12 for 12: A dozen 2012 Predictions

Predictions. Everyone has them, and rarely do people prognosticate correctly. As the saying goes, that’s why they play the game. I’ve been burned with predictions several times, the most recent one coming when I said Illinois was for real and a Rose Bowl contender. We all know how that turned out! With the calendar flipping to 2012 Sunday, it’s time to offer up some more educated guesses, posted in a multiple choice test format to give it a different wrinkle. Feel free to post your answers or fill in your “other” selection in the comment box. The predictions are listed in chronological order and, just for clarity, many of the football ones take into account likely early NFL departures.

1. Which team will win the 2011-12 Big Ten Men’s Basketball title?

A. Michigan
B. Michigan State
C. Ohio State
D. Wisconsin
E. Other

My pick: C. The Buckeyes aren’t a bold prediction, admittedly, as they were the preseason favorites and have won at least a share of the last two Big Ten crowns. With a quartet of William Buford, Aaron Craft, Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas, they’re the clear-cut favorite and could flirt with a perfect conference record. That’s bold, right?

2. Who will win the 2011-12 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the Year?

A. Draymond Green
B. Robbie Hummel
C. Jared Sullinger
D. Jordan Taylor
E. Other

My pick: C. Sullinger is a beast. As I’ve said multiple times this season, he’s the best player on the best team. Sullinger doesn’t have to dominate every game, thanks in large part to a terrific supporting cast, but even on his worst nights, he’s a threat to post a double-double.

3. Who will be the first Big Ten player selected in the 2012 NBA draft?

A. Tim Hardaway Jr.
B. Meyers Leonard
C. Jared Sullinger
D. Deshaun Thomas
E. Other

My pick: B. Leonard has his share of frustrating moments, although that’s kind of what you expect from a player who has gone from getting no PT as a freshman to being his team’s best player in the matter of months. NBA teams draft on potential and athleticism, and Leonard isn’t short on either. He’s a 7-footer who doesn’t play like a 7-footer, so some team will take a shot on him early – assuming he forgoes his final two years of eligibility.

4. Which team will make the deepest 2012 NCAA tourney run?

A. Michigan
B. Michigan State
C. Ohio State
D. Wisconsin
E. Other

My pick: B. The Buckeyes are the safest pick, but the way the Spartans have played since opening the season with losses to North Carolina and Duke, coupled with the fact Tom Izzo teams always get better as March approaches, it’s hard not to be high on the Spartans. Michigan State has the size, length and athleticism to defend as well as any team out there, and that’s what it’s all about come tourney time.

5. Which non-conference football game will be the best of 2012?

A. Michigan vs. Alabama, Cowboys Stadium
B. Michigan at Notre Dame
C. Boise State at Michigan State
D. Nebraska at UCLA
E. Other

My pick: B. As good as the Michigan-Alabama opener at Cowboys Stadium could be, it would be stupid to go against recent history. Each of the last three seasons, Michigan has scored a touchdown in the final 30 seconds (11 seconds in 2009; 27 seconds in 2010; two seconds in 2011) to top Notre Dame by four points in every game. Denard Robinson has the led the comeback the last two seasons, all while going for 948 total yards and eight TDs.

6. Which team will win the 2012 Big Ten Legends Division?

A. Iowa
B. Michigan
C. Michigan State
D. Nebraska
E. Other

My pick: B. The Wolverines will only improve in Year 2 under Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison – even with the significant departures of David Molk and Mike Martin, among others. The one thing to like most about the Wolverines next year, aside from the vastly improved defense, of course: RB Fitzgerald Toussaint. The sophomore came out of nowhere to rush for 1,000 yards this fall, and he’s the key to making the Michigan offensive attack that much better, that much more diverse.

7. Which team will win the 2012 Big Ten Leaders Division?

A. Ohio State
B. Penn State
C. Purdue
D. Wisconsin
E. Other

My pick: D. The Badgers lose a lot, including one-year quarterback Russell Wilson and offensive coordinator Paul Chryst. Still, the Leaders Division figures to be down in 2012, with Illinois adjusting to a new coach, Indiana fresh off a one-win season, Ohio State on probation and Penn State dealing with the aftermath of a never-ending scandal. And let’s face it, Bret Bielema does nothing but win.

