The Buckeyes have one of the more manageable schedules in the conference, but they still have some difficult games. OSU should beat Cal though it may be a more challenging game than expected with the long trip. There's a good chance that Ohio State will slip up at Michigan or Northwestern, most likely in the Big House against nemesis Michigan. Winning 25 straight games is too difficult of a task. However, the Buckeyes should win 24 out of 25 by defeating Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship.
After the departure of coach Brett Bielema, Wisconsin looks to have a successful season and finish runner up in the Leaders Division. The Badgers could still come up a couple wins short of the 10 listed below, but should still easily earn a bowl berth. Wisconsin vs. Northwestern may be one of the closest games in Big Ten play this season.
Penn State is under a bowl ban and scholarship penalties, but should still have another strong eight-win season. There are a few swing games in which the Nittany Lions could end up at a win or two less or more than the projected total, but PSU will field another winning squad in 2013.
Indiana should improve just enough to earn a bowl berth this season. It will be a tight run to eligibility for the Hoosiers and they are projected at just the six wins needed. Indiana has a tough conference road schedule by playing on the road at Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio State. Hoosiers also play many competitive opponents in near toss up games at home against Missouri, Bowling Green, Minnesota, and Purdue. Bowling Green is picked to beat Indiana.
Nebraska is likely to reach double digit wins again this season and the Cornhuskers look to be the representatives of the Legends Division in the Big Ten Championship. UCLA and Northwestern are a couple games that could come down to the wire.
Also in the Legends Division, Michigan's win tally will rise, but not quite enough for a trip to the Rose Bowl. While the Maize and Blue is projected to upset Ohio State, they are also picked to lose to rivals Michigan State and Northwestern. The Wolverines defeated the Spartans and Wildcats last season in close games, but they will be playing in Lansing and Evanston this year.
Michigan State's win total should increase by a couple including taking down rival Michigan in what is expected to be a close game. The Spartans are projected to lose a non-conference game against Notre Dame and two road conference games (Nebraska and Northwestern).
The Northwestern football program appears to be on an even keel. The Wildcats had success in 2012 by ending with a 10-win season and should land close to that total once again. However, nothing is guaranteed so NU could fall a little short or even overachieve the projected record. Northwestern had a tough cross-division draw in conference scheduling by having to play vs. Ohio State and at Wisconsin. A long trip to California to play the Golden Bears and a conference game at Nebraska are further challenges on the schedule.
Minnesota will have to make greater bounds to improve off their bowl season last year. The Golden Gophers are predicted to reach four wins. A bowl berth is not necessarily out of the question since the Gophers could edge out a couple more wins, but to do better than last season is a daunting task.
Purdue will have a tough outing this season and will likely see a decrease in their win total from a year ago. The Boilermakers have a couple tough non-conference matchups, at Cincinnati and against Notre Dame. Purdue should get conference victories versus Illinois and Iowa, but it's slim pickings after that.
At the bottom of the Leaders Division, Illinois may have a little better team and some more talent, but will probably not reach any more wins than last season. The Fighting Illini have the CFU No. 14 ranked strength of schedule. Illinois may have a close game against Purdue or maybe a competitive contest against Washington at Soldier Field, but the only projected wins for the Illini are against Southern Illinois and Miami of Ohio.
Iowa had a disappointing 2012 and this year is not going to be any more promising. The Hawkeyes are predicted to go even further downhill this season with only two season wins and none in conference play.
For the conference as a whole, seven programs are picked to become bowl eligible.