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Bet On Big Ten – 2011 Big Ten College Football Preview

Posted by Blake Frazier on 9/2/2011 6:02:37 PM
bet on big ten

This is not the Big Ten Conference of yesteryear. The league most deeply linked to old-fashioned notions of what football is supposed to be is a league that has undergone a substantial transformation in just 12 months. After speculation that the league would add Missouri, the Big Ten successfully bet big and brought national power Nebraska into the fold as its newest (twelfth) member. With twelve schools in 2011, the league will split into the “Leaders” and “Legends” divisions and play its first championship game in Indianapolis. The addition of a championship game shows that the Big Ten leadership is serious about competing with the other BCS conferences by finally staging conference games after Thanksgiving and eliminating the long layoff its champions have traditionally faced between the last regular season game and the BCS bowl lineup.

All Big Ten football discussions have normally begun with Ohio State. The Buckeyes have won or shared the Big Ten title each of the last six seasons. The 2011 season, however, will present the most difficult challenge to that streak, but not because of any on-field events. The Buckeyes will be without five players, including quarterback Tyrelle Pryor, as well as head coach Jim Tressel, for the entire season. This will diminish the Buckeyes in ways that even MLB baseball betting gurus can readily understand. Assistant Luke Fickell will coach the Buckeyes in Tressel’s stead.

The community of sports betting evaluators will be hard pressed to pick Ohio State to win its Big Ten division this year, even though OSU’s competitors face pronounced limitations. Penn State enters its second straight season with uncertainty at quarterback. Wisconsin loses its long time field general Scott Tolzien, a man who, like most Wisconsin quarterbacks, did just enough to punish teams for ganging up on the run. The Badgers also travel to Columbus, where they typically struggle. Illinois, Indiana and Purdue are unlikely to pose a challenge. Yet, Wisconsin should have enough tools and resources to fight past the Buckeyes. Wisconsin is stout enough on defense to turn back Ohio State’s diminished offense.

The Legends Division should be competitive, too. New coaches Brady Hoke at Michigan and Jerry Kill at Minnesota should see their squads improve immediately. Hoke promises to bring defensive intensity that Michigan lacked in the three years under Rich Rodriguez. Michigan State maximized its senior laden team (and luck of not having to face Ohio State) in 2010 by winning a share of the Big Ten title. Much of that squad is gone however, and one of the nation’s best quiet coaches, Mark Dantonio, will once again have to build a quality football team out of what remains. Nebraska played for the Big 12 championship its final two years in the league and will be led by superstar quarterback Taylor Martinez, who is entering his sophomore season. Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini is a defensive wizard and his coaching style should help the Cornhuskers compete for the Legends Division title in their first season in the league.

The Big Ten took a chance by adding Nebraska and hosting a championship game in December. If that title game features top-10-ranked Wisconsin and Nebraska, the conference brass will be elated with its experiment. A sound sports bet is one that should take Wisconsin to win the Big Ten.

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