NCAAF Big Ten 2019 Season Preview

Author
by Chris Feery
August 16th 2019, 10:31am

In the recently-released preseason Coaches Poll, seven Big Ten teams made the cut. An 8th team from the conference is right on the outside looking in.

The Big Ten is loaded this year, and it shapes up to be an exciting season as a result. Let’s take a look at the conference in full detail, starting with the odds to take it down.

Favorites to Win the Big Ten

Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes are the defending conference champs and the favorites to do it again. However, major changes are on the menu in Columbus this fall.

The program will be breaking in a new head coach, Ryan Day, as well as a new signal-caller in Justin Fields. Ohio State missed out on a College Football Playoff bid last season, but they should at least be in the mix once again.

Buckeyes Season Wins

To Qualify for Playoffs

Michigan Wolverines

Michigan spent most of 2018 looking like a serious contender, but a shellacking at the hands of Ohio State in the regular-season finale put that talk to rest.

The pressure is intensifying even further on head coach Jim Harbaugh to finally get over the hump that is the Buckeyes. The team is clearly talented enough to do so, but the question remains whether or not they actually can.

Michigan State Season Wins

Big Ten Contenders to Watch

Wisconsin Badgers

The Badgers are the favorites to win the Big Ten West. It was a middle of the road campaign in 2018, as the team finished at 8-6 overall after a win over Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Running back extraordinaire Jonathan Taylor leads the way on offense, but the club has questions to answer on defense.

Badgers 2019 Season Wins

Penn State Nittany Lions

The Nittany Lions will also be breaking in a new QB this season, so we’ll have to take a wait and see approach. There’s a lot of youth on offense this season, but the defense appears primed to go.

Penn State QB

If the Penn State offense can gel quickly, they could be a factor in the conference. If not, perhaps the defense can kick it up even further.

Penn State Wins

Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Cornhuskers had a brutal start to 2018 before turning it around at the end. Optimism is high for the second-year of head coach Scott Frost’s tenure, and the team has a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender in QB Adrian Martinez.

A big leap forward for Nebraska in 2019 isn’t out of the question, but a Big Ten title may be asking too much.  

Nebraska Season Wins

Michigan State Spartans

The Spartans stout defense will make Michigan State a big force in conference play this season. The program has a new offensive coordinator on board, and the hope is that he will be able to jump-start that side of the ball.

If he can make that happen, the Spartans will go from a team that no one wants to play to one that’s downright dangerous.

Michigan State Wins

The Rest of the Big Ten

After the above contenders, Iowa, Minnesota, and Purdue check in with odds of +3000 to win the Big Ten. Northwestern, last year’s winner of the West Division, stand at +4000.

Indiana isn’t too far off the pace at +6000, but Illinois, Maryland, and Rutgers appear poised for also-ran status.

Big Ten East Winner

Big Ten West Winner

Of those eight teams, the top four on the odds board are the most intriguing for 2019. A case can be made that all of them are being discounted, so the race for the West Division should be awfully interesting this year. 

Bottom Line on the Big Ten

Ohio State and Michigan are looking like the class of the Big Ten once again. They’ll meet in the regular season finale yet again, this time at the home of the Wolverines.

We’re looking for Michigan to finally get over the hump to take down the conference and be a part of the CFP conversation to boot.