Debate it: Who plays for Big Ten title ... in 2013?
Nebraska and Wisconsin are set to meet in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game on Saturday night in Indianapolis, and BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina are there to cover it. Given they’ve been debating topics here all season long, the two of them thought it would be fun to look ahead to the 2013 Big Ten title game. So, who will represent the Legends and Leaders a year from now?
See what our guys say in this post, and vote for your matchup in this post. We’ve added a few tweets from fans stating their own cases, but you can also use the comment box to tell us what you think.
Brent: Let’s just say I envision “The Game” on back-to-back weeks next year.
Tom: Michigan vs. Ohio State in the 2013 Big Ten title game? Hmmm. I like how you think. But you are only half correct. Try Ohio State vs. Nebraska, which should be this year’s matchup.
Brent: I like it. Those figure to be the favorites next year. Then again, Michigan State and Wisconsin were popular favorites this year, and they combined to go 7-9 in Big Ten play, with zero wins over teams with a plus-.500 Big Ten clip.
Tom: Ohio State will be a Top 5 preseason team next year—and the Buckeyes will be VERY hungry after sitting out the postseason this year. And this may be the start of a special run for Nebraska.
Brent: Yes, both Ohio State and Nebraska should expect to have special seasons. The Buckeyes are pretty much a shoe-in for Indy, what with the mess that is the Leaders Division. As for the Legends, I favor Michigan for two reasons: 1. Nebraska and Ohio State visit The Big House; and 2. and this team will fit Brady Hoke’s system better than the previous two.
Tom: Yes, Michigan’s program will be maturing nicely under Hoke in Year Three. Any combination of Michigan-Nebraska-Ohio State in the 2013 Big Ten title game will be good for the conference and likely guarantee a big crowd and national TV interest. Do you see any dark horses outside of those three making it to Indy in 2013? Michigan State? Northwestern?
Brent: The only sleeper I can truly make a case for is Northwestern. It returns a ton of talent, including Kain Colter and Venric Mark, to name a couple, it boasts an improving defense, and it has a favorable schedule, with road dates at Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska. Win at home, and who knows.
Tom: Yes, Northwestern almost had a big breakthrough this season by going 9-3 with the Wildcats blowing second-half leads in each defeat. Michigan State may be motivated to make a run after the disappointment of 2012, but it will lose some key guys on defense. Still, this is a program that is stocked with talent and will be dangerous next season with an offense that has to be better, right?
Brent: I don’t know about Michigan State, the offense in particular. I doubt things get much better, especially if Le’Veon Bell bolts for the NFL. If he goes – and he should after all the totes he received this year – the offense could find itself a similar situation.
Tom: Wisconsin may be able to push Ohio State in the Leaders Division, but it figures to be a long shot. So, I feel confident in Ohio State fans booking rooms in Indy for 2013. And either Michigan or Nebraska appears to be a lock as the opponent. I’m already getting excited just typing this!
Brent: The Badgers, really?! I don’t see them being much better than they were this year, which was mediocre. I must not have nearly as much faith in Joel Stave as you. I’m fine with either of our matchups, though, and I think they will be the most common ones we see projected this offseason.
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