2011 Big Ten Football: Week 2 Preview

This week feels like there is real football with a lot of good games throughout the conference. We have some out-of-conference rivalries, a rematch of big names, and a few cupcakes scattered about. Last week's 10-2 week was expected. A similar result this week would result in more people taking notice of what's going on within the conference (except in Bloomington, where it may be business as usual).

What I like about week two this year is that it is one of the few weeks this season where I am not traveling to a college football game. Last week we were at home, then Mrs. T-Mill and I took off for DC to see the ‘Canes. Purdue has six more home games, plus I'll be going to Penn State and likely Indiana. There is also the possibility We'll head to Miami like we have done the last few years to see the Hurricanes play down there (Most likely on a Thursday night vs. Virginia). This week, aside from covering a quick high school game at Lucas Oil Stadium at 2:30, I can sit back and enjoy channel-surfing between the best games. Riley has even provided a, shall we say, questionably legal link that will allow a live video stream of the Purdue game.

When you combine that with the very real possibility of a 2-0 Purdue start and 0-2 starts by IU and Notre Dame, it could be a very good week.

Iowa at Iowa State, Noon

If you want to know anything about this rivalry please read this evisceration by Jebus H. Christ of Black Heart Gold Pants. It is honestly a thing of beauty in terms of putting a rival in their place. You have to give it up for Oscar Wilde-like wordplay such as this:

You love your program so much but they don't love you back. I'd call it unrequited but you don't know what that means. Your program is a regional laughingstock. The only thing saving it from national humiliation is indifference. No one even knows who you are. Your own AD hates you so much he went to the trouble to remove your season opener from television so you'd have to show up at the asphalt shitbucket of a stadium. OR you could pay to watch it on the internet. We all know how that worked out. Your conference even hates you. Schools are leaving and they don't even have anywhere to go. The Big 12 is disbanding right before your goopy eyes and you're powerless to stop it. In a year or two you'll go from worst team in the Big 12 North to the 5th best team in the Mountain West. How do you not see this? Your school hates you. Let me break it down for you in terms even you can understand. No matter how much you love your Cyclones they don't care. It's a black hole of disappointment and pain and you deserve it. The only thing that hates you more than them is me.

Prediction: Iowa 31, Iowa State 17

Florida Atlantic at Michigan State, Noon, ESPN

The Howard Schnellenberger farewell tour makes a stop in East Lansing as the Spartans tune up for hopefully a chance to make ND 0-3. If you don't know who Schnellenberger is, watch the epic documentary "The U". He was basically the architect of those great Miami teams of the 80's. Unfortunately, it won't have much effect on this game since the Owls got crushed at Florida last week. Michigan State can name its score. Prediction: Michigan State 37, Florida Atlantic 10.

Toledo at Ohio State, Noon, Big Ten Network

Remember Austin Dantin from last year when he threw all over the place and we couldn't stop Toledo at all? If he does that again to a Big Ten team, this time against the Buckeyes, he deserves Heisman consideration. Ohio State hasn't had a non-win against an opponent from its home state since a 7-7 tie with Wooster in 1924. They haven't lost a game to an Ohio team since losing to Oberlin College in 1921, so, yeah. I doubt Toledo can be the team that breaks the 90-year streak. Prediction: Ohio State 42, Toledo 10

Oregon State at Wisconsin, Noon, ESPN

Oregon State got the ultimate "sit in the corner and think about what you've done" moment with a loss to 1-AA Sacramento State at home. At least Duke's loss to 1-AA Richmond was explainable because the Spiders are an excellent 1-AA team and Duke is, well, Duke. The Beavers nearly went to the Rose Bowl two years ago. Bucky's 5th quarter is still worried:

Despite Oregon State's loss to an FCS team, the defense is not overlooking the Beavers. Henry mentioned that the Beavers' record doesn't mean much- they can still be a dangerous team.

"Looking at their schedule last year, they lost to some teams that people wouldn't consider really good, but they beat some teams like USC, so some weeks they didn't play well and some weeks they did," Henry said. "Even a really good team can have one bad weekend, so for us the most important thing is to focus on what we do and make sure we control the game."

