In last week's Big Ten Bloggers' pick ‘em I went 9-2, missing the upset I called of Western Michigan over Michigan. This week the Broncos take on another Big Ten team as they travel to Indiana. Unlike week one, Most teams are taking on heftier opponents than last week. There are still plenty of sweet, creamy cupcakes available as well.
Eastern Michigan (0-1) at Northwestern (1-0) Noon Big Ten Network
Expect Northwestern to have little trouble at home against the Eagles, who lost at home to Army last week. Eastern Michigan is not your typical MAC team that is good enough to challenge the Big Ten. In fact, they have long been one of the worst D-1A teams in the nation. They couldn't even protect their quarterback against Army. Northwestern will roll early and often. Northwestern 48, Eastern Michigan 10
Western Michigan (0-1) at Indiana (1-0) Noon Big Ten Network
I really expected Western Michigan to put up a better offensive fight in Ann Arbor. They were quite awful, to be honest. Tim Hiller is a much better quarterback than that. Indiana is a much worse team than Illinois, whom the Broncos beat last year. Absolutely nothing impressed me about Indiana last week other than their ability to recover key fumbles inside the five yard line. That won't happen this time. At least Indiana will be celebrating 125 years of football in the way they are used to celebrating football-wise. Western Michigan 28, Indiana 21
Central Michigan (0-1) at Michigan State (1-0) Noon ESPN2
I would feel a lot better about calling an upset here if Central Michigan had not struggled so badly against a mediocre Arizona team last week. For all the offense the Chips have, they still have only beaten one BCS team, that being Indiana last year. Michigan State's defense is not Indiana's. Michigan State actually has a defense. Central will likely score some points, but not enough. I think Lefevour would have to go absolutely nuts to beat the Spartans. Greg Jones will prevent that from happening and Michigan State will roll over the still-porous Chippewa defense. Michigan State 38, Central Michigan 17
Syracuse (0-1) at #7 Penn State (1-0) Noon Big Ten Network
If you take away the Orange's win at Illinois in 2006, Syracuse has scored 10 points in its last three visits to Big Ten schools (Northwestern 2008, Iowa 2007, Purdue 2004). With the number Penn State's first string defense did on Minnesota last week, expect more of the same. For a fun look at this game, check out The Rivalry Esq.'s Greg Paulus challenge. Sadly, the ‘Cuse probably blew its best chance to beat a Big Ten team in overtime last week. Penn State 41, Syracuse 10
Fresno State (1-0) at Wisconsin (1-0) Noon, ESPN
The Badgers get the marquee early game in the conference in a day when we can watch almost 13 straight hours of Big Ten football. Honestly, there is nothing compelling about this that doesn't make me want to stay home instead of doing something else until Ohio State-USC game. The most interesting thing about this game is that Wisconsin is battling some flu issues in the locker room, making it a major concern. Fresno had a 51-0 win over UC Davis last week, but that is just your typical 1-AA beatdown. I credit the Bulldogs for continuing their anytime, anywhere philosophy. They had a very narrow loss to Wisconsin last season in Fresno as well. This is the first in a three game run for the Bulldogs that features Boise State and Cincinnati afterwards. Fresno had over 500 yards of total offense last week, and if they keep that up against a potentially gassed Wisconsin defense we could have an upset. Wisconsin 24, Fresno State 21
Iowa (1-0) at Iowa State (1-0) 12:05 Fox Sports Network
Okay, should I do it?
I mean really, based on last week's results?
I have to
I hate this game. Both teams are proud they squeezed out wins over very good 1-AA teams last week. For the Cyclones, it was North Dakota State 34-17. We all know what Iowa did to nearly shame the conference. Even saying that, Iowa should win this because they are the better team. Iowa State has won nine games in three years, but Iowa historically plays an awful game in Ames. I'll probably regret this, but I am going with Iowa because they should feel ashamed if they lose to a team that was 2-10 last year. Iowa 16, Iowa State 10
#18 Notre Dame (1-0) at Michigan (1-0) 3:30 ABC
Both teams honestly impressed me last week not for their offensive prowess, but for their defense. Both Nevada and Western Michigan each had pretty good offense last year, yet they combined for 7 points. I also think that it is Notre Dame's receivers catch Jimmy Montana's blind hurls down field that will make or break the season for the Irish. Michael Floyd and Golden Tate may be the best receiving tandem in the country, and they will make Pickles look a lot better than he really is. If Michigan can step up its coverage of those two it will help.
