Sunday, August 18, 2013

Buy, Pass, Sell: Big 10 Edition

Expansion is on the horizon for 2014, but the league stays at 12 for this fall. Obviously, I would be selling on the math skills of this conference for insisting on holding onto the Big 10 name. Clearly, academics in this conference have a long way to go to bring sanity back to basic math in naming. The conference does boast a national title contender this season in Ohio State, and the Buckeyes also present a Heisman contender in QB Braxton Miller. Let's see who we will choose to buy, pass on, or sell in the Big 10 for 2013.


Ohio State: I guess that I gave my intention away in the above paragraph, but why would anyone have to think on buying into Urban Meyer's Buckeyes in 2013? This team has one of the most exciting QBs in the game in Braxton Miller, and the schedule is built for a 12-0 run, with trap games against Northwestern and Michigan standing in the way. Losing Carlos Hyde and Bradley Roby will hurt some, but there is talent and depth to make up for the losses. Jordan Hall should fill in for Hyde, while Eli Apple and Armani Reeves (both freshmen) should step up for Roby.

Michigan: It should be November before the Wolverines are challenged on the schedule, and then they get Nebraska, Northwestern, and Ohio State. With Devin Gardner at QB, and my favorite OC (Al Borges) working with him, the Wolverines are finally stable at QB (pardon me for saying that Denard Robinson was more of a sideshow than an actual QB). The Wolverines should increase their win total from a year ago, and at least give Ohio State a run for their money this fall.

Nebraska: Taylor Martinez has to cut back on his epic mistakes that he has a tendency to make, but he has weapons around him to make that work. The receiving corps is one of the best in the country, and Ameer Abdullah should benefit from running behind All-American candidate Spencer Long at RG. The defense has to show some heart after giving up 115 points in their final two losses to Wisconsin and Georgia. Matching 10 wins should not be a challenge.

Northwestern: Pat Fitzgerald's Wildcats will be the spoiler of the ball this fall. Kain Colter is as versatile and team oriented as a player can be, and Northwestern is a team that someone will not prepare enough for, thereby possibly making some team's dream season become a nightmare. I think that the Cats fall short of matching 10 wins, but with a spoil or two, who knows? This team intrigues me.

Wisconsin: The Badgers made a smart hire in Gary Anderson, whom I got to spend some time with at WAC media day last year. Anderson is a smart, passionate coach who turned Utah State into a major winner. He is a man with a plan, and I believe that the Badgers will be better this fall than last. Of course there are holes to fill with the loss of Montee Ball, but James White is a perfect front line back in Anderson's system. The Badgers must pass better, and that falls on Curt Phillips, but JC transfer Tanner McEvoy may steal the show.


Michigan State: I love Mark Dantonio and the Spartans program, but there are questions too deep to answer at this time to make me a buyer or a seller. The Spartans very well could run their regular season win total from 7 last fall to 8 this season, but other than on the line on offense, there are issues everywhere. There looks to be a committee at RB, an uneven performer at QB, and receivers who can't make the big play. The defense may carry the day once again, but is it enough?

Penn State: Bill O'Brien did a wonderful job last fall, and I do see a matching 8 wins on the schedule, but there are major questions across the board, especially at QB, so that win total is dependent on many things at this point to be solid on. I would pass now with an option to buy later.


Minnesota: The Gophers have issues all over the roster, and probably don't have enough talent to even challenge the upper half of the conference. Jerry Kill has had his hands full in Minneapolis, and the job is far from done. I see 6 wins on the slate, so there will probably be a minor third tier bowl bid available to them, but do we really care about that?

Iowa: The Hawkeyes are picked last by most in the Legends division, and Kirk Ferentz is on my Hot Seat list. This program looks from a distance like it has no direction, and the ship is sinking. The Hawkeyes should really consider another direction if the season falls flat, which I think it will.

Purdue: Darrell Hazell turned thing around at Kent State, and they were just short of playing in a BCS bowl. Hazell has his work cut out at Purdue, and it'll not be evident as to how things are progressing here until late this season, or early next.

Indiana: Kevin Wilson has the Hoosier headed in the right direction, but they may only be able to increase the win total from 4 to 5. Progress is slow, and the Hoosiers appear to be a year or two away from bowl contention, and forget about Rose Bowl aspirations altogether. That's just too far off to see.

Illinois: Tim Beckman is probably wishing he were still at Toledo right now. He'd have a better program. Everything went wrong last season, and the recruiting class that followed offered very little in the way of hope.. Talent is missing, and so is the hope to have a surprise season. Sell as fast as you can on the Illini.

Next up...Buy, Pass, Sell: Big 12 Edition

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