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The TDG Consensus on the 2009 Big Ten Final Standings

The team at The Daily Gopher has been having some friendly debates regarding the prospectus for the 2009 Big Ten season, and we've decided to take our differences public.  We'll revisit this post at the end of the season in order to analyze how well our predictions held up.  Following is each of our predictions for the 2009 final standings, followed by a consensus prediction that combines all three of our analyses into one group intelligence melting pot:

GN - Penn State gets the home game against Ohio State so I'm giving them the not for conference title.  But they will drop one somewhere along way, could be one of their road games (NU, Mich St or Ill).  I believe in Iowa, they are good but they are not great.  They have to go on the road to OSU and PSU, they won't sneak up on anybody this time around.  I see it hard for them to lose a third game in conference so 6-2 seems pretty accurate.  After that it is a cluster and this was my best guess.  Illinois is very talented but who knows if they can stay above .500 in conference, they rarely (Ohio St 2007) play up to their talent level so them being in that 4-4 group wouldn't be surprising.  Minnesota beats the other 4-4 teams and loses to the teams above them.

1 Penn State 7-1 11-1
2 Ohio State 7-1 10-2
3 Iowa 6-2 10-2
4 Illinois 5-3 9-3
5 Minnesota 4-4 7-5
6 Michigan State 4-4 7-5
7 Northwestern 4-4 8-5
8 Michigan 3-5 6-6
9 Wisconsin 2-6 6-6
10 Purdue 2-6 4-8
11 Indiana 0-8 2-10


BB - The competition for the Big Ten Championship should be a four horse race.  As usual, Ohio State and Penn State are in the running.  For 2009, expect Iowa and Michigan State to be added to the mix.  Iowa has a talented crew of upperclassmen and a dominant offensive line.  Michigan State had a surprisingly successful year in 2008, and with a favorable schedule should be in the running for the Big Ten Championship.  The rest of the teams in the Big Ten, barring any unexpected strings of over-achievement, are destined to finish in the middle or bottom third of the conference.  If Iowa can pull off an upset at Ohio State, they could very well win the conference.  As I've said before, Iowa's performance in their last two games of the 2008 season was no fluke.  I'll take the Hawkeyes to win the Big Ten, even without Shonn Greene or Jewel Hampton:

1 Iowa 7-1 11-1
2 Ohio State 7-1 10-2
3 Michigan State 6-2 10-2
4 Penn State 6-2 10-2
5 Illinois 5-3 8-4
6 Northwestern 5-3 9-3
7 Michigan 3-5 6-6
8 Minnesota 2-6 5-7
9 Wisconsin 2-6 4-8
10 Purdue 1-7 3-9
11 Indiana 0-8 3-9


JG - The only way to fairly make these predictions, is to print out EVERY game, predict them, and then tabulate. Give me two hours and I'll be back here.....

And I'm back.  A few principles and ideas permeate my predictions: (1) the loss of Jewel Hampton is devastating to Iowa's team; (2) Michigan had a significant infusion of talent and experience, and the team is having a "me against the world" moment - those cannot be understated for 18-22 year old men (of course, if they don't start fast this season will be a 3 win disaster again); (3) Central and Western Michigan are going to beat up on the Big Ten (Michigan State, in particular); (4) Northwestern's schedule is incredibly favorable this year; (5) Wisconsin's is not, plus, Bret Bielema is their coach; and (6) Illinois will be the best team in the conference, but they'll lose to Missouri and Cincinnati out of conference.

Upset of the year: Michigan over Ohio State (November 22nd).

Best game of the year: Illinois defeating Penn State (October 3rd).

1 Northwestern 6-2 10-2
2 Penn State 6-2 10-2
3 Michigan 6-2 10-2
4 Ohio State 6-2 9-3
5 Illinois 6-2 8-4
6 Michigan State 5-3 6-6
7 Minnesota 4-4 7-5
8 Iowa 3-5 7-5
9 Wisconsin 1-7 5-7
10 Purdue 1-7 3-9
11 Indiana 0-8 2-10


Based upon averaging out our respective predictions, the TDG consensus for the 2009 Big Ten standings is as follows:

1 Penn State
2 Ohio State
3 Iowa
4 Illinois (tie)
5 Northwestern (tie)
6 Michigan State
7 Michigan
8 Minnesota
9 Wisconsin
10 Purdue
11 Indiana