NFL: Draft Top Five Running Back Rankings

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, over the next few days I plan on breaking down the best and brightest talents in this years class. The RB position has a few big names, mostly, the draft has some very unique late round guys. Of all those guys who are the top ones?

1. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Pro Comparison: Melvin Gordon Jr.

Jonathan Taylor is the top back in this class. He was the best running back in college football last year. Taylor is THE do it all back in the class. He’s got everything you want in a running back and then some. He’s got high IQ, good elusiveness, good leadership. He’s an excellent back and could really be one of the safest playmakers in the draft overall. Taylor would have an expected value of being at a level similar to Gordon. If he lives up to his potential and then some, he can outplay this comp. Taylor is a can’t miss pick at running back.

2. JK Dobbins, Ohio State

Pro Comparison: Le’Veon Bell

Dobbins is far and away my favorite back in this class. He’s a fierce runner, patient, elusive and has phenomenal vision. Dobbins is a do it all back. He’s got potential to be a lead back very shortly. Dobbins has such a patient and violent running tactic that Bell is a great comparison for him. Dobbins would be very high on my board if I was a GM based on tape, which leads me to wonder why he’s not as highly rated by the general media.

3. D’Andre Swift, Georgia

Pro Comparison: Alvin Kamara

Swift is well, swift. He’s a really elusive back who excels in open space. He’s got a game breaking ability with the ball in his hands. He’s good catching the ball out of the backfield. He’s also very good in open space. Swift would be a great back in a lot of offenses immediately. There’s not a lot of questions with him. How his game will translate to the next level shouldn’t be a question because Georgia is a running back factory. Swift reminds me of Kamara because of his success in open space.

4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU

Pro Comparison: Ray Rice

Helaire is maybe my 2nd favorite back in this class. Helaire flashed signs of his full potential last year in an offense where Joe Burrow stole the headlines. Helaire is a really good back and he can be a lead back in an offense at some point soon. Every LSU staffer and teammate has given him rave reviews, they’ve even said he’s still capable of much more. Helaire and his running style reminds me heavily of vintage Ray Rice. Helaire has a lot of potential and I’m excited to see him at the next level. The only question marks revolve around whether or not he can truly fulfill that potential or if he just succeeded because of the talent of his quarterback.

5. LaMical Perine, Florida

Pro Comparison: Tj Yeldon

Perine is a very strong running back. He dominated the bench press and flashed strength. He does lack that incredible burst. Perine is more of a do it all back capable of grinding out yardage. Perine is very similar to Tj Yeldon in the sense of being able to pick up 1st downs as a grind out yardage back. Perine can be a very productive back out of a committee. Perine has a lot of questions, the biggest being if he can develop into a more elusive back. If not than he’ll be an above around ground and pound back at best. 

Penn State upsets Michigan, Illinois continues strong play: Big Ten Week in Review (2/12-2/17)

This week in Big Ten basketball, Penn State finally pieced it altogether and pulled off a major upset at home over Michigan, and Illinois has now won five of their last six, including wins over two ranked opponents. Joe Wisekamp also hit a huge buzzer-beater to lift Iowa over Rutgers. Let’s get into the games!

Game Scores & Mini-recaps:

6 Michigan vs. Penn State: Penn State 75, Michigan 69

Penn State built a 13 point halftime lead and fought off a late rally in an upset win over Michigan. Michigan shot 5 percent better than Penn State from the field, but Penn State drew 21 total fouls. Lamar Stevens led Penn State with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Charles Matthews had 24 for the Wolverines.

11 Michigan State vs. 20 Wisconsin: Michigan State 67, Wisconsin 59

Michigan State shot 41 percent from three and picked up another solid conference win over Wisconsin. Cassius Winston had 23 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Kenny Goins and Nick Ward were also in double-figures, and Ethan Happ led Wisconsin with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

12 Purdue vs. 24 Maryland: Maryland 70, Purdue 56

Maryland held the number 12 team in the nation to just 56 points as they picked up another big win. Purdue got 24 points from Carsen Edwards in the loss, but shot a poor 8-of-27. Five Terrapins were in double figures, including Bruno Fernando who had a 12 point, 12 rebound double-double.

