Football report cards: How will season play out?

Football report cards: How will season play out?

Before the second half of the season starts, let’s take a snapshot of the Big Ten at the halfway mark. Following is my team-by-team report card with award winners for each squad as well as projected won-loss totals, among other juicy tidbits.

Where do you agree? Were do you think I’m wrong? Is your team going to be eligible for a bowl? Have a look at my assessments, watch the top ten plays from last week in the video in this post, and then let’s move forward with Saturday’s games.

And don’t forget our Week 8 predictions, my Week 8 previews, and my Week 8 best bets.

Illinois (3-2, 0-1)

Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2286 (83)
Passing Yards: 1407 (63)
Rushing Yards: 879 (82)
Points per game: 36.0 (31)
Yards per game: 457.2 (35)
Touchdowns: 22 (50)
Field Goals: 5 (82)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2249 (42)
Passing Yards: 1272 (38)
Rushing Yards: 977 (63)
Points per game: 27.6 (67)
Yards per game: 449.8 (93)
Touchdowns: 17 (44)
Field Goals: 7 (67)

MVP: QB Nathan Scheelhaase

Top newcomer: ATH Aaron Bailey, TFr.

Best game: Miami (Ohio), 50-14

Worst game: at Nebraska, 39-19

Top game left: Northwestern, Nov. 30

Big question: Will a leaky defense gain a footing?

Mid-term grade: B-

Remaining schedule prediction:

  • Wisconsin L
  • Michigan State L
  • At Penn State L
  • At Indiana L
  • Ohio State L
  • At Purdue W
  • Northwestern L

Final record: 4-8 overall; 1-7 Big Ten

***

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Indiana (3-3, 1-1)

Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 3026 (19)
Passing Yards: 1989 (12)
Rushing Yards: 1037 (65)
Points per game: 41.7 (14)
Yards per game: 504.3 (16)
Touchdowns: 33 (9)
Field Goals: 3 (102)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2736 (89)
Passing Yards: 1437 (67)
Rushing Yards: 1299 (97)
Points per game: 32.8 (92)
Yards per game: 456.0 (97)
Touchdowns: 22 (83)
Field Goals: 5 (30)

MVP: WR Cody Latimer

Top newcomer: LB T.J. Simmons, TFr.

Best game: Penn State, 44-24

Worst game: Navy, 41-35

Top game left: Purdue, Nov. 30

Big question: Can the offense keep covering for a leaky defense?

Mid-term grade: B

Remaining schedule prediction:

  • At Michigan L
  • Minnesota W
  • Illinois W
  • At Wisconsin L
  • At Ohio State L
  • Purdue W

Final record: 6-6 overall; 4-4 Big Ten

***

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Iowa (4-2, 1-1)

Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2501 (61)
Passing Yards: 1256 (81)
Rushing Yards: 1245 (34)
Points per game: 29.7 (60)
Yards per game: 416.8 (59)
Touchdowns: 17 (83)
Field Goals: 8 (32)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 1740 (8)
Passing Yards: 1209 (26)
Rushing Yards: 531 (6)
Points per game: 16.8 (10)
Yards per game: 290.0 (7)
Touchdowns: 10 (9)
Field Goals: 8 (80)

MVP: LB James Morris

Top newcomer: WR Damond Powell, JC

Best game: at Minnesota, 23-7

Worst game: Michigan State, 26-14

Top game left: at Nebraska, Nov. 29

Big question: Will the passing game continue to develop?

Mid-term grade: B+

Remaining schedule prediction:

  • At Ohio State L
  • Northwestern W
  • Wisconsin L
  • At Purdue W
  • Michigan L
  • At Nebraska L

Final record: 6-6 overall; 3-5 Big Ten

***

[ MORE: BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart’s latest answers to your football questions ]

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Michigan (5-1 overall, 1-1 Big Ten)

Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2374 (72)
Passing Yards: 1335 (70)
Rushing Yards: 1039 (64)
Points per game: 39.0 (20)
Yards per game: 395.7 (71)
Touchdowns: 27 (28)
Field Goals: 8 (33)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 1915 (16)
Passing Yards: 1378 (59)
Rushing Yards: 537 (7)
Points per game: 23.3 (39)
Yards per game: 319.2 (10)
Touchdowns: 12 (13)
Field Goals: 12 (113)

MVP: Devin Gardner

Top newcomer: WR Jehu Chesson, RFr.

