Big Ten West is weak: but, could we see 6 of 7 team bowl by season's end?

Nov 8, 2001
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Changed the headline, after a poster on the Huskers Football board took exception to the scheduling and weak stature of the Big Ten West. From a QB standpoint, Purdue has the only standout, heading into 2022, but each program: from Wisconsin to Northwestern, there are plenty of questions. Other than the consistency of Ohio State, same can be said about many in the Big Ten East, though Michigan State and Michigan finished Top 10 seasons last year.

Lindy's Sports and Athlon Sports College Football preview magazines have hit the self as we approach the dog days of summer 2022.


Neither magazine went this far for Nebraska, but the race for Indianapolis appears interesting in 2022.

Four teams appear solid choices for bowl games in the Big Ten East, but could we see Illinois and Nebraska join Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin from last year?

A former walk-on, and sixth year player is considered the division's best QB.


The 2022 NFL Draft, and strength of division. "Led by Wisconsin’s five, the seven-team Big Ten West Division had 20 players selected — nearly matching the entire Atlantic Coast Conference’s 21 draft picks and not far behind the Pacific-12 and Big 12 (25 each). Purdue had a first-round pick in George Karlaftis and a third-rounder in David Bell; 3-9 Nebraska had two second-round picks; Minnesota had two guys taken in the first three rounds and four overall. Even Illinois had three players drafted." B1G West winner had only two drafted in 2022.
  1. Wisconsin is the favorite. The Badgers have won four of eight West division titles, since 2014. Back to back titles in 2016 and 2017, and the Badgers are 2-1 in New Year's 6 bowls (lost 2020 Rose Bowl to Oregon, 28-27). The Badgers haven't lost to Nebraska in a decade. Like Nebraska, the Badgers have a new OC and overhauled their offensive staff. Two guys flipped from non-offensive roles for 2022. Unlike Nebraska, HC Paul Chryst will go without a dedicated special teams coordinator in 2022. Biggest need: New starters at WR, TE, a freshman FB and the entire right side of offensive line will be manned by new personnel. Open B1G play at Ohio State in Week 5. B1G home opener is Bret Bielema's homecoming to Madison bringing his second edition lllinois team to play there.
  2. Purdue - Jeff Brohm is coming off 3-0 to finish 2021, including 48-45 bowl win against Tennessee in Nashville." Purdue has enough talent, depth and experience to contend for a division again this season," writer for Athlon Sports suggests. Last year, Wisconsin lost season opener at home to Penn State. Purdue hosts Penn State in a B1G home opener to kickoff 2022, followed by three OOC games, including at Syracuse, then back to back B1G road games at Minnesota and at Maryland. Like Nebraska, can they enter October with momentum in 2022? The Huskers won last trip to West Lafayette, during the pandemic.
  3. Iowa - Unlike Nebraska last season, "This might be a good opportunity to give an extra hat tip to Iowa’s coaching staff. Phil Parker’s defense and LeVar Woods’ special teams maximized their output to help the Hawkeyes go 7-0 in regular-season games decided by 10 points or less. And give credit to Brian Ferentz’s offense, too, for finding enough big plays to outscore Minnesota in a tense 27-22 win in November that ultimately tipped the West. Perhaps this is also a signal that there is quite a bit of punch still on the Hawkeyes’ 2022 roster?" Both Wisconsin and Iowa need to improve at quarterback, if they are going to compete for a chance to land on Indianapolis. They open Big Ten play at Rutgers to end September, then a huge home date in a rematch of last year's title game with Michigan. Jim Harbaugh is seeking his first win there, as either a coach or player.
  4. Minnesota - PJ Fleck last lost at Nebraska in 2018. It was a 53-28 win for the Huskers and Scott Frost's first B1G win as a HC in Lincoln. OC Kirk Ciarrocca was strong in 2019, and he is back to work with QB Tanner Morgan again. But, the offensive and defensive lines only return one starter each, so by the time they open B1G play at Michigan State and then at home against Purdue, we should know just how good these Gophers could be in 2022?
  5. Nebraska - the Huskers have a favorable schedule in 2022, opening against Northwestern in Dublin, then October 1 against Indiana. Oklahoma is under new management, and the game is in Lincoln, after a competitive game last year in Norman. A winning season is a must for Scott Frost, as he welcomes new OC Mark Whipple and other offensive coaches. This season will come down to the line of scrimmage, improved special teams and a sustained offensive attack, under new play calling and execution. Odds favor improvement, after 3-9 last year, with a 6 22 margin of loss.
  6. Illinois - Both Hayden Fry and Barry Alvarez came up short in their second seasons in the Big Ten. We shall see how Bret Bielema in Year 2 in Champaign, as he changes his OC, and commits to a "Wisconsin" mindset. He had success in Madison, but it wasn't a rebuild, when he replaced Barry there. The Illini face eight bowl teams in 2022, but like Nebraska, Indiana comes on their schedule too! The next B1G game is Week 5 at Wisconsin. The Illini get back to back B1G home games with a road trip to Lincoln sandwiched in, but end the season with back to back B1G road games, so it will be an interesting second season.
  7. Northwestern - In 2018 and 2020, the Wildcats won the Big Ten West. Thoughts of a even year repeat may go south in Week 0 in Dublin? We shall see. Many expected Nebraska to win at Illinois last season to kickoff the season. Quarterback play has impacted the past two losing seasons for Northwestern. Solid QB play lead them to two division titles, but a title in 2022 isn't likely. The best would be a .500 season, but it will start under center.
 
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Chi-Boiler

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May 8, 2010
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I think it's going to be tight between the 5 not counting Illinois and Northwestern. Lots of important games to separate the 6-3s from the 5-4s.
 

Chi-Boiler

Senior
May 8, 2010
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Current odds on my site:

Wisconsin +175
Nebraska +250
Iowa +500
Purdue +700
Illinois +4000
Northwestern +10000

Minnesota is missing for some strange reason and I've put in a ticket with our service about it. Minnesota is +1800 to win the B1G, the same as Iowa and better than Purdue, so you have to figure they're right around +500 for the West.
 
Nov 8, 2001
162
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I think it's going to be tight between the 5 not counting Illinois and Northwestern. Lots of important games to separate the 6-3s from the 5-4s.

Lovie got Wisconsin in 2019 in Champaign, but a little tall order to think Illinois is going to get one for Bret Bielema in his first trip to Madison.

It is going to be an interesting season, in the Big Ten.
 
Feb 17, 2004
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Current odds on my site:

Wisconsin +175
Nebraska +250
Iowa +500
Purdue +700
Illinois +4000
Northwestern +10000

Minnesota is missing for some strange reason and I've put in a ticket with our service about it. Minnesota is +1800 to win the B1G, the same as Iowa and better than Purdue, so you have to figure they're right around +500 for the West.

Those look like some mighty lame odds there.
 

purduepat1969

All-American
Sep 28, 2011
13,318
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Current odds on my site:

Wisconsin +175
Nebraska +250
Iowa +500
Purdue +700
Illinois +4000
Northwestern +10000

Minnesota is missing for some strange reason and I've put in a ticket with our service about it. Minnesota is +1800 to win the B1G, the same as Iowa and better than Purdue, so you have to figure they're right around +500 for the West.

Well, those odds for Nebraska not looking so good now...