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CFN 04 Review 05 Prognosis


Ohio State (7-4, 4-4 in Big Ten) - Isn't amazing what one blowout over Michigan can do? With a down season by Ohio State standards and the problems with the Maurice Clarett allegations looming, the Buckeyes drilled Michigan to finish 7-4 and provide tremendous hope for the future. After getting off to a 3-0 start thanks to smoke and mirrors, OSU lost in overtime to Northwestern to start a three-game slide which caused panic alarms all over Columbus. But it was still a bowl season, and of course, there was the win over Michigan.
Best Performance: Nov. 20 - 37-21 win over Michigan

Worst Performance: Oct. 16 - 33-7 loss to Iowa
Offensive Player of the Year: WR Santonio Holmes (with special mention to all-purpose star Ted Ginn Jr.)

Defensive Player of the Year: LB A.J. Hawk
Biggest Strength: Special teams. PK Mike Nugent had an All-America season, Ted Ginn Jr. was one of the nation's most electrifying kick returners and the Buckeyes led the Big Ten in punting.
Biggest Weakness: Offense. Oh sure, everything worked against Michigan, but consistency was a major problem as the offense tried to find the right pieces to the puzzle.
Prognosis for 2005: Just about everyone comes back. Is that a good or a bad thing considering all of the problems throughout the 2004 season? The big key will be to get the quarterback situation settled in the off-season and establish a starter, but the receivers are there to be explosive. The defensive front seven should be a brick wall.

Illinois (3-8, 1-7 in Big Ten) - Illinois had another down year failing to find any offensive consistency and having a nightmare of a time stopping anyone. There was improvement as the season went on, but a consistent quarterback rotation and failure to come up with too many big plays in tight games proved to be costly, and proved to be the end of the Ron Turner era.
Best Performance: Sept. 4 - 52-13 win over Florida A&M

Worst Performance: Oct. 23 - 45-0 loss to Minnesota
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Pierre Thomas

Defensive Player of the Year: CB Kelvin Hayden
Biggest Strength: Punting. Steve Weatherford was a godsend
Biggest Weakness: Consistently stopping the pass. There was little pressure in the backfield and outside of the play of CB Kelvin Hayden, few bright spots in the secondary.
Prognosis for 2005: Better. With a new head coach and a good young backfield, the pieces are there for a better all-around offense, but the lines have to be much, much better to have any hope of consistently winning in Big Ten play.

Indiana (3-8, 1-7 in Big Ten) - The Gerry DiNardo era played out its third and final season without much on offense to count on and without consistent play from the defense. After a positive 2-1 start highlighted by a shocking win over Oregon, the team never got much of a break in the Big Ten outside of one great performance in a 30-21 win over Minnesota. Three close losses to Northwestern, Illinois and Penn State proved to be too much to overcome.
Best Performance: Oct. 30 - 30-21 win over Minnesota

Worst Performance: Sept. 18 - 51-32 loss to Kentucky
Offensive Player of the Year: WR Courtney Roby

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Kyle Killion
Biggest Strength: Kickoff returns. The Hoosiers had a lot of opportunities and finished tops in the nation averaging over 28 yards per return. Lance Bennett had a strong all-around return year.
Biggest Weakness: Stopping the run. You won't win too many Big Ten games by giving up 197 yards per outing.
Prognosis for 2005: Several major replacements need to shine right away, including at head coach. The running backs will be the team's strength so there has to be more of a commitment to a strong ground attack. The defense needs a major overhaul.

Iowa (9-2, 7-1 in Big Ten) - It wasn't always pretty, but Iowa was able to come up with a fantastic season winning a share of the Big Ten title thanks to a seven-game winning streak to close out the regular season. A blowout loss to Arizona State and a Big Ten opening defeat to Michigan took Iowa out of the national consciousness, but it rebounded thanks to great play from the defense and QB Drew Tate. There was a 6-4 win over Penn State in the mix and a couple of nail-biters against Purdue and Minnesota, but the a blowout win over Wisconsin to close things out firmly established one of the best home field advantages in all of college football.
Best Performance: Nov. 20 - 30-7 win over Wisconsin

Worst Performance: Sept. 18 - 44-7 loss to Arizona State
Offensive Player of the Year: QB Drew Tate

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Matt Roth
Biggest Strength: The defense. The pass defense improved tremendously from 2003 while the run defense was impenetrable. It also helped that the Hawkeyes finished fourth in the nation in turnover margin.
Biggest Weakness: Running the ball. With injuries at tailback a major problem, Iowa finished dead last in rushing.
Prognosis for 2005: Preseason top ten, possibly top five if the defensive line can replace Matt Roth and Jonathan Babineaux. The linebacking corps will be among the best in the nation while the offense will be dominant with just about everyone coming back (the running game can't be any worse).