Rutgers vs. Northwestern: Rutgers 59, Northwestern 56

Geo Baker and Montez Mathis each had 12 points to lead Rutgers to a home win over Northwestern. Eugene Omoruyi added 11 points and seven rebounds. Vic Law had 17 points, and A.J. Turner had 11 points for Northwestern.

Minnesota vs. Nebraska: Nebraska 62, Minnesota 61

James Palmer Jr. hit two free-throws with a second left as Nebraska survived at home against Minnesota. Palmer Jr. had 24 points on the night, and Glynn Watson Jr. had 19 points. Jordan Murphy led Minnesota with 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Daniel Oturu had 16.

Illinois vs. Ohio State: Illinois 63, Ohio State 56

Ohio State was held to just 36 percent shooting at home as Illinois came into town to stun the Buckeyes and continue their strong play. Trent Frazier and Ayo Dosunmu each had 15 points, and Giorgi Bezhanishvilli had 13 points and seven rebounds. C.J. Jackson had 17 points for Ohio State, and the Wessons combined for 21 points and 10 rebounds.

24 Maryland vs. 6 Michigan: Michigan 65, Maryland 52

Despite Cassius Winston being out, Michigan still played well and got a win over a ranked Maryland team at home. Ignas Brazdeikas, Charles Matthews, and Zavier Simpson all were in double-figures for the Wolverines. Aaron Wiggins led Maryland with 15 points and six boards off of the bench.

Penn State vs. 12 Purdue: Purdue 76, Penn State 64

Purdue bounced back from their poor shooting night last game to shoot 52 percent and get a win over Penn State. Carsen Edwards had 21 points to pace Purdue, and Matt Haarms had 18 points and six rebounds. Lamar Stevens had 18 points and Rasir Bolton had 17 points for the Nittany Lions.

21 Iowa vs. Rutgers: Iowa 71, Rutgers 69

Joe Wisekamp hit an improbable baseline three-pointer off of the glass at the buzzer as Iowa stunned Rutgers in New Jersey. Jordan Bohannon led Iowa with 18 points and five assists, Isaiah Moss had 17, and Tyler Cook had 12 points and seven rebounds. Ron Harper Jr. had 16 for Rutgers, and Eugene Omoruyi had 10 points and 11 boards.

Indiana vs. Minnesota: Minnesota 84, Indiana 63

Jordan Murphy had a huge 23 point, 11 rebound double-double as Minnesota blew out Indiana at home. Gabe Kalscheur also had 20 points, While Aaron Coffey had 18 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. Juwan Morgan led Indiana with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Northwestern vs. Nebraska: Nebraska 59, Northwestern 50

Isaiah Roby had 19 points and 16 rebounds, along with five blocks to pace Nebraska in a win over Nebraska. James Palmer Jr. and Glynn Watson Jr. were also in double figures for the winners. Vic Law had 15 points and Derek Pardon had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Ohio State vs. 11 Michigan State: Michigan State 62, Ohio State 54

Ohio State was held to just 32 percent shooting on the road as they were blown out by Michigan State. Matt McQuaid had 14 points, and Cassius Winston had 13 points and eight assists for the Spartans. Kaleb Wesson led the Buckeyes with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Standings & Rankings:

7 Michigan, 23-3 (12-3)

10 Michigan State, 21-5 (12-3)

15 Purdue, 18-7 (11-3)

24 Maryland, 19-7 (10-5)

21 Iowa, 20-5 (9-5)

22 Wisconsin, 17-8 (9-5)

Minnesota, 17-9 (7-8)

Ohio State, 16-9 (6-8)

Illinois, 10-15 (6-8)

Nebraska, 15-11 (5-10)

Rutgers, 12-13 (5-10)

Indiana, 13-12 (4-10)

Northwestern, 12-13 (3-11)

Penn State, 9-16 (2-12)

 

 

 

 

Illinois upsets Michigan State: Big Ten week in review (2/4-2/10)

Illinois pulled off a crazy upset over Michigan St. this week, and Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon hit a crazy buzzer-beater in a win over Northwestern to lead the story-lines of the week. Let’s get into the games!

