ARE YOU READY?

It’s July and football season has been over for around six months now, which means our collective hunger is at a fever pitch. I have been catching myself watching YouTube highlights way too often lately. So I did what any sane person would do; I predicted every single game on the Big 10 slate this season and then wrote an article about it.

I do this every year to an extent, although I’ve never actually published my predictions. I’m putting it in writing this time around. I can’t wait for half of you to love me and the other half to hate me. Is this how Jim Harbaugh feels?

For those wondering right off the bat, I have Michigan and Michigan State putting up double digits in the win column. From a rivalry standpoint, this season feels very similar to 2015, when the teams played down to the final seconds. I may have been in the stands in Ann Arbor for that finish. The finish may have been nominated for an ESPY for Play of the Year. I may not want to talk about it. But it feels similar because both teams are solid, with returning starters across the board. Brian Lewerke and Shea Patterson, who has not officially been named the Michigan starter yet, will both be elite Big 10 QBs this year. Both defenses will be staunch, with Michigan’s being potentially stronger than that of their 2016 team. That outfit was historically tough in Ann Arbor, so expectations are high.

That’s good and all, but who wins the game?

I am about as objective as they come while also growing up a Wolverine fan, but I think this will be an extremely low-scoring affair. It could go either way, but after the debacle in the Big House last year I think Michigan will have something to prove and a QB to prove it. With all due respect to John O’Korn, who by all accounts is a fantastic kid, the difference will be Shea Patterson. Patterson is no O’Korn. Michigan had a -5 turnover margin (including 3 O’Korn interceptions) against MSU last year and lost by one score. MSU will have home-field advantage, but Michigan comes out on top in a close one due to Patterson’s game management and (quite possibly) the number one defense in the country. This game will have big repercussions for the national college football landscape when it is all said and done.

I believe there will be three teams in the Big 10 East with 10 or more wins this year. When the dust settles, the UM/MSU game will end up determining who goes to the Big 10 Championship, and ultimately the College Football Playoff.

Are you ready for football now? Do I have you ready to run through a brick wall yet? Good. Here is what I am predicting for the 2018 season:

