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Big Ten Football 2019 Regular Season Predictions, Revisited

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

As you may recall, the Off Tackle Empire staff made some predictions about what was going to happen this season.

With the regular season over, let’s take a look back at our “writers” or at least the 18 of them that bothered to offer record predictions and see who was clairvoyant, who was way off base and what teams over- and underperformed our expectations!

There are two different numbers for each prediction: total wins and Big Ten wins. I’ll be paying attention to both. Here’s how teams fared versus our predictions:

Most Underrated Team: Minnesota Golden Gophers, Indiana Hoosiers and Illinois Fighting Illini

By the metric of overall wins, the OTE staff underrated the Goofs and the Hoosiers by 2.7 wins. However, we underrated the Illini by a staggering 3.1 conference wins. Only Jesse Collins and Dead Read even thought they’d win two Big Ten games.

Most Overrated Team: Northwestern Wildcats

The OTE staff thought too highly of Northwestern by an astonishing 3.9 wins overall and 4 conference wins. Only one writer even had the Cats missing a bowl, and that was a 5-7 pick!

Most Predictable Team: Iowa Hawkeyes and Michigan Wolverines

This is a split title because while Michigan’s overrating by 0.8 wins was the lowest such number among total wins, they were overrated by 1.3 full conference wins. Iowa was under 1 for both numbers. This is the least surprising news you’ll ever hear. OTE predicted Iowa to win 8.1 overall, 5.4 in conference. In other words, we said the Hawks would win between 8 and 9 games. Overall wins was predicted within 0.9 while conference wins were within 0.6.

There’s a reason Iowa is shorthand in the College Football Lexicon for “a program that wins 8.5 games a year no more no less”

Most Correct Predictions: BigRedTwice, Stewmonkey13 and Thumpasaurus

BRT wins the tiebreaker for getting the most win numbers correct, but each of the three of us predicted the correct overall AND Big Ten records for three teams. BRT got Michigan State, Ohio State and Rutgers. NEARLY HALF THE B1G EAST! Stew got Rutgers, Ohio State and Maryland, while I got Iowa, Maryland and Rutgers.

Least Correct Predictions: Boilerman31

Boilerman was the only writer to miss every single overall and B1G win total for every team

Most Ridiculous Prediction: 87Townie and LincolnParkWildcat Predict Northwestern To Go 9-3 (6-3)

Both of these dudes missed the mark by AN ENTIRE BOWL-ELIGIBLE SEASON WORTH OF WINS

Most Accurate Predictor: MNWildcat

MNWildcat ended up with the lowest total difference between predictions and results at 24 overall wins and 22 Big Ten wins. Honorable mention to Dead Read for getting 27 and 22.

Least Accurate Predictor: RayRansom

Ray had some absolutely fantastical predictions that would have been rather whimsical had they come true, but alas, he missed by a total of 38 overall/34 B1G.

Team By Team

Illinois Fighting Illini: 6-6 (4-5) OTE Prediction: 3.4-8.6 (0.9-8.1)

Nobody even got within two wins of this prediction. The range here was 2-4 wins, with 0-2 conference wins, but it was mostly a disagreement on whether or not Illinois could beat Rutgers. Three writers predicted Illinois to go 2-10 (0-9): 87Townie, Candystripes and RayRansom.

Safe to say they overperformed!

Indiana Hoosiers: 8-4 (5-4) OTE Prediction: 5.3-6.7 (2.4-6.6)

Yet another team nobody predicted correctly, with only Beezer even predicting as many as 4 conference wins. His 7(4) win prediction was the closest, while WSR’s 4(1) was the farthest. Only 5 of 18 had the Hoosiers bowl eligible

Iowa Hawkeyes: 9-3 (6-3) OTE Prediction: 8.1-3.9 (5.4-3.6)

Iowa does Iowa things. Somehow only four of us (myself, MNW, Ray and LPW) nailed this one. Everyone else had either 7 or 8 wins, with 7-5 (4-5) being the worst prediction. Just as far in the other direction, there was one outlier: Stew’s 11-1 (8-1) prediction, which tied for the most out-there.

Maryland Terrapins: 3-9 (1-8) OTE Prediction: 3.9-8.1 (1.7-7.3)

This was also pretty well agreed-upon. In fact, of the 18 picks, six of them were correct. Maryland was the most frequent correct prediction. A lone 2-10 (0-9) by Ray was the low pick, while three 5-7 (3-6) picks were the high bound. Nobody predicted a bowl game.

Michigan Wolverines: 9-3 (6-3) OTE Prediction: 9.8-2.2 (7.3-1.7)

Fairly straightforward here as well, except they were slightly overrated. Nobody got this one correct even though five writers predicted 9 wins. babaoreally predicted a 6-3 conference record but 8-4 overall. I guess nobody thought they could beat Notre Dame without winning 10 games. Nobody underrated both win totals, with baba’s 8 overall wins being the only prediction that was lower than actual results. On the other hand, Aaron Yorke, Boilerman, Stew and Ray all said 11-1 (8-1) was in play. Boilerman notably had them winning the Big Ten East.