Best game: Notre Dame, 41-30

Worst game: Akron, 28-24

Top game left: Ohio State, Nov. 30

Big question: Can the offense get on track?

Mid-term grade: B-

Remaining schedule prediction:

  • Indiana W
  • At Michigan State L
  • Nebraska L
  • At Northwestern W
  • At Iowa W
  • Ohio State L

Final record: 8-4 overall; 4-4 Big Ten

***

Michigan State (5-1 overall, 2-0 Big Ten)

Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2248 (87)
Passing Yards: 1127 (97)
Rushing Yards: 1121 (50)
Points per game: 30.5 (52)
Yards per game: 374.7 (84)
Touchdowns: 18 (72)
Field Goals: 10 (16)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 1371 (1)
Passing Yards: 1022 (6)
Rushing Yards: 349 (1)
Points per game: 15.8 (7)
Yards per game: 228.5 (1)
Touchdowns: 12 (14)
Field Goals: 4 (13)

MVP: LB Denicos Allen

Top newcomer: OT Jack Conklin, RFr.

Best game: at Iowa, 26-14

Worst game: at Notre Dame, 17-13

Top game left: at Nebraska, Nov. 16

Big question: Can the offense keep rolling?

Mid-term grade: B+

Remaining schedule prediction:

  • Purdue W
  • At Illinois W
  • Michigan W
  • At Nebraska L
  • At Northwestern W
  • Minnesota W

Final record: 10-2 overall (7-1 Big Ten)

***

Minnesota (4-2 overall, 0-2 Big Ten)

Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 1996 (101)
Passing Yards: 701 (112)
Rushing Yards: 1295 (28)
Points per game: 31.2 (48)
Yards per game: 332.7 (101)
Touchdowns: 19 (66)
Field Goals: 7 (47)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2303 (46)
Passing Yards: 1533 (83)
Rushing Yards: 770 (27)
Points per game: 24.2 (43)
Yards per game: 383.8 (46)
Touchdowns: 18 (55)
Field Goals: 5 (31)

MVP: DT Ra’Shede Hageman

Top newcomer: LB Damien Wilson, JC

Best game: San Jose State, 43-24

Worst game: Iowa, 23-7

Top game left: Wisconsin, Nov. 23

Big question: When will Jerry Kill be back?

Mid-term grade: C

Remaining schedule prediction:

  • At Northwestern L
  • Nebraska L
  • At Indiana L
  • Penn State L
  • Wisconsin L
  • At Michigan State L

Final record: 4-8 overall, 0-8 Big Ten

***

Nebraska (5-1 overall, 2-0 Big Ten)

Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2941 (23)
Passing Yards: 1232 (85)
Rushing Yards: 1709 (8)
Points per game: 42.7 (11)
Yards per game: 490.2 (20)
Touchdowns: 32 (10)
Field Goals: 4 (94)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2443 (62)
Passing Yards: 1498 (75)
Rushing Yards: 945 (58)
Points per game: 22.3 (33)
Yards per game: 407.2 (68)
Touchdowns: 16 (36)
Field Goals: 7 (66)

MVP: RB Ameer Abdullah

Top newcomer: DE Randy Gregory, JC

Best game: Illinois, 39-19

Worst game: UCLA, 41-21

Top game left: Michigan State, Nov. 16

Big question: Has the defense really turned a corner?

Mid-term grade: B

Remaining schedule prediction:

  • At Minnesota W
  • Northwestern W
  • At Michigan W
  • Michigan State W
  • At Penn State L
  • Iowa W

Final record: 10-2 overall, 7-1 Big Ten

***

Northwestern (4-2 overall, 0-2 Big Ten)

Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2611 (50)
Passing Yards: 1475 (57)
Rushing Yards: 1136 (46)
Points per game: 33.5 (41)
Yards per game: 435.2 (49)
Touchdowns: 20 (59)
Field Goals: 11 (8)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2685 (85)
Passing Yards: 1679 (96)
Rushing Yards: 1006 (68)
Points per game: 28.3 (73)
Yards per game: 447.5 (91)
Touchdowns: 20 (68)
Field Goals: 6 (50)

MVP: DE Tyler Scott

Top newcomer: G Ian Park, RFr.

Best game: at Cal, 44-30

Worst game: at Wisconsin, 35-6

Top game left: Michigan State, Nov. 23

Big question: Can the defense play at a championship-caliber?