Scores & Mini-recaps

Penn State vs. Northwestern: Penn State 59, Northwestern 52

Penn State’s 18 points from Lamar Stevens and 14 points from Rasir Bolton off the bench was enough for Penn State to pick up their first conference win. Penn State shot just 38 percent, but limited Northwestern to just 32 percent. Derek Pardon had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Vic Law had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Northwestern.

7 Michigan vs. Rutgers: Michigan 77, Rutgers 65

Ignas Brazdeikis led Michigan with 23 points as the Wolverines were able to pick up a road win at Rutgers. Jon Teske and Jordan Poole combined for 22 points but shot a poor 8-for-23 together. Eugene Omoruyi had 21 points and Montez Mathis had 12 points for Rutgers.

9 Michigan St. vs. Illinois: Illinois 79, Michigan St. 74

Illinois pulled the upset of the week with a big home win over Michigan State. Ayo Dosunmu had 24 points, Giorgi Bezhanishvilli had 16, and Trent Frazier had 15 for the winners. Cassius Winston had another big night for Michigan St., finishing with 21 points and nine assists.

19 Wisconsin vs. Minnesota: Wisconsin 56, Minnesota 51

Ethan Happ had a 15 point, 13 rebound double-double to lead Wisconsin to a road victory over Minnesota. Brad Davidson added 10 points, and Nate Reuvers had nine rebounds and seven blocks for Wisconsin. Jordan Murphy had a huge 16 point, 19 rebound performance for the losers.

24 Maryland vs. Nebraska: Maryland 60, Nebraska 45

Jalen Smith and Bruno Fernando both had double-doubles to power Maryland past Nebraska. Maryland shot the ball 38 percent, but held Nebraska to an extremely poor 21 percent, including 0-for-10 shooting from Glynn Watson Jr. for Nebraska. Isaiah Roby 20 points and 1 rebounds to lead the Cornhuskers.

20 Iowa vs. Indiana: Iowa 77, Indiana 72

Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook combined for 46 points for Iowa in their win over Indiana. Iowa made 10 threes and 13 free-throws on the night. Romeo Langford had 22 points and five rebounds for Indiana, and Juwan Morgan added 17.

Penn State vs. Ohio State: Ohio State 74, Penn State 70

Ohio State’s 50 percent shooting helped power them to a win over the feisty Penn State Nittany Lions. Luther Muhammad had 20 points, and Andre Wesson had 15 points and 10 boards for the Buckeyes. Lamar Stevens and Josh Reaves each had 20 for Penn State,.

19 Wisconsin vs. 7 Michigan: Michigan 61, Wisconsin 52

Charles Matthews had 18 points, and Jon Teske had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Wolverines over the Badgers. Michigan shot 45 percent while limiting themselves to just five turnovers.  Ethan Happ had 18 points and 11 rebounds to pace Wisconsin.

Minnesota vs. 9 Michigan State: Michigan St. 79, Minnesota 55

Michigan State finally broke out of their three game losing streak with a blowout win over the sliding Minnesota Golden Gophers. nick Ward had 22 points and nine rebounds and Cassius Winston had 11 points and nine assists. Matt McQuaid added 18 points, and eight more assists, as Michigan State thrives off the catch-and-shoot. Gabe Kalscheur had 17 points for Minnesota.

Nebraska vs. 15 Purdue: Purdue 81, Nebraska 62

Carsen Edwards dropped 27 points as Purdue blew out Nebraska at home. Grady Eifert had 16 points, and Nojel Eastern had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Thomas Allen led Nebraska with 18 points off the bench, and Nebraska shot just 38 percent on the night.