Michigan State Spartans: 6-6 (4-5) OTE Prediction: 7.9-4.1 (5.3-3.7)

Dantonio was given the benefit of the doubt by most of us, but predictions did swing wildly. BRT alone nailed this one exactly, and her pick was also the lower bound of MSU predictions. Five writers believed 9-3 (6-3) was on the table.

Minnesota Golden Gophers: 10-2 (7-2) OTE Prediction: 7.3-4.7 (4.5-4.5)

DISRESPEKT ACHIEVED. The only writer to even get close to this one was....WSR, with the called shot of a lifetime! His 10-2 (7-2) prediction was as high as anyone dared to dream, with nobody else seeing more than 8 wins or 6 conference wins. Virtually everyone else said they’d be either 5-4 or 4-5 in conference play, while 87Townie predicted they’d miss a bowl at 5-7 (3-6).

Nebraska Cornhuskers: 5-7 (3-6) OTE Prediction: 7.7-4.3 (5.2-3.8)

This season went a long way towards building up immunity to Frost hype.

Exactly one brave soul, 87Townie, predicted Nebraska to miss a bowl, and did so emphatically with a 4-8 (2-7) projection. Everyone else aimed high, but none aimed higher than...yours truly. I predicted that 9-3 (7-2) Nebraska would win the Big Ten West.

Hopefully that’ll teach me not to make anything out of what a team looks like at the very end of the regular season. I need to learn that for my own sake this time.

Northwestern Wildcats: 3-9 (1-8) OTE Prediction: 6.9-5.1 (5-4)


Looks like we drank the purple Kool-Aid. I should have trusted what I said all of last year, because Northwestern proved to be every bit the fraud I claimed they were in 2018, inverting their 8-1 conference record. BrianB2 had the closest guess at 4-8 (2-7) and was one of only two (along with Stew) to predict a non-bowl season. As already covered, 87Townie and LPW got SUPER high, but were far from alone.

Ohio State Buckeyes: 12-0 (9-0) OTE Prediction: 10.6-1.4 (7.7-1.3)

What fools we’ve all been. Well, everyone except BRT and Stew, that is. They were the two to get this one right, while Dead Read had them at 9-3 providing the lower bound. Interestingly, even that only included two conference losses. His faith in Cincinnati was not unfounded, but he didn’t anticipate the ball of death OSU has turned out to be.

Penn State Nittany Lions: 10-2 (7-2) OTE Prediction: 8.8-3.2 (5.8-3.2)

This can be explained: we underestimated Penn State in conference play as much as we overestimated Michigan.

BrianB2 had the lower bound at 7-5 (4-5) due to his immense distrust of Gameday James, while only WSR aimed too high at 11-1 (8-1). Candystripes got this one dead on, as did...87Townie! That’s two correct homer picks!

Purdue Boilermakers: 4-8 (3-6) OTE Prediction: 7.3-4.7 (5.2-3.8)

The injuries hit early and often here, making Purdue our second most overrated team. We unanimously picked them to be a bowl team, with the lowest prediction being 6-6 (4-5) by five writers. The Nevada loss clearly surprised everyone, as did the Illinois loss. The highest predictions were by 87Townie, who is just all over the road here, and BrianB2 at 9-3 (7-2)

Rutgers Scarlet Knights: 2-10 (0-9) OTE Prediction: 3-9 (0.9-8.1)

Well, we knew the breakthrough wasn’t coming. Six writers predicted this one correctly, which means it ties Maryland as the most correctly predicted. However, it would have been more if not for the belief of 87Townie and beezer that either UMass or Liberty would beat The ‘Gers, but Illinois wouldn’t. Apparently, the Iowa game last year made everyone forget that Illinois beat Rutgers handily, because many people struggled with the winner of Illinutgers.

Nobody went lower than 2, which is odd! This means the only two writers to predict a 1-2 noncon for Rutgers also gave them a conference win!

Anyway, a few brave souls said ruggert would get two whole conference wins, but none were more daring than RayRansom, who predicted that Rutgers would roll into a bowl game at 6-6 (3-6). God bless you.

Wisconsin Badgers: 10-2 (7-2) OTE Prediction: 8.1-3.9 (5.3-3.7)

What a twist! WIsconsin was nearly as underrated as Minnesota! Yep, 2018 seemed to have scared a lot of people off the Chryst bandwagon. Candystripes was the only writer to get this one right. BrianB2, who is not a Wisconsin writer, overshot slightly at 12-0 (9-0). Nobody else gave the Badgers double-digit wins. WSR was the farthest on this one as he had a spectacular 5-7 (2-7) prediction. You almost get the sense that he had an axe to grind.

Not anymore he doesn’t!