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BUCKEYES THE TEAM TO BEAT IN BIG TEN
Mon, 09 Aug 2010 02:20 PM EDT

The Big Ten Conference is being projected as a three-horse race for 2010, as Ohio State, Iowa, and Wisconsin are all receiving high praise in preseason polls, including that of StatFox. The season figures to be a coming out party for Buckeyes’ QB Terrelle Pryor, the most highly-sought recruit of the 2008 class who will now be a junior. Pryor had an incredible game in Ohio State’s Rose Bowl win over Oregon this past January and is expected to pick up where he left off. He isn’t the only star from the three frontrunners though, as Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn is a defensive beast and Wisconsin’s John Clay can run roughshod over opposing defenses. Of the three teams, Iowa has the most favorable schedule, hosting the other two. Beyond the top three, Penn State is usually tough, but this could be a rebuilding season by Nittany Lion standards. Michigan State should score a lot of points, as could Purdue and Indiana, a pair of darkhorses. Many eyes will be on Ann Arbor, where plenty of pressure is on coach Rich Rodriguez to pull the storied Michigan program out of one of its worst football droughts ever. He’s not the only coach on the hot seat though, as Ron Zook could be in search of a new home if pessimistic expectations are realized in Champaign. If you’re wondering why we forgot about Northwestern and Minnesota now, it might be even easier to do so to come September. NFL Lines

2010 Predicted Finish (Sportsbook.com Odds to win conference)
1. Ohio State (-250)
2. Iowa (+350)
3. Wisconsin (+350)
4. Michigan State (+1200)
5. Penn State (+650)
6. Purdue (+2000)
7. Michigan (+1200)
8. Indiana (+3000)
9. Northwestern (+2000)
10. Minnesota (+3000)
11. Illinois (+2000)

ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
Head Coach: Ron Zook, 6th year (21-39 SU)
2009 Record: 3-9 SU, 3-8-1 ATS
Offense: Pro Style – Starters Returning: 5
Defense: Multiple – Starters Returning: 7

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: -6.0 (#89 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: -3.8 (#81 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 35 (#66 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/4 – vs. Missouri (St Louis, MO)
9/11 – S ILLINOIS
9/18 – N ILLINOIS
10/2 – OHIO ST
10/9 – at Penn St
10/16 – at Michigan St
10/23 – INDIANA
10/30 – PURDUE
11/6 – at Michigan
11/13 – MINNESOTA
11/20 – at Northwestern
12/3 – at Fresno St

SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 3-9, 17-20 (46%)
Overall ATS: 3-8, 14-20 (41%)
at Home ATS: 1-5, 6-10 (38%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 2-3, 8-10 (44%)
vs Conference ATS: 2-5, 12-11 (52%)
as Favorite ATS: 0-4, 7-11 (39%)
as Underdog ATS: 3-3, 7-8 (47%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 36.58 (52)
Points Scored – Allowed: 24.2 (81) – 30.2 (96)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 393.5 (47) – 403.3 (92)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 5.70 (52) – 5.97 (95)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 4.84 (17) – 4.23 (78)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 7.00 (71) – 8.01 (102)
Turnover Differential: -0.3 (83)

2010 OUTLOOK
Illinois head coach Ron Zook enters the season on a short leash. Win and his critics will back off. Lose and he’ll lose his job. Following a surprise trip to Pasadena in 2007, the Fighting Illini have won a total of eight games since. Despite going 3-9 last year, Zook maintained his job, but his staff underwent more shakeup than a Shakira video as the Illini have six new coaches, including offensive coordinator (Paul Petrino) and defensive coordinator (Vic Koenning)…Petrino must replace Illinois’ most experienced quarterback (Juice Williams), its game-changing wideout (Arrelious Benn) and its best offensive lineman (Jon Asamoah). Redshirt freshman Nathan Scheelhaase takes over at quarterback. Scheelhaase is nearly as green as Al Gore, but the Illini coaches like his elusiveness and leadership skills. Expect Zook to rely on the running game though only two starting linemen are back. Running backs Mikel Leshoure and Jason Ford, both battering ram-types, combined for 1,322 yards, nine touchdowns and 6.4 yards per carry…Koenning introduced a new defensive scheme that features a new “bandit” position, an outside linebacker/end hybrid spot and Michael Buchanan is expected be man that key spot. Koenning has playmakers aplenty in the middle of his defense, but there is a gaping hole at safety, because Garrett Edwards didn’t return for his final year of eligibility…The Illini needs to go bowling, after a two-year hiatus, to save Zook’s hide. The defense and running game should be strengths, but Scheelhaase will hold the key to the season. If Scheelhaase blossoms early, then a second-tier bowl is possible. If not, Zook will be shopping for a new job. NFL Betting Lines

