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Week 2 Big Ten Preview

I am glad that the 90210 entry yesterday was a rousing success, because behind the scenes the blog itself took a bit of a nosedive. I can't give specific details, but part of the problem came from the Open Thread on Saturday. I was accused of making a certain comment during the thread (which I did not make) and a certain party was not happy about it. While I love everything you guys contribute to these threads as readers, the group needs to tone down some of the more borderline comments. Specifically, there was a comment about a sniper rifle being brought to a game. Though I know no one would ever even think of actually doing that, that kind of stuff is not cool.

But that is the last I will say about that publically. Other than that, Saturday was a rousing success. I'm looking forward to another Saturday of football this week, as the conference has some pretty big games in the later time slots.

Illinois State (1-0) at Northwestern (1-0) Noon, Big Ten Network

Brock Spack gets another crack at the Big Ten after losing at Illinois  last year. His Redbirds dialed up a Colletto special last week. They faced Central Missouri State, a non-Division I team, and only won 55-54. I am betting that Dan Persa and company up at Northwestern are salivating for a chance to face that defense now. Illinois State has the offense to compete with the Wildcats. Ashton Leggett is a Michigan State transfer and Erik Smith, Illinois State's other top running back, played at Wisconsin last season. Quarterback Matt Brown also regularly puts up 300 yards per game.

Illinois State has more than Leggett and Smith though. As Lake the Posts mentions, Illinois State has 10 former 1-A players on the roster, including our own Nickaro Golding. If the defense even goes from terrible to merely bad they might have a chance. Persa should have a field day, as Central Missouri State threw for 547 yards. Prediction: Northwestern 45, Illinois State 28

South Dakota (0-1) at Minnesota (1-0) Noon, Big Ten Network

The Golden Gophers survived on the road last Thursday by holding the ball for over 45 minutes against Middle Tennessee State. Even then, it was only a seven point victory. No one has struggled more against 1-AA opponents than Minnesota. They barely beat South Dakota State last season and fell to certified giant-killer North Dakota State a few years ago.

Minnesota should be highly favored here, but they have much to prove. South Dakota lost its season opener at Central Florida 38-7 and gave up 231 yards rushing. Minnesota's new commitment to the run should wear them down. Prediction: Minnesota 48, South Dakota 7

San Jose State (0-1) at #11 Wisconsin (1-0) Noon, Big Ten Network

The Badgers were one of only four Big Ten teams that went on the road last week, and like Minnesota and Northwestern above, they came home with a win. They now face a San Jose State team that was the sacrifice for Alabama in week 1. Last week Wisconsin got it done like they always do: with John Clay and Montee Ball. Each had a pair of touchdown runs and Clay was over 100 yards passing. If they do that in every game Wisconsin will be difficult to stop. Bucky's 5th Quarter had a lot to say about the new defensive Badger Package, which will be fine tuned this week with a likely easy home win. Prediction: Wisconsin 38, SJSU 10

Western Illinois (1-0) at Purdue (0-1) Noon, Big Ten Network

I've been trying to do a bit more homework on the Leathernecks and I see that they do have some playmakers. Apparently, part of their struggles last season came from an injury to quarterback Matt Barr. I am concerned that they have two good receivers and two good running backs. That should test our defense a little bit more than I expected. We need to make sure that we get the running game going. Al-Terek McBurse, Dan Dierking, Reggie Pegram, Jared Crank, and Derek Jackson all need to get involved. The forecast is calling for rain, thus favoring more of a ground game. This could be good. It gives us a chance to play in the elements.

As I said earlier this week, we should be concerned only if this game is close. WIU might get a score or two because of their proven talent, but anything less than a four or five touchdown win should be counted as a loss. Prediction: Purdue 48, Western Illinois 10

Florida Atlantic (1-0) vs. Michigan State (1-0) at Ford Field Noon, ESPNU

This was originally supposed to be the home opener of FAU's on campus stadium, but a lack of funds delayed the stadium's opening for a year. This is technically a road game for the Spartans witht eh Owls being the home team, but that is in name only. I wouldn't sleep on FAU. They knocked off Minnesota three years ago, adding a Big Ten pelt to their history. They are also loaded with second tier Florida athletes.

