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B1G Over/Under Win Total Projections

Fanduel released it’s over/under win totals for college football. I am going to project all of the Power 5 starting with the Big Ten.

Purdue - 8 

My bet - Under

Listen, Jeff Brohm is one hell of a coach and he develops the quarterback position as well as any major head coach in the country not named Lincoln Riley, not to mention he is recruiting at a high level by Purdue standards. With that being said he has gone 6-6 in his first two years and now he is battling in what I consider to be the deepest division in college football the Big Ten West. So getting to 8 wins in a loaded Big Ten West will be a tall task. 

The Boilermakers have the 22nd most difficult schedule in the country according to Phil Steele. They will also be bringing back quarterback Elijah Sindelar from major knee surgery after the graduation of David Blough. Purdue also struggled defensively last year and I expect that trend to continue.

I would put the ceiling for Purdue at about 7 wins and the basement at 4. Look for another 6 win season from Brohm. 

Penn State 8.5

My bet - Under

James Franklin is a dynamic personality, the kind of dude you want to sit down and have a beer with, but is he a great football coach? I think he’s slightly above average. People will point to the fact that he won 9 games two years in a row at Vanderbilt, which is seemingly impossible. However, the three major powers in the SEC East Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee were all down so that was also circumstantial. 

Franklin is a tireless recruiter and has certainly done a nice job replenishing talent, but aside from Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley have you seen a ton of PSU players developed under his watch? I will also point out to a mass exodus of Nittany Lion players in the transfer portal. Aside from catching lightning in a bottle in the 2016 season, Franklin’s tenure in Happy Valley has been mostly underwhelming. This is a season where Franklin will need to prove his doubters wrong, myself included.

I would say the ceiling for Penn State is 9 wins and that is if Sean Clifford develops into an upper echelon B1G quarterback and the defense is top 3 in the league, which I don’t anticipate. The basement is probably about 5 wins. Look for about 6 wins from this team. 

Illinois 3.5
My bet - Over

Lovie Smith is entering his fourth year as head coach of the Illini and he has a 4-23 record in the conference. It feels hopeless right now in Urbana-Champaign. Yet the 3.5 is a mighty attractive bet to go over. Illinois actually has a pretty good running game led by Reggie Corbin who averaged 8.5 yards per carry. Michigan grad transfer Brandon Peters should help stabilize things at quarterback. 

The Illini also added some nice transfer players to bolster the offense. The Illini open with Akron, UConn, and Eastern Michigan, which are all winnable games. Go 3-0 in the non-conference and all the Illini have to do is win one game in the conference to hit the over. It should be noted that they get Rutgers at home this year. 

I think Illinois is a 4-5 win team. 

Michigan State 7.5

My bet - Over

I think this is a really sharp number from Fanduel. At first, I was thinking under here until I looked at the schedule and thought about what Michigan State has coming back. I think Michigan State looks like an 8 win team. Unless they stub their toe in the non-conference against a team like Arizona State or lose at home to Indiana, Penn State, or Maryland the Spartans should hit the over here. I’ve got to say that my confidence level on this pick is relatively low. 

I like Mark Dantonio’s history of bouncing back after disappointing seasons so I say the Spartans get to 8 wins. MSU was also really banged up last year, so provided they stay healthy the over looks attractive. 

Wisconsin 8.5

My bet - Under

Paul Chryst is an average coach. He did an average job at Pitt and he’s doing a so-so job in Madison. Barry Alvarez left the recipe for success for all the coaches that followed him. Not even Gary Andersen could screw things up for the Badgers. So if you take an average head coach and put him in a deep Big Ten West I think it’s going to be awfully difficult to hit 9 wins.

If you are looking for proof that Chryst is an average head coach you won’t find a Minnesota fan (myself included) that doesn’t want Chryst to coach the Badgers for a long time. Minny fans want Chryst to get a lifetime contract in Madison. 

Keep in mind this is a team that needs to replace most of their starting offensive line. The ceiling for the Badgers this year is 8 wins and the basement is 4. This looks like a 6-7 win team to me. 

Iowa 8 wins

My bet - Under

Again, in a hyper-competitive Big Ten West how are the Hawkeyes going to get to 8 wins. I think that is a tall task. The Hawkeyes are solid and certainly a bowl team, but with poor play calling on offense I just don’t see how they stand out from the pack. This feels like a 6-7 win team just like Wisconsin.

Michigan 9.5 wins

My bet - Over

This is Jim Harbaugh’s best team at Michigan. He has quarterback depth with Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey. His defense will be salty once again and he no longer has Urban Meyer standing in his way.

Even if the maize and blue stub their toe against the Buckeyes again and split road games at Penn State and Wisconsin they hit the over. This is also the worst case scenario for the Wolverines. This is a slam dunk over.

Northwestern 6.5 wins

My bet - Over

Do you know what Pat Fitzgerald does? He starts the season slow and kicks ass at the end. Expect more of the same this year. They also have their most talented quarterback on campus in Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson, so expect more of the same in the Wildcats potent passing attack. 

Like I have said over and over again I just don’t see the difference between all the Big Ten West teams. I think they are all essentially 6-8 wins teams give or take, with the exception of Illinois. The Cats should be a 7-8 win team. Don’t think that Pat Fitzgerald won’t be motivated by seeing this number after his team won the Big Ten West last year. Fitzgerald was quoted saying “it pissed him off!” when the Cats were underdogs to Minnesota last year in the post-game presser after they pulled off the outright “upset”. 

Indiana 6 wins

My bet - Under

I was surprised to see this number at 6, that should be the ceiling for IU. The Hoosiers are going to have to pull off a fairly significant upset to get to bowl eligibility. This looks like a 4-5 win team. 

Maryland 4.5 wins

My bet - Under

This is such a sharp number from Fanduel. It feels like a coinflip here on whether the Terps go over or under. I will stick to my gut feeling that Maryland is a terrible program and that the Michael Locksley hire was an awful one and say the Terps come in just shy with 4 wins. 

Minnesota 7 wins

My bet - Over

Another sharp line here. I am going to double down on my team and say they go over just barely with 8 wins. I will make the argument that Minnesota is the most balanced team in the Big Ten West, Offense, Defense, and Special Teams. 

Ohio State 10.5 wins

My bet - Under

Ryan Day will be a good coach for the Buckeyes but expect a rough start by their standards. I think they will lose two of the following three road games: Michigan, Nebraska, and Northwestern. 

Justin Fields is an elite prospect at quarterback, but until I see his guts in a big game I don’t trust him. Buckeyes win 10. 

Nebraska 8.5 wins

My bet - Over

The Huskers will have the most explosive offense in the Big Ten, not just in the West, but the entire conference. What is giving me pause on this pick is the defense. The Huskers are going to have to win a lot of games 44-41. 

The schedule sets up very nicely and I could see as many as 11 wins. The basement should be 8 wins. 

Rutgers - No Number