As the college football season nears, I have heard 100% of the football pundits declare the Big Ten race a moot point. As the wise Lee Corso should say, "Not so fast"! I believe three teams have a legitimate chance of dethroning the Columbus powerhouse. It saddens me to see no one has even given a second thought on the matter.
First, Illinois probably has some grumbling about the early declaration. This team did the unthinkable last year, which is beating Ohio State. Why not this year? Sure Ohio State outmatches Illinois by far, but what is different about that fact last year? Illinois brings back a veteran leader Juice Williams and a lightning bolt of a man Benn. If Williams performs like he did last year and the defense has a big day, we could be saying deja vu.
Second, Penn State could surprise a lot of people. There only questions will be at QB with Daryll Clark and the malestorm surrounding Joe Paterno. The latter issue can actually be a motivating point in that they will want JoePa to go out a winner of at least the Big Ten. If Daryll Clark exceeds expectations, they may roll into Columbus on the upset bus and come home on the Big Ten champion bus.
Evridge, an transfer from Kansas State could be a dark horse secret weapon. Even though he lost out to Tyler Donovan last year, he much assuredly gained valuable coaching and education from coaches and Donovan himself. Wisconsin has been known for their solid yet un-flashy quarterbacks. Why should it be any different this year? After taking down Ohio State, don't expect Evridge to be unknown however. Did I mention Wisconsin is the only team I mentioned to have Ohio State at home? Get ready to Jump Around!
Wild Card: Duh. Michigan. Even after having an embarrassing start to last year losing to I-AA team, Michigan only lost to Ohio State 14-3. There is something about a rivalry that negates pundits, stats, and predictions. Take the new spread offense and aggressive defense Michigan will bring to the table mixed with intense hatred for the scarlet and gray and you may have unexpected results not found in the ESPN studio.
Just because ESPN has ESP in it, doesn't mean the have it.