2016 Big Ten Champions

By: Brian Hay     Date: Jul 7, 2016

East Division Ohio State Buckeyes (+145): Everyone see the strange occurrence with the Ohio State posted win total being only 8½ but they are the betting favorites to win the conference again this season. The odds makers expect to see three losses by the Buckeyes this season. Amazingly three losses would be one more regular season loss than Coach Urban Meyer has had during his four years at Columbus so far! I certainly agree with the posted win total as the Buckeyes have one of the youngest teams in the country after losing so much talent to the NFL, and an inexperienced team facing road games at Oklahoma and Michigan State as well as hosting a more experienced Michigan team is a recipe for at least three losses. Michigan Wolverines (+185): The Michigan Wolverines had the highest posted win total of any Big Ten team when the Wolverines opened at 9½ compared to a surprising 8½ for Ohio State. I believe Michigan should be the favorite to win the Big Ten this season. This will be Jim Harbaugh’s second season in the Big House and after going 10-3 last year in a season culminated by a 41-7 romp over Florida in the Citrus Bowl this team is primed to take the conference crown this season. The only thing keeping Michigan out of National Championship consideration is their uncertainty at quarterback. Jim Harbaugh is a Great Coach and Ohio State will have their hands full for years to come. Michigan State Spartans (+650): Michigan State had a magical season last year but the defending Big Ten Champions lost a lot from last year including quarterback Connor Cook, and they will be underdogs this year to both Michigan and Ohio State. It will be a tall order for this young Spartan squad to finish in the top two in the East while breaking in a new quarterback. They also open the Big Ten season vs. a more veteran Wisconsin team. This will be a rebuilding year for Michigan State. West Division Iowa Hawkeyes (+600): Iowa had every break imaginable last season on the way to a perfect regular season. That became more apparent in post-season losses to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game and Stanford in the Rose Bowl. The experience from last season will certainly help in regards to this year. Iowa is at least one playmaker away from a 10 win season this year. The Hawkeyes biggest problem this season will be in moving the football when facing a stiff run defense. I still see Iowa coming out of the West. Nebraska Cornhuskers (+700): If it could go wrong it did go wrong for Nebraska last season. The Cornhuskers were the best 5-7 regular season team in the country last year, and remember that the Huskers did get to 6-7 by beating UCLA in the Foster Farms Bowl. Six of the seven losses were by eight points or less and the Huskers do not figure to repeat their -12 turnover differential. The only reason I am not picking Nebraska to come out of the West is they travel to Ames to play Iowa this season. You can bet on Nebraska being one of the most improved teams in the country. Wisconsin Badgers (+1000): The Badger nation is ecstatic about the return of running back Corey Clement after an injury plagued year. A healthy Clement will be the key to Wisconsin’s season. Just way too many conference road games for me to pick Wisky this season. Wait till next year. The Michigan Wolverines will be Champions of the Big Ten in 2016

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