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2014 B1G West Division Race

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Posted: 8/1/2014 1:12 AM

2014 B1G West Division Race 


Iowa and Wiscy have to be the favorites with Nebraska in the mix as well
NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS
Top-14 finish in the conference each year
Stellar 2-9 bowl record
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Posted: 8/1/2014 6:20 AM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


As I stated in the other thread, my thoughts on the West:

Illinois and Purdue aren't worth discussing
Wisconsin will bring a steady supply of ground-and-pound, but the loss of their entire front 7 on D will burn them in a game or two
Nebraska is one ref call away from Bo and his team coming unglued and ending the year on a multi-game skid
My Gophers finally have the OL depth in place, but they're a year away from being in the discussion for the division title
I have no idea how to read Northwestern after their disintegration last year
I think Iowa wins it, but they'll drop the Hog game on the way to the division title.

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Posted: 8/1/2014 7:44 AM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


This has to be Iowa's year.  If not now, when?

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Posted: 8/1/2014 9:30 AM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 



GopherRock wrote: 
Illinois and Purdue aren't worth discussing
My Gophers finally have the OL depth in place, but they're a year away from being in the discussion for the division title
I agree.  Additionally, the East-Division opponents of the West-Division teams will make it even more difficult for Illinois, Purdue, or Minnesota to sneak into the West-Division race.  Here are the East-Division opponents for all seven West-Division teams:
  • Purdue - Indiana, MSU
  • Illinois - tOSU, PSU
  • Northwestern - PSU, Michigan
  • Wisconsin - RU, MD
  • Minnesota - Michigan, tOSU
  • Iowa - IU, MD
  • Nebraska - MSU, RU

For the reasons stated by GopherRock and due to the schedules that I just posted, I think that Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, and Northwestern are not likely to be seriously involved in the West-Division race.  

That leaves (E-->W):
  • UW
  • IA
  • UNL

Thus the key games are:
  • UNL @ UW, 11/15, TBD
  • UW @ Iowa, 11/22, TBD
  • UNL @ Iowa, 11/28, TBD
Looking at the three teams:
  • UW - vUNL 11/15, @Iowa 11/22
  • IA - vUW 11/22, vUNL 11/28
  • UNL - @UW 11/15, @Iowa 11/28

Iowa gets both at home.  
Wisconsin gets one at home and one on the road.  
Nebraska gets both on the road.  

It would appear that Nebraska is getting a really rough road from the scheduling gods.  Not only do they have to play both potential West-Division contenders on the road but they also have to travel to East Lansing.  They should breeze through their four home games (ILL 9/27, 9pm BTN; RU 10/25 TBD; PU 11/1 TBD; MN 11/22 TBD).  Their four road games, however, are their four toughest games.  I would be surprised if Nebraska is strong enough to make up for this difficult schedule and win the division.  

Wisconsin's schedule seems to me to be neither a major advantage nor a major disadvantage.  Their set of East-Division teams should be a cake-walk.  Among the contenders they travel to the likely favorite (Iowa) but host the other(UNL).  

Iowa gets, by far, the most help from the scheduling gods.  They host both potential West-Division contenders and get an easy set of East-Division opponents.  

This division should be wide open well into November.  The three contenders do not play each other until 11/15.  I think it is a slight advantage for Nebraska to get space between these games while the other two get them in back-to-back weeks.  It should be a very interesting finish because it seems likely that there will be at least three mathematically eligible teams in mid-November.
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Posted: 8/1/2014 9:45 AM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


On top of the schedule, I think Iowa is actually going to be good at football this year. Losing the linebackers is tough, but Quinton Alston might not be a drop off from James Morris. There is no replacing Kirksey, he's a unique of a LB as we've had at Iowa from an athleticism standpoint, but the guys we're replacing him and Hitchens with are athletic freaks we haven't had at LB before. Reggie Spearman was playing in our 3rd down package last year as a 17 year old true freshman. If we can avoid the injury bug at safety, our defense can be pretty scary.


Our offense is always the question mark. This is year 3 of Greg Davis, and after the disastrous year one, I think his offense might really fit with Kirk Ferentz philosophy pretty well. We're as deep as we've ever been at WR in the Ferentz era. Some real speed and athleticism in the depth chart. We've got a 3-headed attack at RB, a 3-headed attack at TE, the best LT in the conference, along with a road grader line. I'm comfortable with the Rudock being a Stanzi-esque game manager. Only thing is he has to prove he can run the 2 minute like Stanzi did.

As always, Kirk Ferentz teams seem to start rolling the boulder up the hill at the beginning of the season. But if they get it over the crest of the hill, watch out.
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Posted: 8/1/2014 9:51 AM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


1. Nebraska
2. Wisconsin
3. Iowa
4. Northwestern
5. Minnesota
6. Illinois
7. Purdue

A decade of Victory over Penn State.

All in since 1969

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Posted: 8/1/2014 9:53 AM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


My on paper rankings...

1. Wisconsin
2. Iowa
3. Nebraska
4. Minnesota
5. Northwestern
6. Illinois
7. Purdue

I think the difference between the top 3 is paper thin, which is why Iowa's schedule pushes them over the top to me, and I think the CCG will be Iowa vs. the OSU/MSU winner.  I believe Iowa plays neither of those teams, so it would also be nice to not have a rematch.  I think that lends itself to a much more interesting game.

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Posted: 8/1/2014 10:28 AM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 



EastLansingAdam wrote: 
I think the difference between the top 3 is paper thin, which is why Iowa's schedule pushes them over the top to me, and I think the CCG will be Iowa vs. the OSU/MSU winner.  I believe Iowa plays neither of those teams, so it would also be nice to not have a rematch.  I think that lends itself to a much more interesting game.
You are right, Iowa does not play either of those teams.  

The chance of a rematch this year is pretty small.  Looking at the top-3 in each division (M, MSU, tOSU / IA, UW, UNL) the only scheduled match is UNL v MSU.
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Posted: 8/1/2014 2:55 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


If I were to put odds on winning the west.

Wisconsin........30%
Nebraska.........30%
Iowa..................30%
Northwestern....7%
Minnesota..........3%

That's a ballpark estimate, so you can argue any given team up or down a few percentage points.   I would assume if either Northwestern or Minnesota won is would be due in part to injuries and quarterbacks not performing among the top three.



Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.

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Posted: 8/1/2014 2:58 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 



EastLansingAdam wrote: This has to be Iowa's year.  If not now, when?
Doesn't just writing that comment guarantee a 4-4 conference record for the Hawkeyes?
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Posted: 8/1/2014 4:22 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 



bayareabadger wrote:
EastLansingAdam wrote: This has to be Iowa's year.  If not now, when?
Doesn't just writing that comment guarantee a 4-4 conference record for the Hawkeyes?
Iowa fans seem to think there is some sort of jinx against predicting success.  The mean number of wins per year from 2001 to 2013 is right at 8 wins.  It's a little like regression toward the mean.  If you pick above the mean you are likely to fall short. If you pick below the mean you may be in for a pleasant surprise.



Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.

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Posted: 8/1/2014 4:29 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


One major difference is that while a lot of folks are predicting Iowa will do big things this year (I've even heard a few folks say they might run the table), the media's not buying it.  They're currently just outside the Top 25, which I think is fair right now.  Iowa tends to stumble when they start out highly-ranked, but when they start out in the bottom rungs of the Top 25 (or even outside it), they tend to do much better.

I'm not saying Iowa will make the inaugural Playoffs this season, but they at least don't have the pressure that they've had in past seasons (namely '05, '06, and '10).  That does bode well for them.  And if they finish 8-4/9-3 and being a borderline Top 25 team, hey, no harm, no foul.
"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." -- Mark Twain

Last edited 8/1/2014 4:29 PM by fezzador

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Posted: 8/3/2014 10:21 AM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


"Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory."

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Posted: 8/3/2014 11:32 AM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 



AreWeThereYet wrote: If I were to put odds on winning the west.

Wisconsin........30%
Nebraska.........30%
Iowa..................30%
Northwestern....7%
Minnesota..........3%

That's a ballpark estimate, so you can argue any given team up or down a few percentage points.   I would assume if either Northwestern or Minnesota won is would be due in part to injuries and quarterbacks not performing among the top three.
Or either the two teams listed as your "lucky teams/long shots" are better than you expect and go out and win games against those other three teams and earns the title!
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Posted: 8/3/2014 11:44 AM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


The AXE stays in Madison for an 11th year. The Gophers need to defend their end zone during the game and not just after it.
U-Rah-Rah   Wis-Con-Sin
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Posted: 8/3/2014 12:06 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 



FearlessF wrote: Nebraska needs to find its place. I think that place is going to be in the middle of an annual farm field scrum with the Badgers and Hawkeye

"Since 1962, the other six schools in the BTW have combined to win 22 Big Ten titles, with Wisconsin (7) and Iowa (5) leading the way. What that tells me is, if the Huskers are on top of their game, with the right coach recruiting and developing great players, they should compete for the division title every year and win it most years."

