It will be a big year of change for the Big Ten in football in 2011.
Start with the obvious. Nebraska will join the conference, Michigan has a new coach and Ohio State will be without its head coach, plus several key players, for the first five games of the season.
What might not be as obvious? Penn State has a young but talented receiving corps. Michigan will feature quarterback Denard Robinson in a new offensive set. Wisconsin returns a productive stable of running backs but loses vital leadership in several key positions.
Before our predictions, here are a few Big Ten tidbits for you:
- Last season, eight Big Ten teams played in bowl games with Ohio State, Illinois and Iowa walking away with wins
- Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State tied for the conference crown last season. It is the fifth time in 10 years the conference has had multiple champs.
- Eighteen players in the Super Bowl between Green Bay and Pittsburgh had Big Ten ties
Now for the predictions:
- Michigan State
- Penn State
- Ohio State
Wisconsin and Nebraska will square off at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in the first Big Ten football championship game. Nebraska will win all the marbles in their first year.