Countdown to kickoff: Big Ten West champ?

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BTN LIVE - Tom Dienhart interviews Iowa RB Mark Weisman about the 2014 season.

Kickoff is fast approaching. To help count down the days to Aug. 28, the BTN.com team is discussing one topic every day. Think of it as our countdown to kickoff. Today’s topic: Big Ten West champ? Check out Tom Dienhart, Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina’s picks in this post.

See our other 2014 countdown to kickoff posts:

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Dienhart: Iowa. If you read this site at all, you’re well aware of how high I am on the Hawkeyes in 2014. I flat-out love Iowa’s combination of talent, especially in the trenches, and schedule. This is a program on the upswing that also is as well-coached as any in the Big Ten.

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 Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Merriman: Wisconsin. The Big Ten has long been known as a “ground-and-pound” conference. Big Ten games are often won in the trenches, and that is why I’m taking the Badgers. Wisconsin has the top backfield duo in the conference, with Melvin Gordon leading the way and Corey Clement serving as his backup. Rob Havenstein and the Badgers’ o-line will pave the way for an explosive running game. There are questions on the defense, but Wisconsin’s most challenging division games (vs. Nebraska, at Iowa, vs. Minnesota) all come in the final month of the season.

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 Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Brent Yarina: Wisconsin. I like the decision to start Tanner McEvoy, and it’s why I’m picking the Badgers over Iowa, my favorite before the McEvoy news. Yes, Wisconsin breaks in a new front seven on defense and lacks any proven commodities at wide receiver, but this is a team that will absolutely shred opponents on the ground. McEvoy, a good athlete, should make Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement even more dangerous.

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10 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (10 Comments)
bob jones on 8/26/2014 @ 4:17pm EST Said:

Sorry guys, it’s the Huskers with Iowa and Wisconsin close behind. Looks like a fun season ahead, Go Big Red.

Big Ten Fan on 8/26/2014 @ 4:33pm EST Said:

Iowa wins the west. Nebraska finishes second, Wisconsin third..unless the Gophers pass them by and they might.

Scot Kindschi on 8/26/2014 @ 8:38pm EST Said:

Minnesota surprises all.

Craig on 8/26/2014 @ 8:41pm EST Said:

Not Iowa.

mills on river on 8/26/2014 @ 9:44pm EST Said:

Sean Merriman – this is not the alvarez or bielema badgers, but a team in transition with a coach in his second season with a new team. Last year he kept status quo and it was a smart move, but now he wants to change to his style of offense. Andersen has said there will be less gordon. The badgers will not win the division and as big ten fan says may just squeak by MN for the 3 slot. Iowa, Neb, Wisky, MN, NW, Ill, Purdue

Charlie King on 8/26/2014 @ 9:51pm EST Said:

Illinois surprises everybody and wins five games with former Oklahoma State quarterback Wes Lunt leading the Big 10 in passing. IOWA WINS the West, followed by Nebraska and Minnesota.

Larry King on 8/26/2014 @ 11:25pm EST Said:

stop picking Iowa, I like the hawks chances better under the radar. Pick Nebraska like you do every year!

USMCinOKC on 8/27/2014 @ 7:19am EST Said:

It will be the Huskers all the way. Go Big Red!!!

Leo Doyle on 8/27/2014 @ 9:30am EST Said:

This whole division comes down to pretty much the last 2 games of the season. They all will probably have very similar records, so the road to Indy must pass through Kinnick.

Dave Ernst on 8/28/2014 @ 9:48am EST Said:

Be prepared for the Huskers this year. Bo will get his 9 wins this year, but he will add 3 more and a divisional championship. Go Big Red!