Big Ten Football Previews – 2010 (continued)
Editor's Note: Here are the next set of previews ... the rest will follow as time allows.
*Note, bowl shown only from 2004 on as I did not predict the bowl berths prior to that season.
Team: Purdue Boilermakers
Tidbits … The last time Purdue came off a 5-win season, the Boilermakers won 8 games and went bowling. This is the first time since 1995 and 1996 that the gold and black have put up consecutive losing seasons.
2009 Prediction / actual: 2-10, 0-8 (11th) / 5-7, 4-4 (T-6th)
2008 Prediction / actual: 7-5, 4-4 (6th), Insight / 4-8, 2-6 (T-9th)
2007 Prediction / actual: 8-4, 4-4 (T-6th), Alamo / 8-5, 3-5 (T-7th), Motor City
2006 Prediction / actual: 8-5, 4-4 (T-6th), Insight / 8-6, 5-3 (T-4th), Champs
2005 Prediction / actual: 7-4, 4-4 (T-5th), Outback / 5-6, 3-5 (8th)
2004 Prediction / actual: 7-4, 5-3 (4th), Outback / 7-5, 4-4 (T-5th), Sun
2003 Prediction / actual: 10-2, 6-2 (T-2nd) / 9-4, 6-2 (T-2nd)
2002 Prediction / actual: 8-4, 5-3 (T-4th) / 7-6, 4-4 (T-5th)
2001 Prediction / actual: 9-2, 6-2 (T-1st) / 6-6, 4-4 (T-4th
Returning Starters: 6 offense, 6 defense, 1 kicker
Key Returnees: WR Keith Smith, TE Kyle Adams, DE Ryan Kerrigan, DT Kawann Short, K Carson Wiggs,
Key Losses: QB Joey Elliott, FS Torri Williams, DT Mike Neal, CB Brandon King
Prediction ... Purdue is a team that many preseason magazines have squarely in the middle of the pack. I can't disagree, but there are some question marks with the running game (due to all of the spring injuries) and transfer Robert Marve has tremendous upside, but I've seen plenty of heralded transfers turn to duds. This is the first time I can remember that the Boilermakers open with Notre Dame. That will be a key game for both. Things ease up from there in the OOC but while Purdue avoids Iowa, the road gets much tougher when the Big Ten season calls. I like this team to be able to do better than I predict and certainly not any worse, but there are too many questions at this time for me to go any higher (the secondary comes to mind).
OOC: 4-0 (ND win pushes PU to a great start)
B10: 3-5 (wins over Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana)
Overall: 7-5, 7th in the conference, Texas Bowl bid
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Team: Northwestern Wildcats
Tidbits … Northwestern is on a three-year run of seasons with a .500 or better record. That's the longest such run since the late 1920's / early 1930's. The 17 wins over the last two seasons is the best since NU won 19 games from 1995-96.
2009 Prediction/actual: 7-5, 3-5 (T-7th_ - At Large Bid / 8-5, 5-3 (T-4th) - Outback Bowl
2008 Prediction/actual: 6-6, 2-6 (T-9th) - At Large Bid / 9-4, 5-3 (T-4th) - Alamo Bowl
2007 Prediction/actual: 5-7, 2-6 (9th) / 6-6, 3-5 (T-7th)
2006 Prediction/actual: 4-8, 1-7 (T-9th) / 4-8, 2-6 (T-8th)
2005 Prediction/actual: 5-6, 3-5 (T-7th) / 7-5, 5-3 (T-3rd) – Sun Bowl
2004 Prediction/actual: 5-7, 2-6 (9th) / 6-6, 5-3 (4th)
2003 Prediction/actual: 3-9, 0-8 (11th) / 6-7, 4-4 (T-7th) – Motor City Bowl
2002 Prediction/actual: 4-8, 1-7 (T-6th) / 3-9, 1-7 (T-10th)
2001 Prediction/actual: 7-4, 4-4 (T-5th) / 4-7, 2-6 (T-10th)
Returning Starters: 8 offense, 6 defense, 1 kicker
Key Returnees: QB Dan Persa, SB Drake Dunsmore, WR Sidney Stewart, FS Brian Peters, LB Quentin Davie, P/K Stefan Demos
Key Losses: QB Mike Kafka, DE Corey Wootton, FS Brad Phillips, SS Brendan Smith
Prediction ... Northwestern was a pleasant surprise last year, rattling off some surprise wins over ranked foes and playing in maybe the best bowl game of the season. There is a fair amount of turnover at key positions, but the return of the entire offensive front should allow for some solid plug and play at skill positions. The secondary could be sketchy, but the linebacking corps is solid and Stefan Demos is a great weapon as well. The OOC slate is pretty easy, though don't sleep on Central Michigan. I see overall improvement in the record from last year and for the Wildcats to take true advantage for not having to play Ohio State or Penn State.
OOC: 4-0 (no one here strikes fear into anyone!)
B10: 4-4 (wins over Purdue, Michigan State, Indiana and Illinois)
Overall: 8-4, 6th in the conference, Insight bowl berth