SI.com’s Andy Staples knows the Big Ten. Not only does he cover the beat for SI.com, he is a frequent guest of ours on “Big Ten Football & Beyond.” Staples posted his Big Ten 2012 Conference Report on Monday, and it’s a great read. The biggest thing that stands out has to be Staples’ prediction for Purdue: 5-7, 2-6.
[SI.com: Big Ten 2012 Conference Report]
Here are some of the highlights from Staples’ preview:
- They’ll be a rematch of the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game, with Wisconsin meeting Michigan State on Dec. 1, 2012, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
- Wisconsin RB Montee Ball will win Offensive MVP. Bold prediction, I know.
- Michigan State LB Denicos Allen, fresh off one of the quietest 11-sack seasons in Big Ten history, will win Defensive MVP. Love the outside-the-box pick.
- Ohio State WR Michael Thomas, he of the head-turning spring game, will be the Big Ten’s most impactful freshman.
- Think Boise State-Michigan State and Michigan-Alabama are the only intriguing nonconference games? Think again. Staples is a fan of the Iowa-Northern Illinois game at Solider Field.
The Purdue prediction is a huge surprise. I mean, does anyone really see the Boilers not bowling this season? They’re a better team than last year, one that made a bowl game, they boast what could be a solid defense, anchored by tackle Kawann Short, and they have a pretty good offense. Maybe Purdue’s trio of quarterbacks scares Staples. It certainly isn’t an ideal situation.
Come to think of it, Staples’ entire state of Indiana predictions catch my eye. He has the Hoosiers going 5-7, with a 1-7 Big Ten clip. That means Staples thinks the Hoosiers, who won one game last season and didn’t beat a single FBS team, will sweep its nonconference foes, including games at Massachusetts and Navy.