Tuesday, August 17, 2010

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: Penn State Nittany Lions

Tidbits: Penn State has had double digit wins 21 times in Joe Paterno's tenure. The 159 points allowed last year was the lowest since 1986, when the Nittany Lions won the National Title.

Past Predictions/Results:
2009 Prediction / actual: 11-1, 7-1 (T-1st), Rose / 11-2, 6-2 (T-2nd), Capital One
2008 Prediction / actual: 9-3, 5-3 (T-2nd), BCS Berth / 11-2, 7-1 (T-1st), Rose
2007 Prediction / actual: 9-3, 5-3 (T-4th), Outback / 9-4, 4-4 (T-5th), Alamo
2006 Prediction / actual: 9-3, 6-2 (T-3rd), Capital One / 9-4, 5-3 (T-4th), Outback
2005 Prediction / actual: 6-5, 3-5 (T-7th), Music City / 11-1, 7-1 (T-1st), Orange
2004 Prediction / actual: 6-5, 4-4 (T-5th), Music City / 4-7, 2-6 (9th)
2003 Prediction / actual: 7-5, 4-4 (T-5th) / 3-9, 1-7 (T-9th)
2002 Prediction / actual: 9-3, 6-2 (T-1st) / 9-4, 5-3 (4th)
2001 Prediction / actual: 5-6, 3-5 (T-7th) / 5-6, 4-4 (T-4th)

Returning Starters: 7 offense, 5 defense, 1 kicker

Key Returnees: RB Evan Royster, C Stefen Wisniewski, WR Derek Moye, WR Graham Zug, S Nick Sukay

Key Losses: QB Daryll Clark, TE Andrew Quarless, DT Jared Odrick, LB Sean Lee, LB Navorro Bowman

Prediction: Penn State will be an interesting team to watch in 2010. There is one "money" OOC tilt (at Alabama) and tough revenge trips to Iowa and Ohio State on tap. Evan Royster is the top tailback in the league, the wide receiving corps is dangerous and the interior of the line is sound. But the Nittany Lions must break in a new signal caller and a pair of tackles. Never underestimate the loss of a veteran quarterback. Defensively, Penn State loses even more starters including the entire linebacking corps. Now this is Linebacker U so expect guys like Chris Colasanti to step right up, but the talent losses might be too much for this team to perform as predicted by so many. I think Penn State takes a step back in 2010 in preparation for a fantastic 2012 - which I predict will be Paterno's last in Happy Valley...

OOC: 3-1 (The trip to Alabama could make or break the season, and don't sleep on Temple)
B10: 5-3 (Revenge will not be found in Iowa City or Columbus and Penn State finally loses at home against the Spartans)
Overall: 8-4, T-4th, Gator Bowl Berth

- - - - - - - - - -

Team: Michigan State Spartans

Tidbits ... The Spartans' recent bowl streak is the first three season run since Nick Saban took over in the mid 90s. The last time the Spartans missed the mark on a solid preseason Big Ten ranking and lost as many games in the waning moments was 1998 - the year before once of the best seasons in program history.

Past Predictions/Results:
2009 Prediction / actual: 10-2, 6-2 (3rd), Outback / 6-7, 4-4 (T-6th), Alamo
2008 Prediction / actual: 8-4, 5-3 (T-2nd), Outback / 9-4, 6-2 (3rd), Capital One
2007 Prediction / actual: 6-6, 3-5 (T-7th), Insight / 7-6, 3-5 (T-7th), Champs
2006 Prediction / actual: 8-4, 5-3 (5th), Champs / 4-8, 1-7 (T-10th)
2005 Prediction / actual: 7-4, 5-3 (4th), Sun / 5-6, 2-6 (9th)
2004 Prediction / actual: 7-5, 4-4 (T-5th), Sun / 5-7, 4-4 (T-5th)
2003 Prediction / actual: 6-6, 3-5 (T-7th) / 8-5, 5-3 (T-4th)
2002 Prediction / actual: 10-2, 6-2 (T-1st) / 4-8, 2-6 (T-8th)
2001 Prediction / actual: 8-3, 6-2 (T-1st) / 7-5, 3-5 (T-8th)

Returning Starters: 7 offense, 6 defense, 1 kicker

Key Returnees: QB Kirk Cousins, RB Larry Caper, WR Keshawn Martin, LG Joel Foreman, LB Greg Jones, LB Eric Gordon, P Aaron Bates

Key Losses: C Joel Nitchman, WR Blair White, NT Oren Wilson, S Danny Fortener, PK Brett Swenson

Prediction ... Michigan State is back in the sleeper role and that is one that frankly, suits the Spartans just fine. A season ago, the QB position was unsettled. Not this time around. Kirk Cousins is the bona fide leader of the offense and the team and he has an offense loaded with weapons, including former QB Keith Nichol who has moved to wide receiver. The biggest question on offense is the front line. State needs to be able to run the ball better this season. Defensively, you'll be hard pressed to find a better corps of linebackers in the nation. And that includes two impact freshmen. The front line is solid but not spectacular. The secondary needs to tighten up and is quite young. Don't underestimate the loss of Brett Swenson. He was the best kicker in a long line of storied MSU booters. Still, the schedule sets up nicely for MSU to do some very nice things...

OOC: 4-0 (Nothing overly scary here)
B10: 5-3 (Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa prove to be the road blocks to a phenominal season)
Overall: 9-3, T-4th, Outback Bowl Berth


Dan Meyer said...

Don't look now--but picking contests start in about two weeks!

Dan Meyer said...

With the Big Ten going to 12 teams next year, my preference would be for a South/North split--Penn State, Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue, Illinois and Northwestern in the South and Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska in the North. For football, I would like two protected rivalries and rotate the other four teams for a nine-game conference slate (Protected: Penn State and Ohio State vs. Michigan and Sparty: Indiana and Purdue vs. Iowa and Wisconsin (gulp!) and Illinois and Northwestern vs. Minnesota and Nebraska). In basketball, use the divisions, play everyone in your division twice, then split the other division alphabetically into three-team "pods" (IL/IN/NU; OSU/PSU/PU; IA/MI/MSU; MN/NE/WI) play one pod twice and the other once in the other division each year (rotate every two years) for a 19 (yes, 19) game schedule. I am sure that there will be disagreements.

Andy Gamm said...

Dan - no divisions for hoops. I don't go alphabetical, I go with best balance. I think you will see M, OSU, PSU and NEB split evenly. Next tier would be MSU, WIS, IOWA and PUR. Then NU, ILL, MINN and IU.

One out of division rivalry will be held in check.

My guess is something like this: