We’re now officially 40-something days out from Big Ten football and FOLKS I AM JONESING FOR SOME ACTION.
The dead of July means one thing — college football win totals, baby.
Now I don’t claim to be a gambling expert, and I want to be modest here but (lifts up shirt revealing “Went 8-4 In Best Bets Last Year” chest tattoo) I went 8-4 in best bets last year.
Let’s get reckless.
Rutgers 3: Under
Lol, come on. (Confidence: 4/5)
Maryland 3.5: Over
First year head coach. Replacing a handful of starters. Just utter turmoil last season.
Those are three reasons why I shouldn’t go over, but I’m doing it anyway. I see three free wins against Howard, Rutgers and probably Temple. I’m just blindly assuming they’ll find another win somewhere else. (Confidence: 2/5)
Illinois 4.5: Over
I’m using the same logic I just used for Maryland. Illinois has four free wins on the schedule in Connecticut, Eastern Michigan, Rutgers and probably Akron. The schedule is tough with big guns coming to their home stadium (whatever its called) in Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan. Still, I think Lovie Smith stumbles into victory in a game he shouldn’t win. (Confidence: 2.5/5)
Northwestern 6: Under
Full disclosure, I think the Wildcats get exactly 6 wins. But since I have to choose, I’ll hit the under here. Stanford on the road in the Must Have A 4.6 GPA To Attend Bowl is a tough opener, and their Big Ten slate starts with a hurricane – MSU at home, Wisconsin on the road, Nebraska on the road, Ohio State at home, Iowa at home. It really lightens up in the final month, but I think teams like Purdue and Minnesota (and hell, maybe even Indiana) are right on par, if not better. (Confidence: 3/5)
Indiana 6.5: Over
I’m all aboard the Crimson Quarry #9Windiana train. (Confidence: 3.5/5)
Purdue 7: Under
This is so tough because on one hand I love what Jeff Brohm has built down there. They also beat Ohio State by roughly 4,000 points. Rondale Moore still has both of his legs.
However, they also lost to Eastern Michigan last year. Quarterback David Blough is gone. The non-conference could be dicey (at Nevada, Vanderbilt at home, TCU at home) before a Big Ten slate loaded with coin-flips. (Confidence: 3/5)
Iowa 7.5: Over
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has a harder September schedule than Iowa with Miami (OH), Rutgers and Middle Tennessee State (sans Giddy Potts) coming to town. Iowa State on the road can be AND WILL BE a complete Gong Show. And also (lean in close, I want to whisper something to you) I think Iowa is going to the Big Ten title game. (Confidence: 4.5/5)
Minnesota 7.5: Over
I literally laughed out loud when I saw the South Dakota State, Fresno State, Georgia Southern trifecta that the Gophers are opening with. That and the fact they have two of their three toughest games (Penn State and Wisconsin) at home and a great defense to boot makes this over juicy. (Confidence: 4/5)
Wisconsin 8: Under
I don’t know what Wisconsin did to anger the scheduling gods, but a team with a freshman quarterback getting Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan as crossover games is brutal. With how balanced the rest of the Big Ten West is, I don’t see the Badgers getting into the 9-10 win area. (Confidence: 4/5)
Michigan State 8: Over
This question shouldn’t be “over or under” as much as it should be “do you see MSU having a competent offense?”
I (for some reason masked in blind faith and Fireball) think that MSU’s offense does right the ship. Mayeb not quite 12-0, but enough to get over eight wins especially with a favorable non-conference slate. (Confidence: 3.5/5)
Penn State 8.5: Over
I think the Nittany Lions will miss Trace McSorley more than anyone realizes, but this is a really favorable schedule this season. Easy non-conference, good crossover schedule (at Iowa is the only one that could be a circus) and being afforded three losses to still hit the over is nice. I think they’ll hit nine wins right on the head. (Confidence: 2.5/5)
Nebraska 8.5: Under
I’m sorry, I’m giving myself one more year before fully hopping on the Scott Frost Hype Train. Unless they got Antonio Brown in free agency and traded for Khalil Mack and I missed it. Sure, they’ll be a fine team and probably won’t start 0-6, but I can’t see this team going north of eight wins in year two under Frost. They’ll get close I imagine, but not over. (Confidence: 3/5)
Ohio State 10: Over
This is another one where I think the over/under will end up just hitting the post, but since I have to pick I’ll go over. Once again the Buckeyes have a (sarcastic font) vaunted non-con slate with Florida Atlantic, Cincinnati and Miami (OH) all at home. Nebraska and Michigan are on the road and I figure they’ll win one of those (I don’t know, I heard they have a decent recent history against at least one of those teams). They’ll probably sweep their home slate to hit the over to tie it all together. (Confidence: 2.5/5)
Michigan 10.5: Under
It’s a tough task for Michigan to get back into its first Big Ten Championship Game since (checks notes)…alright, never mind. On the road at Wisconsin will be tough. Notre Dame right in the middle of the conference season will be wonky. Ohio State and Michigan State have the better track record in the last decade. Excuse me for not putting all my chips in the team that boasts greatness in September only to follow it up with excuses in November year after year. (Confidence: 3.5/5)