Rutgers vs. Illinois: Illinois 99, Rutgers 94 (OT)

Giorgi Bezhanishvilli exploded for 35 points, as Illinois took down Rutgers at home in overtime. Four total players would reach double figures for Illinois, who shot the ball 50 percent. Caleb McConnell had a big night for Rutgers with 25 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

Northwestern vs. 20 Iowa: Iowa 80, Northwestern 79

Iowa was down 15 points with 4:30 left, but Iowa fought back and won the game thanks to a Jordan Bohannon buzzer-beater. He had 15 points, but Joe Wieskamp led with 21 points while Tyler cook had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Vic Law led Northwestern with 24 points and 10 boards.

Ohio State vs. Indiana: Ohio State 55, Indiana 52

Indiana couldn’t convert in the final seconds to send the game into overtime, as Ohio State snuck away from Bloomington with a 55-52 win. The Wesson brothers combined for 25 of Ohio State’s 55 points, as the team shot 44 percent. Romeo Langford had 15 points for Indiana, while Juwan Morgan was held in-check with just three points, but still managed to haul-in 14 boards.

Standings & Rankings

6 Michigan, 22-2 (11-2)

12 Purdue, 17-6 (10-2)

11 Michigan St., 19-5 (10-3)

20 Wisconsin, 17-7 (9-4)

24 Maryland, 18-6 (9-4)

21 Iowa, 19-5 (8-5)

Ohio State, 16-7 (6-6)

Minnesota, 16-8 (6-7)

Illinois, 9-15 (5-8)

Indiana, 13-11 (4-9)

Rutgers, 11-12 (4-9)

Northwestern, 12-11 (3-9)

Nebraska, 13-11 (3-10)

Penn State, 8-15 (1-11)

 

Iowa and Indiana pull major upsets: Big Ten basketball week in review (1/29-2/3)

Another fun week of Big Ten hoops is led by Iowa dominating Michigan, Indiana upsetting Michigan St., and Wisconsin with two big wins. Six teams hit the Top 25 this week! There were 12 games, so let’s dive into it!

Results & Mini-Recaps

Ohio St. vs. 5 Michigan: Michigan 65, Ohio State 49

Zavier Simpson’s triple-double with 11 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds helped Michigan cruise past Ohio State. Four different Michigan players got into double-figures, including 12 points off the bench for sophomore Isaiah Livers. Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State with 12 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks.

Northwestern vs. 21 Maryland: Maryland 70, Northwestern 52

Bruno Fernando’s 22 points and 10 rebounds helped lead Maryland to a convincing win over Northwestern. Maryland held Northwestern to just 31 percent from the field. Jalen Smith had 14 points and nine rebounds to support Fernando. Anthony Gaines had 18 points and seven rebounds to lead Northwestern.

24 Wisconsin vs. Nebraska: Wisconsin 62, Nebraska 51

Wisconsin held Nebraska to just 28 percent from the field to beat Nebraska, despite being out-rebounded. Three Wisconsin Badgers were in double figures, including Ethan Happ who also had nine rebounds. Isaiah Roby had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead Nebraska.

Indiana vs. Rutgers: Rutgers 66, Indiana 58

Rutgers strong effort on the boards helped them beat the struggling Indiana Hoosiers. Three Scarlet Knights were in double-figures, and they held Indiana to just 35 percent shooting. Romeo Langford led Indiana with 20 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Illinois vs. Minnesota: Minnesota 86, Illinois 75

Five Minnesota players were in double-figures as they beat Illinois by 11. Minnesota shot a strong 50 percent in the win, compared to 45 percent from Illinois. Trent Frazier had a huge 30 point performance for Illinois in the loss, and two Fighting Illini were in double-figures off of the bench.