8. Who will win 2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year?

A. Ricardo Allen
B. Chris Borland
C. Jonathan Brown
D. William Gholston
E. Other

My pick: D. Gholston is a ridiculous specimen. He broke out this past season as a sophomore, with three sacks and 11 tackles for loss, and the former linebacker will only improve as he continues to get more comfortable as a defensive lineman.

9. Who will be the breakout player of 2012?

A. Kain Colter
B. Keenan Davis
C. Tre Roberson
D. Bradley Roby
E. Other

My pick: A. Colter did it all in 2011, and he’ll do even more next season if he’s allowed to focus on one position. In 2011, Colter ran, threw and caught it, depending on starting QB Dan Persa’s health. He figures to be under center, and if he’s given the opportunity to start at quarterback for 12 games, there are some people who think he’ll be better than Persa.

10. Which football team will be the biggest surprise of 2012?

A. Illinois
B. Iowa
C. Northwestern
D. Purdue
E. Other

My pick: D. Assuming the Boilermakers can stay healthy – never a given recently with this team – they figure to be Wisconsin’s biggest obstacle to getting to a second consecutive Big Ten Football Championship Game. Remember, Ohio State can’t qualify for the Big Ten title game or a bowl game in 2012. The Boilers have an underrated defense, an improving offense that gets Rob Henry back, and they play in a division that features its share of teams in transition or facing distractions.

11. Which team will win the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game?

A. Michigan
B. Nebraska
C. Purdue
D. Wisconsin
E. Other

My pick: A. See No. 6 above. In a season where a lot of teams will be in transition or facing a ton of adversity, Michigan knows what it is and what it has coming back. The Wolverines are a team with firepower, an improving defense and a coaching staff that is recruiting players who fit its system.

12. Who will be the Big Ten’s top Heisman candidate?

A. Rex Burkhead
B. Marcus Coker
C. Braxton Miller
D. Denard Robinson
E. Other

My pick: C. I fully understand Miller has a lot to prove and that he only completed double-digit passes once – in the season finale – but the idea of Urban Meyer coaching a player with his skills is scary. Meyer or not, Miller was going to improve as a passer in his second season. That process will only be smoother and faster now. Add an improved passing game to Miller’s phenomenal running ability, and you have a special talent who will garner a ton of national buzz. There will be Big Ten players with better stats than Miller, but the Heisman isn’t about the guy with the best stats.

Brent Yarina is a web editor and blogger for BTN.com. Find all of his work here and follow him on twitter at @BTNBrentYarina.

Show Comments (15 Comments)
15 Post Your Comment
Doug on 12/29/2011 @ 11:01pm EDT Said:

MSU will win the Legends, they will beat Michigan again, and Michigan won’t have 8 home games to inflate their record next year like they did this year

Doug on 12/29/2011 @ 11:07pm EDT Said:

Michigan won’t win the Legends so obviously they won’t win the big ten title game. Expect them to lose at home to MSU and at Neb and OSU. No soft schedule home schedule for them next year. Expect 7-5 to maybe 8-4.

Mark Hopwood on 12/30/2011 @ 8:49am EDT Said:

Fitzgerald Toussiant? Are you OUT OF YOUR MIND? that is the dumbest thing I think I’ve ever heard. Michigan will get pounded by MSU for a 5th straight time and get exposed just as doug said by a much more difficult schedule. 2 words- LE’VEON BELL. He is BY FAR the best running back in the Big Ten in 2012.

Mark on 12/30/2011 @ 10:25am EDT Said:

Le’Veon Bell = Big Ten’s #1 2012 Heisman Candidate

Doug on 12/30/2011 @ 9:50pm EDT Said:

Everyone on the Michigan bandwagon cause they breezed thru a high school schedule. They lose 3 starters on the D Line who really aren’t very good anyways and Toussiant? really? MSU has all 3 RB’s coming back and all 3 would start on Michigan. Maxwell is as good if not better than Cousins, and Cousins was a beast. Legends champs again. Geez Michigan beats a .500 OSU team at home and everyone thinks Michigan is back. MSU will just have to beat them again. Look at Robinson’s stats vs MSU, no wonder he is thinking about leaving early instead of losing to MSU all 4 years.

