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.

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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.

Here’s what BTN.com fans said on Twitter:

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24 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (24 Comments)
Doug on 11/29/2012 @ 3:57pm EDT Said:

MSU-OSU. MSU lost at M by 2 and at home to OSU by 1. You two goofs keep predicting back to back M-OSU games at the end of the season every year, we won’t see it in our lifetime, and we can keep laughing at you.

    BTN.com staff on 11/29/2012 @ 4:06pm EDT Said:

    So long as there’s laughter. Thanks, Doug.

bob jones on 11/29/2012 @ 4:43pm EDT Said:

Huskers have a much more favorable schedule next year, not the brutal stretch like they had to get through this year and the offense will be absolutely loaded next year, defense will have lots of good young talent coming in to keep it solid.

Doug on 11/29/2012 @ 5:42pm EDT Said:

Oh there’s laughter, you have a whole crew of comedians working for you !

BigRedOne on 11/29/2012 @ 5:43pm EDT Said:

Huskers almost returns everybody from this years team, including the best QB in the league. Ohio St loses alot of players, dont see them in it next year. So i think Wisc and Neb again.

Dan Smith on 11/29/2012 @ 8:01pm EDT Said:

Husker offense should be very good. Lots of returning talent. The defense will be young but should get better as the season goes on. The schedule will be easier than this year. It will come down to Michigan or the Huskers vs Ohio.

Turbonious Funk on 11/29/2012 @ 9:10pm EDT Said:

OSU (12-0) vs. Nebraska (10-2). Ohio State wins, goes on to a National Championship with a win over Florida State.

Mike Cember on 11/29/2012 @ 9:33pm EDT Said:

Yes, great teams find their way to victory, but come on! Why do you think the Huskers are such shoo-ins? They won four games by a TOTAL of 15 points (Iowa by 7, MSU by 4, Wisconsin by 3 and Northwestern by 1, after Budzien missed his ONLY field goal attempt of the season in the closing seconds of the game. And don’t forget the 63-38 pasting they took from Ohio State! I can’t understand the inevitability people seem to feel about Nebraska.

The same applies to the Buckeyes. They took 4 of their 12 victories by a total of 20 points, 14 of which came in OT (Purdue and Wisconsin). In regulation, they beat Michigan and Michigan State TOGETHER by a total of 6 points; 5 of them in the fabled GAME.

Face it! Parity has (mostly) arrived in the Big 10.

Mike Cember on 11/29/2012 @ 9:37pm EDT Said:

Clarification of my previous post. Budzien attempted 18 field goals over the season. The miss against Nebraska was his only MISS.

sbuel2 on 11/29/2012 @ 11:11pm EDT Said:

I agree with Bob about offense being young and mostly returning. Nebraska does have an issue to deal with on Defense. Papuchis was the early season problem on defense with multi play calling and guys shifting and staring at the sidelines when the other team snapped the ball. After Ohio State, Bo Pelini took over the defense for the rest of the year. Will Papuchis be gone or demoted?

Ryan on 11/29/2012 @ 11:20pm EDT Said:

If Northwestern keeps all 3 second half leads this year and goes 12-0 do they go to national title vs ND???

Jonathan on 11/30/2012 @ 10:47am EDT Said:

MSU vs. OSU. Both will have the top defense in their division. OSU’s offense will get even better with a maturing Braxton Miller. MSU’s offense will mature and learn how to finish games. Remember, if things had gone differently, MSU would have been unbeaten in big ten play. Plus, MSU should have a better kicker next year with Conroy gone, so all of those missed field goals (hopefully) won’t happen. At least half of the losses were by a field goal or less, and there was at least one missed field goal by Conroy in each.

sbuel2 on 11/30/2012 @ 11:18am EDT Said:

Turbonious Funk Ohio State was on probation coming into the year so you should recognize, no championship game, no bowl game, no national championship because of what your players and coach did. Many of those players were suspended for varying amounts but played last year. Not too far removed for fan memories to recognize that probation is probation for bad acts. Get over your selves and enjoy the unbeaten regular season. One thing about B1G, on any given Saturday, any team can beat any other team so you need to play each game. Anything can happen.