He's got the right basic idea about Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Iowa most probably being the heart of the Big Ten West.  He goes back too far to really gauge the competition.  He's gone way back into the era of the Big Two, Ohio State & Michigan.  Few of these teams made much noise before the 1980's and 1990's.  Wisconsin has been consistently good since rising in 1993.  It could be argued that Wisconsin has been far more consistent than Nebraska though never rising to the heights Nebraska has.  Iowa came into the picture in 1981, earlier than others in the west.  Iowa hasn't won as many big games as Wisconsin and hasn't been quite as consistent, but has infrequently been none-competitive.   Northwestern came on in 1995 and has since been competitive far more often than not.  Purdue has unfortunately hit the skids as of late.  They had a period from 1997-2007 under Tiller where they were better on average than Northwestern but never really made it to the big show.  Purdue has some history going through winning runs from 1964-1969 and again 1978-80.  Minnesota had its hay-day back before the modern era, but had some success under Mason in 1999, 2002-2005. Coach Kill seems to have recaptured that period's success. Illinois is the sleeping giant of the West.  Illinois occasionally rises up to fall just as quickly, 81-84, 89, 98,01,07

As he said the core of the West is likely to be Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Iowa. In that order.  Minnesota and Northwestern are respectable and can be counted on to make some noise.  Who knows about Illinois and Purdue.  I think Purdue has hit bottom but Illinois may still be on its way down.

I agree that Nebraska will be competing for the division title most years.  I can't say I would be surprised if they won more than half of those years but most likely they will win the west less than half the time.



Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.

Last edited 8/3/2014 1:27 PM by AreWeThereYet

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Posted: 8/3/2014 12:26 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


As I've said once before, I think there needs to be a slight realignment readjustment to make the divisions more equal. Trade Michigan State for either Purdue or Illinois - MSU isn't the traditional power that UM, OSU, or PSU is, but is currently as good (or better) than any of them, and at the very least would be in the mix with Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin most years.

I still think the East would probably still have the overall edge with such a switch, but the gap would be considerably narrower.
"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." -- Mark Twain
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Posted: 8/3/2014 12:53 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


very interesting in the west the next few seasons

Anderson is new in Madison, Pelini in his 7th season is still in question, can Ferentz have another good/great run?

can Northwestern or Minnesota keep climbing?

all unknowns

"Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory."

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Posted: 8/3/2014 1:35 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


Iowa
Wisconsin
Nebraska
Northwestern
Minnesota
Illinois
Purdue
U-Rah-Rah   Wis-Con-Sin
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Posted: 8/3/2014 3:48 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


While I do agree that Illinois will be nowhere near the top of the division (and probably won't be for a couple of years), I still think they can at least get to 6 wins and get to a bowl game. They'll likely be 3-1 going into the B1G conference season (lone loss @ Washington) and while their road conference schedule is absolutely brutal (@ Nebraska, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Northwestern), I still think they can get 3 wins somehow out of their home conference schedule (Purdue, Minnesota, Iowa, Penn State). 

If they are able to beat Penn State on senior day, it will be the first time Illinois has won on senior day since 2007 when they defeated Northwestern the week after the upset of then #1 Ohio State.
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Posted: 8/3/2014 3:48 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 



fezzador wrote: As I've said once before, I think there needs to be a slight realignment readjustment to make the divisions more equal. Trade Michigan State for either Purdue or Illinois - MSU isn't the traditional power that UM, OSU, or PSU is, but is currently as good (or better) than any of them, and at the very least would be in the mix with Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin most years.

I still think the East would probably still have the overall edge with such a switch, but the gap would be considerably narrower.
If you really want balance with these 14 teams, I still think the doughnut is the way to go:

  • Outside division:  MD, RU, PSU, UW, MN, IA, UNL
  • Inside division:  tOSU, M, MSU, IU, PU, ILL, NU
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Posted: 8/3/2014 4:00 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 



AreWeThereYet wrote:
"Since 1962..."

He's gone way back into the era of the Big Two, Ohio State & Michigan.  
If he went back to 1962 he really went back beyond the "Big Two" era.  That, IMHO was 1968-1982.  

