Who is the player of the year on offense and defense?
Bob: Offense - Jonathan Taylor; Defense - Paddy Fisher (Northwestern)
Tyler: Offense - Jonathan Taylor, Defense - Kenny Willekes (MSU)
Matt: Offense - Adrian Martinez (Nebraska), Defense - Chase Young (OSU)
Rock: Offense – Jonathon Taylor, but shoutout Rondale Moore (Purdue). Defense – Kenny Willekes (MSU).
Predicted order of finish in the East and the West
EAST: 1. Michigan, 2. Michigan State, 3. Ohio State, 4. Penn State, 5. Indiana, 6. Maryland, 7. Rutgers
WEST: 1. Northwestern, 2. Wisconsin, 3. Nebraska, 4. Iowa, 5. Purdue, 6. Minnesota, 7. Illinois
EAST 1. Michigan 2. Ohio State 3. Penn State 4. Michigan State 5. Indiana 6. Maryland 7. Rutgers
West 1. Wisconsin 2. Northwestern 3. Nebraska 4. Iowa 5. Minnesota 6. Purdue 7. Illinois
EAST: 1. Ohio State, 2. Michigan, 3. Michigan State, 4. Penn State, 5. Indiana, 6. Maryland, 7. Rutgers
WEST: 1. Nebraska & Wisconsin tie, 3. Northwestern, 4. Iowa, 5. Minnesota, 6. Purdue, 7. Illinois
EAST: 1. Michigan, 2. Michigan State, 3. Penn State, 4. Ohio State, 5. Maryland, 6. Indiana, 7. Rutgers
WEST: 1. Wisconsin, 2. Minnesota, 3. Nebraska, 4. Iowa, 5. Purdue, 6. Northwestern, 7. Illinois
Who wins the B1G?
Bob: Northwestern. I’m feeling good about being an early adopter of the Hunter Johnson hype train, so I’m going to learn from the folks on the TV and double down at every opportunity. Of course, you know what this means: Northwestern is guaranteed to start 0-4. Reverse jinx work.
Tyler: I think this is the year that Michigan gets over that hump, simply because I don’t buy what Ohio State has right now. New coach, new coordinators, and a new QB that should be good but we don’t really know for sure. Fields has had a massive hype train on him since HS, but we’ve yet to see it just yet. Plus, they have no QB behind him. If he is hurt Ohio State is donezo. I think Penn State is a dark horse in the Big Ten as well that not a lot of people are talking about.
Matt: I think the track record at Ohio State is still too strong. While they are breaking in a new quarterback and head coach, they still have the highest blue chip ratio recruiting wise. Dwayne Haskins was a first time starter last year and he did alright...I think Fields will play well and the defense will be improved.
Rock: Michigan. Please note this ‘projection’ is doing my small part to make Michigan’s inevitable downfall that much more dramatic.
What will be the biggest upset during conference play?
Bob: Rutgers over Minnesota! Okay, seriously, how about Northwestern over Ohio State near the end of their brutal first half schedule. I think Northwestern will go 4-2 against ranked teams in their first 7 games and win out after that.
Tyler: I think Nebraska gets to the Ohio State game 4-0 and knocks off Ohio State. They played them tough at OSU last year, and being in Lincoln should give them that last bump.
Matt: I like Wisconsin to beat Michigan in Camp Randall. While it is not a huge upset, it would have a drastic impact on the seasons of both teams. Wisconsin got throttled last season in Ann Arbor, but two years ago they beat Michigan, why not do it again?
Rock: Wisconsin at Illinois – Wisconsin fans, facing the triple threat of an early kickoff, constant Badger touchdowns, and beer in the stadium, drink the stadium dry early – like halftime early.
How many games does Nebraska win?
Bob: Good news, #GBR folks, Nebraska will be solidly bowl-eligible with seven wins!
Tyler: If they don’t pull the OSU upset, I see 8-4. Losses to Wisconsin, Northwestern and I think they lose one of the road games against Purdue or Minnesota. At Colorado isn’t a guarantee either although Husker fans appear to have looked past that game.
Matt: I think they will win nine games this season with a big jump back to the Pelini years, that Nebraska fans hated so much, of being solid. They have such an easy schedule that it is tailor made for them to win eight or nine games.
Rock: Nebraska has a favorable schedule, with Ohio State, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa all at home. They really could get the fan’s hopes up with nine wins this season, only to see it crash down next year when they start 7-0 before running into Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin in a row.
Does Lovie Smith get fired?
Bob: YES, because Illinois NEEDS to hire Mike McCarthy in 2020. Please, someone make a petition. It would be poetic. Like the poetry on page 278 of the 11th grade English textbook I didn’t bother reading past page 14.
Tyler: I hope not, simply because I love Lovie’s beard and need that energy in the Big Ten West. But realistically, probably.
Matt: Yes. They just don’t have the firepower in the race for six wins and bowl eligibility.
Rock: Illinois just shelled out a million bucks for a retention bonus. If you were going to can him, it would have been before that check. Four wins, he gets another year. Yay for the apathy of an emotionally destroyed fanbase!
Will PJ Fleck leave Minnesota after this year or the next year?
Bob: I’m not sure of this PJ Fleck person of whom you speak.
Tyler: I don’t think he does enough to leave this year. Next year, possibly.
Matt: No... I think he will be there for a few more years. I would love to see him and James Franklin have a “shtick off” though.
Rock: PJ Fleck will absolutely leave Minnesota after this year. I just don’t know when.
How many times will Iowa punt from their opponent’s side of the field?
Bob: I don’t know, but I have a spreadsheet ready to calculate the surrender index score.
Tyler: Iowa should just punt on every third down and really make it a challenge for them.
Matt: I think the over/under line in Vegas is at 11, so I will take the over. They should allow A.J. Epenesa to be the punter, he’s good.
Rock: (extremely mustached voice) not enough.
Will anyone remember that Northwestern won the B1G West last year?
Bob: I seriously forgot that already in spite of my hot take. The answer to your question is no. Even if Northwestern starts out 8-0, there will be dozens of “Will Northwestern win its first Big Ten West title?” headlines.
Tyler: Northwestern has some pieces, if Hunter Johnson can be what people think he is. I’ve been back and forth on Northwestern all off-season. Getting them at home early will be a huge game. Despite that, yes people will forget all about last year’s title.
Matt: I think this will be a recurring headline brought up in every Northwestern game they play on television this season, so yes, we will have to remember. In other news, did you know that Jake Ferguson is Barry Alvarez’s grandson?
Rock: Only by people arguing against college athletes unionizing.
Purdue. A team in Wisconsin’s division?
Tyler: I’ve driven through West Lafayette, and boy, I am amazed that Jeff Brohm can get like Rondale Moore to come there.
Bob: I was interested in engineering when I was seven. Of course that meant I thought I was going to drive trains professionally, so I was thinking about going to Purdue for a few minutes in elementary school. But then “helecoptered; ball is loose!” happened.
Kyle Orton is the best.
Matt: Having been at Purdue for a couple away games...it is better with a drink in your hand. Keep banging that big drum Pete, and improve your defense. The wide receiver position is stocked up for Purdue, but Jonathan Taylor is still the running back at Wisconsin.
Rock: Somewhat? I went to West Lafayette for the first time last year, and they served a mighty solid Boiler Black beer in the stadium. On the other hand, I feel significantly better about my dancing skills after watching a bunch of hammered Indiana engineers dancing in Halloween costumes at 9 AM for Breakfast Club. Overall, Purdue can be considered to be in Wisconsin’s division.