This game gets the rare two paragraph preview because I think this ultimately lies on Michigan's defense. Denard Robinson and Tate Forcier showed there is some serious talent on Michigan's offense this year. Playing at home will help these young players as well. Everyone is automatically handing this game to Notre Dame because the Fighting Irish are suddenly back after beating two WAC teams. I think Michigan brings them back down to earth a little bit and ruins the title dreams before USC finishes them off later. A late Jimmy Montana pick kills the game winning drive. Michigan 24, Notre Dame 20
Air Force (1-0) at Minnesota (1-0) 7pm Big Ten Network
I know the Gophers are opening up TCF Bank Stadium, but 72 points thrown down by Air Force last week was damned impressive, even if it did come against Weber State. Minnesota struggled against a guy that had not played football in four years. Now they will have to stop a very disciplined option attack. I'm sorry, Goldy, but you picked the wrong team to debut the new Gopher hole against. A loss here means the Gophers will already be in serious trouble of returning to a bowl game this year. Air Force 27, Minnesota 24
#3 USC (1-0) at #8 Ohio State (1-0) 8pm ABC
A finally, the big debate of the week. Will the Buckeyes defend conference pride and take down mighty USC, or will the Trojans continue to roll Big Ten teams at their mercy? Ohio State is one tough mother at home. The only true "What?" loss they had was to an overhyped Illinois team two years ago. They may play close games against inferior competition (see Navy last week and Purdue last year) but they always seem to make the one play needed to grab a win in the ‘shoe. This is the list of other teams that have won in Columbus since 2002: Penn State (2008, Big Ten champs, unbeaten at the time), Texas (2005, National Champs), Wisconsin (2004, undefeated before blowing the last two games of the season to MSU and Iowa). That's it. Four losses in seven plus years, only one of which came to a team that was not undefeated and a national contender going into their final few games.
The interesting thing to consider is that the only big game Ohio State has truly won in that time was the 2006 world-ender against Michigan. The Buckeyes sack up and play a marquee opponent during their non-conference schedule now (and will continue to with Miami and Virginia Tech coming in a few years), but they have struggled at home in those games. This should be a great game. I want to give a slight edge to OSU because of their great home crowds going up against a true freshman quarterback. I think OSU was holding back last week, and they will get it done for conference pride in a defensive slugfest that they love. Ohio State 17, USC 16
Purdue (1-0) at Oregon (0-1) 10:15pm Fox Sports Net
I was flipping through my GBI last night and I was disgusted by the people making the media madness picks. Every single person that picked an Oregon blowout without question obviously has no idea what college football is, nor did they watch a minute of either team last week. I am reminded of my experience at the spring game, where all the many were making jokes about how bad we would be. I actually went down on the field and got a sense of the team as a whole instead of listening to their higher-than-thou jackassery. I listened to see how they interacted not only with the coaching staff, but in the huddle and amongst themselves. What I learned that day was that this team, together, is much greater than its parts. I think you could see the trend turning a little in the general tembre coming from the media after last week's game. I think it can turn even more this week. Right now, this team is about the most together I have seen a Purdue team in years, and that will be huge Saturday night.
Yes, Autzen Stadium is a great home field advantage. Yes, Oregon has more raw talent than Purdue. Still, Purdue was humming much more efficiently on offense last week than anyone expected. The mistakes were minor fixes as opposed to the major overhaul that people felt we needed to just weather until Robert Marve was eligible.
You have to take into consideration that the Ducks are in severe disarray right now. They have an offensive line with major issues. They have inexperienced running backs that will have to work now in a complex offense, and they just played awful football last week. These backs are fast, but much has been said on Addicted to Quack this week about them being undersized. I know I outlined what we needed to do yesterday in order to win, and in my mind it was not that difficult to do. We don't need all-world talent to become suddenly available. We do not need to play out of our minds. We just need to play our game and correct a few fixable things from last week.
To me, Oregon has a lot more to overcome than we do. They are missing possibly their best players on both sides of the ball (Blount and T.J. Ward) and their fixes are much bigger than ours. To me, that evens the playing field and sets the stage for an exciting contest. I was originally going to go out for this game, but my travel plans just didn't mesh with my work schedule
I called a win way back in the summer when hopes looked a lot more dire than this. I am sticking to my guns. If Purdue wins, I look like a genius. if they lose, well, so what? I already look like an ass most of the time anyway. Wiggs bombs another long figgie home to send us home happy, and send some Alaskan Amber Ale (sadly not available in Indiana, but available in Oregon) to my home in Indiana because of the beer bet I have with J Shufelt over at ATQ. Purdue 30, Oregon 28