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Projected Win Totals For Every Big Ten Team In 2014

The Big Ten is one of the most interesting conferences in America in 2014. Between the addition of two schools (Rutgers and Maryland), the fact that there are two legitimate national title contenders (Ohio State and Michigan State) and plenty of other schools with the talent to make a major impact in the college football landscape, the Big Ten will be a fun conference to watch all year. The Big Ten also features some of the best players in college football, whether they are established stars like Ohio State's Braxton Miller and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, or guys with the potential to be breakout stars like Penn State's Christian Hackenberg and Ohio State's Noah Spence.

With a huge season on the horizon for the conference, we decided to project the win total for every team in the Big Ten. Check them out below, unless you're a Rutgers or Purdue fan. Then you may not want to keep reading.

Each team has a click-able mini-preview.

East

Record

 

West

Record

Ohio State

8-0 (12-0)

Wisconsin

8-0 (11-1)

Michigan State

7-1 (10-2)

Nebraska

6-2 (10-2)

Michigan

6-2 (9-3)

Iowa

6-2 (10-2)

Penn State

5-3 (9-3)

Minnesota

3-5 (6-6)

Indiana

3-5 (6-6)

Northwestern

2-6 (5-7)

Maryland

1-7 (5-7)

Illinois

1-7 (4-8)

Rutgers

0-8 (3-9)

Purdue

0-8 (3-9)

Or, you can start our slideshow instead, which begins with Illinois:

Get Started: Illinois (1-7) >>>

Illinois (4-8, 1-7): For the second straight year, Tim Beckman's Fighting Illini will only get one Big Ten win, and it will come against lowly Purdue. However, the team should be able to pick up wins in three of its four non-conference games, as it hosts Youngstown State, Western Kentucky and Texas State.

Illinois still has a solid offense that will keep it in some games, but the defense still is one of the worst in the Big Ten, and may cost the Illini several wins...and, potentially, Beckman his job.

Next: Indiana (3-5) >>>

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Indiana (6-6, 3-5): Indiana was a weird team last year. The offense was incredibly dynamic, but the defense was horrendous, and cost the Hoosiers several games it had a chance to win. The team desperately needs to establish who its starting quarterback is, and needs to replace three of its top four receivers.

The Hoosiers do return several key members of their defense -- which is a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it -- but it could be another long year in Bloomington.

Next: Iowa (6-2) >>>

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Iowa (10-2, 6-2): The Hawkeyes can be a pleasant surprise this year, mostly because the team got an incredibly easy schedule. Its non-conference slate consists of Northern Iowa, Ball State, Iowa State and Pitt, and its in-conference schedule avoided Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan and Penn State.

Between that and the return of one of the Big Ten's hidden gems in running back Mark Weisman, it should be a big year for Kirk Ferentz and Co. 

Next: Maryland (1-7) >>>

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Maryland (5-7, 1-7): The good news for Maryland is that it won't go winless in the Big Ten this year. The bad news is that its one Big Ten win won't come until its last game of the year against Rutgers.

The schedule makers did the Terrapins no favors, giving the team a hellacious six game stretch of Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan. Barring something crazy happening, this should be a tough first year in the conference for the Terps.

Next: Michigan (6-2) >>>

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Michigan (9-3, 6-2): Michigan was an incredibly talented football team last year, but went 3-5 in the Big Ten. A big reason why was the team couldn't close out games: the Wolverines lost four Big Ten games by a combined 11 points, including a heartbreaking 42-41 loss to Ohio State.

This year's Wolverines' squad is still incredibly talented, and it's adding a top-20 recruiting class, headlined by five-star defensive back Jabrill Peppers. The only difference between 2013 and 2014? The Wolverines will know how to win close games.

Next: Michigan State (7-1) >>>

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Michigan State (10-2, 7-1): Sparty will be great again, but there are two really tricky games on its schedule: an early season showdown with Oregon in Eugene, and a rematch of the 2013 Big Ten title game against Ohio State late in the Big Ten season. Other than those two games, it should be smooth sailing for the Spartans. 

