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big 10 football picks
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п»їBig Ten Football 2020 Bowl Projections and College Football Playoff picks, Week 4.
The Big Ten has a rich, rich history in historical bowl games, and the expectations are set for that to continue in 2020, or so we think.
В© Provided by Buckeyes Wire Big Ten football bowl projections, Playoff picks, conference week 4.
Here at Buckeyes Wire, we’re keeping with tradition and giving you a peek at where we think all the teams in the conference will end up when all the dust settles on the season.
We reassess after each week of games and project based on what we’ve seen. After giving this thing a run just prior to the season, we now have some separation between teams with four weeks down in conference play. We’ve seen some surprises (hello, Indiana), and some non-surprises (Michigan crashes again, again).
Keep in mind some bowls aren’t planning on having a game this year, so it culls the field a wee bit for the lower end, lesser money-making bowl games.
Also, remember these scenarios are very complicated with basically all teams eligible this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. There are also agreements with bowls to not repeat the same program over a certain time-frame if at all possible that may or may not pertain this season.
Here’s a look at the projections after Week 4 in the Big Ten.
NEXT … The Early Bowls.
The Early Bowls.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl.
Saturday, Dec. 26.
Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona.
Bowl Tie-Ins: Big 12 vs. Big Ten.
Projection: TCU vs. Nebraska.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York.
Normal Bowl Tie-Ins: ACC vs. Big Ten.
Bowl Projection: Boston College vs. Maryland.
Duke’s Mayo Bowl.
Wednesday, Dec. 30.
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Normal Bowl Tie-Ins: ACC vs. Big Ten Bowl Projection: Virginia Tech vs. Purdue.
TransPerfect Music City Bowl.
Wednesday, Dec. 30.
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee.
Normal Bowl Tie-Ins: Big Ten vs. SEC.
Bowl Projection: Iowa vs. Kentucky.
Next … Continued.
VRBO Citrus Bowl.
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida.
Normal Bowl Tie-Ins: Big Ten vs. SEC.
Bowl Projection: Northwestern vs. Auburn.
Outback Bowl.
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida.
Normal Bowl Tie-Ins: Big Ten vs. SEC.
Bowl Projection: Indiana vs. Georgia.
NEXT … New Year’s Six Bowls.
New Year’s Six Bowls.
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.
State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona.
At-Large vs. At-Large.
Bowl Projection: Oregon vs. Wisconsin.
NEXT … College Football Playoff Picks.
College Football Playoff.
Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana.
CFP No. 1 vs. CFP No. 4.
Bowl Projection: Alabama vs. Clemson.
Rose Bowl.
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California.
CFP No. 2 vs. CFP No. 3.
Bowl Projection: Notre Dame vs. Ohio State.
College Football Playoff National Championship.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Projection: Alabama vs. Ohio State.
Download the USA TODAY SportsWire app to follow Buckeyes Wire and your other favorite teams in the Apple Store for iPhones and Google Play for Android devices.


10 bold predictions for Big Ten football this season.
How confident is Ohio State coach Ryan Day in his football team this fall as a national title contender? He went rogue in September via social media, putting the onus on the Big Ten and its decision to postpone football season in light of COVID-19 and its potential effect on student-athletes.
Day's bold statement further fueled a movement to return to the field and eventually led to a reversed decision by the league office and university presidents. And now, that long-awaited moment to play is finally here.
Day said last week that "it's been torture" watching over nationally-ranked teams play games while the Buckeyes practice inside Ohio Stadium. One of five Big Ten teams inside this week's AP Top 25, Saturday's game gives the Buckeyes and others a chance to prove their worth among the elites and put preparation into action.
Widely-considered the favorite to repeat as Big Ten champs this fall, Ohio State isn't the only program worthy of mention across college football's most competitive conference.
Combing through the Big Ten landscape by team, we're going out on a limb here with 10 bold season predictions ahead of openers. Some of these picks might be a bit more shocking than others:
10. Nebraska starts 0-4 and pressure mounts.
(Photo: Bruce Thorson, USA TODAY Sports)
The Big Ten's new schedules aren't created equal this season and Scott Frost has good reason to gripe. There's a chance the Huskers could take on three Top 10 teams over their first four games and could be looking at a winless start heading into late November if they don't find a way to beat Northwestern on the road. Nebraska lost the last time these two teams played in Evanston. Any notion of hot-seat talk for Frost after two seasons is out of place, but man, if Nebraska starts his third campaign with four consecutive losses, temperatures would certainly rise in Lincoln.
