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2017 Big Ten
College Football
Season Preview

Please note: Our conference reports analyze what the Congrove Computer Rankings preseason forecast predicts. Team power ratings change weekly during the season to reflect the actual results of the games. For projecting results, 3 points are added to the home team.

During the 2016 season, from beginning to end, including bowl games:
Overall, only 2 teams gained 10 or more "power points". Washington led the gainers at 10.50, followed by UCF at 10.20. It was an interesting turnaround for UCF which fell the most in the previous year.
Among current Big Ten teams, Michigan gained the most at 8.86.
Overall, 27 teams gained 5.00 - 9.99 points.
Overall, 32 teams gained less than 5 points.
Overall, 45 teams fell less than 5 points.
Overall, 14 teams fell 5.00-9.99 points.
Overall, 8 teams fell 10 power points or more. Marshall fell the most at 15.12, followed by Connecticut at 14.51.
Among current Big Ten teams, Rutgers fell the most at 10.49.
Overall, the average change of teams in 2016 was a loss of 0.32 points.
Among current Big Ten teams, the average change in 2016 was a gain of 0.13 points.

2017 Conference Preview
Big Ten East
  Team Over-All
? Indiana ?-? ?-? ? ? ?
? Maryland ?-? ?-? ? ? ?
? Michigan ?-? ?-? ? ? ?
? Michigan State ?-? ?-? ? ? ?
? Ohio State ?-? ?-? ? ? ?
? Penn State ?-? ?-? ? ? ?
? Rutgers ?-? ?-? ? ? ?
Big Ten West
  Team Over-All
? Illinois ?-? ?-? ? ? ?
? Iowa ?-? ?-? ? ? ?
? Nebraska ?-? ?-? ? ? ?
? Northwestern ?-? ?-? ? ? ?
? Minnesota ?-? ?-? ? ? ?
? Purdue ?-? ?-? ? ? ?
? Wisconsin ?-? ?-? ? ? ?

Championship: Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 in Indianapolis at 8:00 (ET) on FOX
? VS. ?

Conference Champ
Title Game Result: ?

Also See:
Big Ten Media Poll


2017 was a disaster for a Michigan State squad that was expected to compete for the conference title but finished 3-9 after losing 9 of its last 10 games. The only victory in that stretch was a 49-0 whitewashing of a horrible Rutgers team.

Almost as shocking was Penn State capturing the Big Ten title with a 38-31 comeback victory over Wisconsin after trailing 28-7 in the second quarter. After getting blown out 49-10 at Michigan in week 4, the Nittany Lions reeled off 9 straight wins. But despite winning the conference crown, Penn State (11-2) was locked out of the Final 4 playoff in lieu of an 11-1 Ohio State team whose only loss was to PSU.

Ohio State went on to get crushed 31-0 by Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl playoff semifinal, and Penn State lost 52-49 to USC in the Rose Bowl.

Wisconsin was an uninspiring 24-16 winner over Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl.

In fact, only 3 of its 10 bowl representatives won their respective games as the Big Ten turned in the worst postseason record among the Power 5 conferences.

Three Big Ten programs - Indiana, Minnesota and Purdue - will start the 2017 season with a different head coach than the one that was in place at the start of the 2016 campaign.

P.J. Fleck makes the jump from the MAC to the Big Ten, replacing Tracy Claeys at Minnesota. Claeys was fired on January 3, thanks to an ill-advised attempted bowl game boycott by his players and an even more ill-advised supportive tweet of the boycott from Claeys. It all took place after 10 players were suspended in the wake of an ugly sex scandal that had occurred in early September. The administration stood solidly in support of its decision to keep the suspensions in place, and the head coach's tweet appeared to put him publicly at odds with the administration. The players ultimately backed down when they were assured the suspended athletes would get a fair hearing and the Golden Gophers went on to defeat Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. Claeys was 11-8 overall, 2-0 in bowl games, since replacing Jerry Kill in the middle of the 2015 season. But the school simply couldn't risk looking like victories mean more than high moral standards.

Western Michigan was the story of the year among the Group of Five conferences (American, CUSA, MAC, MWC and Sun Belt) as the Broncos went undefeated in the regular season and earned a Cotton Bowl bid. Fleck was 30-22 at WMU.

Another former MAC head coach Darrell Hazell, was fired by Purdue halfway through the season. The move failed to pay dividends on the field as the Boilermakers went from a 3-3 start under Hazell to an 0-6 finish under interim head coach Gerad Parker. Western Kentucky head coach Jeff Brohm was announced as Purdue's new head coach on December 5, just 2 days after WKU won a second consecutive Conference USA championship game.

Indiana and head football coach Kevin Wilson parted ways on December 1 over "philosophical differences" and the school immediately announced that defensive coordinator Tom Allen had been promoted from within. Wilson was 26-47 in 6 seasons with back-to-back bowl appearances in each of the last 2 seasons. The 2015 team lost to Duke in overtime in the Pinstripe Bowl, and the 2016 squad lost 26-24 to Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl.

Check back later for the complete 2017 season preview.


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