In week 2, three of the eleven Big Ten teams play a directional Michigan team (I guess 8 of them didn’t get the memo). Obviously the big game for the conference is the USC and Ohio State game, however there are a few other games that should be good too.
Eastern Michigan at Northwestern – Big 10 Network 12pm – The Wildcats used 221 yards on the ground and 264 yards through the air in their 47-14 victory over Towson. This week should provide a little bigger test with Eastern Michigan…but not too much. The Eagles dropped a 27-14 contest to Army in a game where they could only muster 40 yards on the ground against the Black Knights. No one ever mentions Northwestern with tough defense, but I can assure you they are better than Army in that sense. This will be another easy win for the Wildcats. Northwestern 40-12.
Western Michigan at Indiana – Big 10 Network 12pm – Besides the Illini, the Hoosiers were the most disappointing team in the Big Ten last week. Yes they won their game, but barely and looked horrible doing so. The Broncos went to Ann Arbor and came out with a 31-7 loss, but mainly because they cannot stop anyone. Fortunately for Western Michigan, the Hoosiers struggled on offense, and I don’t see any home in the future. Tim Hiller and the Broncos will be able to throw the ball at will and will leave Bloomington with a victory. Western Michigan 28-10.
Central Michigan at Michigan State – ESPN2 12pm – Even with the #1 Non-BCS player Dan LeFevour, CMU could only muster up 6 points against the Arizona Wildcats. On the other side, Michigan State scored 44 against FCS’ Montana State. The Spartans are one of my darkhorse favorites to contend in the Big Ten. In my opinion the Spartans defense is better than Arizona which won’t bode well for LeFevour and the Chippewas. Michigan State 31-9.
Syracuse at Penn State – Big 10 Network 12pm – Syracuse looked formidable in their first game against Minnesota, as they came back from a 14-3 first half deficit to take the game to OT. If not for a Greg Paulus interception in overtime, the Orange might be 1-0 heading to Happy Valley. Penn State’s defense once again proved there are going to be tough to score on, as they yielded less than 40 first half yards to the Zips in a 31-7 yawner. I expect the same this week. For the Nittany Lions. Paulus will spend a lot of the game on his back, while the Lions’ offense will spend a lot of time in the endzone. Penn State 45-10.
Fresno State at Wisconsin – ESPN 12pm – The Badgers looked solid for the first 3 quarters against Northern Illinois, and then went to sleep in the 4th quarter and almost blew the game. Scott Tolzien had a good first start throwing for 257 yards and 1 touchdown, but the Badgers never really got it going much on the ground. The Bulldogs had a warm up game with UC Davis which they won 51-0. Fresno State used the ground game to control the clock, however, if they want to win this week they must mix it up. This Fresno State team is not as good as past years’ teams, but the same can be said for the Badgers. I expect a close game, but Wisconsin is tougher on the lines and will use that to their advantage. Wisconsin 21-13.
Iowa at Iowa State – 12:05pm – No matter how good or bad each team has been, this rivalry game has been close each of the last 3 years. Iowa survived a scare against Northern Iowa last week, and I do not expect that to happen this week. But the Hawkeyes HAVE to find a rushing attack if they want to go anywhere in the Big Ten. Iowa State used a balance attack to beat North Dakota State 34-17. Again this year will be another close game, but I think Ferentz will have his team ready this week. Iowa 20-18.
Notre Dame at Michigan – ABC 3:30pm – After watching these two teams last week, I got really excited for this game. Both teams looked good on both sides of the ball, but I was a little more impressed with Notre Dame. They shut down the Nevada pistol offense on their way to a shutout victory. The Michigan offense looked fast and showed a lot of signs of what Rich Rodriquez put on the field at West Virginia. I think this will be the best game of the Big 10 slate this week and I am going with the Irish. They have a little more experience and polished talent. The Wolverines will be back if not later this year but the next. Notre Dame 28-24.
Air Force at Minnesota – Big 10 Network 7pm – I really think the Gopher team you saw last week against Syracuse is better than what they showed. They have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball with Adam Weber and Eric Decker. However Weber’s problems have been turning the ball over and becoming more consistent completing passes. Hopefully having a running back like Duane Bennett will help lessen the pressure on him. They key in this game is can Minnesota stop the running attack of the Falcons. They held the Cuse to 90 yards but Air Force is no Syracuse. Decker continues to get 100 yard games and catches the game winner in this one. Minnesota 28-21.
Illinois State at Illinois – Big 10 Network 7pm – If I were an Illinois fan I would be really mad. They totally laid an egg against Missouri last week and now I have to eat crow. I don’t like to eat crow. Once again we saw Juice Williams be inconsistent and their defense act like a sieve. Luckily for them they have Illinois State to practice against. Illinois 45-6.
USC at Ohio State – ESPN 8pm – Everyone’s question is, can Matt Barkley handle the Horseshoe. And my response is an emphatic yes. Everything on paper to me points to an Ohio State victory (close call), but USC has something Ohio State doesn’t, and that is confidence. Navy took Ohio State to the brink of defeat last week, and I’m sure Ohio State remembers the beating they took at the hands of the Trojans last year. Pryor is an excellent runner, however his passing skills still are below average. The USC secondary will make him pay. The Trojans continue their dominance over Big Ten schools. USC 27-17.
Purdue at Oregon – 10:15pm – If you would’ve asked me a week ago about this game, I would have said Oregon wins this game really easy, but now, I’m not so sure. The Ducks looked horrible in every aspect during and after the game last week against Boise State. Now it is up to Chip Kelly to turn this season around, because it can either be a rallying point, or Oregon’s season could go down the tubes. I watched Purdue and they did impress me against Toledo. Don’t forget last year’s game went into OT when Oregon was touted to have such a great offense, and Purdue struggled. This is my upset special for week 2. I feel that Oregon is on a downward spiral and the Boilermakers will use that to their advantage and pull out a win. Purdue 20-17.
Last Week: 10-1 (.909)
Overall: 10-1 (.909)