth in FPI at 21.3 — the highest of any team in the Big Ten. Penn State is being given just a 6.7 percent chance of winning all of its remaining games to finish undefeated, but a 36.5 percent chance to win the conference.

Ohio State is actually not even projected to finish second according to FPI, which favors Michigan as well. The Wolverines are right behind PSU with a 19.0 FPI, given just a 1.9 percent chance of winning out and a 23.5 percent chance of a Big Ten title. The Buckeyes are way behind their conference counterparts, ranking No. 14 in FPI at 14.4. ESPN gives OSU a paltry 0.6 percent chance of winning out, and only an 8.3 percent chance to win the Big Ten for a third consecutive year.

While FPI is just one metric for season-long prediction, the Buckeyes again rank behind the Nittany Lions in Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings. Penn State is the highest-rated Big Ten team yet again, pulling in at No. 6 — just one spot ahead of No. 7 Ohio State. The SP+ rankings think much lower of Michigan, placing them all the way down to No. 14.

It is yet to be seen just how long these current rankings will hold, but one thing is for sure: There is still a ton of football to be played in 2019, and absolutely nothing is set in stone.

Chris Holtmann announced a few additions to the Ohio State basketball program on Wednesday afternoon. One of these additions is the accomplished former Buckeye basketball player Terence Dials new role as director of professional development. Dials’ primary responsibilities with include providing career and community service opportunities for the men’s basketball team. Dials will aid in arranging internships, mentors and job fairs for student athletes, as well as providing academic support and oversight.

Dials played in 132 games over his Ohio State career, averaging just under 12 points and seven rebounds per game. His 1,566 career points rank No. 14 all-time in program history, while his 867 rebounds are good for No. 5 all-time. The 2006 Big Ten Player of the Year, Dials was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in Sept. 2015.

In addition to Dials, Holtmann also announced the addition of two program assistants in Andrew Dakich and Robbie Rucki. Dakich played for Ohio State as recently as 2018, providing valuable leadership both on and off the court in his one season as a Buckeye. Rucki has spent the last seven years with Ohio State Athletics, starting as a student manager in 2012.

“If you want to go somewhere, where you can compete for a championship, where the team has only lost nine games in the last seven seasons, where they can develop you to the point that one day you can be one of the highest-paid players in NFL history . . . Come to Ohio State.”

- Stephen Means,

As if Ohio State needed any additional fuel to their recruiting fire, a huge bargaining chip was added to the game with Ezekiel Elliott’s new contract. The fourth-year running back for the Dallas Cowboys signed a six-year, $90 million deal this week, making him the highest-paid RB in the NFL.

The highest paid wide receiver in the NFL? That would be Michael Thomas, another Buckeye product, who signed a five-year, $100 million contract with the New Orleans Saints.

Ohio State has now produced the two highest paid players at their respective positions — two of the most important skill positions on the field on every NFL offense. They are the only school in the country who can lay claim to that title, and there is no doubt they will use that in recruiting moving forward. Do you want to compete for a national title AND get paid in the NFL? Become a Buckeye.

Both Elliott and Thomas were members of the 2016 NFL Draft, with Zeke being taken at No. 4 and “Can’t Guard Mike” a steal at No. 47. Zeke has led the league in rushing yards in two of his first three seasons in the NFL, making two Pro Bowls and racking up over 4,048 yards and 34 total touchdowns in that span. Thomas has gotten better each and every year, breaking the Saints record for receptions in a season with 125 in 2018 — good for fifth-most all-time in an NFL single season.

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