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Monday, August 11, 2008

Big Ten 2008: Bottom 4

#8 Purdue Boilermakers

In Joe Tiller’s previous 11 seasons at Purdue he has built some solid top shelf teams and brought a lot of excitement to the Big Ten and this, his 12th season, will be his last. Purdue has been a regular in the bowls under Tiller and I’d like to think that his boys will be playing extra hard to see that their coach goes out on a high note. But.

Beyond QB Curtis Painter there are too many weakness, too many questions and too pours a defense for me to be bullish on the Boilers. I feel that Purdue has been slowly slipping for years now and I think that slipping will continue this year and into Danny Hope era that begins at the end of this season. The talent is just not there.

Prediction: 5-7 (3-5)

Best Case: 8-4 (5-3) If the Boilers win all the games they are capable of coach Tiller will be out on a high note.

Worst Case: 3-9 (1-7) If the Boilers lose all the games they are capable of new head coach Hope won’t have to worry much about Tiller’s “shadow”.

#9 Indiana Hoosiers

Of all my predictions form last year Indiana was the one I nailed. Well, almost. I had them winning their first bowl game in 15 years. Anyway, as nuts as it was to say IU was bowl bound last year I’m going on a limb again and saying they are headed to a bowl again. Indiana bowling 2 years in a row? Yup.

But don’t get too excited my Hoosier pals, this isn’t the result of Indiana having turned the corner and building into an emerging power. No, it’s merely the result of a very favorable schedule. And to illustrate the point you can see that Purdue, with a worse overall record outranks IU with a better conference record. Indiana should handle Western Kentucky, Murry State, Ball State and Central Michigan. After that they only need to pick up 2 from conference play and with Minnesota and Iowa on the slate, they will. So enjoy your 2nd bowl game in as many years, but don’t get comfortable.

Prediction: 6-6 (2-6)

Best Case: 8-4 (4-4) If improvements to Indiana’s defense take root and they get good QB play this lofty record is attainable.

Worst Case: 4-8 (1-7) If those improvements fail then this more traditional IU record is also attainable.

#10 Minnesota Golden Gophers

Last year everyone and their idiot brother had the Gophers in last place, unfortunately for the Gophers, everyone was right. After an awful 1-11 season coach Mike Brewster has his entire young team from last year back along with a top 25 recruiting class. So with more experience and better incoming talent the big question on everyone mind is can Brewster translate that into success. Maybe.

After last year getting to a bowl would be a big step in the right direction and get Gopher nation feeling positive. However this team still has a way to go and the schedule isn’t all that kind (@ Wisconsin, @Illinois and @Ohio State). The Gophers will be better, but they won’t be good.

Prediction: 4-8 (1-7)

Best Case: 6-6 (3-5) On paper this can happen and how Gopher fans will be praying that it does.

Worst Case: 2-10 (0-8) On paper this can happen and how Gopher fans will be praying that it does not.

#11 Iowa Hawkeyes

For the last three years Iowa has made everyone predicting them to do well (including myself last year) look bad by playing like shit. Now gentlemen, it’s time for us to make you look bad. Iowa does have good talent on the team but with proven underperformance, horrible off field issues (14 players arrested this summer) and a coach that instills less faith than the UN my gut tells me this is a cellar dweller of a team even if my brain says middle of the pack.

That talent the Hawks have has some people saying that this could be a 10 win team with a schedule that misses Michigan and Ohio State. Sadly, those people are simply fooling themselves. This team is going nowhere. Fast.

Prediction: 3-9 (1-7)

Best Case: 9-3 (5-3) This happens if Iowa plays up to their talent potential. They won’t.

Worst Case: 2-10 (0-8) Iowa has too much skill to possibly be this bad you exclaim? Right. 5 will get you 10 coach Ferentz already knows who he will be using to list his home for sale.


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