One more preseason magazine joined the early predictions party on Thursday, as Athlon Sports unveiled its early picks for the upcoming college football season. Naturally, Ohio State is the Big Ten favorite, with Athlon pegging them for a perfect 13-0 season. Wisconsin, Nebraska and Northwestern are next in line at 9-3, though Athlon only predicts the first two to go 6-2 in conference play. Athlon also ranks the Badgers No. 19 to begin the season.
In total, Athlon sees all but Illinois, Iowa and Purdue as being bowl-eligible. After Ohio State and Wisconsin in the Leaders Division, Penn State comes next with an 8-4, 4-4 Big Ten, prediction. Probably the greatest surprise is Michigan State a 7-5, 4-4 Big Ten, fourth-place team in the Legends Division.
|1. Ohio State||8-0||13-0|
|3. Penn State||4-4||8-4|
|4. Michigan State||4-4||7-5|
Big Ten Championship Game: Ohio State over Michigan
A 9-3 campaign for Wisconsin likely involves a non-conference loss to either Arizona State (on the road, and probably more likely) or BYU, then two other missteps in conference play. At Ohio State on Sept. 28 might be one, and the second very well could come the following week at home vs. Northwestern. For the sake of our collective sanity, that might be too much. For the sake of playing the best football come November and hopefully December, it might be preferable.
The rest of Athlon's Big Ten is well worth reading; it lays out a bunch of burning questions in addition to a a few more breakdowns, and the full team pages are also included for free. Gotta love these free glimpses inside the magazines.