2018 BIG-10 college football projections on the Hour Glass
The numbers show it from a talent standpoint; outside of the SEC, the Big-10 sends more players to the National Football league than anyone. But, on the actual college scene the B10 has underachieved, even though we’ve seen high profile coaches move into the league, bigger television deals and more.
Ohio State won the first College Football Playoff in 2014-15, when they destroyed Oregon 42-20, but since then this league has missed the mark. Ohio State has played in three College Football Playoff games and Michigan State made the playoff in 2015, but after that it’s been some serious misses and close calls. Penn State felt they should’ve been in, in 2016 and Ohio State felt they were shafted just last year.
In 2018 the league as a whole should be a rock solid league with five teams in our 2018 Power Top 25, as well as big time coaches at as many as seven schools and add newcomer Scott Frost of Nebraska to the party.
The B10 East will again be the crim-de la-crim of the league as Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State will battle for division supremacy. In the West, Wisconsin will again be a major player, but there could be a new champion of this division this year.
OVERALL POWER RANKINGS IN THE BIG10:
Ohio State is still the king of the castle having an edge in coaching and recruiting as the Buckeyes have the nation’s best roster, only percentage points ahead of Georgia and Alabama. Urban Meyer is second to only Nick Saban in coaching; so the big question mark is quarterback for the Buckeyes. If Dwayne Haskins is everything they think he is or another player, this team could be headed back to the College Football Playoff.
Penn State has continued to gain ground on the Buckeyes under James Franklin and has a chance to again make some noise as they host the Buckeyes on September 29th.
This is a make or break deal for Jim Harbaugh in Ann Harbor and as of today, still no word on transfer quarterback Shea Patterson. We are going to assume he will play, but even at that, the Wolverines open up on the road at Notre Dame, and close the season at Ohio State.
Wisconsin should still be a well-oiled machine, but look for Iowa to make a move this year under Kirk Ferentz. The Hawkeyes return veteran quarterback Nate Stanley and he is only behind Penn State’s Trace McSorley in our B10 quarterback rankings. Iowa gets Wisconsin at home, avoids Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State. They do have a date at Penn State on October 27th.
It will be interesting to see how Nebraska fairs under Frost as the Huskers have the best talent in the West, but still light years behind the big three in the East.
Quarterback play in the league should be above average for most of the league, and while there may not be as many headliners as other conferences out the gate, there could be some surprises by seasons end.
NOTE: We are still waiting to see what happens with the Shea Patterson appeal. Right now we will assume he is playing in 2018. In the event he does not, we will adjust Michigan's numbers accordingly.
Coaching continues to be really good in the league, with seven coaches above our national coaching average of 3.75, and other coaches have a chance to really improve their profile in 2018 like DJ Durkin at Maryland or Tom Allen at Indiana.
Schedule wise, Michigan has the toughest schedule in the conference as we discussed, but Michigan State is right there as well as the Spartans open the season against Utah, then travel to Arizona State. Sparty also plays at Penn State on October 13th, then host Michigan the following week; at Maryland on November 3rd, hosts Ohio State then at Nebraska.
We pegged the B10 last year, but missed having Ohio State in the playoff. This year we again have the Buckeyes in the playoff, but this time beating a new team in the B10 championship. Nine teams should go bowling and the league should have another good year. It’s yet to be seen if it can be great.