Big Ten Conference Predictions
Key Stat: The Michigan Wolverines won the Big Ten Conference last year
- The Iowa Hawkeyes won the Big Ten West division in 2021
- Michigan beat the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Championship game
- The Wolverines lost in the semifinals of the College Football Championship
The 2022 college football season is just 6 days away! Next Saturday, the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats kick off in Dublin, Ireland. We are starting our college football preview by predicting the Big Ten Conference football season.
We will start with the West division to see who will make the Big Ten Championship game. The Iowa Hawkeyes were the West representative last year and eventually lost big to the Michigan Wolverines from the East. Iowa has talent returning; however, they lost some really talented players on defense and the offensive line. Iowa should be in the thick of the race, but we think they come up short of winning the west. Wisconsin has been the status quo for the Big Ten West, winning the west more than any team in the division. Question marks at quarterback are a big concern for Wisconsin. Their defense should be their strength, but their offense really struggled last year, and we aren’t sure they will score enough to win the west.
We think Minnesota will be in a battle with Wisconsin and Iowa for the Big Ten West. The Gophers won nine games last season, returning several six-year players in key positions. Quarterback Tanner Morgan is back for the sixth year and gets his offensive coordinator back in Kirk Ciarocca, who helped him have a great 2019 season. One of the best running backs in America, Mo Ibrahim, is back from his Achilles tear in the first game of 2021. Reports are he is healthy, and if that’s the case, it really helps the running game. At wide receiver, sixth-year veteran Chris Autman Bell returns, trying to prove he is worthy of being drafted next spring. The Gopher defense was one of the top units in America last year, and they have a lot of talent on that side of the ball. We think Minnesota goes 10-2 this season and wins the Big Ten West, barely nudging out Iowa and Wisconsin.
Key Stat: Michigan Wolverines won the Big Ten East in 2021
- Ohio State has been the class of the division year after year
- Can Penn State surprise the East?
- Is Michigan St. ready to contend for the East?
One team has been the class of the Big Ten East and the Big Ten in general, and that’s Ohio State. The Buckeyes are the perennial odds-on favorite to win the conference and end up in the college football playoffs once again. The Buckeye’s main rival, the Michigan Wolverines will have something to say about that. After defeating the Buckeyes for the first time in 19 years, the Wolverines won the Big Ten Championship and represented the Big Ten in the college football playoffs.
Outside of the top two favorites in the east, you have Penn St and Michigan St, who should be a tier just below the Wolverines and Buckeyes. Michigan St. was in the top ten at one point last year and is looking to regain that glory for 2022. Penn State is also looking to return to being a top ten team in the nation. They have had some excellent recruiting classes the last few years and return some talented upperclassmen. While it should be an exciting year and race in the Big Ten East, we think Ohio State will return to the top of the division because of so many future NFL players on their roster, and they get Michigan at home in November for their annual rivalry game.
We will take the Ohio State Buckeyes to win the Big Ten East and meet Minnesota in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship game. When Ohio State meets Minnesota in December for the Big Ten Championship, we think they will simply be too much for the Gophers. The Buckeyes have NFL-level talent on both sides of the ball and should contend for the National Championship.