  1. Michigan and Michigan State both start the season 5-0. The Wolverines will get a huge early-season confidence builder as they knock off the Fighting Irish in South Bend in week one, and the Spartans will roll the Sun Devils out in the desert in week two. Both teams will need to go through a very tough Northwestern squad prior to week 6, but both will be up to the task and escape with victories.
  2. Penn State will lose on the road at Pittsburgh. Former MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi may have his best defense yet in Pittsburgh and PSU will only be returning three starters on defense while losing RB Saquon Barkley to the NFL draft. I think the Panthers will be ready for QB Trace McSorley and the upset train will be rolling.
  3. Purdue will fall back to earth this year. Coach Jeff Brohm is a great coach, period, but the schedule does not favor the Boilermakers this year. Missouri and QB Drew Lock will be ready for redemption after last year’s embarrassing loss, and they’ll get it. After a tough loss against Missouri, Boston College comes to West Lafayette. The Eagles finished the season strong after establishing (former UM commit) RB AJ Dillon and Purdue will drop another game. The Boilermakers will crater from there, finishing the season 3-9 and missing a bowl game.
  4. Wisconsin gets something rare – a Big 10 West loss—in week 4. Playing at Kinnick Stadium is never an easy task. Ask Michigan in 2016 (I was also there. Am I bad luck?) or Ohio State last year. Wisconsin, unfortunately, travels to Iowa City and the stadium will be rocking for a crucial early-season showdown. Iowa will pull the upset and take control of the division early.
  5. Ohio State also gets something rare—a loss period—in week 5. The Buckeyes are undoubtedly one of the more talented teams in the country despite losing plenty of starters from last year’s playoff-bound squad. An early season trip to Happy Valley is not what the doctor ordered. Penn State will be looking to make some noise after their loss to in-state rival Pittsburgh, and the white out will be in full effect. Down go the Buckeyes.
  6. Penn State knocks Michigan State from the ranks of unbeaten. Lucky for the Nittany Lions, they also get the Spartans at home this year. With two of their most important games being in friendly confines, they’ll knock off the Spartans which is extremely important because…
  7. …Michigan knocks off Wisconsin to take control of the Big 10 East in Week 7. Another defensive battle will be a certainty when the Badgers roll into Ann Arbor, but the Wolverines will be ready for revenge. Wisconsin may have the best offensive line in the country, with draft picks across the board, but Michigan has the remedy with an NFL-caliber defensive line themselves. The Wolverines stay perfect.
  8. Michigan and Iowa will both be undefeated through Week 8. I discussed Michigan knocking off MSU to get to 8-0 in the intro, but Iowa will also take care of business through 8 weeks, starting 7-0. They’ll be in control of the Big 10 West until…
  9. Wisconsin begins its ascension in Week 9. After losing two out of three, the Badgers are in unfamiliar territory. They’re two games back of first place in their division! They’ll take that out on Northwestern, defeating the Wildcats at home. This is huge because…
  10. Iowa drops its first game at Penn State. Yes, the Nittany Lions also get Iowa at home. The schedule did them plenty of favors this year. The loss brings Wisconsin within a game of first place in the Big 10 West. After dropping their game to Pittsburgh, Penn State now finds itself at 7-1 and undefeated in conference play.
  11. Northwestern wins the battle of Chicago. There are droves of Notre Dame fans in Chicago, and Northwestern is acutely aware. As they continue to invest in new, state-of-the-art facilities and boost their program, the Wildcats are circling this game. Time to take back their turf in Chicago.  They will by knocking off the Fighting Irish to get their season back on track.
  12. Michigan brings Penn State back to earth. The Nittany Lions are riding high after victories over Ohio State, Michigan State, and Iowa. Time for a reality check. They’ll head to Ann Arbor in a series that typically isn’t kind to them. Last season was an anomaly regarding the usual narrative between these two teams, and the Wolverines will pummel them in the Big House to remain a perfect 9-0.
