It's late April. The Blue-White Game is in the rear view mirror, but we've got a solid 1/3 of a year until football season. That's a long time and it sucks.
The BSD staff has tried to fill our football appetites with a diet of crootin', position breakdowns, and kickstarter begging (seriously you guys, contribute). Which is all fine. They really can't do any better. Football is not being played.
But like a Thunderbird bottle wielding junky who needs a fix of some real magic, I need some football talk. Even if it's nothing but gut-feeling, we-can-all-laugh-about-this-in-December, senseless predictions. So allow me to get this started: I divided the B1G into 3 tiers: contenders, other decent teams, and not good teams. Please do the same in the comments. Or something similar. Just give me my fix, or I'll hit you with the Thunderbird bottle.
When you say "contenders" in the divisional format, what you're really saying is, "who has a good shot at their division title?" Because if they have a good shot for their division, they have a good shot to be in a position to win one game and thereby win the league. I say those teams are:
Ohio State Sucks -- They have a ton back from a team that started 12-0 each of the past two years. So, yeah, they're a contender.
Michigan State -- They have a ton back from a team that was as consistently dominant in B1G play as any team has ever been.
Iowa -- IMO, the clear favorite to win the West. Practically everyone is back, they avoid not only OSU and MSU, but PSU and Michigan as well, and get Wisconsin and Nebraska at home. Shoot, I wouldn't count out Illinois with that schedule.
Wisconsin -- Lots of people seem to be picking them to win the West, so even though I just don't see it, why not? They do avoid OSU, MSU, PSU, and Michigan and get Nebraska at home, so if you think they can beat Iowa at Iowa (something they've done in 3 of the last 4 at Iowa, even if Iowa was robbed in one and another came by 3 points, and Wisconsin is only 4-6 against Iowa since 2002...further proof that Wisconsin on the road is jNW), then you have to throw them in here.
Other decent teams
This group is a group for whom 9 wins is a distinct possibility for the optimist, and anything less than 6 could objectively be considered a disappointment. They're either simply not good enough (see Maryland) or reliable enough (see PSU, youth and o-line depth) to be considered contenders for their division, though a top 25 season is not out of the cards.
Penn State -- They're young and lack depth on the o-line. Like, big time in both regards. And they have a new HC. But if it weren't for that and sanctions, they'd be the clear favorite. They could easily be favored in 10 of their 12 games, and in the other two (OSU and MSU), they're at home.
Michigan -- Have some good pieces back, lose a lot, good class coming in, are Michigan, whatever. Really, pretty similar to Penn State except that they haven't beat PSU in a long time because like Ohio State, they suck. They travel to ND, MSU, and OSU, but get PSU at home.
Indiana -- Everyone back. Like, everyone. From a team that almost went bowling and happened to be on the field at the same time while PSU was determined to beat themselves. So...still Indiana, but maybe?
Maryland -- Len Bias joke lol
Nebraska -- There's a lot to like, but they lose a lot and travel to Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan State. So it's tough to take them too seriously for the division. But 8-9 wins is a real possibility.
jNW -- In 2013, the B1G's version of Georgia. We're pretty sure they would have been pretty good last year if healthy, but...they weren't healthy at all. Still almost made a bowl and have quite a bit back. Workers of the world unite, or something jNorthwesterny.
Minnesota -- The Gophers under Kill: 3-9, 6-7, 8-5. Especially impressive considering Minnesota averaged under 5 wins per season, and never won more than 7, in the 5 years prior to Kill's arrival. So they're not bad and improving, and that's a thing, if nothing else.
Not good teams
Purdue -- Last year is over, Purdue. At least you have that. And you were only down 7 going into the 4th quarter against MSU, somehow.
Illinois -- Tim Beckman lol
Rutgers -- whatever
Do your worst, BSD Commenariat.