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5 bold predictions for Big Ten in 2014

The season is almost upon us and in a few weeks y’all can bring out the sharp words on Twitter and Facebook, letting us know how idiotic and stupid we were. Since we know that is going to happen, we might as well go B1G and go bold!

If last season proved anything, there are plenty of surprises to come in the Big Ten. After all, who saw Minnesota winning eight games, or Tevin Coleman going for over 1,000 yards, or Michigan struggling to run the football?

With that in mind, we’ve brought out our crystal ball and we’re going to put it all out there with some of the things we’ve been thinking in the back of our mind, but were too afraid to say all summer long.

So, with that in mind…here are our 5 bold predictions for 2014 (don’t blame us if they don’t actually happen):

– Northwestern will win the Big Ten West division: At some point in time this is going to happen, damn it. Last season was supposed to be the Wildcats year in the Legends division and it all went horribly, injury-riddled, wrong. This season the team enters relatively healthy and Northwestern’s schedule is favorable thanks to having its toughest games at home (Wisconsin, Nebraska and Michigan). As long as the offense is back to its explosive self, and injuries don’t stack up, this team is capable of competing with, and beating, anyone on its schedule.

– The Big Ten champion gets in the College Football Playoff: We’ve already said Northwestern is winning the Big Ten West, and that means beating all three of Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa most likely. Get through those three and whomever comes out of the East and there’s hardly a better resume in the Big Ten. Luckily for Northwestern early-season bias of national polls won’t hurt them much. On the flip side, should any of Ohio State, Michigan or Michigan State run the table in the Big Ten they’ll easily make the CFP based on the strength of the East alone. No way OSU or MSU get left out in the cold, and Michigan shouldn’t either.

– C.J. Brown will lead all quarterback in total yards: Maryland’s quarterback comes in as perhaps one of the most underrated dual-threat quarterbacks in the Big Ten. Last season Brown had a combined 2,818 yards and 25 total touchdowns. With Braxton Miller out of the picture this season there isn’t a quarterback with better running numbers returning to a Big Ten backfield. He also appeared in only 11 games last season, and this season is his last go-round. With the talent around him, look for Brown to be a huge surprise to people who’ve never followed Maryland football before.

– Purdue wins a conference game: The Boilermakers could easily be an underdog in every game it plays in the Big Ten this season, and drawing defending champion Michigan State as one of the two crossover games wasn’t exactly ideal. Despite those facts, Purdue appears to have hit bottom last season and only can go up from there. Look for them to get a conference win, and it may take all season for it to happen. So, be on the lookout Indiana.

– Wisconsin’s Tanner McEvoy will pass for over 3,000 yards: Usually when you’re talking about 3,000 yards and Wisconsin in the same sentence you’re talking about a career rushing milestone. Throwing for 3,000 yards is a rarity at UW, so rare that it’s only happened once in school history — and that was Russell Wilson. I’m not saying McEvoy will be Wilson per say, but he’s got the same make up in style that could allow the Badgers offense to open up in a big way this season. He’s dual-threat, but McEvoy wouldn’t be getting the starting nod (if indeed reports are true) if he couldn’t throw the deep ball well. Add in a receiving corp. that appears to be deeper and more capable than its ever really been before and Wisconsin could be a team that surprises a lot of people early on with its passing game.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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