With the 2017 college football season right around the corner, The Champaign Room’s staff have made a series of predictions. Today, in the series’ first edition, TCR’s staff predicted the 2017 Big Ten Championship game, which will be played Dec. 2 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Stephen Cohn — Ohio State over Minnesota
Everyone else is mentioning OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett, so I’ll put in my two cents about him and then walk away, but am I the only one that feels like J.T. Barrett has been at Ohio State FOREVER?? Just seems to me like Barrett was there when Urban Meyer was still winning BCS titles with Timmy Tebow in Gainesville. As for Barrett, he’s too good and polished to lose to any Big Ten West team. The team he’ll be demolishing in Indianapolis is first-year head coach P.J. Fleck and his Golden Gophers. Minnesota QB Demry Croft is big, athletic and can read a defense, all of which should help him lead his team to a division crown.
Josh Greenberg — Ohio State over Nebraska
Nebraska gets Iowa, Wisconsin, and Northwestern at home this season, which sets themselves up for success this season. If they take care of the Badgers and Northwestern earlier in their schedule, it might set up a Big Ten West championship game in Lincoln against the Hawkeyes. Ohio State will be undefeated and win the championship with J.T. Barrett at the helm. No other quarterback in the Big Ten is as experienced as him.
Brad Repplinger — Ohio State over Wisconsin
The Big Ten West is a race between the Hawkeyes and the Badgers, and I’m giving the Badgers the edge with the head to head game taking place in Camp Randall. But the Big Ten East will rise yet again this season and take the Big Ten Championship on the arm and legs of JT Barrett and the Ohio State Buckeyes. So much for parody in the Big Ten Championship…
Michael Berns — Ohio State over Wisconsin
Badgers get there. Wisconsin is a prime example of an enduring system that works despite a revolving door of players and coordinators. Every college program wishes they had a quarterback as experienced in big games as Ohio State has in J.T. Barrett. Their offense will be more high-flying than it has been now that former IU coach Kevin Wilson is calling plays. Talent and experience = Ohio State title.
Austin Jabs — Ohio State over Wisconsin
I think Michigan will challenge tOSU in their division, but I see zero chance they can get past a likely undefeated Ohio State. Wisconsin should be able to salvage enough wins to win a weak division, but Ohio State should roll in the Big Ten Championship game. Barrett is a likely Heisman finalist, and State could win their second College Football Playoff Championship in four seasons.
Ian Gold — Ohio State over Wisconsin
I doubt it was hard for Urban Meyer to get Ohio State’s returning players’ attention after the 31-0 drubbing at the hands of Clemson in last years playoff. A focused Ohio State, who returns 15 starters, is a very scary bunch of Buckeyes. Factor in that this is JT Barrett’s last run at a Big Ten title, the schedule lands them a home revenge game against top competition Penn State, and they’re the favorites in the East (and therefore the conference). Wisconsin is the undisputed king of the sisters of the poor (Big Ten West) until proven otherwise.
Thumpasaurus — Penn State over Wisconsin
Nothing ever seems to affect Wisconsin and it’s really starting to get irritating. No matter who their coach is, what their roster looks like or what happens in general, Wisconsin is going to win ten games with great defense and a solid running game. Not counting Maryland or Rutgers, Wisconsin is the Big Ten team that Illinois has beaten the least recently. The last win against Ohio State happened after the Illini’s last win against Wisconsin. The Badgers are arguably more impressive than Alabama because the Tide probably wouldn’t continue to exist as they are if they went through three head coaches in five years. Penn State features an incredible amount of returning talent and an offense that proved to be multidimensional, with the league’s best back in Saquon Barkley and a bafflingly effective human trebuchet at quarterback.
Steve Bourbon — Ohio State over Wisconsin
The Big Ten East is going to be a bloodbath, and whoever comes out of that side of the division will be battle scarred and tested come December in Indianapolis. Ohio State brings back J.T. Barrett for approximately the ninth straight season and a hefty chunk of the Buckeyes front seven will be playing in the NFL soon. Facing Oklahoma will be an early test for Urban Meyer’s crew, as will a road trip to Ann Arbor to face Michigan in the regular-season finale, but S&P+ gives Ohio State an 84 percent chance of winning or higher in nine games. When nine wins is your basement, you’re in a pretty good spot. Wisconsin also has been blessed by the schedule gods by avoiding the aforementioned Buckeyes and Penn State, while getting Michigan at home. They’re the class of the West.
Brandon Birkhead — Ohio State over Wisconsin
A big part of me wanted to slot in Penn State. They won the conference last season, and have the most exciting offense in the Big Ten with the gunslinging Trace McSorley and future top 10 pick Saquon Barkley. James Franklin has done a fantastic job with that program. But that Ohio State defense is vicious. They also return one of the most underrated QBs in the game with JT Barrett. Urban Meyer could also be in the running for the second best College Football coach of all time -- but he will never get his credit because of coaching the same time as Saban. Penn State also has to host Michigan at home the week before they head on the road to play Ohio State. That’s a very unfortunate run of games for Penn State. Ohio State will win the East. Wisconsin is clearly the best team in the West, and I don’t think it’s close. Iowa has fallen down after their surprising run a couple of years ago. Nebraska is rebuilding, as is Minnesota. Northwestern just isn’t quite there yet. Purdue and Illinois are in total rebuild mode. Wisconsin runs away with the division, but will lose to Ohio State in another boring Big Ten Championship game.
Who do you agree with? Let us know in the comments!