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Latest Best Case/Worst Case News

Best Case/Worst Case: Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota could be poised for a breakout in Year Three under Jerry Kill, who got the program to its first bowl since 2009 last season. Playing in the rigorous Legends Division will make Kill’s task difficult with the likes of Nebraska, Michigan, Northwestern and Michigan State looming, but Kill continues to improve the talent on the roster. Here’s my look at the best- and worst-case scenarios for the Golden Gophers this season. MINNESOTA Best case: Minnesota eases into the schedule with five winnable games—four of which are at home. In fact, the Golden Gophers should be favored in each game—and

Best Case/Worst Case: New-look Purdue

The arrival of Darrell Hazell from Kent State has energized Purdue and given fans hope for the future. He inherits a team that went to a bowl last season under Danny Hope, but the roster is still a bit talent poor. Regardless, Hazell has a nice plan and a strong staff. Here is my best- and worst-case scenarios for the Boilermakers. [ RELATED: Visit Dienhart’s Best Case/Worst Case archive ] PURDUE Best case: It’s a battle of debuts in the opener, with Darrell Hazell taking on new Cincinnati boss Tommy Tuberville. The Boilermakers find a way to win late on

Best Case/Worst Case: Indiana Hoosiers

Expectations are teeming in Bloomington, as Kevin Wilson enters his third season on the job. A high-powered offense gives the Hoosiers a chance in just about every game. But how will the defense perform, as Indiana looks for its bowl since 2007? Here is my best- and worst-case scenarios for the Hoosiers. [ RELATED: Visit Dienhart’s Best Case/Worst Case archive ] INDIANA Best case: The Hoosiers dispatch Indiana State based on talent alone. Sorry, Sycamores. Navy comes to Bloomington—and Indiana has revenge on its mind after dropping a close game in Annapolis last season. The mojo continues vs. Bowling Green.

Best Case/Worst Case: Michigan State Spartans

Expectations were big for Michigan State entering last season, as the Spartans were coming off consecutive 11-win seasons and an appearance in the Big Ten title game after the 2011 season. Alas, a sluggish offense was a big culprit in a disappointing 7-6 season. But hope springs eternal for MSU in 2013, thanks to what looks to be another stout defense. Here is my Best Case/Worst Case for Michigan State. [ RELATED: Visit Dienhart’s Best Case/Worst Case archive ] MICHIGAN STATE Best case: The Spartans open with three home games. And they should win them all vs. MAC, AAC and

Best Case/Worst Case: Legends contender Michigan

Michigan is the pick of many to win the Legends Division in Brady Hoke’s third season in Ann Arbor. There is a lot to like about the Wolverines, who continue to accumulate an impressive collection of talent. But how will the d-line develop? Will the running game get back on track? Here’s my look at the best- and worst-case scenarios for Michigan this season. [ RELATED: Visit Dienhart’s Best Case/Worst Case archive ] MICHIGAN Best case: A season-opening visit from Central Michigan is like an exhibition game. Good thing, because Notre Dame comes to the Big House next for a

Best Case/Worst Case: B1G favorite Ohio State

Urban Meyer’s 12-0 debut in 2012 stoked the fires for a program that was shackled by NCAA probation last season and couldn’t win the Big Ten or go to a bowl. Now unencumbered by probation and with most of that roster back—including quarterback Braxton Miller–expectations are enormous at Ohio State. In fact, it may be national championship or bust for OSU and Meyer, who went 12-0 at Utah in his second season and won a national crown at Florida in Year Two. [ RELATED: Study: Ohio State has Big Ten’s “best” football fans ] OHIO STATE Best case: The Buckeyes

Best Case/Worst Case: Penn State Nittany Lions

Bill O’Brien surprised many by debuting with an 8-4 record. In fact, he went 8-2 over the last 10 games after an 0-2 start. The Nittany Lions still are dealing with severe scholarship sanctions because of NCAA probation, which will threaten to compromise the team’s thin depth. Still, the front-line talent is top-notch; and if it stays healthy, this could be another successful season in State College. [ RELATED: Visit Dienhart’s Best Case/Worst Case archive ] PENN STATE Best case: Let’s pencil-in a 4-0 start, with no true road games in the four opening weeks. But the Nittany Lions will

Best Case/Worst Case: Legends champ Nebraska

Expectations are big in Lincoln for a program looking for a big breakthrough under Bo Pelini, who is in his sixth season. Led by QB Taylor Martinez, the offense should be among the best in the Big Ten. The defense? It will determine the season after looking awful in three big games last year: at UCLA; at Ohio State; vs. Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. Is the rebuilt front seven up to the task? [ RELATED: Visit Dienhart’s Best Case/Worst Case archive ] NEBRASKA Best case: The Cornhuskers open with five home games. Nice. Nebraska cruises by Wyoming

Best Case/Worst Case: Iowa Hawkeyes

This is a pivotal season for Iowa, which is coming off its worst year since 2000 as the Hawkeyes missed the postseason for the first time since 2007. Iowa hasn’t missed a bowl two seasons in a row since a three-year drought from 1998-2000. Kirk Ferentz made more coaching changes in the offseason, as he searches to steady a listing ship. [ RELATED: Visit Dienhart’s Best Case/Worst Case archive ] IOWA Best case: Iowa barely beat Northern Illinois in last year’s opener; the Hawkeyes make amends with a convincing victory this time. Missouri State is an easy win. A trip

Best Case/Worst Case: Reeling Fighting Illini

The debut of the Tim Beckman era was, well, disappointing. The Fighting Illini went 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the Big Ten, pushing the school’s league losing skid to 14 games. The arrival of new offensive coordinator Bill Cubit has increased optimism for what was a moribund attack. Will Illinois make it back to a bowl? Find out in my Best Case/Worst: Illinois. [ RELATED: Visit Dienhart’s Best Case/Worst Case archive ] Best case: Not playing a true road game until Oct. 5 helps Illinois get off to a strong start. Based on talent alone, the Fighting Illini dispatch FCS