2011 Big Ten Football: Week 1 Preview

Big Ten football is less than eight hours away. It's awesome to finally say that and get some games going. The Big Ten Network is even making it easier this year by streaming all live events on BTN2Go. They will stream even the games showing overflow channels, so you will be able to watch those games if you have no overflow channels. When you combine that with March Madness On Demand is means I won't be getting a damn thing done until April.

I can't think of a better way to kick off a five day football orgy than by starting in Madison. The Badgers get underway tonight at home against UNLV, and the party continues until Monday night in College Park. I'll even be attending that game, as Mrs. T-Mill and I will be road-trippin' to DC after the MTSU game is over on Saturday. We'll be the two Miami Hurricanes fans in attendance.

But that is on Monday. For now, let's start with the Big  Ten games this weekend:

Thursday

UNLV at Wisconsin, 8pm, ESPN

Bucky's 5th Quarter Preview

The Badgers are my pick to win the Big Ten. Their running game might be virtually unstoppable and Russell Wilson gives them an element at the quarterback position they have never had before. That's before you consider their defense will likely be as stout as always. Even good teams struggle to win in Madison, and the Badgers are a 35 point favorite. Wisconsin 45, UNLV 10

Friday

Youngtown State at Michigan State, 7:30pm, Big Ten Network

The Only Colors Preview

No Big Ten team ever has any excuse to lose to a 1-AA team, especially when you're considered to be one of the better teams in the league. As The Only Colors states, extreme panic is necessary if the Penguins pull this off. Michigan State 48, Youngstown State 7

Saturday

Middle Tennessee State at Purdue, Noon, Big Ten Network

We've discussed this a lot this week, and the Handsome Hour podcast last night was filled with more angst than the entire Twilight Saga (J Money is definitely Edward and Dowd is Jacob). Danny Hope's openers have been varied. In 2009 Ralph Bolden went apeshit and we had a comfortable win over Toledo. Last year we struggled to do anything offensively against Notre Dame. I think we see more of a Toledo-like performance, and Caleb TerBush will be fine in his first start. Also, Brian Cardinal is on hand to lead SHOUT. Excuse me, that's NBA WORLD CHAMPION Brian Cardinal. Purdue 31, MTSU 17

Northwestern at Boston College, Noon, ESPNU

Sippin' On Purple Preview

Northwestern is one of the few Big Ten teams to go on the road this week, and they do so with a quarterback in Dan Persa that needs to prove he is totally recovered from his Achilles injury. Boston College has a solid defense, but there are some major questions on offense. I think Northwestern will be a surprise in the Big Ten this year. They have that look where they win 3-4 games they generally have no business winning. Northwestern 21, Boston College 17

Akron at Ohio State, Noon, ESPN

Eleven Warriors Preview

This is the first MACtion of the weekend with our usual parade through that conference. Purdue is abstaining this year, unless we make the Motor City Bowl. I am not sold on Ohio State, especially on offense, but they still take care of MAC teams at home better than anyone else in the league. Akron was also 1-11 last year, making them one of the worst teams in the MAC. The Buckeyes should be able to name their score in this one. Ohio State 42, Akron 3

Indiana State at Penn State, Noon, Big Ten Network

Black Shoe Diaries Preview

Once again, there is no excuse to ever lose to a I-AA team, especially when that team is Indiana State. The tees were light years better than usual last year. They even challenged for their conference title, but they are still a I-AA team. Penn State 52, Indiana State 10

Tennessee Tech at Iowa, Noon, Big Ten Network

Black Heart Gold Pants Preview

Our Most Hated Rival starts off like the bullies we know they are, picking on those smaller than them. The Open Thread at BHGP will likely be more entertaining than this game, although an Appy State like loss would be delicious. Remember: We have always hated Iowa. The Hawkeyes will win this day even though they aren't playing a real team. Iowa 44, Tennessee Tech 7

 Minnesota at USC, 3:30pm, ABC

The Daily Gopher Preview

This is the only Big Ten loss I am picking this week. The Big Ten always struggles when it heads out west during the regular season, and Minnesota might be the worst team in the league this year. Even with the scholarship reductions USC has more talent. It remains to be seen if MarQueis Gray can get this offense going consistently through the air. USC 38, Minnesota 14

Western Michigan at Michigan, 3:30pm, ESPN2

Maize N' Brew Preview

Look at you, Michigan, showing off those fancy new lights against a MAC opponent. The Wolverines get the second game of the 2011 Big Ten-MAC challenge against their directional brothers from across the state. Can Michigan's defense get out of its own way? Expect disaster if the defense for Michigan somehow lets this game be close. Michigan 45, Western Michigan 21

Chattanooga at Nebraska, 3:30pm, Big Ten Network

Corn Nation Preview

Welcome to the Big Ten, Cornhuskers. Here is a nice, tasty cupcake to open the season with. Please, for the love of God, don't embarrass your new conference by losing this game. We can still send you back to the Big 12. Nebraska 49, Chattanooga 13

Arkansas State at Illinois, 3:30pm, Big Ten Network

Hail to the Orange Preview

Arkansas State last played a Big Ten team in 2010, when they pushed Indiana on homecoming in Bloomington. The Sun Belt conference is slowly becoming the new MAC, only with SEC leftovers. I like Nathan Scheelhaase as a poor man's Denard Robinson this year. Unfortunately, he lacks the standard stud running back that was key to the two seasons that have been successful under The Zooker. Illinois 31, Arkansas State 16

Indiana vs. Ball State at Lucas Oil Stadium, 7pm, ESPN3.com

Crimson Quarry Preview

The last time these two met Ball State was in the middle of their best conference season ever and Indiana was, well, usual Indiana. The Cardinals won in Bloomington despite the frightening injury to Dante Love that cost him his football career. This time they meet at Lucas Oil Stadium, which is likely the only time that the Hoosiers will play there this year. Let's face it, it would be the shock of the college football world if they made it back.  Indaina 30, Ball State 14

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