Originally posted on Bloguin Best  |  Last updated 7/27/12

With CBR's Big Ten Preview Week drawing to a close, it's time for our staff to give some bold predictions for the conference in the coming season.

Allen Kenney: I have a hard time seeing Michigan living up to expectations this year.

Brady Hoke had a helluva debut season, but living on the edge the way the Wolverines did last year is tough to sustain for two years in a row. Michigan went 3-1 in games decided by eight points or fewer. In one of those wins, the Sugar Bowl versus Virginia Tech, UM was nearly doubled in total yardage. Not to mention, the Wolverines feasted on turnovers. The Maize and Blue won't get all of those breaks this year.

The schedule is also appreciably harder this season. Michigan has road games against Ohio St., Nebraska, Notre Dame and a dangerous Purdue team to go along with the opener against Alabama at JerryWorld.

Even if Hoke fields a better team in 2012, I expect the Wolverines to take a step back in the win-loss column.

Big Ten Champions: Wisconsin over Michigan

Andrew Coppens: What Allen said, I've been saying the same thing all summer about the Maize 'N Blue
as far as the win-loss column.

But the one team hardly anyone is talking about is Northwestern. Pat Fitzgerald is a helluva a coach and my favorite interview in the Big Ten. He also happens to have one of the better playmakers in the conference in Kain Colter who will be playing QB full-time in 2012. It wouldn't surprise me to see them with a chance of playing for a trip to Indy in late November.

Big Ten Champions: Wisconsin over Michigan State

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