Big Ten Leaders Division capsules

  • Updated: August 26, 2013 - 11:42 PM

A look at the Leaders Division, in In predicted order of finish by Star Tribune college football writer Joe Christensen

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Urban Meyer's Buckeyes didn't lose a game last year. If they're undefeated again in 2013, they'll likely play for the BCS championship.

Photo: Al Behrman, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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OHIO STATE

Coach: Urban Meyer, 116-23 overall in 11 seasons; second year at Ohio State.

2012: 12-0 (8-0 Big Ten), bowl ineligible.

Returning starters: Nine offense, four defense.

Key player: Braxton Miller is the Big Ten’s top Heisman Trophy candidate, a dual-threat QB who fits Meyer’s spread offense perfectly.

Outlook: Without a marquee game on its nonconference schedule, the Buckeyes probably need to go undefeated again to be part of the BCS championship discussion. Those are the expectations in Columbus. People forget how close this team came to losing three games last year (taking Purdue and Wisconsin to overtime, and beating Indiana 52-49). Running back Carlos Hyde and cornerback Bradley Roby ran into discipline issues in July, setting a bad tone for preseason camp.

WISCONSIN

Coach: Gary Andersen, 30-31 overall in five seasons; first year at Wisconsin.

2012: 8-6 (4-4 Big Ten), defeated Nebraska 70-31 in Big Ten Championship Game, lost 20-14 to Stanford in Rose Bowl.

Returning starters: Eight offense, seven defense.

Key player: Left tackle Ryan Groy is the best blocker and the only senior on an offensive line that lost two starters and has a surprising lack of depth.

Outlook: Andersen did an impressive job rebuilding Utah State, and now he’s at a program that doesn’t need rebuilding. Even with center Travis Frederick and running back Montee Ball in the NFL, the Badgers have several marquee talents, including linebacker Chris Borland, receiver Jared Abbrederis and running backs James White and Melvin Gordon.

PENN STATE

Coach: Bill O’Brien, 8-4 in one season; second year at Penn State.

2012: 8-4 (6-2 Big Ten), bowl ineligible.

Returning starters: Eight offense, six defense.

Key player: Allen Robinson had 1,013 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns last year. Now that Matt McGloin is gone, Robinson will be helping to break in a new quarterback — either true freshman Christian Hackenberg or junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson.

Outlook: O’Brien earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors last year in his debut, and the job only gets tougher now. Besides McGloin, the team must replace its top four tacklers on defense. And by next year, Penn State will have only 65 scholarships, down from 85, which will continue cutting into its depth. The Nittany Lions also still are ineligible for postseason play for the next three seasons.

INDIANA

Coach: Kevin Wilson, 5-19 overall in two seasons; third year at Indiana.

2012: 4-8 (2-6 Big Ten).

Returning starters: Ten offense, nine defense.

Key player: Senior safety Greg Heban led the team with three interceptions and 91 tackles last season, and this defense needs to improve.

Outlook: After going 1-11 and 4-8 in the first two years under Wilson, Indiana looks like a team on the rise. But the Hoosiers allowed an average of 35.2 points per game last year, worst in the Big Ten. The offense looks potent, especially with quarterback Tre Roberson back to full health. Three receivers — Shane Wynn, Cody Latimer and Kofi Hughes — return after putting up more than 600 reception yards last year.

PURDUE

Coach: Darrell Hazell, 16-10 overall in two seasons; first year at Purdue.

2012: 6-7 (3-5 Big Ten), lost to Oklahoma State 58-14 in Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Returning starters: Five offense, nine defense.

Key player: Defensive tackle Bruce Gaston anchors a defensive line that lost second-round pick Kawann Short to the NFL.

Outlook: Purdue was considered a team to watch last year, and the fallout led to Danny Hope’s dismissal. Hazell came highly recommended after leading Kent State to its first bowl game in 40 years and previously serving seven years as an assistant coach at Ohio State. Purdue faces Notre Dame and Wisconsin in its third and fourth games, so it could be a rough start, but Boilermakers fans should be more interested in how this team finishes.

ILLINOIS

Coach: Tim Beckman, 23-26 overall in four seasons; second year at Illinois.

2012: 2-10 (0-8 Big Ten).

Returning starters: Nine offense, four defense.

Key player: Senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase needs to bounce back after injuries and inconsistency left him with four touchdown passes and eight interceptions last year.

Outlook: Beckman replaced five of his nine assistant coaches, hiring former Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit as his new offensive coordinator. Cubit’s Broncos lost last year’s season opener to Illinois 24-7 — not exactly an offensive showcase. But something had to change. The Illini offense averaged only 16.7 points per game last year. Defensively, Illinois will be counting on its linebacker corps, especially senior Jonathan Brown, after allowing 32.1 points per game last year.

Outlook: Beckman replaced five of his nine assistant coaches, hiring former Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit as his new offensive coordinator. Cubit’s Broncos lost last year’s season opener to Illinois 24-7 — not exactly an offensive showcase. But something had to change. The Illini offense averaged only 16.7 points per game last year. Defensively, Illinois will be counting on its linebacker corps, especially senior Jonathan Brown, after allowing 32.1 points per game last year.

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Los Angeles - R. Hernandez 12:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront
Detroit - M. Scherzer 12:05 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Philadelphia - J. Williams 3:05 PM
Oakland - D. Pomeranz
Toronto - M. Stroman 3:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
Colorado - E. Butler
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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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.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
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

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