After a poor first week, the Big Ten bounced back nicely this last Saturday. Outside of Maryland and Rutgers unexpectedly dropping home games, and Minnesota almost falling on the road to Colorado State thanks to a tepid offense, the Big Ten took care of business everywhere else. Highlighting the day was Michigan State, who hosted College Gameday and did just enough to hold off Oregon in primetime. Now the conference is set for a third week with several interesting games set for the day, but nothing as big as what we saw last weekend.
Northwestern, Illinois and Nebraska face big tests
Northwestern surprised Stanford at home in their opener and will now get another test as they travel down south to take on Duke, another school with high level academics. A few years ago this would have been a bad game, but Duke has suddenly became relevant and Northwestern is trying to bounce back after a poor two seasons. The other Big Ten school from the state of Illinois also heads out on the road to square off against North Carolina. While the Illini have looked good versus pretty much no one, the road test against North Carolina could show if Illinois is for real or if they're just taking advantage of inferior opposition. Last of all is Nebraska, who travels to Miami in a somewhat marquee match that would have been colossal back in the '90s. Either way it's one of the more interesting matchups, especially since every time Miami starts to look relevant they find a way to no-show a big game. As for Nebraska, they did lose their opener on a hail mary but there's still a decent chance they'll end up competing for the B1G West title.
Can Maryland bounce back against South Florida?
The Terps got ran off their home field last weekend, giving up 42 points to Bowling Green State in the second half on their way to a 21 point defeat. The loss led to a lot of criticism pertaining to the offense and playcalling, as well as a switch in starting quarterback. Now the Terps will look to bounce back as they host South Florida, who played Florida State tough for a half before fading down the stretch. The good news for Maryland is that regardless of how dysfunctional their last half was, South Florida isn't a very good team and is actually probably an easier opponent than Bowling Green State. The loss last Saturday has a lot of Maryland fans panicking and another loss would be a huge blow for the program's morale, so this Saturday's game is of the upmost importance for Maryland and head coach Randy Edsall.
Rutgers and Penn State kick off conference play
The first Big Ten game of the season is tonight, with Rutgers traveling to Penn State for a primetime bout on the Big Ten Network. If you end up watching the game over the Alabama game, you'll be treated to one of the ugliest offenses in the Big Ten (Penn State) facing off against one of the biggest trainwrecks of an athletic department in Rutgers. Rutgers of course will be without a laundry list of players, including recently suspended receiver Leonte Carroo, and just found out they'll be without their head coach for a few weeks. Oh, and they're coming off of a home loss to a Washington State team that had just lost to a very bad FCS program. And somehow, somehow, Penn State's offense has been so atrocious against Buffalo and Temple that it's hard to count Rutgers out here.
|12:00||ABC/ESPN||Air Force at Michigan State||Michigan State 45 Air Force 20|
|ESPN2||Illinois at North Carolina||North Carolina 38 Illinois 24|
|BTN||Kent State at Minnesota||Minnesota 38 Kent State 7|
|BTN||UNLV at Michigan||Michigan 41 UNLV 14|
|ESPNU||South Florida at Maryland||Maryland 23 South Florida 20|
|12:30||ACCN||Northwestern at Duke||Duke 31 Northwestern 24|
|3:30||ABC/ESPN2||Northern Illinois at Ohio State||Ohio State 52 Northern Illinois 10|
|ABC/ESPN2||Nebraska at Miami||Nebraska 24 Miami 20|
|BTN||Troy at Wisconsin||Wisconsin 45 Troy 14|
|ESPNU||Virginia Tech at Purdue||Virginia Tech 31 Purdue 13|
|4:00||ESPN News||Western Kentucky at Indiana||Western Kentucky 45 Indiana 38|
|8:00||BTN||Pittsburgh at Iowa||Iowa 20 Pittsburgh 17|
|BTN||Rutgers at Penn State||Rutgers 24 Penn State 20|
Last Weekend's Predictions: 12-2
Current Record: 20-5