17 Purdue vs. Penn St.: Purdue 99, Penn St. 90 (OT)

Purdue shot the lights out at 55 percent, and survived the last-place Penn State in overtime. Conference scoring leader Carsen Edwards exploded for 38 points, and teammate Ryan Cline added 20. Lamar Stevens had 24 points for Penn State, and the Nittany Lions hit 30 free-throws to counter their poor 39 percent shooting.

5 Michigan vs. Iowa: Iowa 74, Michigan 59

Iowa jumped out to a 13 point halftime lead on their home floor and used that to knock off the number five team in the country. Luke Garza and Joe Wieskamp had 19 and 16 points, respectively for the winners. Iowa held Michigan to just 32 percent from the field. Three Wolverines made it into double-figures.

21 Maryland vs. 24 Wisconsin: Wisconsin 69, Maryland 61

Wisconsin used a dominating second half after trailing at halftime to beat Maryland at home. Brad Davidson had 21 points for Wisconsin, and Ethan Happ had an 18 point, 11 rebound double-double as well. Bruno Fernando had a double-double to lead the Terrapins.

Indiana vs. 6 Michigan St.: Indiana 79. Michigan St. 75 (OT)

Despite losing Juwan Morgan in the first half to a shoulder injury, Indiana ended their skid with a huge road upset over Michigan St. Romeo Langford led the winners with 19 points, and Justin Smith had 13 points and 10 rebounds with the game-sealing block. Cassius Winston had a huge night for the Spartans with 26 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.

Rutgers vs. Ohio State: Ohio State 76, Rutgers 62

Ohio State shot the ball 53 percent to lead to a victory over Rutgers. Kaleb Wesson had 27 points and five assists, and C.J. Jackson had 20 points and seven rebounds. Despite the win, they trailed -11 in the rebound margin.  Eugene Omoruyi had 19 points, eight rebounds, and six rebounds for Rutgers in the loss.

Nebraska vs. Illinois: Illinois 71, Nebraska 64

Illinois balanced scoring and strong defense led them to a win over Nebraska. Kipper Nichols had 18 points off the bench, while Illinois held Nebraska to just 36 percent from the field. James Palmer Jr. had 22 points and eight rebounds for Nebraska, and Tanner Borchardt had 12 points and 18 rebounds.

Minnesota vs. 17 Purdue: Purdue 73, Minnesota 63

Purdue had five players in double-figures and shot the ball 48 percent in a win over Minnesota. Carsen Edwards led Purdue with 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists, and Nojel Eastern had 11 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals in an all-around effort. Amir Coffey had 22 points for Minnesota, and Daniel Oturu had 19 points and nine rebounds off of the bench.

Standings & Rankings

7 Michigan, 20-2 (9-2 )

9 Michigan St., 18-4 (9-2)

15 Purdue, 16-6 (9-2)

19 Wisconsin, 16-6 (8-3)

24 Maryland, 17-6 (8-4)

20 Iowa, 17-5 (6-5)

Minnesota, 16-6 (6-5)

Ohio State, 14-7 (4-6)

Rutgers, 11-10 (4-7)

Indiana, 13-9 (4-7)

Northwestern, 12-9 (3-7)

Nebraska, 13-9 (3-8)

Illinois, 7-15 (3-8)

Penn St., 7-14 (0-10)

Heisman Watch: Make Or Break Game For Jonathan Taylor

This will be a big weekend for some of the best players in the Big Ten. Penn State’s quarterback Trace McSorley stayed alive in the Heisman running by putting in a good performance in the loss against Ohio State, and will return to action this week. OSU’s Dwayne Haskins Jr. will have a chance to continue racking up touchdowns, against a Minnesota team that has already lost both conference games.

But Jonathan Taylor, the prolific running back from Wisconsin? He might have the most to gain or lose this Saturday, when his Badgers play Michigan in a Saturday night clash. Wisconsin’s loss to BYU hit them hard and sent them out of the top ten, and since then, they’ve been recovering their old rank slowly. If they want to get back to where they were, they’ll have to win tonight.

