The status quo will return to the Big Ten in 2012. Until last year, the Buckeyes have been a dominate force in the Big Ten for many years. Michigan slipped up in the Rich Rod years, Penn State hung onto a legend maybe a tad bit to long and Illinois’s once anticipated run faded as quickly as it showed up. The 2011 season brought some wonderful football to view with the Spartans and Badgers going at it twice. The last for the #B1G championship and the right to go to the Rose Bowl. While the Legends winner is coming from the state of Michigan the Leaders division champ in 2012 is East of Ann Arbor.
The Legends champ is coming from the state of Michigan with the Wolverines winning the head to head battle in 2012. Their talent is back on the rise and they now have a second year coach that is supported by fans, players and administration. While the Huskers are a fans fav to start the season, their recruiting has not improved and Pelini has not proven to win many games (just 2) when the Matrix predicts them to loose. In 2012 they are predicted to lose 4 times. Like the next division, there is a fall off in talent and coaching in the bottom half of the Legends division. Iowa’s Ferentz is the Jeff Tedford of the Big Ten as he has under performed the CFBMatrix win total projects by a least 1 game in 4 of the last 5 years. They are due for a good season, but not enough to get out of the 4 spot. Northwestern has one of the best road game coaches in the country. At home Fitz is very predictable and they have plenty of close road games in 2012 to give Iowa run for 4th. Minnesota has nothing and each Big Ten win should be celebrated.
Revised August 2012 – The 11 players that left the program really shook up the talent ranking for Penn State and they had 3 additional game adjusted out to losses. From what I felt was the surprise dark horse of the Big Ten to just 6-6 was a big fall for the Nittany Lions. I doesn’t matter much now that both PSU and Ohio State are sanctioned. The winner of the Leaders division may be 4-4 in the Big Ten.
While folks tend to forget about Ohio State, Urban Meyer has a great track record and despite what you want to think or make in your personal reality, the Buckeyes talent never left, they just got off track. Meyer took a Gator squad to the National Title game in year #2 in a conference that was by far and away tougher from top to bottom. If they don’t win the division, then someone is going to need to go 7-1 or 8-0 to take it. I do not see that in the Matrix.
If you believe in returning starters, then you don’t like the Badgers in 2012. I don’t believe in returning starters since the numbers show both kickers back is more valuable than the QB. 2011 was the first year that the CFBMatrix did not get within 1 game of the Badgers total wins. Back to reality in 2012 as they represent the Leaders division in the B1G Championship game but have a 5-3 record. Then is it a big fall off to the bottom 4 teams. Purdue, although still a bottom half talented team in the Big Ten, gets the benefit of a win out of Penn State’s player transfers. This bumps them into a 3rd place tie with Penn State at 3-5 in conference.
Illinois had it’s program run into the ground by Zook and his staff with terrible recruiting. They are right on par with Purdue for ability but have a new coach and a downtrend in wins and talent. Indiana is just bad and their coach was one of the, if not the worst in 2012. If Wilson can’t get to at least 4 wins, he will be the first coach canned in 2012/2013.
BIG 10 Championship: Michigan vs Wisconsin with the Wolverines winning