Who are the most overrated and underrated teams in the Big 10′s Legends and Leaders divisions in 2012? That question was addressed this morning at The Saturday Edge in the third of four Big 10 Q & A sessions. I have expanded on my Legends and Leaders answer below.
Question # 3: Which team do you believe will show the greatest improvement over last season? Which team is overrated (not nearly as good as they are being made out to be)?
In the Legends division, I feel that Iowa is the team that is overlooked and should be better. They finished 7-6 last season and return a very experienced quarterback in James Vandenberg. As I mentioned here, the schedule is not very tough. I would be surprised if the Hawkeyes don’t get to 9 wins and 10-11 is not out of the question at all.
The 3 Legends teams that are getting the most love from the media are Michigan, Michigan State, and Nebraska. If I am forced to pick a team that shouldn’t be getting that much hype, I would have to say Michigan. The Wolverines won 11 games last year, but looking deeper, the Maize and Blue will be hard pressed to repeat that in 2012. There are games away from home against Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State. Michigan had a lot of trouble putting away a bad Ohio State team last season and needed a few jump balls to beat Notre Dame at home. Brady Hoke is bringing some talent to Ann Arbor, but I don’t see this team living up to its preseason Top 10 hype.
The easy answer to the most improved team in the Leaders division is Ohio State. The Buckeyes took a huge leap backwards in 2011. A 6-7 record, even in a controversy-filled season, is just not acceptable in Columbus. Urban Meyer is now in town and looks to rebuild the Buckeyes back to a perennial National Title contender. With a less than challenging non conference schedule, and having Nebraska and Michigan at home, the Buckeyes should be at least 3 wins better in 2012. There are tough games at Michigan State and Wisconsin, but if Ohio State catches up to their new head coaches’ breakneck speed, 10-11 wins is not out of the question.
I don’t see any team in the Leaders division getting much hype outside of Wisconsin. I do think they are the team to beat here, but if Maryland transfer Danny O’Brien plays like he did last year for the Terps, then Wisky could not live up to expectations. However, he Badgers produce offensive lineman like no other and Montee Ball is back to carry the load, so even a less than stellar year from the quarterback position and the Badgers should still win the division.