- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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It's early June, and the only really football happenings are in the pages of preseason magazines.
Newsstands will soon be full of glossy publications offering their predictions for the 2014 season. How much value they provide is up for debate, but they sure are fun to peruse this time of year.
One of the preseason magazine staples, Athlon, has come out with its 2014 Big Ten predictions. So let's take a look at what it believes awaits the league this fall:
1. Ohio State: 12-1 overall, 7-1 Big Ten
2. Michigan State: 10-2, 7-1
3. Penn State: 10-2, 6-2
4. Michigan: 8-4, 5-3
5. Maryland: 6-6, 3-5
6. Indiana: 5-7, 2-6
7. Rutgers: 4-8, 1-7
1. Wisconsin: 10-3, 7-1
2. Iowa: 9-3, 6-2
3. Nebraska: 9-3, 5-3
4. Northwestern: 6-6, 3-5
5. Minnesota: 6-6, 3-5
6. Illinois: 4-8, 1-7
7. Purdue: 3-9, 0-8
Big Ten championship game: Ohio State over Wisconsin
Thoughts: The Athlon folks are high on the Buckeyes, predicting them also to make the College Football Playoff field. Their prediction has Ohio State and Michigan State tied with a 7-1 record, which means they believe the Buckeyes will beat the Spartans head to head in East Lansing to claim the tiebreaker (no indication is given on where they think Ohio State will lose). ... Penn State is predicted for a 10-win season in James Franklin's first year at the helm. ... Wisconsin is also penciled in for 10 wins and a West title despite the loss of so many valuable seniors off last year's team and big question marks at quarterback and wide receiver. ... Nebraska fans can't be too happy with a 9-3 prediction (and especially not a 5-3 Big Ten record). Though if you're doing a preseason gauge for the Huskers, you can't go too wrong by predicting a Bo Pelini team to win nine games. ... Athlon sees a bounce-back season, barely, for Northwestern, which it has going back to a bowl. ... A 9-3 record for Iowa means the Hawkeyes lose a nonconference game somewhere. They play Iowa State and at Pitt. ... Maryland makes a bowl game in Athlon's eyes, while Rutgers struggles mightily in its first Big Ten season, winning just one game. ... Athlon might think it's curtains for Tim Beckman with a 4-8 record and just one Big Ten win. ... Adam and I haven't done our preseason predictions yet, but I remain a bit skeptical on all the rosy projections for Wisconsin and wonder if Penn State has enough depth to win 10 games. But debating these picks are what makes this fun.
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