Michigan (9-2, 7-1 in Big Ten) - You need to have some ridiculously high standards to call a Rose Bowl season a disappointment, but this team should've done so much more. The only concern going into the season was in the offensive backfield, and Chad Henne and Mike Hart came though to play among the best in the Big Ten at their positions. With all of the NFL talent this team has, it should've blown out the average Big Ten teams while the Notre Dame loss was inexcusable. Once again though, every team should be a disappointment and end up in Pasadena.
Best Performance: Sept. 25 - 30-17 in over Iowa

Worst Performance: Nov. 20 - 37-21 loss to Ohio State
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Michael Hart

Defensive Player of the Year: S Ernest Shazor
Biggest Strength: Clutch offensive play. It always seemed like Michigan was able to come through with the one big drive, big catch, or big play needed to pull out tight games.
Biggest Weakness: Not playing up to the talent level. The 2004 Wolverines had as much NFL talent as any in the country but didn't play like it.
Prognosis for 2005: There's no reason not to expect another trip to Pasadena, but it'll depend on early entries to the NFL. Ernest Shazor and DT Gabe Watson, on talent, should be gone. The secondary could need some major patching and the offensive line will need to replace a few key players, but the overall pieces are there. Jason Avant and or Steve Breaston will have to step up to replace Braylon Edwards.

Michigan State (5-7, 4-4 in Big Ten) - Spartan fans had to be a little bit confused by this season able to obliterate bowl-bound Minnesota and Wisconsin, but failing to get by Hawaii, Penn State, and Rutgers. When all the parts were clicking, this looked like a major Big Ten powerhouse. All the parts didn't always click. .
Best Performance: Nov. 16 - 51-17 win over Minnesota

Worst Performance: Nov. 20 - 37-13 loss to Penn State
Offensive Player of the Year: QB Drew Stanton

Defensive Player of the Year: FS Jason Harmon
Biggest Strength: The running game. When Stanton was healthy, he added another element that kept defenses on their heels. DeAndra Cobb, Jason Teague and Jahuu Caulcrick all proved to be home-run hitters.
Biggest Weakness: Consistency and turnovers. The team never played the same from one week to the next, while turnovers and penalties proved costly all season long.
Prognosis for 2005: 2005 has to be a big year with almost all of the key parts returning. Two big replacements need to be found for the middle of the defense, LB Ronald Stanley and S Jason Harmon, but there are several good young athletes ready to start. The offense should be devastating and the punting game, thanks to Dave Rayner, will be among the best in the nation.

Minnesota (6-5, 3-5 in Big Ten) - After a 5-0 start and a bowl bid all but assured, Minnesota appeared to be front and center in the Rose Bowl mix. It had Michigan down late only needing one final stop, but Chad Henne and the Wolverines pulled out a 27-24 win and the Gopher season went into the tank. The defense never came around and the running game, considering it led the Big Ten, didn't dominate in the big games.
Best Performance: Sept. 4 - 63-21 win over Toledo

Worst Performance: Oct. 16 - 51-17 loss to Michigan State
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Laurence Maroney

Defensive Player of the Year: CB Ukee Dozier
Biggest Strength: The running game. Actually, the offense in general did a great job as the passing attack was occasionally explosive, but it was the running attack that was the star averaging 255 yards per game.
Biggest Weakness: Stopping the pass. Minnesota never came through with a big stop against a good passing attack and finished with the Big Ten's worst pass defense allowing 268 yards per game.
Prognosis for 2005: If this team doesn't finish in the top three in the Big Ten it'll be a major disappointment. All of the top players return except star OT Rian Melander, top CB Ukee Dozier and DE Darrell Reid. Even if Marion Barber turns pro early, this will still be one of the nation's top five rushing teams.

Northwestern (6-6, 5-3 in Big Ten) - It's hard to call a 6-6 season for Northwestern disappointing, but it had a chance to play in a bowl and blew it in the season-ending loss to Hawaii. There were some magical moments highlighted by an overtime win over Ohio State and a heart-stopping (thank goodness for head coach Randy Walker, not literally) win over Purdue. The program once again showed that it's a factor in Big Ten play and was one of the more fun teams to watch with four overtime games.
Best Performance: Oct. 2 - 33-27 OT win over Ohio State
Worst Performance: Sept. 25 - 43-17 loss to Minnesota
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Noah Herron

