ESPN analyst Paul Finebaum believes that one Big Ten team is primed to surprise some people in 2023. And that team comes from the Big Ten’s other division.
You know, that division out West.
Finebaum, the nation’s foremost college football insider recently said that he believes it is highly likely that two Big Ten teams make the College Football Playoff. Last year, the Big Ten sent two teams (Michigan and Ohio State) to the playoff.
When asked last week what Big Ten team will surprise people this season, Finebaum didn’t even hesitate.
“Wisconsin. I’m a monster fan of Luke Fickell,” Finebaum said.
“I think they have a chance at maybe a great year. Playoffs? Hard to believe they are ready to do that. But I do think they can make it to the Big Ten Championship Game or be in the conversation.”
Midway through the 2022 season, Wisconsin fired head coach Paul Chryst, naming Jim Leonhard as interim head coach. Leonhard, despite doing a strong job given the circumstances, was not retained.
Fickell, who led Cincinnati to the CFP two years ago, was hired to lead the Badgers.
Last week, Finebaum also said that he thinks the Big Ten is more likely to land two teams in the CFP than the SEC.
“I’d go with two. I think the Big Ten has a much higher probability of getting two teams in than the SEC,” Finebaum told Rutgers Wire.
“I happen to think Penn State is a sleeper. They’re somewhat overshadowed by Ohio State and Michigan. I look at Ohio State as a team from a talent standpoint that is almost as good as even Georgia in terms of talent.
“And I know that will anger some Michigan fans. I’m still concerned about Michigan’s ability to win big games. I may never get the taste of that TCU game out of my mouth.”