  13. Purdue has the lone bright spot in their season, upsetting Iowa at home. Every time Iowa has a great season, they inexplicably lose a game they have no business losing. Purdue had three upset wins in their first season under Brohm, and they’ll add to that list here. Wisconsin pulls even with Iowa in the West, although Iowa still holds the tiebreaker. Until…
  14. Northwestern continues it’s mid-season rebirth, knocking off the Hawkeyes in Iowa City. The likelihood of all of Iowa’s home games kicking off at night is slim, and there are some very notable matchups in the Big Ten in Week 10. With MSU/OSU and Wisconsin/PSU being on the docket, kickoff for NW/Iowa will likely be around noon. The Hawkeyes feed off the night energy, so this is a big deal in terms of home field advantage. Northwestern will come out of Kinnick with a win, which sets the stage for two crucial games.
  15. The first – Wisconsin knocks off Penn State to regain control of the West. This will undoubtedly be a white-out game in Happy Valley, but Wisconsin isn’t a team to be in awe of a hostile atmosphere. They have the ground-and-pound offense that is perfect for controlling the game tempo. The Badgers hand the Nittany Lions their third loss and again sit all alone at the top of their division.
  16. The second – The Spartans knock the Buckeyes in a classic. These two teams almost always play a classic game when the stakes are high. Michigan State has the luxury of home field advantage this time around, and they’ll have something to prove after losses to Michigan and Penn State. They’ll again send a message on national television that they are a player in the College Football Playoff discussion.
  17. Meanwhile, Michigan smashes Rutgers again. This is a bullet point? Why? Michigan always smashes Rutgers, right? It is important because the Wolverines open up a two-game lead in the division over MSU, PSU, and OSU with the Spartans’ upset. There are only two weeks left, so…
  18. The Wolverines clinch the Big 10 East with a win over Indiana in Week 12. They will finally be Indianapolis-bound to compete for a chance at a berth in the College Football Playoff.
  19. The Badgers clinch the Big 10 West with a win over Minnesota in Week 13. There will be a re-match in Indianapolis but first…
  20. Michigan loses another heartbreaker to Ohio State in the Shoe. It pained me to even type that. If the game was at Michigan Stadium or a neutral field, I love the Wolverines’ chances. But a game in the Horseshoe after already clinching the division will be a tough task. No one wants a win here more than Jim Harbaugh, but until it happens it is tough to bet against the Buckeyes at home after a season to get their young but talented feet beneath them. But take solace Michigan fans, because…
  21. The Wolverines again defeat Wisconsin in the Big 10 Title game and earn a berth in the College Football Playoff. Harbaugh still hasn’t defeated the Buckeyes, but he’s gotten a large monkey off his back with a chance to win a National Championship for his alma mater. There is no way a 12-1, Big 10 Champion Michigan team is left out of the top 4. Rejoice Blue nation.
  22. The Spartans finish second in the Big 10 East at 10-2 and earn themselves a New Year’s Day bowl game. Sure, Dantonio will have a scowl on his face watching Michigan advance to the playoff, but he’ll being doing so with a marquee matchup in a prime-time bowl for the Spartans. Not a bad consolation prize this time around.
  23. Wisconsin will also receive a New Year’s Day bowl game for their 10-2 finish, which will knock Ohio State into a non-NY6 bowl for the first time since Urban Meyer’s first season (a one year bowl ban). The Buckeyes also finish 10-2 but finish fourth in the Big 10 East with a 7-2 conference record, losing two tiebreakers to MSU and PSU.
  24. DJ Durkin (Maryland), Scott Frost (Nebraska), and Tom Allen (Indiana) all guide their teams to bowl berths. All three barely qualify at 6-6, but that means…
  25. Ten Big 10 teams earn bowl invites. No other conference will have more.

