After several weeks of 10-12 games it still seems bizarre to write about just four games this week. In truth, college football as a whole is a little bland this week. There are few huge matchups, so hopefully it means massive upsets are in store somewhere. While something like Kentucky over Alabama would be nice, I would settle for a simple Purdue over Nebraska as the Boilers' first win over a ranked opponent since beating Illinois two years ago.
Nebraska (4-1, 1-0) at Purdue (1-4, 0-1) Noon, Big Ten Network
It is a freshman QB battle as Tommy Armstrong Jr. will get the start for the Cornhuskers against our own Danny Etling. The Boilers have had a week off to prepare for a return to Big Ten play and the crazy thing is that even though Purdue has looked bad, I can be talked into beating each of our remaining seven opponents in a one game situation:
Nebraska - Shaky defense and freshman QB in his first road start.
Michigan State - More than questionable offense.
Ohio State - We own them in Ross-Ade for reasons no one knows.
Iowa - AIRBHG struck down Weisman and their offense is very vanilla.
Penn State - They somehow couldn't run the ball on Indiana.
Illinois - Was their early season run a little premature?
Indiana - They're Indiana.
Yes, those are shaky reasons at best and Purdue has to play a lot better than it has, but what else do we have to hope for at this point?
In truth, We're heavy underdogs for a reason here. Ameer Abdullah is possibly the best back in the Big Ten and we've already been shredded by his competition for that honor, Melvin Gordon. Purdue's experienced players continue to be pushed aside for freshman as Hazell is clearly building for the future with his guys, but they are limited at this point.
Purdue probably has to play a near perfect game on both sides of the ball, and I don't think they are capable of that just yet. Nebraska 41, Purdue 24
Indiana (3-2, 1-0) at Michigan State (4-1, 1-0) Noon, ESPN 2
I will make a not-so-bold statement here: If Indiana wins in East Lansing they will play in a bowl game in 2013. A victory over the Spartans would give the Hoosiers their fourth win of the season and with Minnesota, Illinois, and Purdue still to come at home they will win at least two of those to qualify for the postseason. The margin for error is thin, however. Indiana is not going to win at Wisconsin, Ohio State, or Michigan, so a loss in east Lansing means they have to go perfect at home against Illinois and Minnesota, who both might need to win in Bloomington to reach a bowl game themselves.
The most inexplicable thing is how Indiana finally found a run defense last week. They held Penn State under 100 yards rushing when they couldn't even do that against the likes of Indiana State. Was Indiana that good or Penn State just that bad? The 44 points was also quite impressive, but the Michigan State defense is much tougher than Penn State's. It is the seventh best defense in the country at 13.4 points per game going against the No. 12 offense at 44.4 points per game.
I'm going with defense because, well, they're still Indiana in my eyes. One victory over a bad Penn State team still under heavy sanctions does not make a program. Michigan State 24, Indiana 21
Northwestern (4-1, 0-1) at Wisconsin (3-2, 1-1) 3:30pm, ABC
It is the battle of teams that lost to Ohio State recently mostly because of their own mistakes. For the Wildcats, their loss was due to not getting touchdowns and putting the Buckeyes away early. The Badgers fell asleep on the last play of the first half and got burned for a touchdown on fourth and long.
As much as I like Northwestern, several people have asked me if last week's loss could have Fumble-like consequences for their program. The stakes were similar: GameDay was in town for a potentially program-defining game and the hosts were undone by a critical fumble at the worst time. Can the Wildcats pick themselves up from that where Purdue could not?
I don't think so. Wisconsin is too tough at home. Wisconsin 31, Northwestern 28
Michigan (5-0, 1-0) at Penn State (3-2, 0-1) 5pm, ESPN
It is Homecoming for Penn State, who gets the schizophrenic Wolverines in town for a game where no one knows what may happen. I don't get how Michigan can blow out Minnesota but barely survive Akron, who might be the worst FBS team in the country. Are they a good team or a really lucky team that has played a lousy schedule outside of Notre Dame?
Then there is Penn State, which earned "sit in the corner and think about what you've done" status last week with a paltry 70 rushing yards on 38 carries against Indiana. How on earth does that happen against Indiana without running backs slipping and falling down on about 30 of those carries? It is inexplicable. Michigan 28, Penn State 14
Now, some additional notes. First, the Allstate Tailgate Tour is in town this weekend:
WHAT: The Allstate Tailgate Tour, a unique and interactive fan experience visiting college football stadiums across the country, is heading to Purdue University this week as the Boilermakers take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday, Oct. 12.
From creating signs in support of the Boilermakers, to participating in games for a chance to win tailgate items, fans can take part in a variety of family-friendly activities at the Allstate Tailgate Tour.
At the tour, fans will also be invited to enter the "Allstate Ultimate Road Trip Sweepstakes," where one grand prize winner and three friends will receive a VIP trip to the Allstate® Sugar Bowl® in New Orleans, where they will have the chance to watch the game with college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, followed by a trip to the 2014 VIZO BCS National ChampionshipTM in Pasadena. The grand prize winner will also take home a 2014 Buick Enclave.
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. ET
WHERE: Northwest corner of Ross-Ade Stadium
850 Steven Beering Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47906
Second, the Boiler Business Exchange is running a ticket promo for this weekend:
HOW TO ORDER TICKETS USING THE BBE PROMOTION
1) Click on this link: http://bit.ly/11PgBte
2) In the "Promotional Access Code" area on the left, type in BBE and press go
3) Follow the prompts to purchase your tickets at the BBE Discount
a. If you would like to purchase multiple games, after you add tickets to your cart make sure to click on "Continue Shopping In Promotion" to choose other games at the group rate