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Recapping Maize n Brew’s preseason Big Ten Football predictions, how it all panned out

The 2022 regular season is behind us, so let’s go back to look at our preseason predictions!

Big Ten Championship - Purdue v Michigan Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

In July, myself and Andrew Bailey gave our projections for the Big Ten West and the Big Ten East, respectively. Now that the season has come and gone, it’s time to reflect on what we said well before the season vs. how things actually panned out.

Let’s take a look and view where each program is headed during bowl season.

The Big Ten West: Dan Plocher’s Prediction

No. 7: Northwestern Wildcats (Actual Finish: No. 7)

They are going to be the worst team in the West and maybe in the conference altogether... Expect another 3-9, or so, season.” - Plocher

Try 1-11. Pat Fitzgerald and his company had a rough go at it in 2022. They lost their final 11 games and struggled to get any kind of offense going, ranking 128th in points per game in the country this season.

No. 6: Nebraska Cornhuskers (Actual Finish: No. 6)

Scott Frost has been a massive letdown in Lincoln and he hasn’t given any reason to believe this year will be any different.”

Frost is gone. Matt Rhule is in. Nebraska finished 4-8 with a loss to Georgia Southern. Let’s move on.

No. 5: Illinois Fighting Illini (Actual Finish: No. 2)

“I think the top four in this conference have a real shot at representing the West, and the bottom three won’t be close... They may be on their way, but it’s not happening this year.”

Looks like the Illini came a year early. Chase Brown was far better than expected, and Illinois started off really strong. But three losses in the final four games doomed its chances at a Big Ten title.

Bowl Game: ReliaQuest Bowl vs. No. 22 Mississippi State

No. 4: Iowa Hawkeyes (Actual Finish: No. 3)

“The defense will carry this team, just as it has for the last two decades. There are a lot of things to sort out on (the offensive) side of the ball.”

The Hawkeyes were awful offensively and it cost them several games. They lost 9-6 to Illinois and fell to Nebraska in the final week of the season. They win those two games and they are in Indy again in 2022.

Bowl Game: Music City Bowl vs. Kentucky

No. 3: Minnesota Golden Gophers (Actual Finish: No. 4)

I think P.J. Fleck gets some hype back this season. Tanner Morgan is somehow still the quarterback, even though it feels like he has been there for eight years, and they get running back Mohamed Ibrahim back from last year’s Achilles tear.”

Morgan’s injury history during the later half of the season cost them a huge game against Iowa and maybe a fighting chance against Illinois and Penn State. Meanwhile, Ibrahim was excellent and helped Minnesota to an 8-4 season and a tie for second place. Restoring the hype for Fleck? Maybe not. But nevertheless it was a better season for the Golden Gophers.

Bowl Game: Pinstripe Bowl vs Syracuse

No. 2: Purdue Boilermakers (Actual Finish: No. 1)

Aidan O’Connell is the best quarterback in the Big Ten West... they are going to have a shot at the Big Ten Championship.”

They got there thanks to a big win over Illinois. O’Connell was indeed the best quarterback in the West, but Jeff Brohm leaving for Louisville is not a great sign for the future of the program.

Bowl Game: Citrus Bowl vs No. 17 LSU

No. 1: Wisconsin Badgers (Actual Finish: No. 5)

The questions come offensively where Graham Mertz, the most anticipated quarterback to come to Madison since Russell Wilson, has been a severe letdown...They have arguably the best back in the country with Braelon Allen, so the quarterback play could go a very long way for Wisconsin this year.”

The Badgers had a weird year which led to the firing of Paul Chryst. Mertz was terrible again and is now in the transfer portal as Luke Fickell comes into Madison. Losing at home to Bret Bielema and Illinois midway through the season led to their overall demise. Nagging injuries to bell cow Allen didn’t help either.

Bowl Game: Guaranteed Rate Bowl vs Oklahoma State

The Big Ten East: Andrew Bailey’s Prediction

No. 7: Indiana Hoosiers (Actual Finish: No. 6)

“It is hard to see any world where the Hoosiers reach .500, but they should be more competitive than they were a season ago.” - Bailey

The Hoosiers were only in sixth place in the Big Ten East because they won one more conference game than Rutgers. They were still 4-8 overall, so we were hardly off with that prediction.

No. 6: Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Actual Finish: No. 7)

Due to a difficult schedule and a young team, this season could easily become a back step year for (Greg) Schiano and company, but I believe in Rutgers.”

Schiano is trying his best. Rutgers started 3-0, including a quality win over Boston College, but lost to Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State by a combined score of 156-37. Hard to build much confidence with that and injuries at the quarterback position.

No. 5: Penn State Nittany Lions (Actual Finish: No. 3)

“This is the year head coach James Franklin’s seat goes from slightly microwavable warm to the scolding hellfire of Mount Doom hot. Penn State is 11-11 the past two seasons and I anticipate more of the same — literally — this season.”

This was the only hard miss from our predictions. Penn State’s true freshman running backs helped James Franklin restore the roar in Happy Valley. But this team still couldn’t get the job done against Michigan and Ohio State.

Bowl Game: The Rose Bowl vs. No. 8 Utah

No. 4: Maryland Terrapins (Actual Finish: No. 4)

“The Terrapins are becoming the trendy pick to take that next step in 2022 and while I think they will slightly improve, I can’t see it as clearly as others with quarterback Taulia “Turtle” Tagoviloa.”

The Terps were definitely in a weird spot in 2022. They were a very quality 7-5 team that nearly upset Michigan, Ohio State and Purdue. We’ll see how they fair in the future if “Turtle” moves on from the program and they have to make a change at the quarterback position.

Bowl Game: Duke’s Mayo Bowl vs. No. 23 NC State

No. 3: Michigan State Spartans (Actual Finish: No. 5)

Michigan State is a tough team to figure out coming off an improbable special season, and I could be swayed to believe outcomes as low as 6-6 or as high as 10-2 this season.”

Swap MSU and PSU and we essentially nailed this thing so far. It was the former as Michigan State went 5-7 and never found its footing without Kenneth Walker III.

No. 2: Ohio State Buckeyes (Actual Finish: No. 2)

“Ohio State will again be a threat for the Big Ten Championship and National Championship in 2022, but there are more reasons for concern than normal in Columbus... the concerns defensively are the most alarming.”

Wouldn’t ya know it? All season long it was about the Ohio State offense and their productivity. But once again, the defense could not slow down the Wolverines. Ballsy, and spot on from my compatriot.

Bowl Game: Peach Bowl vs No. 1 Georgia

No. 1: Michigan Wolverines (Actual Finish: No. 1)

“‘oF cOuRsE yOu PuT miCHiGan fiRSt!’”

“Ric Flair said it best, ‘To be the man, you gotta beat the man,” and all roads go through the Wolverines in 2022.”

Kudos again to Andrew for his call with Michigan here. He downplayed the coordinators skedaddling elsewhere and focused on the vets the Wolverines had. Sure enough, Jesse Minter was a finalist for the Broyles Award and Sherrone Moore/Matt Weiss were excellent on the offensive end. Michigan beat Ohio State in The Shoe and are headed to the Playoffs as undefeated Big Ten Champs for the first time ever.

Bowl Game: Fiesta Bowl vs No. 3 TCU