9. Antjuan Simmons will win league's DPOTY.
(Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, USA TODAY Sports)
Since the award was first handed out in 1990, only one Michigan State player has earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors (Greg Jones, 2009). Simmons will be the next. You expect a player from a nationally-ranked program to emerge or perhaps Purdue's George Karlaftis, who accumulated 17 tackles for loss as a freshman last season, but Simmons is the bold pick here. With a defensive-minded head coach in East Lansing like Mel Tucker, expect Simmons' production — which was already impressive at 90 tackles last fall — to substantially increase.
8. Purdue finishes the season inside Top 25.
(Photo: Icon Sportswire, Getty)
Equipped with two — without question — all-Big Ten first-teamers this season, Purdue will erase last fall's eight-loss disaster and finish the 2020 campaign inside the Top 25 with a bowl victory to punctuate Jeff Brohm's fourth campaign. Rondale Moore's decision to opt-in is vital toward the Boilermakers' surge offensively and the other side of the ball is led by the nation's most underrated pass rusher, George Karlaftis. How can this team finish nationally-ranked after bowl season? The schedule sets up for it. The Boilermakers don't play Ohio State, Penn State or Michigan and get Iowa at home.
7. Maryland at Rutgers on Dec. 12 pits winless teams.
(Photo: В© Noah K. Murray, USA TODAY Sports)
No disrespect to either of these programs, but there's two reasons why 2020 will be ugly for both — Maryland's schedule is a monster and Rutgers won't have the depth in Year 1 under Greg Schiano to make it happen early. The common denominator however in this prediction coming to fruition is Michigan State. The Spartans host Rutgers this weekend and travel to Maryland on Nov. 21. If Michigan State wins both of those games under its own first-year coach, there's a great chance that both Maryland and Rutgers will be searching for their first win when they meet the final weekend of the regular season.
6. Noah Cain leads Big Ten in rushing.
(Photo: Harvey Levine-FOS/247)
Perhaps the boldest prediction of these 10 projections, Cain is now thrust into a starting role following Monday night's news of Journey Brown likely being lost for the season. That's significant news for the Nittany Lions, who now replace their leading rusher for the third consecutive season after Miles Sanders took over for Saquon Barkley in 2018 and Brown assumed those responsibilities last fall. It would've been easier here to go with a Wisconsin tailback perhaps or Trey Sermon at Ohio State, but Cain is the pick as one of the best players on an elite offense.


College Football Expert Picks: Big Ten's Return Leads the Weekend.
The week Big Ten and Mountain West football fans have been waiting for is here: both conferences join the schedule this weekend, with the Big Ten kicking off its 2020 season when Illinois travels to No. 14 Wisconsin for a Friday night clash in Madison. The rest of the league will play on Saturday, with matchups including Michigan–Minnesota, Ohio State–Nebraska and Penn State–Indiana. In the MWC, Hawaii takes on Fresno State in an under-the-radar Saturday-night clash out west.
As the schedule expands, so does SI's picks. This week our writers are predicting 15 games, drawing from both the Power 5 and Group of Five.
Standings to Date.
Molly Geary : 39–15 Ross Dellenger : 35–19 Michael Shapiro : 34–20 Pat Forde : 33–21.
While these picks are for entertainment purposes only, SI recently launched our Premium Betting Membership backed by Vegas Insiders. SI Fantasy PRO members get real-time betting alerts whenever information comes in.


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Big Ten football power rankings 2020, preseason.
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Now that we have the Big Ten back in business on the football field, it’s time to take a look at how things line up across the conference with our preseason edition of the power rankings.
We’ll take a look at these each week during the season, but first the baseline of how teams stand going into the season with all of the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and player opt-outs and NFL departures.
Just like the year 2020, it’ll be a fluid situation, but one we’re excited about because it means we’re actually going to have Big Ten football after thinking it was going to be a fall of despair.
So here we go, our first preseason edition of the Buckeyes Wire Big Ten football power rankings.
Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports.
Why the ranking could be higher.
It’s possible Greg Schiano will bring an immediate change in culture that will have an immediate impact on the field. Let the wood-chopping commence.
Why the ranking could be lower.
It can’t. Fourteen out of fourteen is as low as you can get in college football, and there’s a lot of work to do in order to improve a program that has been the doormat of the Big Ten since entering the league.
Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports.
Why the ranking could be higher.
The Terps have talent, but they’ve been snakebitten by injuries and a lack of motivation. Put it all together, and they could surprise.
Why the ranking could be lower.
If the program hasn’t put it together yet, who says it will? There needs to be a serious culture shift, and Mike Locksley has yet to show he can make that happen.
Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports.
Why the ranking could be higher.
There is still some pretty good talent in East Lansing and the program has a winning pedigree. A surprising year could be in the DNA.