Max on 12/31/2011 @ 11:57am EDT Said:

Who are these people you are getting to make predictions for the big ten network? Yarina obviously doesn’t look at last years stats, depth, experience nor future incoming talent! He picks his favorite teams with nothing solid to back it up… Everyone else is right! MSU is a much better team even after the people they lost this year. If he did his homework he would realize that MSU is as strong or stronger at every position of loss next year… You can’t say that of U of M. And everyone in the country knows U of M doesnt deserve a BCS bowl! The lowest ranked team to ever get a BCS bid… I can’t wait for next year so this guy can eat his words… And by the way! The spread offense will never work in the Big Ten! It never has and it never will. Good luck Ohio St.! I’m sure this guy is all about Urban Meyer too! Do some research before you make predictions. You make the entire Big Ten network look bad….

    Brent Yarina, BTN.com on 12/31/2011 @ 12:38pm EDT Said:

    Max – I like what Michigan brings back. The Wolverines return a lot of talent and should only continue to improve on the defensive end. Look what they did with a unit that was awful the year before. Also, Denard and Fitz are a very strong duo out of the backfield, and this will be the first time that Denard has a consistent and talented primary running back for an entire season. He didn’t have that the past two years – only the second half of this year. The schedule will be tough, however. Should be fun to see what happens!

Doug on 1/1/2012 @ 7:29pm EDT Said:

Michigan get better on the defensive end? Losing 3 defensive linemen who were owned by MSU’s O-line all day, I can’t wait for MSU to beat michigan again. Michigan’s ultra soft schedule this year got them to 10-2 and for them and VTech to be in the Sugar bowl is the biggest joke ever. Fitz won’t do anything against a good defense like MSU, just like how MSU has shut down Denard the last 2 years. MSU is only the defending champs bringing back a stable of top RB’s and the top defense in the big ten.

aroznowski on 1/1/2012 @ 9:38pm EDT Said:

1. C
2. C
3. C (if Sullinger enters the NBA Draft)
4. C
5. A
6. D
7. A (even though the Buckeyes are ineligible for postseason play)
8. D
9. E (MarQueis Gray)
10. D
11. B
12. D (Braxton Miller will the Big Ten’s top Heisman candidate in 2013)

MeanChuckieB on 1/3/2012 @ 2:37pm EDT Said:

Wow. Telax Sparty. Theseare EARLY prdictions for fun. Nice game against UGA by the way. State of Michigan having tobailout the B10 this year.

Jeff on 2/10/2012 @ 1:23pm EDT Said:

Lots of Spartys with noses out it joint. Not many UM comments. They must all be working. I am happy for Draymond he got 1/3.

Noel on 2/16/2012 @ 11:08am EDT Said:

Miller for heisman. You’ve got to be kidding. He had a good passing day against Michigan, but look at his stats for the games he started. It’s a lot bigger stretch than Denard Robinson. It’s Robinson’s senior year and just fasten your seat belt to watch how this talent will go out.

T-mac on 3/6/2012 @ 8:00pm EDT Said:

Settle down spartina your reign over the state of michigan is over and not just in football. Sit back and take whats coming

Adam on 4/24/2012 @ 6:38pm EDT Said:

Things that i love: MSU fans jumping all over the boards because we (michigan) are the only game on their schedule that their whole fan base cares about. Why? Because their “tradition” is sub-par.

Michigan is stoked about a BCS win, playing the defending champs, and the REAL rivalry between us and OSU. Meanwhile, MSU keeps whining because even when they win, no one wants to see them

MeanchuckieB on 4/25/2012 @ 6:56am EDT Said:

Wow. MSU fans are predictable. An ounce of good press for UM and the sky is falling. Hilarious. Yes, we had 8 home games, but we still had to beat those teams. UM has a tough road to how and probably will have 2-4 losses. Not inconceivable. But MSU fans should focus on their own team, not whine because UMs band wagon is HUGE. And I am on it big time.

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