Big Ten Leaders Division team-by-team capsules

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 28, 2012 - 12:35 AM

Danny Hope might be on thin ice if Purdue has another so-so season.

Photo: Michael Conroy, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Listed in predicted order of finish by Star Tribune college football writer Phil Miller


Coach: Urban Meyer, 104-23 overall in 10 seasons; first season at Ohio State.

2011: 6-7 (3-5 Big Ten), lost 24-17 to Florida in

Gator Bowl.

Returning starters: Seven offense, eight defense.

Most Important Player: Braxton Miller is a quick, mobile quarterback, almost the prototypical triggerman for Urban Meyer's spread offense. Only question is, how fast can he learn it?

Outlook: The Luke Fickell Era lasted only one season in Columbus, but the Buckeyes' late-season collapse -- OSU's four-game losing streak is its first since 1943 -- sets up perfectly for a textbook Meyer miracle. His track record says a big turnaround is imminent, so don't be surprised if they win the Leaders Division, then grumble all winter about their postseason ban.


Coach: Bret Bielema, 60-19 in six seasons, all at Wisconsin.

2011: 11-3 (6-2 Big Ten), defeated Michigan State 42-39 in Big Ten Championship Game, lost 45-38 to Oregon in Rose Bowl.

Returning starters: Five offense, six defense.

Most Important Player: Nobody expects Heisman Trophy candidate Montee Ball to score 39 touchdowns again; the tailback's biggest contribution might be stabilizing the offense while new quarterback Danny O'Brien gets comfortable.

Outlook: The Badgers are regarded as repeat Leaders Division champions by default, but any coach knows how dangerous that attitude can be. These aren't last year's Badgers, not with three offensive linemen graduated to the NFL, a nearly all-new coaching staff, and O'Brien stepping into Russell Wilson's role as QB savior. They might make the Big Ten title game again, but it won't be a smooth ride.


Coach: Danny Hope, 51-43 overall in eight years; 16-21 in three years at Purdue.

2011: 7-6 (4-4 Big Ten), defeated Western Michigan 37-32 in Little Caesars Bowl.

Returning starters: Nine offense, nine defense.

Most Important Player: Kawann Short has first-round draft pick potential, and the Boilermakers are counting on the defensive tackle to restore a surprisingly lackluster pass rush.

Outlook: A bunch of aggressive defenders and some experienced depth on offense make Purdue a decent dark horse in the Leaders Division. The Boilermakers will know soon enough; they open Big Ten play with Michigan, Wisconsin and a trip to Ohio State. Survive that with a victory or two, and they could be set up well for a relatively big season.


Coach: Bill O'Brien, first year as a head coach.

2011: 9-4 (6-2 Big Ten), lost 30-14 to Houston in TicketCity Bowl.

Returning starters: Three offense, four defense.

Most Important Player: Bill Belton was a wide receiver and an option quarterback, but once 1,200-yard rusher Silas Redd transferred, the Nittany Lions turned to the quick-but-inexperienced tailback to power their running game.

Outlook: The thing is, there still is lots of talent here, and a determination to stick together through hard times. If recruiting dries up, as expected, the Nittany Lions are looking at a difficult future, but for now, an above-average defense, a promising corps of receivers and a favorable schedule could make this a heartening start to the post-Paterno era.


Coach: Tim Beckman, 21-16 overall in three years; first year at Illinois.

2011: 7-6 (2-6 Big Ten), defeated UCLA 20-14 in Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

Returning starters: Seven offense, six defense.

Most Important Player: Defensive end Michael Buchanan was expected by many scouts to turn pro, but he returned to Champaign to anchor one of Big Ten's best pass rushes.

Outlook: The Fighting Illini's new coach has spent a lot of time emphasizing competitiveness and accountability after the 0-6 collapse to close the 2011 regular season. He has found a believer in quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who should rebound from a so-so sophomore season because the new system better fits his dodge-and-weave style. Trouble is, he doesn't have much help scoring points, which figures to spoil Beckman's debut.


Coach: Kevin Wilson, 1-11 in one year at Indiana.

2011: 1-11 (0-8 Big Ten).

Returning starters: Seven offense, eight defense

Most Important Player: Stephen Houston is a strong and reliable tailback -- only one fumble all season in 2001 -- who somehow averaged 5.3 yards per carry behind an overmatched offensive line.

Outlook: It's difficult to name a position group in which the Hoosiers are even average in the Big Ten. OK, they didn't miss an extra point last year. Like the Gophers, they took solace in a bad season by using the time to get freshmen ready to contribute. Maybe they will as sophomores, but the Hoosiers will be lucky to avoid another winless Big Ten season.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
UCF 6:00 PM
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pm30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 am
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




question of the day

Poll: How will the Gophers do against Michigan?

Weekly Question