By Condie Pugh, Sports Intern
Starting off the new football season it has come with a lot of twists and turns. Due to the recent outbreak of Covid-19 the football world has witnessed its fair share of changes to the game we all love. Special precautions, such as players and coaches having to wear masks and awkward time schedules changes that take place on a daily basis. With most teams only competing with teams inside their own division, the Big 10 is one of them. Teams will be competing against teams in their own conference to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Multiple weeks into the young football season Big 10 conference play is just now getting started.
The Big 10 is usually dominated by the Ohio State Buckeyes but they will not be in the picture due to the program not competing because of players opting not to play. So this opens the door for a multitude of teams that could never get past the powerhouse Buckeyes. I feel this opens doors for teams such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State, and an up and coming Minnesota team.
Opening up the Big 10 conference play this weekend will be the Illinois fighting Illini versus the Wisconsin Badgers. The Wisconsin Badgers are coming in at number fourteen in the country behind a ruthless running game. With that being said this is not the same Wisconsin team that stepped on the field as last year. They are losing the top running back in Wisconsin history in Jonathan Taylor who was drafted in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts, so we will see how the running game will hold up. On the other side Illinois is a team that we know nothing about, with not much to show for last year we will not be expecting much. But with a whole off season and a little extra time due to the pandemic, we do not know what to expect.
My prediction is that Wisconsin will impose their will early with the running game which will lead to them controlling the ball for the majority of the game. The key for Illinois will be to get stops and hold Wisconsin out of third and short situations, they must also hit big their big plays and could use some help in the special teams department as well.
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