In the spirit of the actual purpose of the board and the catalyst being the NW undebate in an earlier thread today, I present the B10 one-a-days: a daily series of threads to discuss each of the B10 teams upcoming 2013 season. Debate is open and encouraged, but please provide cogent reasons behind your opinions. I'll outline some subfields of discussion below. If I can't remember to post one of these every day, feel free to check the board and do it yourself if you wish, but maybe provide a link to the previous threads. I plan on including ND as well.
- NW's overall talent, depth, youth/experience
- Schedule strength
- Past recent success/patterns
- Position group strength
- Your expected record/finish in B10 and/or bowl
- Anything else at all.
I base my stuff on the HTTV and The Wolverine previews. I usually grab a Phil Steel, but didn't get a chance yet this year to see what he says about the Cats. Links to NW blogs would be great too.
I think NW is middle of the road when it comes to pure talent, obvs not at OSU, M and Neb's level, but solidly in a pack with PSU, MSU, Wisc. The thing is, they return a TON of proven skill position talent on offense, including 9/10 receivers. They return 2 experience QBs in Colter and Siemian and a 6 ypc RB. They only need to replace 3 OLs, which could spell trouble early in the season @ Cal and Vs Syracuse.
Defensively, they have to replace some LBer production, but I trust PatFitz's staff to keep that a non-negative position group in the B10. They have lots of returning experience on the DL (which should take pressure off the LBers), but the secondary is the weakness. They don't have the horses defensively to hold good offensive teams down, but they should play responsibly and relatively mistake free.
I'm high on NW, but their schedule is BRUTAL. A tough start @ Cal and Vs Cuse will likely result in a split as the young OL comes together agaist these 2 decent teams. I usually like laughing at Cuse, but they did win the Pinstripe Bowl in convincing fashion over WBGV last year and are on the rise from the bottomest of bottoms.
Loss at home vs OSU and M, wins at Neb and vs MSU. I also see a coinflip loss at Wisc as well. I'd be more concerned about M losing this one if we didn't travel so well and if I didn't trust this D to maintain it's production. So, that adds up to 8-4 (5-3) for a 2nd place finish in the THANKGODIDONTNEEDTOREMEMBERTHESENAMES* Division. I want to go with 9-3 (6-2) but the schedule and NWs relative lack of depth as a program prevent a serious run at the B10 title game.
* other divison: the AGOODDECISIONNOTTOPUTEFFORTINLEARNIGNTHESENAMES Division.