Dublin Saab

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Big Ten 2008: Top 3

#1 Ohio State Buckeyes

I could almost cut and paste my write up for Michigan last year into this post. A very good season last year that could have been great if not for 2 late season loses? Check. Widely believed to be the most talented team in the Big Ten? Check. A team loaded with seniors that shunned the NFL for one more shot? Check. Preseason top 5 ranking? Check. Opening the season with a 2A(FPS) squad? Check. Talk of being a legit national title contender? Check.

Now I don’t say these things because I think the wheels are going to come off OSU this year but… they could. We have the same team back as we had last year, and they lost a BIG game and a game they should not have (shit non calls from the refs that have now been fired aside). And this is something all the Buckeye faithful that have dreams of Beanie running over Georgia defenders need to keep in mind.

Prediction: 10-2 (7-1) Close loses @USC and @Illinois but winning the Big Ten thanks to head-to-head over Wisconsin puts Ohio State into the Rose Bowl where they spank ASU as Tressle gets his mojo back.

Best Case: 12-0 (8-0) And an undefeated Pitt team as an opponent.

Worst Case: 8-4 (5-3) Loses @USC, @ Wisconsin, @ Illinois and at home to a wide open RichRod lead Michigan team leads spoiled Buckeye fans to register firetressle.com

#2 Wisconsin Badgers

Bucky Badger fans have the feeling that they are the most BSC snubbed team in the land. This year coach Brett Bielema has one of the most loaded teams to ever suit up at Camp Randell, sadly for Badger fans they are not going to be getting over the BCS hump this year.

The defense is a solid and capable unit – I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few shutouts – and the offense is built to play the power game in a way most teams simply won’t be able to handle. This years Badgers will be favorites in every game they play, except one. And it is this one that will keep the BCS door closed for yet another season, because the one team that can handle their power game is the one team in the Big Ten with even more talent. Oh how ol’ Wiscy will hate the Buckeye.

Prediction: 11-1 (7-1) 11 wins and the CapitolOne Bowl, sucks to be you.

Best Case: 12-0 (8-0) Handle Ohio State and you can make the BCS promised land, but may be shut out of the NC game by a 2 lose SEC team.

Worst Case: 8-4 (5-3) If unproven QB Allan Evridge turns out to be a dud this could be a long season of mediocrity.

#3 Penn State Nittany Lions

The only thing around Penn State football that is older than legendary coach Joe Paterno is jokes about Joe Pa’s age. However, as Paterno enters his 456th year at Penn State I’m happy to poke fun. What won’t be fun for most of the Big Ten is playing the 2008 addition of the Nittany Lions as the Morelli era is over and PSU looks to be heading back to the spread offense that Michael Robinson ran to a 12-1 record, BCS victory and #3 finish in 2005. The only real question facing the offense is can Daryll Clark be as productive as Robinson was. On the defensive side of the ball things stack up to be as good, or even better than last years impressive unit.

But a black cloud hangs over Happy Valley and that black cloud wears a police badge. The Lions have had an off season so fraught with legal and other “team rule” issues that even as a Buckeye fan I have begun to feel sorry for them. Have the issues and player suspensions taken the teeth from a potential monster? Or is this team going to fail to come together and create greatness? I’m leaning towards the latter.

Prediction: 10-2 (6-2) Congrats on 10 wins, but don’t even dream of a BCS bid.

Best Case: 11-1 (7-1) @ Ohio State will keep the Lions from threatening a NC game spot.

Worst Case: 8-4 (4-4) The Michigans may make this team an afterthought.


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