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Big Ten Football Conference Odds
Since the Big Ten scrapped the Legend and Leaders divisions for the more vanilla East and West, the Ohio State Buckeyes have proven to be the team to beat taking home B1G title game honors three of the last five seasons which includes back-to-back titles heading into the 2019-20 season. While Urban Meyer is now out of the picture in Columbus, the fact of the matter hasn’t changed – Ohio State is once again the choice of linemakers at online sportsbooks to win the conference a third straight season regardless of new head coach Ryan Day now at the helm.
Big Ten Championship Betting Odds
Ohio State +150
Penn State +1000
Michigan State +1400
Jim Harbaugh and his near 10 million dollar contract to coach the Michigan Wolverines enters his fifth season running the show in Ann Arbor with absolutely nothing to show for his work. This is a huge season for the coach as he must finally solve the riddle that’s Ohio State and bring some type of title back to the Big House. If not, it’s highly likely boosters start calling for his head which would likely result in a coaching change being made. The Wolverines were in line to make their first-ever trip to the B1G title game going into last year’s road tilt with the Buckeyes, but then proceeded to get blasted by 23 points in the Horseshoe and followed it up with an even more despicable performance against Florida in the Peach Bowl. This is a crucial season for the guys overlooking the maize and blue’s football program. Nothing less than an East Division title would suffice with a possible trip to the CFP also expected with Shea Patterson back for his senior campaign.
As was the case last season, the East once again looks to be the cream of the B1G crop from a division strength point of view. One only has to look at the current futures odds to back up that claim. While Nebraska, Wisconsin and Northwestern are closer to the top of the heap out of the West Division, there are four teams from the East above them with both the Buckeyes and Wolverines far and away the decided favorites. The hated rivals are almost identical favorites to win the conference this season with a substantial gap between them and both Penn State and Michigan State.
The Nittany Lions and Spartans will no doubt have the defense to compete with the best in the conference, but there are glaring question marks for both offensive attacks. Brian Lewerke regressed terribly a season ago, but it’s been blamed on a shoulder injury incurred early on. Word out of camp is that he’s healthy and the confidence that saw him receive an honorable mention for the All-Big Ten team is back. If that’s truly the case, Mark Dantonio will no doubt have a say in how the Big Ten shapes up this season. As for Penn State, it needs to replace four-year starter Trace McSorley under center with both the running back and wide receiver positions extremely talented but lacking in experience. The early growing pains will likely prevent James Franklin from leading Penn State back to the title game with the second half of the schedule brutal to say the least.
Nebraska has gotten all sorts of attention from college football bettors in the offseason even though the Huskers only managed to win four games in Scott Frost’s inaugural season in Lincoln. Adrian Martinez is being touted as a bonafide Heisman Trophy contender as well. While the team turned on the jets following a tough overtime loss to Northwestern by winning four of six games and going 5-1 against the spread in those matchups, I need to see just how far this program has come along before I truly buy in. One team I would however recommend taking a flyer on to win the division as an attractive underdog is Minnesota. The Golden Gophers return one of the most experienced teams in the country and benefit from one of the easier schedules to boot. Minny has taken baby steps in the right direction in the first two years of P.J. Fleck’s reign, and that leads me to believe they’ll be a factor in the lesser West Division and have a shot at punching their ticket to Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time in program history.
When it’s all said and done however, Harbaugh finally comes through and gets the Wolverines into the CFP. He’ll finally solve the riddle that is the Ohio State Buckeyes in a demonstrative fashion, and then give whomever Michigan runs up against a major run for their money in college football’s version of the Final Four.
Big Ten Football Format
Membership within the Big Ten remained the same for four decades until the league expanded with the addition of Penn State in 1990. Nebraska accepted an invitation to join the conference for the 2011 season, bringing the number of teams to 12 and the Big Ten was divided into two divisions, the Legends and Leaders. The league also met the criteria to host a championship game, which it did that season.
Another round of expansion in 2014 brought in Rutgers and Maryland and the divisions were realigned geographically and renamed the East and West to reflect that change. Beginning with the 2016 season the league also moved to a nine-game conference schedule. Teams play six games within their division and three cross-over games that switch yearly. One rivalry game remains intact, however, as Purdue and Indiana face each other every year.
The Big Ten has an affiliation with the Rose Bowl that dates back to 1946. The league also has ties to the Orange Bowl, Citrus Bowl, Outback Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Music City Bowl, Redbox Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, Quick Lane Bowl, Heart of Dallas Bowl and Armed Forces Bowl.
List of Big Ten Champions
You have to hand it to the Big Ten for keeping the conference intact during the chaotic times of realignment when it seemed like every league was expanding and contracting. The Big Ten did expand with Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers to extend its footprint over a broader area of the country. The changes weren’t made of necessity, rather to strengthen one of the strongest conferences in the country.
From 1990 until the league introduced a conference championship game following the 2010 season, the league title was shared 10 times. The title tilt has removed any co-champion designations, but does winning the league really mean anything? Penn State might say no. PSU won its first league championship game last season but was denied a playoff berth. The previous two league champs – Ohio State in 2014 and Michigan State in 2015 – each played in the CFP. Though it won the B1G in 2017 and 2018, Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes were forced to settle for New Year’s Six bowl game invites instead of participating in the College Football Playoff.
Most Big Ten Conference Championships
2019 NCAA Football Schedule
NCAA Football Teams
NCAA Football Conferences
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