Our 2013 Big Ten predictions

The time has come.

We've given you lots of thoughts on our expectations for the 2013 season, but we haven't made our official predictions on a champion and order of finish in the divisions. Until now. There's an excellent chance that we'll be way off, as we both were when we predicted Michigan State to win the Big Ten last fall, but here are our picks:

Brian Bennett

Leaders Division

Ohio State: 11-1 overall, 7-1 Big Ten

Wisconsin: 9-3, 6-2

Penn State: 8-4, 4-4

Indiana: 6-6, 3-5

Purdue: 4-8, 2-6

Illinois: 2-10, 0-8

Legends Division

Nebraska: 10-2, 7-1

Michigan: 10-2, 6-2

Northwestern: 9-3, 5-3

Michigan State: 8-4, 5-3

Minnesota: 6-6, 2-6

Iowa: 4-8, 1-7

Big Ten championship game: Ohio State over Nebraska

Adam Rittenberg

Leaders division

Ohio State: 11-1, 7-1 Big Ten

Wisconsin: 8-4, 5-3

Penn State: 8-4, 4-4

Indiana: 6-6, 3-5

Purdue: 4-8, 2-6

Illinois: 3-9, 1-7

Legends division

Michigan: 10-2, 6-2

Nebraska: 10-2, 6-2

Northwestern: 9-3, 5-3

Michigan State: 9-3, 5-3

Minnesota: 6-6, 2-6

Iowa: 5-7, 2-6

Big Ten championship game: Ohio State over Michigan

And here are a few details on our predictions:


1. Michigan beats Ohio State in the season finale to ruin the Buckeyes' perfect season. But there will be no rematch in Indy, because although the Wolverines defeat Nebraska at home, they lose on the road to Penn State and Northwestern. As a consolation, Brady Hoke's team gets an at-large BCS bid, angering the Nebraska fans.

2. Penn State starts off 6-0, capped by a win over Michigan. The start brings even more national acclaim to the job Bill O'Brien is doing and more calls for the NCAA to lower its sanctions on the Nittany Lions. Alas, depth issues take their toll as Penn State wins only two of its final six, including a surprising loss at Minnesota, giving Jerry Kill the signature win he desires this season.

3. Indiana beats Purdue at home in the last week on a dramatic, last-minute touchdown to secure its first bowl bid since 2007. It's a tough first year for Darrell Hazell's crew, as the Boilers are competitive in many games but fall victim to a brutal schedule.


1. The Legends division title once again comes down to Michigan and Nebraska, and this time, the Wolverines hold serve at the Big House to win the tiebreaker and advance to Indianapolis for a rematch against archrival Ohio State. Not surprisingly, the deeper Legends division cannibalizes itself during a deliciously entertaining November, while Ohio State pulls away in the Leaders.

2. Three Big Ten teams enter November with perfect records, but none of them is named Ohio State. The Buckeyes have a surprising early stumble against Wisconsin, Northwestern or Penn State -- haven't quite decided which team pulls off the upset -- but finishes strong to win the league and advance to the Rose Bowl. Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State, meanwhile, all build up strong records before struggling a bit down the stretch as Northwestern picks off a few.

3. Indiana, Minnesota and Iowa all enter the final weekend of the regular season needing a win to get bowl-eligible. The Hoosiers get it done behind their defense, which makes slight improvements as the season progresses. Minnesota pulls off the road upset in East Lansing, but Iowa falls just short in Lincoln to miss the postseason again.