2008 Big Ten Football Predictions

Big Ten football this year is not as "down" as some experts say. The conference is well represented among the nation's elite, with five teams ranked in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll. Read here for the list of USA Today's top five Big Ten teams and InsideIllini.com's prediction on how the conference race will unfold.

USA Today felt the Big Ten was just as worthy as the Big 12 and the SEC when it came to ranking the best teams with five squads in the Top 25. The newspaper had Ohio State #3, Wisconsin #12, Illinois #19, Penn State #22, and Michigan #24.

When the season concludes, here's what InsideIllini.com thinks the final Big Ten standings will look like:

1. Ohio State

2. Wisconsin

3. Illinois: My pick is for Illinois to finish third this year because of their schedule. They start the Big Ten slate with Penn State and Michigan back-to-back on the road. Their next game against a ranked opponent is October 25th when they travel to Wisconsin. There are so many keys to the Illinois football team this season with the loss of star running back Rashard Mendenhall. Sophomore WR Arrelious Benn seems to be the forgotten man this year with all of the hype surrounding QB Juice Williams. Benn has had some nagging issues with his shoulder in the past but looks like a first-round draft pick now that he's fully healthy. And look for sophomore LB Martez Wilson and junior DB Vontae Davis to raise their game to another level.

4. Michigan

5. Penn State

6. Michigan State

7. Purdue

8. Indiana

9. Iowa

10. Northwestern

11. Minnesota

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