Previewing the Big Ten conference is next to continue priming us for the 2010 NCAA college football season. All the conferences and the independents will be previewed this week (Monday through Saturday, two per day).
1. Who will win the conference? Iowa. If Ricky Stanzi didn’t get injured, the Hawkeye’s probably would have been undefeated and in the Rose Bowl last year. Stanzi is back as well as a strong defense. The schedule is favorable as well. Iowa plays Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Penn State at home with at least two weeks separating each of these games.
2. Who is the top returning player? John Clay, Wisconsin. The bruising tailback rushed for 1,517 yards last year and scored 18 touchdowns. He finished 2009 with six consecutive 100 yard rushing games, and had a total of nine 100 yard rushing games.
3. Who will be the most improved team? Michigan. The Wolverines were 1-7 in conference play last year. In his third year in Ann Arbor, Rich Rodriguez will start to deliver what everyone has been expecting. Although the schedule is difficult, I expect Michigan to reach 8 wins.
4. What will be the biggest surprise? Between the end of the regular season and the bowl game, Joe Paterno will announce that he is retiring. After reaching 400 wins and no Bobby Bowden to push him for college football immortality, JoePa will step aside.
5. Which coach is on the hottest seat? Rich Rodriguez, Michigan. With an 8-16 record after two seasons, and this is a make or break year for Rodriguez. He will be gone if there is not a very positive feeling about the direction of the program after this year.