Why the ranking could be lower.
Turnover, change and uncertainty. Add that to a modest dip in talent level, and expectations are low this year at Michigan State under new head coach Mel Tucker.
Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.
Why the ranking could be higher.
The team is run by Pat Fitzgerald, and he seems to get the most out of players almost every year. The team will be well-coached, smart and tough. It’s the Northwestern way, and we’ve seen a bounce-back year out of nowhere before.
Why the ranking could be lower.
Last year was a purple and white dumpster fire on offense. The Wildcats were the worst team in the league on that side of the ball, and there’s not a lot of optimism of it getting a ton better.
USA TODAY Sports.
Why the ranking could be higher.
Jeff Brohm is going to find ways to score points on offense with the scheme and coaching pedigree he brings. That alone could make the Boilers a tough out on a yearly basis.
Why the ranking could be lower.
Purdue is unsettled at quarterback and lost all-everything receiver Rondale Moore. There are too many unknowns to expect a big year in West Lafayette.
Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports.
Why the ranking could be higher.
Illinois showed promise last year and has enough returning talent to have a bit of a repeat performance.
Why the ranking could be lower.
We’re still not sure Illinois has learned how to win. There were some surprising results last year, sure, but one year does not a culture shift make.
(Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
Why the ranking could be higher.
At some point, you have to figure Scott Frost is going to turn this thing around. Is this the year the team buys in and gets over the hump with Adrian Martinez reaching his potential at quarterback?
Why the ranking could be lower.
Nobody wants to admit it, but there’s still a talent gap between the big boys in the league and Nebraska. Until that closes, it’ll be more of the same.
Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports.
Why the ranking could be higher.
Indiana has an explosive playmaker at quarterback (Michael Penix, Jr.), and he has weapons. Head coach Tom Allen has recruited talent that might finally be ready to compete with the better teams.
Why the ranking could be lower.
It’s still Indiana. It has a history of beating the worse teams in the league and putting a scare in the better ones. There’s still a talent gap differential in depth that could be a problem.
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.
Why the ranking could be higher.
It’s Iowa. It’ll play good defense and be well-coached. A change at the quarterback position will not matter like other programs. Rinse and repeat, find a magical year, and go for it.
Why the ranking could be lower.
It’s Iowa. It’ll win games it shouldn’t and lose games it shouldn’t. Rinse and repeat, find inconsistency, and go for it.
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.
Why the ranking could be higher.
Culture matters and so does a good quarterback. P.J. Fleck has the program buying in and Tanner Morgan is the most underrated quarterback the national media doesn’t spend enough time on. The boats are rowing now.
Why the ranking could be lower.
There were a lot of close games last year suggesting the Gophers got a ton of bounces to have a breakout year. Can they repeat that fortune? Not likely.
Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports.
Why the ranking could be higher.
Joe Milton at quarterback may finally be the answer Jim Harbaugh needs under center. He, in combination with some really good football players across the board, could make Michigan a real, live contender this year.
Why the ranking could be lower.
It’s Michigan. It has an Ohio State problem. It’ll likely still have an Ohio Sate problem in 2020. Also, Penn State looks to be more talented as well.
Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports.
Why the ranking could be higher.
Wisconsin is going to do what Wisconsin does and bludgeon everyone to death. It’ll outmuscle almost every team on the schedule and have one of the best defenses in the conference. Jack Coan is a real threat under center, which is a significant change for the program.
Why the ranking could be lower.
The program recruits to a type and always seems to falter against Ohio State and other more athletic programs. Until it shows a consistent level of talent and depth at the skill positions, it’ll need some breaks to win the games that get it over the hump as an elite program.
Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports.
Why the ranking could be higher.
Penn State should be even better than last year. No other program not named Ohio State has more talent by way of recruiting classes over the last few years. Sean Clifford should take that next step at quarterback for the program.
Why the ranking could be lower.
To be the best you have to beat the best and Penn State just can’t quite hang with Ohio State yet. It has come close and even gotten a win in 2016, but aside from that, the Nittany Lions are 1-5 against the Buckeyes with Franklin at the helm. As good as the talent is in Happy Valley, it doesn’t compete with what’s in Columbus. Not yet.


2020 Big Ten expert picks: Most overrated and underrated teams, order of finish, bold predictions.
Taking a close, detailed and opinionated look at the Big Ten as it begins its season.
The college football world has been forced to wait longer than usual for it -- and for a while there, it wasn't even going to happen -- but the 2020 Big Ten season officially starts this weekend. The Big Ten will be the fourth Power Five conference to begin play this season, following the ACC, SEC and the Big 12. But what can we expect from college football's oldest conference in 2020?