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* Over the L2 seasons, ILLINOIS is 2-9 ATS (-7.9 Units) as favorites. The Average Score was ILLINOIS 23.4, OPPONENT 26.9

INDIANA HOOSIERS
Head Coach: Bill Lynch, 4th year (14-23 SU)
2009 Record: 4-8 SU, 7-4 ATS
Offense: Multiple – Starters Returning: 8
Defense: 3-4 – Starters Returning: 4

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: -6.0 (#89 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: -5.0 (#87 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 29 (#89 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/2 – TOWSON
9/18 – at W Kentucky
9/25 – AKRON
10/2 – MICHIGAN
10/9 – at Ohio St
10/16 – ARKANSAS ST
10/23 – at Illinois
10/30 – NORTHWESTERN
11/6 – IOWA
11/13 – at Wisconsin
11/20 – vs. Penn St (Landover, MD)
11/27 – at Purdue

SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 4-8, 14-23 (38%)
Overall ATS: 7-4, 17-17 (50%)
at Home ATS: 3-2, 10-8 (56%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 4-2, 7-9 (44%)
vs Conference ATS: 5-3, 11-13 (46%)
as Favorite ATS: 1-0, 5-3 (63%)
as Underdog ATS: 6-4, 12-14 (46%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 35.17 (58)
Points Scored – Allowed: 23.5 (84) – 29.5 (91)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 365.0 (72) – 401.0 (88)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 5.41 (69) – 5.76 (83)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 3.81 (77) – 4.03 (69)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 6.76 (84) – 8.02 (104)
Turnover Differential: +0.6 (19)

2010 OUTLOOK
After implementing a “Pistol” offense last year, embattled Indiana head coach Bill Lynch focused on installing a new 3-4 defensive scheme in spring ball. Coaches believe that it better suits their personnel—big tackles, like Adam Replogle, who are athletic and versatile. Color us skeptical that the new scheme will work as defensive woes have doomed the Hoosiers for the last decade, as they finished no better than 71st nationally in total defense since 2000…The Hoosiers had the Big Ten’s No. 3 passer in quarterback Ben Chappell and two of the league’s top six receivers in Tandon Doss and Damarlo Belcher. They also had a running back in Darius Willis with breakaway ability, but Indiana still finished 10th in the league in red-zone offense. All four are back, and Indiana has more than enough weapons to be better in the red zone. Chappell established himself as a quality Big Ten quarterback with 2,941 passing yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s got all-league potential if he can cut down on his 15 interceptions…Despite a veteran-laden unit, Indiana ranked 10th in the Big Ten in points allowed (29.5 points per game) and total yards allowed (401.0 yards per game). The Hoosiers lost seven starters on defense, which may or may not be a negative when considering the scheme change and past performance…Indiana’s first six games will tell the story of the season. Five of those should be considered winnable games. If the Hoosiers get off to a 5-1 or 4-2 start, they should be in good shape to return to a bowl. If not, then Lynch could be a goner. Football Lines

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* INDIANA is on a 15-3 ATS (+11.7 Units) run as home favorites of 3.5 to 10 points . The Average Score was INDIANA 28.6, OPPONENT 16.7

IOWA HAWKEYES
Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz, 12th year (81-55 SU)
2009 Record: 11-2 SU, 8-4 ATS
Offense: Multiple – Starters Returning: 6
Defense: 4-3 – Starters Returning: 8

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: +7.8 (#32 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: +11.7 (#19 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 48 (#20 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/4 – E ILLINOIS
9/11 – IOWA ST
9/18 – at Arizona
9/25 – BALL ST
10/2 – PENN ST
10/16 – at Michigan
10/23 – WISCONSIN
10/30 – MICHIGAN ST
11/6 – at Indiana
11/13 – at Northwestern
11/20 – OHIO ST
11/27 – at Minnesota

SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 11-2, 26-12 (68%)
Overall ATS: 8-4, 22-14 (61%)
at Home ATS: 2-4, 8-10 (44%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 6-0, 14-4 (78%)
vs Conference ATS: 5-3, 14-10 (58%)
as Favorite ATS: 4-4, 11-11 (50%)
as Underdog ATS: 5-0, 12-3 (80%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 36.62 (51)
Points Scored – Allowed: 23.2 (86) – 15.4 (8)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 336.3 (89) – 276.5 (10)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 5.17 (85) – 4.26 (9)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 3.27 (106) – 3.49 (28)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 7.36 (48) – 5.19 (3)
Turnover Differential: +0.2 (51)

2010 OUTLOOK
With 14 starters back from last year’s 11-win Orange Bowl champion, Iowa has all the ingredients necessary to be a top 10 fixture in the national polls and really push Ohio State for Big Ten supremacy. The Hawkeyes feature a star-studded defense (led by All-American end Adrian Clayborn), a veteran quarterback (Ricky Stanzi), a deep stable of running backs and a very good head coach in Kirk Ferentz…Stanzi is a proven winner (he’s 18-4 as the starting quarterback), but decision making has been an issue. He’ll need to significantly cut down on his 15 interceptions in order for the Hawkeyes to stay near the top of both the national and the Big Ten charts. He has two of the Big Ten’s best wideouts to play catch with and the rest of the skill position cupboard is well-stocked too. However, the Hawkeyes must replace four starting linemen, including left tackle Bryan Bulaga, an NFL first-rounder…Iowa must replace two first first-team All-Big Ten players but the defense won’t lack star power. This figures to be one of the most feared units in the land as eight starters return. Last year’s group allowed just 15.4 PPG, including 14 to powerful Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl win…Iowa has few obvious weaknesses and a pretty favorable schedule. Its toughest non-conference game is a Sept. 18 trip to Arizona and it plays all three of the other expected Big Ten heavyweights—Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State—at home. In short, it looks like another January bowl berth for Ferentz and Co.

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* Over the L2 seasons, IOWA is 12-1 ATS (+10.9 Units) on the road. The Average Score was IOWA 27.8, OPPONENT 12.5

MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
Head Coach: Rich Rodriguez, 3rd year (8-16 SU)
2009 Record: 5-7 SU, 4-7 ATS
Offense: Spread Option – Starters Returning: 7
Defense: 3-3-5 – Starters Returning: 8

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: +2.0 (#59 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: -1.0 (#72 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 35 (#66 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/4 – CONNECTICUT
9/11 – at Notre Dame
9/18 – MASSACHUSETTS
9/25 – BOWLING GREEN
10/2 – at Indiana
10/9 – MICHIGAN ST
10/16 – IOWA
10/30 – at Penn St
11/6 – ILLINOIS
11/13 – at Purdue
11/20 – WISCONSIN
11/27 – at Ohio St

SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 5-7, 17-20 (46%)
Overall ATS: 4-7, 13-22 (37%)
at Home ATS: 3-4, 8-13 (38%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 1-3, 5-9 (36%)
vs Conference ATS: 1-7, 8-16 (33%)
as Favorite ATS: 2-3, 7-13 (35%)
as Underdog ATS: 2-4, 6-9 (40%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 35.08 (59)
Points Scored – Allowed: 29.5 (41) – 27.5 (77)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 384.5 (59) – 393.3 (82)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 5.61 (59) – 5.63 (76)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 4.52 (40) – 4.35 (85)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 7.23 (55) – 7.30 (75)
Turnover Differential: -1 (115)

2010 OUTLOOK
It’s a make-or-break season for Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez, who led the nation in votes of confidence from an athletic director. “Richie Rod” needs to get a bowl—any bowl—to quiet his growing legion of critics who are tired of the losing and the NCAA investigations into him at both West Virginia (his previous stop) and Michigan…The pivotal season for the Maize and Blue could come down to Denard Robinson and an improved line. If Robinson builds off a strong spring, and wins the starting quarterback job over Tate Forcier, then Rodriguez will have the run-pass threat—a la Pat White at West Virginia—needed to run his spread option attack. Regardless, the Wolverines need a more reliable ground attack and seem to have a deep enough stable of backs. In the trenches, senior left guard Stephen Schilling (6-5, 303) will lead an extremely young, but gifted line…Greg Robinson, a successful coordinator at the college and NFL levels, has work to do as the Wolverines allowed the second-most points in school history last season. Adding to Robinson’s anxiety is the fact that one-man wrecking crew Brandon Graham (10.5 sacks, 26 tackles for loss) is now cashing large first-round paychecks from the Philadelphia Eagles. Robinson will rely on the return of eight experienced starting defenders for improvement…No college head coach is on a hotter seat than Rodriguez. Whether he can win enough to save his job will be one of college football’s most-followed stories. It won’t be easy as the Maize and Blue enter the season with an unsettled quarterback competition, a shaky kicking game and a new defensive scheme.