The team will need to replace two All-Big Ten selection in its defense, as linebacker Max Bullough and cornerback Darqueze Dennard both graduated, but Michigan State should still be great, with plenty of returning talent on both sides of the ball.

Next: Minnesota (3-5) >>>

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Minnesota (6-6, 3-5): The Gophers were among the best stories in college football last year, going 8-4 despite defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys acting as head coach for the team's final six games while Jerry Kill took a leave of absence to focus on his health.

Minnesota likely will fall back to earth a little this year, but it should be a solid-if-unspectacular year in Minneapolis this year, especially since the team has the conference's most dynamic offensive player that you've never heard of in running back David Cobb.

Next: Nebraska (6-2) >>>

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Nebraska (10-2, 6-2): Last year's Huskers team had high expectations, but the team's inability to establish a quarterback after Taylor Martinez went down with a foot injury killed it. This year, the team shouldn't have as tumultuous of a QB situation, as Tommy Armstrong Jr. has some experience under his belt.

Of course, Nebraska has arguably the best running back in the conference in Ameer Abdullah, so QB may not be too big of an issue. The Huskers also have arguably the best defensive player in the conference in defensive lineman Randy Gregory. Outside of two road losses to Michigan State and Wisconsin, Nebraska will be perfect this year.

Next: Northwestern (2-6) >>>

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Northwestern (5-7, 2-6): 2013 was a weird year for Northwestern. After starting the season 4-0, the team was on the verge of breaking through and establishing itself as one of the best teams in America. Then, the team dropped seven games in a row before winning its season finale against lowly Illinois.

2014 should be more of the same: after starting 3-0, the Wildcats will drop seven games in a row before winning its final two. One thing that could save the Wildcats season is if dynamic running back/wide receiver/kick returner Venric Mark can come back healthy after missing most of 2013.

Next: Ohio State (8-0) >>>

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Ohio State (12-0, 8-0): Another year, another undefeated regular season for Urban Meyer in Columbus. The Buckeyes are still loaded, and led by star quarterback Braxton Miller.

If Ohio State can find a way to replace running back Carlos Hyde, linebacker Ryan Shazier and the three All-Big Ten offensive linemen that graduated -- and let's face it, with how stacked the Buckeyes on, they should do that pretty easily -- Ohio State will extend its regular season winning streak to an absurd 36 games.

Next: Penn State (5-3) >>>

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Penn State (9-3, 5-3): Penn State is the trickiest team to predict. It's extremely talented, but due to NCAA sanctions, there are serious questions about the team's depth, an issue that will continue to loom for a few years.

There's also the concern that James Franklin's new coaching staff will need a few games to totally implement its system. However, if Penn State can get used to Franklin and Co. quickly, the Nittany Lions have an easy enough schedule that it can be a special year in Happy Valley.

Next: Purdue (0-8) >>>

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Purdue (3-9, 0-8): The good news for Purdue is that the team's future is bright, with head coach Darrell Hazell working to build a solid program in West Lafayette. The bad news is there's a long way to go, and although there are a few winnable games on the schedule, the team just isn't talented enough yet to make any noise in the Big Ten.

However, Purdue is trending up, and behind Hazell and its young core of players, the Boilermaker have the potential to be a nice team in a few years.

Next: Rutgers (0-8) >>>

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Rutgers (3-9, 0-8): Rutgers' first year in the Big Ten will be a forgettable one. The team has an absolutely brutal schedule, as it is the only team in the conference with games against Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan State.

The Scarlet Knights should get a few easy wins early in the schedule, and the team has some talent -- namely quarterback Gary Nova, running back Paul James and linebackers Steve Longa and Kevin Snyder -- but this will be a long debut year in the Big Ten for Rutgers.

Next: Wisconsin (8-0) >>>

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Wisconsin (11-1, 8-0): Wisconsin can make things interesting if it can upend LSU in its first game of the season. As usual, Wisconsin's offensive line should maul people and open up giant holes for the team's supremely talented running back Melvin Gordon.

The Badgers have one of the easiest schedules in the Big Ten, as it avoids Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan and Penn State during the regular season. If the team can find a way to replace running back James White, wide receiver/return man Jared Abbrederis and linebacker Chris Borland, it should be another special year in Madison. 

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