Back To School: A Big Ten College Football Preview
What Happened Last Year
You don’t remember? That must mean your life is free of Buckeyes fans drunk on braggadocio. #4 Ohio State obliterated #13 Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big Ten Championship Game and scored a surprise National Championship by beating #1 Alabama and #2 Oregon in the first ever proper college football playoff. Urban Meyer’s squad looked strong, boasted QB depth and had a handful of players selected in the NFL Draft. Every other program in the Big Ten promptly had their campaigns morph into footnote status.
Who’s A Good Bet To Win It This Year
It’s not exactly the sexiest pick, but Ohio State looks poised to take the Big Ten once again. The Buckeyes (a 7/2 shot to win the National Championship) can boast megatalents like RB Ezekiel Elliott and DE Joey Bosa leading things on both sides of the ball, plus an influx of stellar freshman talent that would have any program drooling. If last year was supposed to be a transition year, who knows what lies in store for a championship team with 14 returning starters? We’re sure Jim Harbaugh will help improve Michigan (Jabrill Peppers is in for an amazing year), the formidable Spartans will remain strong even with defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi leaving for the Pittsburgh job and Wisconsin will manage to survive their D-Line harvesting, but how can you go against Ohio State this year? You can’t, so we won’t. Be sure to mark November 28 down on your calendar if you haven’t already. It’s the first Buckeyes/Wolverine showdown of the Meyers vs. Harbaugh Big Ten era.
Our Pick: Ohio State (Sorry)
A Sleeper Team To Keep Your Eye On
You might not have noticed, but Penn State has a sneaky good defense in 2014. The Nittany Lions (a 100/1 title longshot) had some of the best defensive stats in the NCAA under their new defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and shouldn’t be expected to slip in 2015. Returning gamechangers at defensive tackle and in the secondary should continue to shut down the run, smack down quarterbacks and force interceptions. Penn State could thrive if coach James Franklin can sort out of the offense in his second year at the gig. QB Christian Hackenberg should be of much more use to the club now that the Lions have an offensive line with starting experience under its belt and a series of talented freshmen waiting in the wings. Youth will also be served in a backfield with junior Akeel Lynch as the main back and there’s lots of upside in freshmen Johnathan Thomas, Nick Scott and Mark Allen. If PSU can get their offense in gear to compliment their excellent defense, you’ll definitely hear the Lions roar long and loud in 2015.
Our Pick: Penn State
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