It’s only July, but ESPN’s Rece Davis has a prediction for who will play in the 2016 Big Ten Championship Game.
Davis believes Ohio State and Iowa will face off in Indianapolis five months from now in the title game. Of course, Davis made sure to mention he has the right to change his mind at any time.
What separates Ohio State from the rest of its Big Ten East counterparts is that it will return an experienced starting quarterback. J.T. Barrett could be the X-factor for the Buckeyes and provides a major advantage over Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, which will all be replacing quarterbacks.
That doesn’t mean Davis thinks the Buckeyes are perfect. He observed that while Barrett is back, the Buckeyes replace a vast majority of last year’s starters (16 to be exact).
As for the Hawkeyes, Davis believes Iowa is definitely talented and mentioned that Iowa’s schedule is favorable once again.
One team that doesn’t have a favorable schedule is Wisconsin, which plays Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State in conference crossovers. Davis said the Badgers could be good, but might not be able to survive that daunting schedule.
Davis also briefly discussed Nebraska and Northwestern’s chances at a Big Ten West title. Davis believes Nebraska’s luck is sure to change this season after losing five games by five points or fewer. He also thinks Northwestern will have to improve offensively if it has any hope of contending. He might have been hinting at quarterback Clayton Thorson, who must perform better as a sophomore.
We’ll have to check back in December to see whether Davis was right. The season of predictions is officially upon us, which means the college football season is just around the corner.