Their opponent is a fellow top fifteen team that’s a couple of spots above them in the rankings, and this is their chance to continue their climb. Michigan is also one of only two ranked teams on the remaining part of the schedule. Lose here, and their only other ranked game will be the one against Penn State.

It’s important for the team as a whole but especially for Taylor, who needs big performances against big names to win the Heisman. He’s coming off of his second straight game of 200 or more yards, but when talking about the top players in the country, that number is devalued a bit because of the level of competition. After all, Nebraska’s defense is awful this year, and the team as a whole is 0-5 at the moment.

Michigan, though, has enough names on their defense to make a big rushing performance against them notable. Defensive end Rashan Gary is expected to be a high pick in the NFL Draft, and defensive lineman Chase Winovich already has 29 tackles at this point in the season. That includes 9.5 tackles for a loss, and three sacks. Michigan has considerably more quality than Nebraska, and this game will also be watched by many more people.

It’s the kind of game that can give someone momentum in the race for the Heisman. If Taylor falls flat, the narrative could be that he can’t play against ranked teams. None of Wisconsin’s opponents until this point have been ranked, after all. Another strong game, though? That would bring national attention back to Wisconsin and back to Taylor, and it would look great to the Heisman voters.

It’s a make or break game for both teams. But let’s not forget that, while this is a team sport, there’s some implications for the top individual trophy in the nation too. It’s time to see if Jonathan Taylor can keep doing it against not just another top fifteen team, but one of the top defenses in the conference and the country.

Highlights: Two Big Ten Teams Go Down In Big Upsets

Three weeks into the college football season, and we’ve already seen plenty of great close games and upsets that few would have predicted before they happened. Week three didn’t disappoint in that area, with teams around the country going down to unexpected foes. The Big Ten in specific had a couple of the most notable upsets, as both Wisconsin and Nebraska fell.

#6 Wisconsin vs BYU

Wisconsin probably needed to run the table to get into the College Football Playoff. They missed out last season, and it was directly because of their loss in the conference title game. It was a decision that was debated for months after it happened, but in the end, the strength of schedule just wasn’t good enough for Wisconsin to reach the playoff despite losing to the winner of the east.

This season, though, getting to the Playoff might just be a distant dream for the Badgers. Entering the game as the sixth ranked team in the country, they didn’t go down to a tough conference opponent. No, they went down against an unranked BYU team in a loss that won’t look good to the voters. Will they bounce back? Was the performance at least a good one, despite the loss?

Check out the highlights above and decide for yourself.

Nebraska vs Troy

The Scott Frost era isn’t off to a good start. First, the Huskers loss starting quarterback Adrian Martinez to injury and lost to their old rivals from Colorado. Now, replacement quarterback Andrew Bunch couldn’t do enough to win the game in Martinez’s absence, as Nebraska lost at home to Conference USA opponents Troy.

Really, Nebraska just handed Troy a decent amount of money to come to Lincoln and beat them in front of a stunned set of fans. Special teams made a difference as Troy returned a punt for a touchdown, one that would eventually ensure they had enough points to survive through the end of the game. Check it out above, and decide for yourself if it’s the biggest upset of the weekend.

Wisconsin Football: How Do The Bagders Stack Up vs WKU?

College football is coming. It’s less than two weeks before the start of the season, and the Wisconsin Badgers are one of the teams that will begin play on August 31st. Wisconsin is the favorite in the Big Ten West division and is the fourth ranked team in the AP poll right now, one spot above early conference favorites Ohio State.

But how does Wisconsin match up with the first opponent on the schedule?

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are the first team on the schedule for Wisconsin. The Hilltoppers aren’t exactly a team from a glamorous conference, or one that fans of big time conferences will be familiar with. They went 4-4 in Conference USA last year, with a 6-7 overall record when everything was said and done.

