ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Cierre Wood #20 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks on from the bench late in the game while playing the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on September 10, 2010 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won the game 35-31. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
I almost missed this weekend's game against SEMO. Seeing as how we're playing an FCS team at home and Mrs. T-Mill has a love for her Hurricanes we very nearly booked a trip to South Florida. She swore a blood oath of revenge on the Buckeyes nine years ago, and she expects vengeance for the phantom flag and the 2002 National title this weekend. She has a good shot of getting it too, unless Jacory Harris throws that vengeance directly at Dominic Clarke for no reason.
So no, there is no South Florida this weekend. We're going in late October for a Thursday night game against Virginia instead. That means this weekend we get to witness Purdue-SEMO in all its 11th rated game of the weekend glory. Riley will be handling the game wrap, as Avenged Sevenfold will be rocking my face off at Verizon Wireless Music Center postgame (and yes, that's the life I live: rock stars and South Beach). Mrs. T-Mill vetoed watching the Miami-Ohio State game at home when she found out A7X was in town for X-fest, deciding that if it was another Harris interception-fest her time would be better served at the concert.
This is the last week of 12 Big Ten games this year, so let's make it a good one.
Southeast Missouri State (0-1) at Purdue (1-1), Noon, Big Ten Network
As I said yesterday, there is no valid excuse for losing this game. Jewel Hampton, late of our Most Hated Rival, had three TD's against the Redhawks for Southern Illinois in the opener. As long as we give the ball to Ralph Bolden and Akeem Shavers we should have very little trouble. If this is somehow a loss I have given Riley permission to simply post a flaming effigy in lieu of a game wrap. Purdue 37, SEMO 10.
Eastern Michigan (2-0) at Michigan (2-0) Noon, Big Ten Network
Isn't Playstation Denard Robinson fun? Sure, The Wolverines have a passing game that consists of "throw wild jump balls to receivers", but dammit Saturday night's win over Notre Dame was exciting as hell. If I am Brady Hoke I worry more about fixing the defense and let Denard be Denard. Michigan 52, Eastern Michigan 13
Penn State (1-1) at Temple (2-0) Noon, ESPN
Matt McGloin? Rob Bolden? Red Grange? Who does JoePa pick at quarterback? It's important because this is a dangerous Temple team that could break the 70 year, 28 game drought against the Nittany Lions. The longer that Penn State has offensive issues the better I will feel about going to Happy Valley. Penn State wins, but I think Temple puts a scare into them. Penn State 23, Temple 21
Pittsburgh (2-0) at Iowa (1-1) Noon, ESPN2
I hope you all have been enjoying emo week at Black Heart Gold Pants after the loss to Iowa State. It's been so bad that over there they have posted more about Iowa basketball than Iowa Football in the middle of the season. Yes, Pitt is 2-0, but wins over Akron (who is a shade worse than horrible), and a six point squeaker over FCS Maine hardly gives me confidence. Iowa either wins or the Hot Topic in Iowa City has a record sales week. Iowa 24, Pittsburgh 17
Miami (OH) (0-1) at Minnesota (0-2) 3:30pm, Big Ten Network
I can't trust the Golden Gophers, not when Miami has that Dangerous MAC Look about them after playing Missouri close in the opener. They've had two weeks to prepare, and if Minnesota can't score on New Mexico State (known in FBS circles as "the village bicycle") they will struggle all year. Coach Kill should take the rest of the year off and start over next season. Miami (OH) 24, Minnesota 21
South Carolina State (1-1) at Indiana (0-2) 3:30pm, Big Ten Network
I feel like I need to slap some sense into the Boiled Sports guys after listening to the Handsome Hour. They were lamenting how Indiana is looking up because of one fourth quarter comeback (that they immediately choked away). Please! They got pushed around by Ball freaking State in week one and you think Kevin Wilson has things pointed in the right direction. Indiana gets an easy win this week, but the BS guys need to go back to mocking IU until the prove something with wins. (That said, they still have our Bucket, making them ahead of us, dammit.) Indiana 45, SC State 10
Washington (2-0) at Nebraska (2-0) 3:30pm, ESPN/ABC
Like Star Wars, The Godfather, and Central Michigan-Purdue 2008, every good trilogy needs a finale. That's what we get after Washington and Nebraska played twice last season, splitting each game. Don't look down on Washington because they struggled in two games against better-than-they-look opponents. Who knows what to think after they gave up 56 points to the Cornhuskers in Seattle, then only seven in the bowl game? Nebraska 31, Washington 17
Northwestern (2-0) at Army (0-2) 3:30pm, CBS
The Black Knight always wins! Army is like the seminal Monty Python character. They are courageous, but playing in FBS with them is like playing without arms and legs. Northwestern quietly gets another road win to start the year. Northwestern 34, Army 17
Wisconsin (2-0) vs. Northern Illinois (1-1) at Soldier Field, 3:30pm, ESPN3
If Wisconsin had not looked so good in the first two games I would have this game as an upset alert. Chandler Harnish has beaten Big Ten teams twice now, and the Huskies are a MAC favorite. If they were playing almost anyone else in the Big Ten I would absolutely pick them. Unfortunately, they get the Russell Wilson Experience this week. Wisconsin 38, Northern Illinois 24.
Michigan State (2-0) at Notre Dame (0-2) 3:30pm, NBC
Let's see, haven't we been here before? Coach hailed as the Greatest Coach In the History Of The Sport after a long winning streak? Proclamations of a certain BCS bowl bid before the season started? Statements of an easy schedule leading to National Title talk? Fans turning on Greatest Coach Ever at the barest hint of adversity? Yep, it must be September and year two of the latest Greatest Coach Ever at Notre Dame. As far as I am concerned, South Florida and Michigan have done us a public service (Sidebar: 2011 Purdue Football, celebrating Notre Dame's failures), and if the Fighting Irish continue to shoot themselves in the foot in the red zone, next week will be full of "What's Wrong With Notre Dame" and "The Brian Kelly Honeymoon Is Over" stories. What will they do this week when they must face a real defense for the first time. The Spartans gave up one first down last week, and that is impressive no matter who you play. Michigan State 31, Notre Dame 30
Arizona State (2-0) at Illinois (2-0) 7pm, Big Ten Network
This looks like the sneaky good game of the week that no one will watch, but wish they did. Illinois gets a ranked non-conference opponent at home with a real shot at breaking into the top 25 themselves if they win. Hail to the Orange is rightfully concerned about Vontaze Burfict, who is a beast of a defensive lineman on the level with Mr. Kerrigan. I think ASU wins, but a Fighting Illini victory would be a very nice feather in the Big Ten's cap. Arizona State 27, Illinois 24
Ohio State (2-0) at Miami (FL) (0-1) 7:30pm, ESPN
Nine years ago I had to be the one to break the news to Mrs. T-Mill that there was a flag. Since then, she has been on a crusade to tell everyone talking college football that the 2002 title was stolen. Well Miami, here is your chance. You choked it away last year when Jacory Harris was an absolute liability with not only four interceptions, but interceptions that ended promising drives. He'll start on Saturday night, which is fine if good Jacory shows up. If bad Jacory shows up Stephen Morris is the better option. I have said Miami wins this one all along and I am sticking to it. Miami (FL) 24, Ohio State 21