With such strange circumstances for its season -- an eight-game conference-only schedule with no bye weeks and an additional game during championship week -- it's not easy to predict what's going to happen, but don't worry, we've got all the experts you need here at CBS Sports to figure it out.
Ohio State is your obvious favorite in the conference, but is there anybody else that can challenge the Buckeyes for a Big Ten title? Are any of us willing to go out on a limb for one of them? And what about the Big Ten West? Who is the best team there, and can any of them challenge the East champion as the West looks for its first Big Ten title since the conference went to the geographical divisions in 2014?
Our CBS Sports college football experts have gathered to answer all of these questions ahead of the season.
Most overrated team.
Michigan: It is always the talk of the Big Ten East, as in, "Will this be the year Jim Harbaugh finally does the one thing he was hired to do -- beat Ohio State?" Maybe this will be the year, but there is no real basis for optimism. It's a lot of talk for a team that has only finished as high as second in the division one time in coach Harbaugh's tenure. With a tough cross-division schedule, even that may be a lot to ask of the Wolverines this season. -- Palm (also Fornelli, Sallee, Kercheval)
Iowa: This is your annual reminder that Iowa has finished ranked three times in the last decade. The Hawkeyes have finished above third place in their division/league twice since 2004. Throw in a player revolt involving race and a $20 million lawsuit, and this looks like it may be Kirk Ferentz's final season. I mean, there must be a different standard in Iowa for what is expected for $4.9 million per year. -- Dodd.
Nebraska: There's a certain trajectory you look for when predicting a breakthrough for programs. On the surface "Year 3 with Scott Frost" and "three-year starter Adrian Martinez" seems like the recipe for success, but I look to how Nebraska has fared against the best teams in the conference as the indicator for a return to Big Ten title competition. The Cornhuskers lost 48-7 to Ohio State and 37-21 to Wisconsin in 2019 with a 56-10 defeat to Michigan and 41-24 loss against the Badgers in 2018. The closest thing to a "signature win" in Big Ten play under Frost is the close loss to Ohio State in Year 1, so until the wins are there I'm going to wait on the Huskers hype. -- Patterson.
Michigan State: The Spartans are just 9-9 in Big Ten play over the past two seasons. They're also adjusting to a new coach in Mel Tucker while returning no more than three starters on either side of the ball. Given all the transition and the fact that there is no appealing option at quarterback, this team could challenge the 2016 and 2006 teams for the title of worst of the century at Michigan State. A 3-5 record in the regular season should be considered a success for these Spartans, but don't be surprised if they also struggle in winnable games against Rutgers, Maryland and Northwestern. -- Cobb.
Most underrated team.
Indiana: The Hoosiers' biggest problem is one of geography. Indiana went 8-4 during the regular season last year, but three of those four losses came to Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. The three Big Ten East powerhouses it has to play every year. The Hoosiers were 8-1 against everybody else and 3-0 in three games against Big Ten West teams. In other words, if the Hoosiers were in the Big Ten West, we'd be going into the 2020 season considering them a dark horse to compete with Wisconsin and Minnesota for a division title. Instead, we're looking at another fourth-place finish at best. -- Fornelli (also Patterson, Palm, Cobb)
Minnesota: It was a cute little story last year when the Golden Gophers entered rivalry weekend with the College Football Playoff in their sights. They should enter the truncated 2020 season with much more than just surface-level hype. Tanner Morgan is one of the top quarterbacks in the game, the return of wide receiver Rashod Bateman was one of the biggest stories of the offseason, running back Mohamed Ibrahim is one of the better running backs that you've never heard of and the offensive line will return intact. That's one heck of an offensive foundation that should be even more effective than normal given the odd offseason. There are plenty of holes on defense . but the Gophers should be able to force most teams into offensive shootouts, which is exactly the style that they want to play. -- Sallee (also Dodd)
Purdue: The Boilermakers were hit hard by the injury bug in 2019. Among those lost were star wide receiver Rondale Moore, quarterbacks Elijah Sindelar and Jack Plummer, guard DJ Washington and defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal. The results were predictable. Purdue finished 4-8 without any real wins of consequence. But last year's injuries mean Purdue gets most of those stars back while fielding a more experienced roster overall. Most importantly, Moore has chosen to opt back into the season after initially opting out. The schedule is mostly favorable, too, with zero difficult cross-division games. The hardest games -- against Wisconsin and Minnesota -- are on the road, but that also means the Boilermakers presumably get their more winnable games at home. With Moore back, a healthier Boilermaker team should pick off one or two favorites their not supposed to. -- Kercheval.




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