Big Ten Football 2011: 5 Most Disappointing Teams in the Conference This Year
Every year, in every conference, there are always surprise teams. Some are positive surprises, while others are negative.
The Big Ten didn't have too many teams underperform this year, but there were a few.
Here's a look at the five most disappointing teams of this past season.
The list is ordered by the expectations each team had before the season started, compared to how they actually performed.
5. Indiana (1-11, 0-8)
Simply put, Indiana was horrible this year.
Some will wonder how they can make this list of disappointing teams, especially when they were expected to be terrible.
Coming into the year, five wins was a realistic expectation because of a soft non-conference schedule. In fact, it wouldn't have been a surprise if Indiana had started the year 4-0.
However, the Hoosiers lost three of those first four games, which included losses to Ball State and North Texas.
There is no reason they should have lost either of those games.
Indiana ended up finishing 1-11 and was even worse than people expected.
However, the future is bright, as Tre Roberson showed tons of potential as a true freshman. If Kevin Wilson sticks around long enough, he will have the Hoosiers winning six or seven games annually.
4. Illinois (6-6, 2-6)
Coming into the year, it was extremely hard to predict how Illinois would be. After last season's surprising success, it was going to be interesting to see if they could follow that up again this year.
Even though the media acted like it was a huge shock, Illinois' 6-0 start this year was not surprising at all.
Before the season started, it was clear that Arizona State was the only team that may give Illinois trouble early on.
However, the team's 0-6 finish down the stretch was a surprise. There is absolutely no excuse for getting blown out by Minnesota to close the regular season.
Ron Zook probably deserved to lose his job. His teams, lately, have shown a lot of potential, but then have fallen flat.
Some even question if they'll be invited to a bowl game this year. If Nate Scheelhaase plays well and A.J. Jenkins plays like he's capable, this is one of the most exciting offenses in the Big Ten.
The defense, on the other hand, was great this year. The fact that guys like Whitney Mercilus, Jonathan Brown, Michael Buchanan and Akeem Spence all may return to the front seven next year is a scary thought.
With that being said, there is no reason Illinois should have lost six straight.
Even though 6-6 was a realistic scenario before the year, it still has to be considered disappointing because of the way they finished.
3. Wisconsin (10-2, 6-2)
Even though Wisconsin will likely be Big Ten champs and participate in the Rose Bowl, I still have them as one of the most disappointing teams this year.
Before the season started, 10-2 looked to be worst-case scenario for the Badgers.
In mid-October, the question wasn't whether or not they would win the Big Ten, but instead, whether or not they would make the national title game if they went undefeated.
Back-to-back losses in late October wiped away that hope, though.
A lot of the buzz surrounding this team disappeared then, but they have gotten some of it back by going 4-0 down the stretch.
Even if they do win the Big Ten, the season has to be looked at as somewhat of a disappointment, seeing as how they were legitimate national title contenders at midseason.
2. Iowa (7-5, 4-4)
When looking at Iowa's schedule before the year started, there was no reason to think that they shouldn't win eight or nine games. Ten was even a possibility.
Even though they lost guys like Ricky Stanzi, Adam Robinson and Adrian Clayborn off of last year's team, the schedule was easy enough to win a lot of games.
They currently sit at 7-5 and can't be happy with how the season went.
They were 5-2 at one point, but then had an inexcusable loss to Minnesota. If they would have won that game, the season may have ended a little better for the Hawkeyes.
Not only did they lose to Minnesota, but they also had a very poor home performance against Michigan State and lost to in-state rival Iowa State.
Iowa also had a very poor defense this year, something that is very rare from a Norm Parker-coached unit.
Iowa's disappointing 7-5 season will probably have them end up in a lower-tier bowl, possibly the Insight again.
1. Ohio State (6-6, 3-5)
Ohio State is an easy choice for biggest disappointment in the Big Ten this year.
We knew that the Bucks probably wouldn't win the conference, but there was no reason to think they wouldn't win nine or ten games again.
It was hard picturing this team finishing worse than 9-3.
However, they currently sit at 6-6, which is the worst season they've had in a long time.
The defense that is always so good under Jim Heacock was still solid, but it wasn't the shut-down defense that we've seen in years past.
The biggest problem with this team, though, was the offense.
Early season performances against Miami and Michigan State could not have been any more embarrassing.
Their offense literally could not have looked much worse in those games.
However, it came around some late in the year when suspended players such as Mike Adams and Dan Herron returned.
A losing record is still possible if the Bucks lose their bowl game. A lot of projections have them playing Florida in the Gator Bowl.
If we saw that matchup, it would be two of the worst offensive teams of bowl season going up against each other.
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