Mid-term grade: B-

Remaining schedule prediction:

  • Minnesota W
  • At Iowa L
  • At Nebraska L
  • Michigan L
  • Michigan State L
  • At Illinois W

Final record: 6-6 overall, 2-6 Big Ten

***

Ohio State (6-0 overall, 2-0 Big Ten)

Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2957 (22)
Passing Yards: 1273 (77)
Rushing Yards: 1684 (10)
Points per game: 46.8 (6)
Yards per game: 492.8 (19)
Touchdowns: 36 (4)
Field Goals: 5 (83)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 1957 (17)
Passing Yards: 1440 (68)
Rushing Yards: 517 (4)
Points per game: 19.2 (20)
Yards per game: 326.2 (11)
Touchdowns: 13 (20)
Field Goals: 6 (51)

MVP: LB Ryan Shazier

Top newcomer: DE Joey Bosa, TFr.

Best game: at Northwestern, 40-30

Worst game: Buffalo, 40-20

Top game left: at Michigan, Nov. 30

Big question: Can the Buckeyes deal with the mounting pressure?

Mid-term grade: A-

Remaining schedule prediction:

  • Iowa W
  • Penn State W
  • At Purdue W
  • At Illinois W
  • Indiana W
  • At Michigan W

Final record: 12-0 overall, 8-0 Big Ten

***

Penn State (4-2 overall, 1-1 Big Ten)

Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2645 (47)
Passing Yards: 1702 (26)
Rushing Yards: 943 (72)
Points per game: 33.3 (42)
Yards per game: 440.8 (47)
Touchdowns: 24 (41)
Field Goals: 11 (9)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2015 (21)
Passing Yards: 1309 (45)
Rushing Yards: 706 (16)
Points per game: 23.7 (41)
Yards per game: 335.8 (13)
Touchdowns: 14 (25)
Field Goals: 9 (90)

MVP: WR Allen Robinson

Top newcomer: QB Christian Hackenberg, TFr.

Best game: Michigan, 43-40 4 OT

Worst game: at Indiana, 44-24

Top remaining game: Nebraska, Nov. 23

Big question: Will the defense develop more playmaking ability?

Mid-term grade: B

Remaining schedule prediction:

  • At Ohio State L
  • Illinois W
  • At Minnesota W
  • Purdue W
  • Nebraska W
  • At Wisconsin L

Final record: 8-4 overall, 5-3 Big Ten

***

Purdue (1-5 overall, 0-2 Big Ten)

Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 1724 (110)
Passing Yards: 1257 (80)
Rushing Yards: 467 (110)
Points per game: 15.3 (110)
Yards per game: 287.3 (112)
Touchdowns: 10 (111)
Field Goals: 5 (84)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2503 (72)
Passing Yards: 1336 (50)
Rushing Yards: 1167 (83)
Points per game: 37.8 (107)
Yards per game: 417.2 (74)
Touchdowns: 26 (98)
Field Goals: 5 (32)

MVP: P Cody Webster

Top newcomer: WR DeAngelo Yancey,

Best game: Indiana State, 20-14

Worst game: Northern Illinois, 55-24

Top game left: at Indiana, Nov. 30

Big question: Is QB Danny Etling really the future?

Mid-term grade: D-

Remaining schedule prediction:

  • At Michigan State L
  • Ohio State L
  • Iowa L
  • At Penn State L
  • Illinois L
  • At Indiana L

Final record: 1-11 overall, 0-8 Big Ten

***

Wisconsin (4-2 overall, 1-1 Big Ten)

Offense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 3117 (12)
Passing Yards: 1328 (71)
Rushing Yards: 1789 (5)
Points per game: 37.2 (26)
Yards per game: 519.5 (9)
Touchdowns: 29 (19)
Field Goals: 5 (85)
Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 1604 (4)
Passing Yards: 1063 (10)
Rushing Yards: 541 (8)
Points per game: 13.2 (4)
Yards per game: 267.3 (4)
Touchdowns: 9 (4)
Field Goals: 6 (52)

MVP: RB Melvin Gordon

Top newcomer: CB Sojourn Shelton, TFr.

Best game: Northwestern, 35-6

Worst game: at Arizona State, 32-30

Top game left: at Iowa, Nov. 2

Big question: Will the receiving corps develop more weapons?

Mid-term grade: B+

Remaining schedule prediction:

  • At Illinois W
  • At Iowa W
  • BYU W
  • Indiana W
  • At Minnesota W
  • Penn State W

Final record: 10-2 overall, 7-1 Big Ten

***

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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