In Part One of this year’s Big Ten preview I gave the edge to the Legends as the stronger overall of the two conference divisions. The programs at the bottom of the Leaders Division appear weaker than the Legends’ second tier. And at the top, the Leaders’ two traditional marquee teams are competing under official sanction.
The prevailing wisdom is that Wisconsin might as well pack for Indianapolis because its two primary competitors for the title, Ohio State and Penn State, aren’t permitted to represent the Leaders Division in the postseason. Some good players and coaches at Illinois and Purdue will have something to say about that, while Indiana probably won’t., but Wisconsin is a team in transition and not without weaknesses.
Competing for media attention with the actual Leaders Division race in 2012 will be the debut of Urban Meyer as head coach at Ohio State. Meyer’s goal is to win the division and force the Leaders to send their second best team to the championship game. And I think that’s exactly what he’s going to do. Meyer brings his aggressive offensive attack to Columbus, and the Buckeyes are ridiculously talented on defense. On paper OSU is the best team in the conference, and the expectation is they’ll be playing with…a certain attitude.