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* Over the L2 seasons, MICHIGAN is 2-9 ATS (-7.9 Units) as favorites. The Average Score was MICHIGAN 23.7, OPPONENT 25.3

MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
Head Coach: Mark Dantonio, 4th year (22-17 SU)
2009 Record: 6-7 SU, 4-7-1 ATS
Offense: Multiple – Starters Returning: 4
Defense: Multiple – Starters Returning: 5

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: +3.4 (#56 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: +4.7 (#46 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 40 (#54 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/4 – W MICHIGAN
9/11 – vs. Fla Atlantic (Detroit, MI)
9/18 – NOTRE DAME
9/25 – N COLORADO
10/2 – WISCONSIN
10/9 – at Michigan
10/16 – ILLINOIS
10/23 – at Northwestern
10/30 – at Iowa
11/6 – MINNESOTA
11/20 – PURDUE
11/27 – at Penn St

SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 6-7, 22-17 (56%)
Overall ATS: 4-7, 18-19 (49%)
at Home ATS: 2-4, 8-12 (40%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 2-3, 10-7 (59%)
vs Conference ATS: 2-5, 11-12 (48%)
as Favorite ATS: 3-4, 12-15 (44%)
as Underdog ATS: 1-3, 6-4 (60%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 37.54 (44)
Points Scored – Allowed: 29.7 (36) – 26.3 (67)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 406.2 (38) – 380.8 (73)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 6.27 (16) – 5.42 (62)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 4.25 (61) – 3.40 (24)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 8.28 (13) – 7.23 (72)
Turnover Differential: -0.5 (95)

2010 OUTLOOK
With bowl berths in his first three seasons, head coach Mark Dantonio has stabilized the Michigan State program. Now comes the hard part, cracking the upper echelon of Big Ten teams and earning better party invites than last year’s Alamo Bowl. Dantonio has leaders on both sides of the ball in All-American LB Greg Jones and QB Kirk Cousins, but he must fill holes along the offensive line and secondary to have any hope of threatening the Big Ten’s elite teams… Cousins was just the eighth sophomore in the last 60 years to lead the Spartans in passing and he should be one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten Conference, with plenty of good-hands people to throw the ball to. Sophomore tailbacks Larry Caper and Edwin Baker will split carries again. The left side of the line is rock solid with guard Joel Foreman (6-4, 306) and tackle D.J. Young (6-5, 315), but the right side is still unsettled… Jones is the state of Michigan’s biggest hitmaker since Eminem. Last season, Jones finished third in the nation in tackles with 154 and also registered nine sacks. While linebacker is clearly an area of strength, pass defense is a big concern. Michigan State struggled mightily against the pass, ranking last in the Big Ten and 112th nationally (267.6 YPG allowed)…The Spartans will score points and go bowling for a fourth straight year. But there appears to be a few too many questions—i.e. three new starters on the offensive line and uncertainty at safety and placekicker—for Spartans to finish ahead of the Big Ten’s elite teams. Still, with the first half-dozen games in the state of Michigan, a fast start and a fourth-place finish both seem possible.

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* MICHIGAN ST is 13-2 OVER the total (+10.8 Units) on the road since ‘07. The Average Score was MICHIGAN ST 31.9, OPPONENT 30.7

MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
Head Coach: Tim Brewster, 4th year (14-24 SU)
2009 Record: 6-7 SU, 5-7 ATS
Offense: Multiple – Starters Returning: 9
Defense: Multiple 4-3 – Starters Returning: 3

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: -2.8 (#82 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: +1.4 (#64 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 33 (#75 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/2 – at Middle Tenn St
9/11 – S DAKOTA
9/18 – USC
9/25 – N ILLINOIS
10/2 – NORTHWESTERN
10/9 – at Wisconsin
10/16 – at Purdue
10/23 – PENN ST
10/30 – OHIO ST
11/6 – at Michigan St
11/13 – at Illinois
11/27 – IOWA

SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 6-7, 14-24 (37%)
Overall ATS: 5-7, 16-18 (47%)
at Home ATS: 3-3, 7-10 (41%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 2-4, 9-8 (53%)
vs Conference ATS: 4-4, 13-10 (57%)
as Favorite ATS: 3-4, 6-10 (38%)
as Underdog ATS: 2-3, 10-8 (56%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 38.77 (33)
Points Scored – Allowed: 20.9 (100) – 23.8 (51)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 306.5 (110) – 369.2 (63)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 4.89 (104) – 5.25 (50)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 3.01 (112) – 3.84 (50)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 6.99 (72) – 7.05 (56)
Turnover Differential: -0.1 (68)

2010 OUTLOOK
Minnesota made a trip to the Insight Bowl, despite an inconsistent offense. Will things be better in 2010? The offense must adjust to life without wideout Eric Decker, now playing for the Denver Broncos. The defense will sport eight new starters, including an all-new linebacking crew…In Year One A.D. (after Decker), new coordinator Jeff Horton is committed to running the ball much more effectively. Not only a reliable ground attack would take pressure off senior quarterback Adam Weber, but it will also allow the defense to get more rest. Weber knew his job was on the line this spring, and he stepped up and solidified his hold on the No. 1 job. Aside from his miscues, Weber is hurt by the lack of a consistent running attack (the Gophers were last in the Big Ten in rushing yards the past two seasons), which results in him taking a weekly pounding from opposing defenses. The line has some talent… The Gopher defensive coaches have their work cut out as a slew of new starters must be found between now and the season opener. For instance, all three starting linebackers are gone. Plus, Minnesota must replace both of its starting tackles. The linebacking corps has some candidates to fill all the vacancies. Even still, the biggest hole for the defense could be the cornerback spot, as the Gophers must replace Traye Simmons and Marcus Sherels…This team’s two primary shortcomings—the lack of a ground game and inconsistency on defense—killed them at times in 2009 and could so again. This team should score points—even with Decker now playing on Sundays. However, they must do a better job of stopping foes or they’ll finish around .500 again.

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* MINNESOTA is on a 1-9 ATS (-8.9 Units) skid as road underdogs of 7.5 to 10 points . The Average Score was MINNESOTA 17.7, OPPONENT 37.5

NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS
Head Coach: Pat Fitzgerald, 4th year (27-23 SU)
2009 Record: 8-5 SU, 6-6 ATS
Offense: Spread – Starters Returning: 8
Defense: 4-3 – Starters Returning: 6

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: +1.5 (#62 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: -2.6 (#77 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 36 (#62 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/4 – at Vanderbilt
9/11 – ILLINOIS ST
9/18 – at Rice
9/25 – C MICHIGAN
10/2 – at Minnesota
10/9 – PURDUE
10/23 – MICHIGAN ST
10/30 – at Indiana
11/6 – at Penn St
11/13 – IOWA
11/20 – ILLINOIS
11/27 – at Wisconsin

SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 8-5, 23-15 (61%)
Overall ATS: 6-6, 17-18 (49%)
at Home ATS: 1-5, 6-12 (33%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 5-1, 11-6 (65%)
vs Conference ATS: 5-3, 13-11 (54%)
as Favorite ATS: 0-4, 3-11 (21%)
as Underdog ATS: 6-2, 14-7 (67%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 32.46 (74)
Points Scored – Allowed: 25.9 (71) – 24.5 (55)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 404.4 (40) – 350.5 (47)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 5.08 (95) – 5.41 (60)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 3.05 (111) – 3.80 (48)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 7.02 (70) – 7.17 (69)
Turnover Differential: +0.2 (46)

2010 OUTLOOK
Northwestern is in the midst of the most successful stretch in school history and that should continue as 14 starters are back from last year’s eight-win Outback Bowl team. Eight incumbents return for head coach Pat Fitzgerald on offense, but one of the newbies—junior quarterback Dan Persa—has huge cleats to fill as All-Big Ten selection Mike Kafka is now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. The defense returns six starters, but must replace steady safeties Brad Phillips and Brendan Smith…Persa has limited game experience, but established himself as the new man under center in Northwestern’s spread offense with a strong performance in spring drills. At least Persa will operate behind an experienced line that only touts one senior—guard Keegan Grant. All told, the five returning linemen enter the season with 87 combined starts. The skill position players are inexperienced but expected to develop as dynamic threats as they have in recent seasons…With all three starting linebackers back, along with a host of key reserves, that position group could be the strength of the stop unit. The first line of defense isn’t quite as stccked and three-fourths of last year’s starting secondary has departed, making line & safety the biggest defensive items on Fitzgerald’s to-do list…If Fitzgerald can plug the holes in the defense, as well as at tailback and punter, and if Persa can emerge as a real threat under center, then the Wildcats could go to a bowl for a third straight year—something the program has never done before.