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Tim McGarigle
Biggest Strength: The offense. 40th in the nation in passing, 40th in rushing, the offense was put up some big yards even if it didn't always put points on the board. Northwestern cemented itself as the nation's most underrated running back factory with a fantastic season from Noah Herron.
Biggest Weakness: Punting. Time and again the team got clocked in the field position battle due to poor punts. The Wildcats finished last in the Big Ten.
Prognosis for 2005: The key to the team's success was on the lines and there will be some major holes to fill. DE Loren Howard was hurt for most of 2004 and should be an All-America candidate in 2005. The offense will revolve around QB Brett Basanez and RB Terrell Jordan, but they'll need time to work. OT Zach Strief will be one

Penn State (4-7, 2-6 in Big Ten) - This was one of the most frustrating frustrating seasons in Penn State history. The defense was a brick wall, but the offense provided nothing. In fact, sometimes the offense provided less than nothing finishing 109th in the nation in scoring. Even in the abyss, the Nittany Lions showed some promise winning the last two games of the year closing out with a blowout win over Michigan State.

Best Performance: Nov. 20 - 37-13 win over Michigan State
Worst Performance: Nov. 30 - 21-10 loss to Ohio State
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Tony Hunt
Defensive Player of the Year: LB Paul Posluszny
Biggest Strength: Defense. Penn State was the only team in the country not to allow more than 21 points.
Biggest Weakness: Scoring. Penn State failed to score more than seven points five times. The passing game was painful.
Prognosis for 2005: If this is going to be the final hurrah for Joe Paterno, he has the team to do it with as the nation's number 11 defense returns almost entirely intact, and the offense, well, the offense gets enough players back to expect an improvement. The key will be to get production out of the quarterback position right away.

Purdue (7-4, 4-4 in Big Ten) - If the season had ended with about five minutes to play in Purdue's game against Wisconsin, the Boilermakers might have gone to the Orange Bowl. Kyle Orton and the boys were 5-0 and the darlings of the midseason, but a late fumble return for a touchdown by Wisconsin's Scott Starks started a string of unfortunate losses. While everyone jumped off the Purdue bandwagon, things weren't all that bad losing four straight games by a total of ten points. Orton got hurt causing part of the team's slide, but he returned and was brilliant to close out the year saving a win against Ohio State and lighting up Indiana.
Best Performance: Sept. 5 - 51-0 win over Syracuse
Worst Performance: Nov. 30 - 13-10 loss to Northwestern
Offensive Player of the Year: QB Kyle Orton/WR Taylor Stubblefield
Defensive Player of the Year: SS Bernard Pollard
Biggest Strength: The passing attack. Even when Kyle Orton was knocked out, the offense still moved the ball (even if it didn't get into the end zone).
Biggest Weakness: The punting game. The Boilermakers could punt and couldn't return them averaging a mere 4.9 yards per return and 34 yards per kick.
Prognosis for 2005: The defense was great in 2004 and should be outstanding in 2005. Forget about running on this front seven. QB Brandon Kirsch provides more running skills than Kyle Orton did and has some good receivers to throw to. 6-9 Kyle Ingraham should emerge as a superstar.
Wisconsin (9-2, 6-2 in Big Ten) - Wisconsin went from being a fringe Orange Bowl candidate to Big Ten also-ran after two mystifying performances to end the year. All the good done by the 9-0 start was wiped away by a 49-14 loss to Michigan State and 30-7 loss to Iowa blowing a chance at a Rose Bowl and a share of the conference title. Even so, this was a fantastic bounce-back year for the program with the best defense it has had under Barry Alvarez and just enough offense to get the job done through most of the year
Best Performance: Nov. 6 - 38-14 win over Minnesota
Worst Performance: Nov. 13 - 49-14 loss to Michigan State
Offensive Player of the Year: OG Dan Buenning
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Erasmus James
Biggest Strength: The defensive front four. Erasmus James, Anttaj Hawthorne, Jason Jefferson and Jonathan Welsh formed the best front line in America and dominated Big Ten play until the final two games.
Biggest Weakness: Keeping the offense moving. RB Anthony Davis wasn't right all season long while QB John Stocco didn't do enough with his great receiving corps.
Prognosis for 2005: The rest of the Big Ten will be loaded, so expect a bit of a dip. The tremendous lines need to be almost completely rebuilt. The running game should continue to be fine with Colorado transfer Brian Calhoun entering the mix, but the real talent will be in the passing game.​



The satanic soulless freight train that is Ohio St
Staff member
Tech Admin
  • Michigan...With all of the NFL talent this team has, it should've blown out the average Big Ten teams while the Notre Dame loss was inexcusable...The 2004 Wolverines had as much NFL talent as any in the country but didn't play like it...

    The reason can be summed up in two words: Lloyd Carr.
    Upvote 0


    hipster doofus
    Just about everyone comes back. Is that a good or a bad thing considering all of the problems throughout the 2004 season?

    That is the key statement/question. I'm holding my breath hoping that we'll find out that this team what just green, and not bad. The bowl game will speak volumes.
    Upvote 0