After a phenomenal 2012 season by the Ohio State Buckeyes with the record of 12-0, the Big Ten has a realistic shot of having a representative in the National Championship Game now that the Buckeyes are eligible for a bowl appearance. The Big Ten has proven to be one of the toughest football conferences in America. Last year was the 14th straight season in which the Big Ten has sent seven teams to bold game. As the conference attempts to better their national prestige, they must improve a 2-5 record from last year’s bowl season. The Big Ten has four teams ranked in the top 25: 2. Ohio State, 17. Michigan, 22. Northwestern, and 23. Wisconsin.
Who Will Win: Ohio State Buckeyes
Urban Meyer’s football team averaged 37 points a game last year. Braxton Miller is one of the most dynamic players in the country and the best player in the Big Ten. The Heisman candidate is expected to have another great season to lead that offense, and defensively the Buckeyes will be solid. Michigan will always be a challenging task for Ohio State and contend for the title. Wisconsin is a sleeper, even Northwestern and Nebraska are threats if things fall perfectly into place. However, Ohio State has a great player, championship coach, and the experience to hold up the Big Ten Championship Trophy at the end of the season.
Surprise Team: Northwestern Wildcats
Northwestern is returning 17 starters from a year ago and has arguably the best one-two punch in the conference with Cain Colter and Venrick Mark. Colter, a duel threat QB, also lines up at wide receiver. Mark was the Big Ten leader last year in rushing yards and kick returns and is one of the most exciting players in the league. Defensively the Wildcats were ranked 29th in points allowed in the country last season. Taking on the persona of head coach Pat Fitzgerald, the Wildcats defense is led by DE Tyler Scott and LB Damien Proby. Northwestern won 10 games last year and their first bowl win since 1964.
Disappointing Team: Purdue
The Boilermakers did reach a bowl game a year ago in which they lost to Oklahoma State 58-14 and finished the season 6-7. I’m looking forward to Purdue getting back to that national prominence of being one of the top programs in the country and in the race for a Big Ten title. If Purdue can get back to the Drew Brees days, it will boost the conference back into the discussion of being the best in America.
Conference Player of The Year: Braxton Miller
Leading the Buckeyes in passing yards and rushing last season, Miller left his mark on every play to complete a perfect 12-0 season for Ohio State. Heisman Canidate Braxton Miller can shoulder the load and lead his team to the National Championship game and Big Ten Championship.
Written by Jitim Young