Prediction: Wisconsin 38, Oregon State 17

South Dakota State at Illinois, Noon, Big Ten Network

Once again, now Big Ten team ever has an excuse to lose to a 1-AA team, even if the Jackrabbits have already nearly beaten a Big Ten team. I'm looking at you, Minnesota, a two-time offender and near four-time offender. Prediction: Illinois 44, SDSU 7

Eastern Illinois at Northwestern, 3:30pm, Big Ten Network

See above, though Northwestern has also been a 1-AA victim in the past. I propose a three strikes and you're out policy. If you lose three 1-AA games in a 20 year period you're out of the Big Ten. Northwestern, Indiana, and Michigan each have one strike already while Minnesota has two. If you need more of a preview, here is Sippin' On Purple. Prediction: Northwestern 34, Eastern Illinois 13

New Mexico State at Minnesota, 3:30pm, Big Ten Network

Minnesota challenged USC in L.A. last week, while New Mexico State gave up 44 points to Ohio. Not Ohio State, Ohio. The Golden Gophers earned a, "well, they aren't as bad as I thought" grade last week even with backup QB Max Shortell running the show. Minnesota 40, New Mexico State 10

Alabama at Penn State, 3:30pm, ABC

Will it Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden, or a darkhorse third candidate? It may not matter given that Alabama's defense could be the best in the country. The Nittany Lions have excellent receivers, but can the McGloin/Bolden duo get them the ball? There is no consensus among the Nittany Lion faithful:

I honestly felt that both quarterbacks played pretty evenly when you compare the two. Matt McGloin had the better numbers but if Derek Moye and Justin Brown can hang on to a couple decent passes then Rob Bolden's numbers look a little different. While I feel Bolden played well enough to get another start (even if splitting time), there was no question that the offense was more consistent with McGloin under center. It helped that his receivers were more open than when Bolden was playing. Were receivers making adjustments as the game progressed, which would have benefited McGloin?

Perhaps.

I would put the offense in Bolden's hands, and see what he does against a tougher defense. He says he has grown a lot since last year's game, and I tend to believe it. We just need to see it on the field.

Prediction: Alabama 24, Penn State 7

Purdue at Rice, 3:30pm, CBS Sports Network

I talked about this on the Handsome Hour last night with J Money, but the key to this game is us stopping the pass. Rice didn't have over 100 yards passing last week even while playing catch up. If we give up another 330 yards through the air (especially over the middle) new secondary coaches and starters need to be found back there. Another major concern could be weather. It's expected to be hot again and wildfires near Houston could drastically worsen the air quality. Prediction: Purdue 27, Rice 20

Fresno State at Nebraska, 7pm

Fresno State will play anyone, anytime, anywhere, but I think they may regret this trip to Lincoln. Fresno has a big offensive line that may benefit them greatly:

You can watch this video of Fresno State's quarterback Derek Carr and come away with the conclusion that he's a cocky young man, oblivious to the fact that he's going to start his second game on the road in Lincoln Nebraska against a ferocious defensive line that would like nothing more than to squash him into a tiny little ball, or that in general, he just doesn't worry about those types of things. 

He is right about Fresno's offensive line being big - the starters run 300, 315, 320, 305 and 310 lbs, and because they're so big he's not worried about Nebraska's defensive line. He's not worried about getting hit. He's not worried about what the Fresno State fan base thinks. And he's not worried about Fresno State being able to run the ball. 

Prediction: Nebraska 42, Fresno State 21

Virginia at Indiana, 7pm, Big Ten Network

The Cavaliers won 40-3 over William & Mary last week, a good 1-AA team that regularly makes the playoffs. The Kevin Wilson era certainly did not start well with a loss to Ball State. The good news is that IU gets South Carolina State and North Texas the next two weeks. The bad news is that it may not matter if they lose to Virginia. I don't think anyone sees the Hoosiers getting four Big Ten wins. It just pisses me off that they have our Bucket. Virginia wants to run the ball and should have no trouble if Ball State was able to.  Prediction: Virginia 30, Indiana 20

Notre Dame at Michigan, 8pm, ABC

Everyone loves the Wolverines this week. After South Florida did college football a favor last week Michigan can do the same in the first ever night game at Michigan Stadium. I may have to break out the Yuengling to get Michigan through this one. Everyone remembers Denard Robinson running rampant on the Fighting Irish defense in 2010, but the role of the starting tailbacks is still unclear. Prediction: Michigan 28, Notre Dame 24

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