Debate it: Who plays for Big Ten title ... in 2013?
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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