FINAL STANDINGS:

EAST B10 Wins B10 Losses W L
Michigan 8 1 11 1
Michigan State 7 2 10 2
Penn State 7 2 9 3
Ohio State 7 2 10 2
Maryland 4 5 6 6
Indiana 3 6 6 6
Rutgers 1 8 4 8

 

WEST B10 Wins B10 Losses W L
Wisconsin 7 2 10 2
Northwestern 6 3 9 3
Iowa 6 3 9 3
Nebraska 3 6 6 6
Minnesota 2 7 5 7
Purdue 2 7 3 9
Illinois 0 9 3 9

 

Big Ten Championship: Michigan over Wisconsin

Is your football thirst quenched? No? Mine either. So what’s on tap this week?

 

What’s on Tap?

KBS by Founder’s Brewery, 12.3%

Sure, most people know about KBS by now. But after typing the entire Big 10 season out, I need something strong. If you’re a fan of coffee stouts, this is your beer. Yes, that is 12.3% ABC, folks. It will have you doing kegstands at tailgates before you know it.

Until next time, thanks for reading Detroiters.

KBS

 

GAME-BY-GAME PREDICTIONS:

WEEK 1
New Mexico St @ Minnesota
Northwestern @ Purdue
Utah State @ Michigan State
Western Kentucky @ Wisconsin
Oregon State @ Ohio State
Texas vs. Maryland*
Kent State @ Illinois
Texas State @ Rutgers
Northern Illinois @ Iowa
Appalachian St @ Penn State
Indiana @ Florida Intl
Michigan @ Notre Dame
Akron @ Nebraska
WEEK 2
Duke @ Northwestern
Eastern Michigan @ Purdue
New Mexico @ Wisconsin
Western Michigan @ Michigan
Rutgers @ Ohio State
Colorado @ Nebraska
Iowa State @ Iowa
Maryland @ Bowling Green
Fresno State @ Minnesota
Virginia @ Indiana
Western Illinois @ Illinois
Penn State @ Pittsburgh
Michigan State @Arizona State
WEEK 3
Troy @ Nebraska
Kent State @ Penn State
Rutgers @ Kansas
Ball State @ Indiana
Temple @ Maryland
Miami (OH) @ Minnesota
SMU @ Michigan
South Florida vs. Illinois*
BYU @ Wisconsin
Missouri @ Purdue
Akron @ Northwestern
Northern Iowa @ Iowa
Ohio State vs. TCU*
WEEK 4
Penn State @ Illinois
Buffalo @ Rutgers
Wisconsin @ Iowa
Michigan State @ Indiana
Nebraska @ Michigan
Minnesota @ Maryland
Tulane @ Ohio State
Boston College @ Purdue
WEEK 5
Ohio State @ Penn State
Purdue @ Nebraska
CMU @ Michigan State
Michigan @ Northwestern
Indiana @ Rutgers
WEEK 6
Illinois @ Rutgers
Indiana @ Ohio State
Iowa @ Minnesota
Nebraska @ Wisconsin
Northwestern@Michigan State
Maryland @ Michigan
WEEK 7
Michigan State @ Penn State
Wisconsin @ Michigan
Minnesota @ Ohio State
Purdue @ Illinois
Rutgers @ Maryland
Iowa @ Indiana
Nebraska @ Northwestern
WEEK 8
Ohio State @ Purdue
Penn State @ Indiana
Minnesota @ Nebraska
Michigan @ Michigan State
Maryland @ Iowa
Northwestern @ Rutgers
Illinois @ Wisconsin
WEEK 9
Indiana @ Minnesota
Iowa @ Penn State
Illinois @ Maryland
Purdue @ Michigan State
Wisconsin @ Northwestern
WEEK 10
Notre Dame @ Northwestern
Nebraska @ Ohio State
Michigan State @ Maryland
Penn State @ Michigan
Minnesota @ Illinois
Rutgers @ Wisconsin
Iowa @ Purdue
WEEK 11
Northwestern @ Iowa
Maryland @ Indiana
Michigan @ Rutgers
Illinois @ Nebraska
Purdue @ Minnesota
Ohio State @ Michigan State
Wisconsin @ Penn State
WEEK 12
Wisconsin @ Purdue
Michigan State @ Nebraska
Ohio State @ Maryland
Northwestern @ Minnesota
Iowa @ Illinois
Penn State @ Rutgers
Indiana @ Michigan
WEEK 13
Nebraska @ Iowa
Purdue @ Indiana
Rutgers @ Michigan State
Illinois @ Northwestern
Minnesota @ Wisconsin
Maryland @ Penn State
Michigan @ Ohio State
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Wisconsin v. Michigan
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RJ Krul

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4 Comments

  1. Andrew
    July 11, 2018 at 4:04 pm — Reply

    Omg wow THIS IS OUR YEAR 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂when will it stop💯💯💯💯💯💯💯💯they could of played forever and michigan never wins that game vs msu michigan will go 7 and 5 this year bet I’m closer then you 😂😂😂😂😂😂

  2. RJ Krul
    July 11, 2018 at 4:59 pm — Reply

    Please list your Venmo so I know who to collect from in January 🙂

  3. Brian
    July 12, 2018 at 11:07 am — Reply

    Picking OSU to finish 4th in the East?

    “It’s a bold move Cotton! Let’s see if it pays off”

  4. Mark
    July 12, 2018 at 10:57 pm — Reply

    Michigan beats both msu and osu this year. I think there are a couple games that could be stinkers. Nebraska is going to paly above their pay grade this year. Their will be a lot of hype and Scott Frost will have that team playing well…that could be one. Wisconsin will have a good D and it will be a ground and pound game. That could be a loss. I’m only saying that I think everyone in the Michigan program understands what those 2 games mean to the program. It could be a taking of the torch so to speak. At least for the next year. Michigan wins bot msu and osu. There will be a stinker somewhere. If Shea gets hurt…could be tough. McCaffrey has big game DNA tho. I would not be surprised if he was to fill in and get us there. He would be the starter coming into the year next year as well. Hopefully Shea looks good and keeps healthy. I know that team has only one thought. Beat ND and win out.

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