Will on 11/30/2012 @ 12:53pm EDT Said:

LOL at crystal balls being used in cfb. <– I don't think they are with regulation guidelines. SEE USC issue 2012. Ha!

Next year the expectations will be for Ohio State to run the table in the Leaders division and a hard fought battle in the Legions division with a slight advantage going towards the Huskers due to schedule. I will say this much, we (Nebraska) have to replace some great "D" players on next year’s squad but according to everything I am hearing, there should be no drop off and even an upgrade in the speed and talent of the incoming starters who are waiting their turn. Several players could have been pulled into games this year but we were not going to waste a year of eligibility for them for a few games. Next year will be there chance to prove themselves. Ohio State should be rated in the preseason top 6 and Nebraska (with wins this weekend and if they win bowl game) should get into the top 10. Enjoy the final month of football my friends as CFB is just abut done this year and the long wait will once again be upon us. ugh!!!

Will on 11/30/2012 @ 12:54pm EDT Said:

My darn typing skills need work… hahahahaha!

sbuel2 on 11/30/2012 @ 1:08pm EDT Said:

There are other ranked Nebraska teams to cheer for you know, Women’s volleyball is in the second round of NCAA tournament, Women’s basketball is ranked, Men’s wrestling is ranked, and men’s basketball has a new coach so should be improving, later baseball has a relatively new coach. Gymnastics is usually interesting. Even Bowling is up there. So plenty to watch between the bowl games and spring practice.

Wiliest on 11/30/2012 @ 1:10pm EDT Said:

sbuel2 This article is on 2013 Big Title game predictions. Next year OSU will be freed from their bowl sanctions making your post look silly. Please comprehend what you read before you post next time.

sbuel2 on 11/30/2012 @ 1:42pm EDT Said:

will you were finishing with nothing after football, there are a lot of excellent Nebraska teams to follow besides football. this is BTN 2013 is a while away. So do something productive and enjoy the other excellent sporting opportunities available until spring football and 2013 football.

Jake on 11/30/2012 @ 5:43pm EDT Said:

I got Ohio State vs. Northwestern or Nebraska for the title game next year.

Nick on 11/30/2012 @ 5:53pm EDT Said:

I don’t know if the Huskers make it back next year. They lose a lot of talent on their defense. Two starters from the secondary, both starting linebackers, and three starting D-lineman. I guess we’ll see next year how well their coaching staff did with recruiting on the defensive side of the ball over the years.

Tyler on 11/30/2012 @ 5:59pm EDT Said:

Michigan loses denard Robinson Gardner has not quite proven himself this year Ohio state should be defeated Nebraska should be too since they don’t play each other next year both undefeated and in top 5 would make for a great game with the chance to play for national title and loser playing in rosebowl

Will on 11/30/2012 @ 6:19pm EDT Said:

sbuelI2; I do enjoy the other sports here at Nebraska, round ball men’s and women’s, women’s VB, but football is where the rubber meets the road for me. I can and do support all of UNLs sports, but there is just something about Nebraska football and or CFB all together. I suspect you may have been replying to Wiliest rather than me but this is just an FYI.

Go Big Red tomorrow; let’s take it while it is there for the taking! and Wiliest, hope we (Nebraska) will see you in the Big Ten CFB CCG next year, as that game would be sold out in a New York minute, if both do what they are both supposed to do!

Mike on 12/1/2012 @ 8:16pm EDT Said:

I don’t understand the obsession by the “experts” for Michigan. Every year they predict the miracle return to previous greatness that doesn’t come. I do respect what they had years ago, but they are losing 90% of their offense. Enough already. OSU vs Nebraska in 2013.

Doug on 12/1/2012 @ 10:36pm EDT Said:

Mike, BTN is all about Michigan, don’t worry, Michigan-OSU for the big ten title won’t happen in our lifetime.