Forecasting the Big Ten: Predictions, Booze Comparisons and a Twitter Synopsis

Adam KramerNational College Football Lead WriterAugust 15, 2012

Forecasting the Big Ten: Predictions, Booze Comparisons and a Twitter Synopsis

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    Urban Meyer is back in business, Brady Hoke is recruitin’ everything in sight, Wisconsin has another ACC QB and Nebraska is trying to take that “next” step.

    This is only the tip of the iceberg for our B1G Legends and Leaders, which is a painful reminder that someone thought that these were good division names at one point.

    The college football season is nearly upon us, which means it’s time to break out the ol’ crystal ball. This year, however, I've traded in the classic crystal ball you’re accustomed to for something slightly more unique. Yeah, that’s the word.

    Predicted records, strengths, weaknesses and breakout players will make it seem like business as usual, and then we’ll stray off this typical path. A Twitter synopsis (only using 140 characters, which is much harder than it sounds) and a booze comparison have been added to give you a different outlook on each team.

    We're all thinking about tailgating (and tweeting at these tailgates) at the moment, so the whole thing seemed strangely fitting. Plus, you'll like read the same exact preview 677 times in the next few weeks, which means we needed to change things up. Mission Accomplished.

Illinois

1 of 12

    Predicted Record: 6-6

    Toughest Game: October 6th at Wisconsin

    Don’t Sleep On 'Em Game: September 22nd vs. Louisiana Tech

    Biggest Strength: Defensive Line (despite major losses the past few years, it's still an athletic bunch)

    Biggest Weakness: Wide Receiver

    Breakout Player: Justin Green, CB

    If They Were an Alcohol They’d Be… Southern Comfort. Some people swear by it, while others refuse to look in its direction. It’s manageable as a shot, but over the long haul it will certainly fail you as a reliable option.

    Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Nathan Scheelhaase will make you laugh, cry, say "wow" and then the cycle will repeat. His ups and downs accurately encompass this team.

Indiana

2 of 12

    Predicted Record: 2-10

    Toughest Game: November 10th vs. Wisconsin

    Don’t Sleep On 'Em Game: Pretty much all of them after the first few

    Biggest Strength: Running Back

    Biggest Weakness: Only one? Then...Linebacker

    Breakout Player: Tre Roberson, QB (will make mistakes, but will also create)

    If They Were an Alcohol They’d Be… Bacardi 151. No comparisons necessary. If you’re an Indiana football fan, you might as well load up on this and hope what happens from this point forward is all some strange hallucination.

    Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Welp. Basketball season is sorta close. #Hoopz

Iowa

3 of 12

    Predicted Record: 8-4 

    Toughest Game: October 13th at Michigan State

    Don’t Sleep On 'Em Game: September 1st vs. Northern Illinois

    Biggest Strength: Quarterback

    Biggest Weakness: Running Back (it's cursed, and I'm not saying that to be funny)

    Breakout Player: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE

    If They Were an Alcohol They’d Be… A glass of average to below-average Merlot. It starts off smooth, then halfway through you’re thinking about which draft beer you’ll wash it down with. Not awful, but you've had better.

    Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: James Vandenberg, very good. Iowa's schedule, very favorable. The team itself, not one of Ferentz's finest.

Michigan

4 of 12

    Predicted Record: 9-3

    Toughest Game: September 1st vs. Alabama (in Dallas)

    Don’t Sleep On 'Em Game: November 17th vs. Iowa

    Biggest Strength: Quarterback

    Biggest Weakness: Defensive Line (very fast and athletic but also very small)

    Breakout Player: Blake Countess, CB

    If They Were an Alcohol They’d Be… Maker’s Mark. A solid choice, but perhaps consumed slightly more than it should be. It’ll be enjoyable, but not quite as good as your whiskey buddy bills it up to be.

    Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: If Denard can improve throwing the ball, watch out. Tougher road in 2012, but the future is oh so bright. #InHokeWeTrust

Michigan State

5 of 12

    Predicted Record: 9-3

    Toughest Game: October 27th at Wisconsin

    Don’t Sleep On 'Em Game: August 31st vs. Boise State

    Biggest Strength: Defensive Line (defense in general should be tough) 

    Biggest Weakness: Wide Receiver

    Breakout Player: Andrew Maxwell, QB 

    If They Were an Alcohol They’d Be… Bailey’s. It somehow always ends up at the back of the cupboard, but then you dust it off and polish off the whole bottle. You then buy another and repeat cycle. Seasonal, but rarely disappointing.

    Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Andrew Maxwell, it’s your show. No pressure at all. OK, maybe a little. Oh, and look out for this defense. 