Michigan State's ground game should have a big day. They racked up 260 yards vs. Western Michigan and FAU gave up 345 on the ground in a win over UAB. Edwin Baker will have a big day. Prediction: Michigan State 33, Florida Atlantic 13

#12 Miami (1-0) at #2 Ohio State (1-0) 3:40 ESPN

Mrs. T-Mill has declared this hate week. She has waited nearly eight years for revenge from the Fiesta Bowl and will not be denied. I'll be covering a high school game in the safety of Lucas Oil Stadium at 4:30, so a dash home from the expected blowout in West Lafayette is in order.

Everyone is automatically giving this one to Ohio State because they are at home. Miami can get after the quarterback though. Purdue fans are well aware when Terrelle Pryor is forced to throw on the run. Miami's front four can cause the same problems, and their secondary with Ray Ray Armstrong is more than good enough to cover his receivers. I think Jacory Harris settles down like he did at Florida State last year and the Hurricanes get revenge on the Buckeyes. At least I hope so. I can't afford $800 for a new TV. Miami 24, Ohio State 17.

Iowa State (1-0) at #9 Iowa (1-0) 3:30 ABC

It's been awhile since the Cyclones have peed on Iowa's parade with a surprising win. The Hawkeyes are feeling very confident too. The Cy-Hawk Trophy has taken up residence in Iowa City, at least until that rivalry of hate between Purdue and Iowa takes over. Then and only then can we expect a guide to mockery like this.

Iowa State has precedent for beating Iowa and ruining special seasons. Remember 2002? That could have been a year where an undefeated Ohio State played an undefeated Iowa for the National title, but a regular season loss to Iowa State prevented the Hawkeyes from heading to Tempe. This one will be closer than expected. Iowa State beat a pretty good Northern Illinois team last week.  Prediction: Iowa 24, Iowa State 14

Michigan (1-0) at Notre Dame (1-0) 3:40 NBC

Once again, we're supposed to care about this game because it matters again, but we're not supposed to care because they're only each 1-0. Does everybody have that? I am intrigued by this one. Kapron Lewis-Moore and Ian Williams were dominant along Notre Dame's defensive line last week. Denard Robinson was nearly perfect for the Wolverines. Which one gives?

Both defenses looked good, but were they really tested. Connecticut is not a strong offensive team, while Purdue shot itself in the foot several times. I liked the calm that Dayne Crist showed for Notre Dame. I think he will be better against less of a pass rush this week. Both teams can go on a big run if they get this game. As much as I hate to say it, I think Notre Dame get this one at home, but barely. Notre Dame 27, Michigan 24

#18 Penn State (1-0) at #1 Alabama (1-0) 7pm ESPN

If we're talking about conference pride I would absolutely trade a Penn State win here for an Ohio State loss. Sure, part of that is because I married a ‘Cane, but another part of me just can't stand Alabama and Nick Saban. With the Crimson Tide being sans Mark Ingram, the Nittany Lions have a little better chance, but not much. Alabama is not the defending champ because of only one player. Freshman Eddie lacy filled in just fine last week with 111 yards and two touchdowns.

Black Shoe Diaries is already priming the pump by counting down Penn State's greatest upsets this week. They are also drawing confidence from Robert Bolden's play against Youngstown State last week. They are calling for a classic conservative game plan, perfect for a true freshman quarterback playing his first road game. I don't think it will be enough. Prediction: Alabama 27, Penn State 10

Southern Illinois (1-0) at Illinois (0-1) 7:30pm Big Ten Network

Dare I call it? Could this be the 1-AA over 1-AA embarrassment of the Big Ten this year? Don't be surprised. Southern Illinois is ranked 4th in the 1-AA poll and is a regular in the playoffs at that level. They have one Big Ten pelt in beating Indiana in 2006. They play in the Missouri Valley Conference, which is one of the toughest 1-AA Conferences in the country. It regularly sends three teams to the 16-team playoffs. They hung 70 last week on a team called Quincy, so the offense is warmed up. The Fighting Illini could be in big trouble.

Most disturbing for Illinois is that its offense bogged down after getting an early lead on Missouri last week. They managed just 80 yards through the air and Nathan Scheelhaase had three interceptions. Mikel Leshoure had 112 yards rushing, but Illinois did virtually nothing after halftime. The Salukis will try to run after gaining 309 yards on the ground. Joe K. at Hail to the Orange thinks there are plenty of reasons for hope, but they will come crashing down if Southern Illinois pulls the not-so-surprising upset. Prediction: Illinois 24, Southern Illinois 23