Big 10 College Football Predictions: Ohio State, Michigan, Northwestern, Wisconsin Battling For Championship; Braxton Miller A Top Heisman Trophy Candidate?

There are a lot of questions surrounding the Big Ten in the 2013 college football season. Ohio State will try to follow an undefeated season with a BCS title berth, while Michigan looks to defeat their rivals after the departure of Denard Robinson. The likes of Wisconsin, Michigan State and Nebraska also have aspirations of reaching the Big Ten title game.

Below is a preview for the upcoming season, as well as a prediction for each team.  

Ohio State: 2012 Record 12-0 (8-0)

The Buckeyes are the best team in the conference. Braxton Miller totaled 28 touchdowns to just six interceptions in 2012, and should be even better in his second season under head coach Urban Meyer. With a fairly soft scheduled, the dual-threat quarterback will be a top Heisman Trophy candidate, and could lead Ohio State to the BCS National Championship Game.

Prediction: 12-0 (8-0)

Big Ten Championship Odds: 5/6

Michigan: 2012 Record 8-5 (6-2)

The Wolverines had a disappointing season in 2012 and may have missed their window to win the conference title. Much of the team’s championship hopes rest on the shoulders of Devin Gardner, who will be in his first year as the starting quarterback.  

Prediction: 9-3 (6-3)

Big Ten Championship Odds: 7/2

Nebraska: 2012 Record 10-4 (7-1)

The Cornhuskers have one of the best players in the Big Ten in quarterback Taylor Martinez. If he plays up to his capabilities as a Heisman Trophy candidate, Nebraska could give Ohio State a run for their money.

Prediction: 11-1 (7-1)

Big Ten Championship Odds: 7/1

Michigan State: 2012 Record 7-6 (3-5)

The Spartans lost a lot of close games in 2012 and should have some better luck in 2013. With one of the best defenses in the country, and the best in the conference last year, the team will be a tough matchup for everyone on their schedule.

Prediction: 9-3 (6-2)

Big Ten Championship Odds: 15/2

Wisconsin: 2012 Record 8-6 (4-4)

Under new head coach Gary Anderson, the Badgers are looking to compete with the best teams in the conference. Melvin Gordon could have a big year in his first season as the No.1 running back, but questions at quarterback will hamper Wisconsin.

Prediction: 8-4 (5-3)

Big Ten Championship Odds: 15/2

Northwestern: 2012 Record 10-3 (5-3)

The Wildcats are coming off a historically strong season by the school’s standards, but don’t expect that to carry over to 2013. With teams like Nebraska, Ohio State, and Michigan State ready to have big years. They should find themselves back towards the middle of the conference unless they can avoid turnovers and injuries.

Prediction: 7-5 (3-5)

Big Ten Championship Odds: 10/1

Iowa: 2012 Record 4-8 (2-6)

Jake Rudock will have a lot of pressure on him as the team’s starting quarterback, after being given the job a few days ago. Considering he’s never even thrown a pass for Iowa, it’s hard to see the Hawkeyes reaching a Bowl Game this season.

Prediction: 5-7 (2-6)

Big Ten Championship Odds: 33/1

Indiana: 2012 Record 4-8 (2-6)

The Hoosiers will be much improved after finishing four games under .500 last season. They return almost their entire starting offense. If the defense can improve, Indiana has a chance to have one of its best seasons in years.

Prediction: 7-5 (4-4)

Big Ten Championship Odds: 50/1

Minnesota: 2012 Record 6-7 (2-6)

The Gophers won’t be much of a factor in conference play. Philip Nelson must prove he can get the job done at quarterback, which won’t be easy against the elite defenses in the Big Ten.

Prediction: 6-6 (2-6)

Big Ten Championship Odds: 66/1

Purdue: 2012 Record 6-7 (3-5)

Darrell Hazell won’t have it easy in his first year as head coach of the Boilermakers. Purdue will be challenged out of the conference, facing teams like Notre Dame and Northern Illinois, and will struggle with a lack of depth at key positions.

Prediction: 2-10 (1-7)

Big Ten Championship Odds: 75/1

Illinois: 2012 Record 2-10 (0-8)

Illinois could very well go through the season without winning a game in the conference. Head coach Tim Beckman went 0-8 in the Big Ten last year, and hasn’t been able to land a strong recruiting class to even be competitive in the conference.

Prediction: 2-10 (1-7)

Big Ten Championship Odds: 100/1

Penn State: 2012 Record 8-4 (6-2)

After a surprisingly good 2012 season, the Nittany Lions may take a step back in 2013. Penn State isn’t eligible for postseason play, though they are good enough to finish above .500. How they fare in visits to Ohio State and Wisconsin could determine whether the team overachieves this year.

Prediction: 7-5 (4-4)

Big Ten Championship Odds: N/A

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