Minnesota

6 of 12

    Predicted Record: 4-8

    Toughest Game: October 20th at Wisconsin

    Don’t Sleep On 'Em Game: Pretty much all of them after Week 2

    Biggest Strength: Special Teams (No joke. OK, some joke, but they’re good)

    Biggest Weakness: Offensive Line (Yeah, that’s a problem with that “strength”)

    Breakout Player: Brandon Green, WR

    If They Were an Alcohol They’d Be… Jagermeister. You want to like it, but the next thing you know, your alarm is going off at 8:30 a.m., and your pants are somehow tied in a sailor’s knot around the ceiling fan.

    Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Slight improvement for Jerry Kill's crew, and if MarQueis Gray can stay healthy he will be one to watch. It goes without saying, but #TeamMustache

Nebraska

7 of 12

    Predicted Record: 9-3 

    Toughest Game: October 6th at Ohio State (a week after playing Wisconsin)

    Don’t Sleep On 'Em Game: November 23rd at Iowa 

    Biggest Strength: Running Back (Rex Burkhead may or may not be a robot)

    Biggest Weakness: Defensive Line/Linebacker

    Breakout Player: Kenny Bell, WR

    If They Were an Alcohol They’d Be… Jose Cuervo Especial. It burns like hell, won’t taste great, and you won't cheer for it, but in the end, it’ll do a superb job getting you drunk.

    Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: This season rests on the right shoulder of Taylor Martinez. Depending on where you stand, you’re either cheering or vomiting at that thought.

Northwestern

8 of 12

    Predicted Record: 7-5

    Toughest Game: November 17th at Michigan State (week after playing at Michigan)

    Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: September 1st at Syracuse 

    Biggest Strength: Running Game (Both RBs and the QB)

    Biggest Weakness: Offensive Line (Despite experience, it has struggled mightily) 

    Breakout Player: Kain Colter, QB 

    If They Were an Alcohol They’d Be… Amstel Light. A solid selection that goes very well with meals but isn’t necessarily at the top of the beer chain. Smart people also like it, which is fitting.

    Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: The Dan Persa Era is now the Kain Colter Era, and he may not skip a beat. Outmatched some this year, but Fitz's teams are always tough.

Ohio State

9 of 12

    Predicted Record: 10-2

    Toughest Game: November 17th at Wisconsin

    Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: September 15th vs. Cal (strange matchup, but at home)

    Biggest Strength: Quarterback 

    Biggest Weakness: Wide Receiver

    Breakout Player: Noah Spence, DE (watch out for this young pup)

    If They Were an Alcohol They’d Be… Some obscure ale beer that picks up a cult-like following and gets too big too quickly. You’re sure it’s all hype, then you try one and order 11 more before stumbling home. 

    Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: It’s a year of growth and learning for the Buckeyes, but they could be better than expected. Urban's influence will be felt now.

Penn State

10 of 12

    Predicted Record: 5-7

    Toughest Game: November 10th at Nebraska

    Don’t Sleep On 'Em Game: September 22nd vs. Temple

    Biggest Strength: The Front Seven

    Biggest Weakness: Quarterback (has to get better for team to have a chance) 

    Breakout Player: Bill Belton, RB (should be a fun one to watch)

    If They Were an Alcohol They’d Be… Whatever you want. No drink of choice, just a clink of the glass and a free cocktail with Penn State fans that have endured this miserable offseason. This one’s on me.

    Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Players have departed, but the team will likely be somewhat better than expected. Still a very good defense, but points will be a problem.

Purdue

11 of 12

    Predicted Record: 7-5

    Toughest Game: October 20th at Ohio State

    Don’t Sleep On 'Em Game: October 27th at Minnesota (coming off games vs. Wisconsin/Ohio State) 

    Biggest Strength: Defensive Line

    Biggest Weakness: Quarterback (needs consistent production)

    Breakout Player: Ryan Russell, DE

    If They Were an Alcohol They’d Be… Sambuca. Some will certainly pass on it, while others will down it and ask for more. You’re not sure why you’re fascinated with this drink, yet you don’t know where you stand on it. Oh, and damn that burns.

    Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Am I losing my mind, or does this team have some pretty decent talent on both sides? The more I see, the more I like. #HangUpAndListen 

Wisconsin

12 of 12

    Predicted Record: 11-1

    Toughest Game: September 29th at Nebraska

    Don’t Sleep On 'Em Game: November 24th at Penn State

    Biggest Strength: Running Back (Montee Ball, James White, my goodness)

    Biggest Weakness: Defensive Backs

    Breakout Player: Danny O'Brien (well, yeah)

    If They Were an Alcohol They’d Be… Milwaukee’s Best Light. It won’t dazzle you out of the gate, but after a while, you realize just how potent it can be in mass amounts. Tastes better as it goes, and yep, you’re hammered.

    Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: If Danny O’Brien fits in, this team could be destined for more than a Big Ten title. See you in Indy, Wisky.