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* Over the L2 seasons, NORTHWESTERN is 9-1 ATS (+7.9 Units) on the road after the first month of the season. The Average Score was NORTHWESTERN 22.3, OPPONENT 20.8

OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Head Coach: Jim Tressel, 10th year (94-21 SU)
2009 Record: 11-2 SU, 10-3 ATS
Offense: Multiple – Starters Returning: 10
Defense: 4-3 – Starters Returning: 5

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: +16.5 (#8 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: +18.0 (#9 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 56 (#7 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/2 – MARSHALL
9/11 – MIAMI
9/18 – OHIO U
9/25 – E MICHIGAN
10/2 – at Illinois
10/9 – INDIANA
10/16 – at Wisconsin
10/23 – PURDUE
10/30 – at Minnesota
11/13 – PENN ST
11/20 – at Iowa
11/27 – MICHIGAN

SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 11-2, 32-7 (82%)
Overall ATS: 10-3, 23-14 (62%)
at Home ATS: 5-2, 9-10 (47%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 5-1, 14-4 (78%)
vs Conference ATS: 6-2, 16-8 (67%)
as Favorite ATS: 7-3, 19-11 (63%)
as Underdog ATS: 3-0, 4-3 (57%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 38.46 (35)
Points Scored – Allowed: 29.0 (49) – 12.5 (5)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 369.0 (68) – 262.3 (5)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 5.46 (66) – 4.12 (6)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 4.52 (44) – 2.88 (9)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 7.14 (61) – 5.35 (5)
Turnover Differential: +1.3 (5)

2010 OUTLOOK
Ohio State enters this campaign as one of the top three teams in the preseason polls. If quarterback Terrelle Pryor can build on his brilliant Rose Bowl performance versus Oregon, then no one would be surprised to see the Buckeyes in the national title game. Pryor won’t have to do it alone. Nine other starters return on offense and head coach Jim Tressel also has All-America candidates at each level of the defense, as usual…Pryor, the most-coveted high school recruit in the Class of 2008, is living up to all the hype finally. His performance in the Buckeyes’ 26-17 Rose Bowl victory was a sign of good things to come and heshould be even better during his junior season, after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in February to repair his right knee, which bothered him throughout last year. The Buckeyes will have an explosive wide receiving corps, plus with tailbacks Dan “Boom” Herron and Brandon Saine, a duo that combined for 1,339 yards and 11 scores, both back, Ohio State should be much more explosive on offense. Herron and Saine will run behind a beefy and talented line…Despite losing defensive stalwarts again to the NFL, Ohio State still figures to field one of the Big Ten’s most feared defenses. Although there is some re-tooling to do—most notably at safety, the stop unit should be downright scary…Led by Pryor and a star-studded defense, the Buckeyes will win a sixth straight Big Ten title. Is yet another BCS title game appearance possible? Yep. Is the program’s first national title since 2002 possible? You bet. If the Buckeyes beat Miami in mid-September, then an undefeated season is possible—given Ohio State’s remarkable talent level.

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* OHIO ST is 10-1 ATS (+8.9 Units) on the road vs. teams with a winning record since ‘07. The Average Score was OHIO ST 28.4, OPPONENT 14.6

PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
Head Coach: Joe Paterno, 45th year (394-129-3 SU)
2009 Record: 11-2 SU, 7-6 ATS
Offense: Multiple – Starters Returning: 7
Defense: 4-3 – Starters Returning: 5

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: +16.6 (#6 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: +14.1 (#12 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 51 (#13 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/4 – YOUNGSTOWN ST
9/11 – at Alabama
9/18 – KENT ST
9/25 – TEMPLE
10/2 – at Iowa
10/9 – ILLINOIS
10/23 – at Minnesota
10/30 – MICHIGAN
11/6 – NORTHWESTERN
11/13 – at Ohio St
11/20 – vs. Indiana (Landover, MD)
11/27 – MICHIGAN ST

SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 11-2, 31-8 (79%)
Overall ATS: 7-6, 20-17 (54%)
at Home ATS: 2-6, 10-11 (48%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 5-0, 10-6 (63%)
vs Conference ATS: 5-3, 11-12 (48%)
as Favorite ATS: 5-6, 18-16 (53%)
as Underdog ATS: 1-0, 1-1 (50%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 34.31 (66)
Points Scored – Allowed: 28.8 (52) – 12.2 (3)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 406.9 (37) – 274.5 (9)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 6.12 (26) – 4.40 (10)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 4.73 (24) – 2.85 (8)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 7.77 (32) – 5.99 (17)
Turnover Differential: +0.5 (26)

2010 OUTLOOK
At Penn State, Joe Paterno needs six wins to see 400 victories in his Hall of Fame career. He figures to have a terrific ground game, but JoePa loses serious star power from this past season’s 11-win team as four defensive studs are pros now…Quarterback Daryll Clark, a run-pass threat who led the Nittany Lions to a 22-4 mark over the last two seasons, is gone as well, leaving three young pups—Kevin Newsome, Matt McGloin and Paul Jones—to battle for the No. 1 signal-caller spot. The new quarterback, whoever that is, will operate behind a rebuilt line, but will turn and hand the ball often to Royster, one of the best running backs in the college game. Royster needs to rush for 481 more yards to break Curt Warner’s career record of 3,398, and has rushed for 2,405 yards over the last two seasons, an average of 92.5 yards per contest. The Nittany Lions have a pair of tall, sure-handed wide receivers in Derek Moye and Graham Zug…Jared Odrick is now playing on Sundays instead of Saturdays, but the defensive line will be fine as a pair of gifted ends, Jack Crawford and Eric Latimore, return. The school with the moniker “Linebacker U” had one of the best collections of linebackers in the land last year but all three are in the NFL now, meaning new guys will need to step up. The secondary also needs work…If Paterno can find a quarterback and some linebackers, there’s enough talent for Penn State to win nine or 10 games, but it will have to survive three brutal road contests. Paterno will get to 400 career wins, but it appears that the Nittany Lions are at least the fourth-best team in the Big Ten.

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* PENN ST is on a 0-16 ATS (-17.6 Units) skid vs. teams giving up 12 or less PPG . The Average Score was PENN ST 16.7, OPPONENT 28.1

PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
Head Coach: Danny Hope, 2nd year (5-7 SU)
2009 Record: 5-7 SU, 6-4-2 ATS
Offense: Spread – Starters Returning: 6
Defense: Multiple 4-3 – Starters Returning: 6

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: -1.3 (#77 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: +1.6 (#62 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 40 (#54 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/4 – at Notre Dame
9/11 – W ILLINOIS
9/18 – BALL ST
9/25 – TOLEDO
10/9 – at Northwestern
10/16 – MINNESOTA
10/23 – at Ohio St
10/30 – at Illinois
11/6 – WISCONSIN
11/13 – MICHIGAN
11/20 – at Michigan St
11/27 – INDIANA

SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 5-7, 17-20 (46%)
Overall ATS: 6-4, 16-15 (52%)
at Home ATS: 3-2, 9-7 (56%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 3-2, 7-8 (47%)
vs Conference ATS: 3-3, 10-10 (50%)
as Favorite ATS: 2-2, 8-8 (50%)
as Underdog ATS: 4-2, 8-7 (53%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 38.83 (32)
Points Scored – Allowed: 27.8 (58) – 29.1 (89)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 391.3 (53) – 376.6 (69)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 5.61 (58) – 5.35 (54)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 4.21 (63) – 4.41 (89)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 6.82 (82) – 6.55 (38)
Turnover Differential: -0.4 (87)

2010 OUTLOOK
Psst…looking for a Big Ten Conference sleeper? Purdue, a team that lost five games by seven points or fewer last year, might be ready for a breakthrough. Talent returns in perhaps the team’s two best players—defensive end Ryan Kerrigan (Big Ten-leading 13 sacks) and wide receiver Keith Smith (Big Ten-leading 91 catches, 1,100 yards). But there are voids for head coach Danny Hope to fill, too. Perhaps the biggest concerns are the secondary (four starters have departed) and tailback (Ralph Bolden tore an ACL in his right knee and is likely lost for the season)…The most important position on the team, quarterback, will need to be filled for the second consecutive year as Joey Elliott is gone. But never fear, Miami transfer Robert Marve is here. Marve should be one of the Big Ten’s top newcomers—thanks to his mobility and arm strength. Marve has a future pro to play catch with in Smith, who might catch 110 balls this season. The big skill-position question for the Boilers is running back, and the line will be showcasing three new starters…He doesn’t get a fraction of the ink that Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn garners, but Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan is a big-time star. Kerrigan is the headliner, but there are other proven stars in a front seven that returns all but one starter. Purdue must replace all four starters in the secondary…The opener at Notre Dame will be tough—the Irish usually find a way to win those—but the next three games are must-wins if Purdue intends to make it to a bowl game for the first time since 2007.

