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OSI Heat Index: B1G Media Days Edition

Who (and what) is hot at Big Ten media days
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Posted at 12:27 PM, Jul 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-25 13:27:39-04

Welcome to OSI Heat Index, a weekly look at local teams and assignment of a “temperature reading” based on the past week’s performance. 

 

This week, with Big Ten media days going on in Chicago, I'll take a look at the interest level and buzz surrounding each school. Again, 10 would be of very high interest, and 1 would be very little. 

 

Nebraska / Michigan State

Heat Index: 10

 

With the events of the past 48 hours, there's obviously a lot of interest in both of these programs. In what I think is the correct move, Mike Riley and his players didn't make the trip to Big Ten media days. 

 

Its always tragic when you lose a member of your football family, and its being felt in Chicago today. Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald opened the main media session by paying tribute to both Sam Foltz and Mike Sadler. 

 

Michigan

Heat Index: 9

 

Anytime the Jim Harbaugh show is in town, there's bound to be eyes on it. The biggest question is who will be under center week 1 for the Wolverines? 

 

Ohio State

Heat Index: 9

 

Despite losing a ton of talent to the NFL, the Buckeyes are still the heavy choice to win the conference. Quarterback JT Barrett should be on the short list to watch for player of the year. 

 

Iowa

Heat Index: 8.5

 

The Cleveland.com preseason poll had the Hawkeyes as a heavy favorite to win the Big Ten West, and rightfully so. Quarterback CJ Betheard is one of the best in the league, and Iowa's schedule sets up favorably once again. 

 

Penn State

Heat Index: 8

 

James Franklin is a big personality at these kind of events. But there's a lot going on with the Nitany Lions this year, including the continuing Joe Paterno saga, and replacing three year starter Christian Hackenburg at QB. Penn State also hasn't taken off under Franklin yet, and there's some real pressure on him to win this year. 

 

Illinois

Heat Index: 7

 

The main interest here is in the new head coach. Lovie Smith was a very splashy hire for the Illini, but is he the long term solution for a program that seems to be stuck in neutral? 

 

Northwestern

Heat Index: 7

 

The 'Cats might be the toughest team to figure out right now. They feel dangerous to me, especially if Clayton Thorson takes another step for at the QB spot. I've started to peg Northwestern as my dark horse candidate to win the West this year. 

 

Wisconsin

Heat Index: 7

 

Man, what a brutal schedule. The Badgers could be the best team in the Big Ten West, and still finish in fourth place. Its that tough. 

 

Minnesota

Heat Index: 6

 

It doesn't feel like there's a lot expected out of the Gophs this year. A lot of the conversation centers around senior QB Mitch Leidner, who Minnesota fans love to hate. Except when he's winning, of course. 

 

Purdue

Heat Index: 5

 

The only reason the Boilermakers don't find themselves lower on the list is because there will be a lot of eyes on Darrell Hazell's job security this season. I happen to really like Hazell, but he'll need to show more this season. 

 

Indiana

Heat Index: 4

 

Jordan Howard is gone. Nate Sudfeld is gone. Kevin Wilson is back after Indiana finally made the postseason last year. Indiana feels about like they always do: 6-6 or so. 

 

Maryland/Rutgers

Heat Index: 2

 

Both newcomers are in full rebuild mode this season, with both teams bringing in new head coaches. Both schools are at the bottom looking up this year, and will simply look to be better at the end of the season than what they are now.