Conference Champions, 1968-1982:
  • 1968 - tOSU
  • 1969 - M, tOSU
  • 1970 - tOSU
  • 1971 - M
  • 1972 - tOSU, M
  • 1973 - tOSU, M
  • 1974 - tOSU, M
  • 1975 - tOSU
  • 1976 - M, tOSU
  • 1977 - M, tOSU
  • 1978 - M, MSU
  • 1979 - tOSU
  • 1980 - M
  • 1981 - Iowa, tOSU
  • 1982 - M
In 1967 and 1983 neither tOSU nor Michigan won a share of the Championship.  Prior to 1967:
  • 1967 - IU, PU, MN
  • 1966 - MSU
  • 1965 - MSU
  • 1964 - M
  • 1963 - ILL
  • 1962 - UW
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Posted: 8/3/2014 4:52 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 



medinabuckeye1 wrote:
AreWeThereYet wrote:
"Since 1962..."

He's gone way back into the era of the Big Two, Ohio State & Michigan.  
If he went back to 1962 he really went back beyond the "Big Two" era.  That, IMHO was 1968-1982. 

Good Point.  He's going back way to far if he wants a good yardstick to measure the teams of the western division.



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Posted: 8/4/2014 9:57 AM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


Purdue has this in the bag, so I'm not going to bother reading the rest of the thread.  It's a shame the defacto Indy-berth is on the line so early on 10/4 in Champaign, ABC would have LOVED that game mid November.  Oh well, maybe next year when it's the same titans fighting it out again in 2015 for the same Crown.
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Posted: 8/4/2014 10:29 AM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


Iowa
Wisconsin
Nebraska
Minnesota
Northwestern
Purdue
Illinois

The cross-divisional scheduling is huge, especially at the top.
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Posted: 8/4/2014 10:58 AM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 



medinabuckeye1 wrote:
AreWeThereYet wrote:
"Since 1962..."

He's gone way back into the era of the Big Two, Ohio State & Michigan.  
If he went back to 1962 he really went back beyond the "Big Two" era.  That, IMHO was 1968-1982.  

Conference Champions, 1968-1982:
  • 1968 - tOSU
  • 1969 - M, tOSU
  • 1970 - tOSU
  • 1971 - M
  • 1972 - tOSU, M
  • 1973 - tOSU, M
  • 1974 - tOSU, M
  • 1975 - tOSU
  • 1976 - M, tOSU
  • 1977 - M, tOSU
  • 1978 - M, MSU
  • 1979 - tOSU
  • 1980 - M
  • 1981 - Iowa, tOSU
  • 1982 - M
In 1967 and 1983 neither tOSU nor Michigan won a share of the Championship.  Prior to 1967:
  • 1967 - IU, PU, MN
  • 1966 - MSU
  • 1965 - MSU
  • 1964 - M
  • 1963 - ILL
  • 1962 - UW
It's not a coincidence that the Big Two era roughly coincides with the Bo and Woody era.  The Game was at its height when those two prowled the sidelines.
"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." -- Mark Twain
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Posted: 8/4/2014 12:08 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 



Jwilly48 wrote: Iowa
Wisconsin
Nebraska
Minnesota
Northwestern
Purdue
Illinois

The cross-divisional scheduling is huge, especially at the top.
Maryland might be a bad match up for the Hawks.  They have a really potent passing game, and that's where our biggest question marks are this year.  Safety is paper-thin, with one new starter, one CB who is really good, but just a true sophomore, and a fall-ball battle going on for two relative unknowns at the other CB.

Also, just looked at Marylands schedule.  Holy hell, welcome to the Big10.
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Posted: 8/4/2014 12:13 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


from Sam McKewon:

» 84-46: Nebraska’s record in the last decade. For all the turmoil and teeth-gnashing Husker fans feel over that record, it still ranks fourth in the Big Ten behind Ohio State (104-24), Wisconsin (96-35) and Penn State (86-39).

Look at Wisconsin’s record for a second. Phil Steele’s annual guide compiles a 10-year split for every team, and Wisconsin is better than Florida (94-36), Georgia (94-37), Auburn (92-37), Florida State (92-40) and Clemson (85-44). Nebraska has a formidable, annual challenger in the Big Ten West.

"Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory."

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Posted: 8/4/2014 1:23 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 



RunDMK88 wrote:
Also, just looked at Marylands schedule.  Holy hell, welcome to the Big10.
It is true for both them and Rutgers.  

From the West:
  • Rutgers gets Wisconsin and Nebraska
  • Maryland gets Wisconsin and Iowa
Then of course both have to play Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State, each other, and Indiana.  

I wouldn't be surprised if the winner of the head-to-head between the two new members finishes with two or less Big Ten wins.  But that thought belongs in another thread.
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Posted: 8/4/2014 1:41 PM

Re: 2014 B1G West Division Race 


sounds like the scheduling welcome the Huskers received 4 years ago tongue

"Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory."

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