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* PURDUE is on a 12-3 ATS (+8.7 Units) run at home vs. bad teams (Win Pct. 25% to 40%) . The Average Score was PURDUE 37.5, OPPONENT 18.6

WISCONSIN BADGERS
Head Coach: Bret Bielema, 5th year (38-14 SU)
2009 Record: 10-3 SU, 7-6 ATS
Offense: Multiple – Starters Returning: 6
Defense: 4-3 – Starters Returning: 5

Key Strength Ratings
2009 Scoring Differential: +10.0 (#23 of 120)
2009 StatFox Outplay Factor Rating: +10.3 (#24 of 120)
2010 StatFox Power Rating: 48 (#20 of 120)

2010 SCHEDULE
9/4 – at UNLV
9/11 – SAN JOSE ST
9/18 – ARIZONA ST
9/25 – AUSTIN PEAY
10/2 – at Michigan St
10/9 – MINNESOTA
10/16 – OHIO ST
10/23 – at Iowa
11/6 – at Purdue
11/13 – INDIANA
11/20 – at Michigan
11/27 – NORTHWESTERN

SITUATIONAL RECORDS – 2009 (3-YR TOTAL)
Straight Up: 10-3, 26-13 (67%)
Overall ATS: 7-6, 16-21 (43%)
at Home ATS: 4-3, 10-9 (53%)
Away/Neutral ATS: 3-3, 6-12 (33%)
vs Conference ATS: 4-4, 9-15 (38%)
as Favorite ATS: 4-5, 10-12 (45%)
as Underdog ATS: 2-1, 5-9 (36%)

2009 TEAM STATS & NCAA RANKS (of 120)
Strength of Schedule: 34.38 (64)
Points Scored – Allowed: 31.8 (25) – 21.8 (33)
Total YPG Gained – Allowed: 416.9 (31) – 305.7 (17)
Yards Per Play Gained – Allowed: 5.88 (41) – 5.08 (37)
Yards Per Rush Gained – Allowed: 4.56 (36) – 2.89 (10)
Yards Per Pass Gained – Allowed: 8.15 (17) – 7.34 (77)
Turnover Differential: +0.2 (46)

2010 OUTLOOK
Running back John Clay, who led the Big Ten in rushing with 1,517 yards, sat out spring ball while recovering from two offseason ankle surgeries. He doesn’t need the practice. He’ll combine with returning quarterback Scott Tolzien (2,705 passing yards) to give the Badgers a very good offense. Six starters on offense and five on defense return for a Wisconsin team that figures to be a top 15 fixture all season long…Tolzien showed up to Wisconsin in 2006 as your average, unassuming, within-the-offense Badger quarterback who proves the rating service wrong by winning tons of games. Tolzien excelled at sucking in linebackers with play action to All-Big Ten thumper Clay and pulling to find open receivers and tight ends open between the linebackers and safeties. Clay is a human sledgehammer who eventually wears down opposing defenses and he will operate behind a mammoth line that averages over 300 pounds each. Nick Toon, the son of former Wisconsin and New York Jets star Al Toon, will blossom into a star in his own right…Head coach Brett Bielema appears to have the pieces to survive key losses on defense. Remember the names of defensive ends J.J. Watt and Louis Nzegwu, as well as LB Chris Borland. Senior Niles Brinkley is poised for a big year at cornerback. In all five starters return… Yet again, much is expected of the Badgers—and that’s when the program has struggled in recent years. But this year figures to be different. Tough-to-tackle Clay (18 touchdowns) and the vastly improved Tolzien are just two of several returning starters from an offense that figures to score points galore in Big Ten play.

SAMPLE TOP STATFOX POWER TREND FOR 2010
* WISCONSIN is 0-11 ATS (-12.1 Units) vs. good defensive teams – allowing <=310 YPG since ‘07. The Average Score was WISCONSIN 16.3, OPPONENT 31.7


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