The season didn’t end on a good note for them either, as they lost 27-17 to Georgia State in the Cure Bowl. Their starting quarterback, Mike White, was good enough to get drafted in the fifth round by the Dallas Cowboys earlier this year. While that’s good for White and while it raises the profile of the program a bit, it’s not optimal for WKU.

They lost a player that threw for 4,177 yards last year along with 26 touchdowns, and the second most experienced quarterback from last season is fifth year senior Drew Eckels, who only attempted eleven passes during all of last year. According to head coach Mike Sanford, though, all of the quarterbacks on the team fit the system well.

But it’s not just the Badgers defense that could give WKU trouble. The Hilltoppers allowed an average of 2.1 rushing touchdowns per game, in stark contrast to Wisconsin’s 0.5 average. Jonathan Taylor rushed for nearly 2,000 yards last year, and is expected to improve on his performances from 2017 after picking up more experience as a college player.

Most power five teams struggle to contain Taylor, so it wouldn’t be a risky bet to guess than Wisconsin could finish with more than the two rushing touchdowns that WKU’s opponents averaged last season. Especially after their leading tackler, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, was taken 115th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Senior Masai Whyte will have to step up to replace him, but Whyte’s 63 tackles last season don’t come close to Iyiegbuniwe’s 117.

This is still a rebuilding phase for the Hilltoppers and their tepid running game, which had no gains of more than 20 yards last season, might be the nail in the coffin for their chances of making it a competitive game.

They’ll show up with their best effort, but Wisconsin is more talented in every area and it’s going to be hard for Western Kentucky to even score on a Badgers defense that has redshirt seniors Ryan Connelly and T.J. Edwards at inside linebacker as well as redshirt senior D’Cota Dixon at free safety.

Even if they do find a way, it will be hard to prevent Jonathan Taylor from running wild and boosting his Heisman chances during the first game of the season.

Prediction: Wisconsin Bagders 48 – 6 WKU Hilltoppers

Ohio State And Wisconsin Have Best Odds To Win The Big Ten In 2018

Vegas has spoken, and Ohio State is the favorite to win the Big Ten this year. The odds from Westgate Las Vegas Superbook are out, and the Buckeyes have 10/11 odds to win the conference. Or, to explain this in a way for those who don’t read betting lines, a bet of $100 dollars on Ohio State would win $90 if successful.

It’s not a good return, but that’s because Vegas gives Ohio State the best chance to win and doesn’t want to lose money when people bet on the Buckeyes. The odds for Wisconsin, however, are much more favorable to the gambler. Wisconsin is the second best team according to the Las Vegas Superbook odds, but they’re still a longshot to win the title. In fact, betting $100 on Wisconsin at 5/2 will win you $250 for a total payout of $350.

Of course, the Badgers would have to win the conference for that to happen. Vegas doesn’t think that it’ll happen, or their odds wouldn’t favor the player. Michigan finished out of the title picture last season, but these odds have them bouncing back. They have the third best chance to win the conference, with their line set at 4/1. If they can pull off an upset and win the Big Ten this year, those who bet on them will win $400.

Still, the gap between number one and number three is large. Ohio State’s 10/11 gives them a 52% chance to win the conference, while Michigan will only come in with a 20% chance. All of the other outliers are even further behind. Penn State, with 5/1 odds and a 16% chance to finish on top. Michigan, at 12/1 and a 7% chance. Iowa and Nebraska, both tied at 40/1 despite some early excitement around their respective fanbases going into this season.

Illinois and Rutgers are the ultimate dark horses. At 1000/1, they both have less than a one percent chance to win the Big Ten. If one of them somehow pulls off that feat, those who bet $100 dollars on them will win $100,000 back. It’s just about an impossible scenario, but still a technically possible one nonetheless.

However, Ohio State are the undisputed favorites to win the conference, even if that’s not the outcome that gamblers are hoping for. It’s not just people from Columbus picking them, either, but Vegas itself.