2009 Big Ten Predictions

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2009 Big Ten Predictions
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It is prediction season in college football, so we are playing right along. And, quite honestly, it helps to write by numbers sometimes (pun intended).  

Last week, we posted our Top 25, which will be included in CBS BlogPoll again this season, and this week we are rolling out our Big Ten prognostications.

The thing about the Big Ten this season is that there are well-defined pools of teams, but there are not obvious frontrunners in each pool.  

In my estimation, the league breaks down into four (informal) tiers: serious conference contenders, less serious conference contenders, teams curious in their fluctuations, and those in need of government assistance.

Or something like that.

What follows are my best guesses and intuitions for the 2009 campaign. I admit there are some unorthodox selections, but I swear this is the way I see the league playing out. Head to the forums and give us your best perspective.

Finishing PositionTeamComments
1. Ohio State This prediction seems incredibly self-serving for an Ohio State blog, but if Terrelle Pryor is half as good as I expect him to be, he is good for six wins by himself. Plus, the Buckeyes' schedule is backloaded, which gives the defense time to gel.
2. Illinois I know this is a controversial pick, but the Illini have talent and experience in key places. Juice Williams, Arrelious Benn, and Martez Wilson are capable of leading the team to big wins against the league's best but they have a brutal stretch from 9/26 to 10/10.
3. Penn State I cannot figure out why Penn State gets so much consideration for the top spot. The backfield is stacked but the O-line could be a problem.
4. Iowa No Shonn Greene, Ricky Stanzi under center, and no reliable receivers?! Remind me again why I think they will finish fourth. Oh yeah, the Big Ten honks.
5. michigan Feel free to call me a/an [insert expletive here]. The talent level is fine, the coaches are fine (albeit extremely shady), and the experience is growing. Can you really imagine the Wolverines being horrible two years in a row? A UM resurgence would set up an interesting 2010.
6. michigan_state The Spartans could be fifth if they beat the Wolverines at home, but MSU has not won two in a row against Michigan since 1966-67.
7. northwestern NU won five games by eight or fewer points last season, including victories over Duke and Ohio. Honestly, I just don't see it getting any better than this.
8. minnesota It would be a nice story if Minny had a great season in their new stadium, but the games away from home are the ones that they need to worry about.
9. wisconsin Does anyone else see the Badgers sliding back to pre-Alvarez anonymity? Yeah, me too.
10. purdue Coach Hope is the perfect name for the Boilermakers new coach. They may win one game.
11. indiana Ditto Purdue (minus the coach's name).

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