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2012 Big Ten Football: Week 3 Preview

I am glad this week is over. Our beloved conference has been taking it very hard in the media for a 6-6 week in which the Big Ten lost virtually every major test it faces and some winners were challenged just a little too much. This week should be a lot better. The Big Ten will likely be heavy favorites in almost every game across the board. Only Notre Dame at Michigan State can be called a marquee matchup. Almost everything else is MACtion and FCS cupcakes.

So is this the week for a 12-0 finish? Two teams are off next week, so it is the last chance for a perfect 12-0 run through a Saturday.

Western Michigan (1-1) at Minnesota (2-0) Noon, Big Ten Network

The Daily Gopher Preview

Alex Carder and friends already whiffed on one chance to beat a Big Ten, falling 24-7 at Illinois and generally making the Fighting Illini defense look good. They got pressure on Carder, who is a pretty solid quarterback as we learned in Detroit. What will the Golden Gophers do? A Minnesota victory can have them thinking of a bowl game. Syracuse is next on the docket for Minny, and both Iowa and Illinois are both at home. This game could be the lynchpin for a Gopher bowl bid. Minnesota 27, Western Michigan 24

Arkansas State (1-1) at Nebraska (1-1) Noon, ESPN2

Corn Nation Preview

This smells like it could be an upset. No one is real confident in the Cornhuskers and their defense after last week against UCLA. Now they get an Arkansas State team that is 1-1 but knows how to move the football. Sure, they lost to Oregon 57-34 in the opener, but considering that it was 50-3 with 7 minutes left in the first half outscoring the Ducks 31-7 over the rest of the game and almost making them put the starters back in has to be worth something. Ryan Aplin provides an element of danger in being a senior smaller conference QB that has a ton of experience. Nebraska 30, Arkansas State 21

California (1-1) at No. 12 Ohio State (2-0) Noon, ABC

Land Grant Holyland Preview

We should expect more of Braxton Miller running around and doing Braxton Miller things this week unless Cal gets the message that if you stop him you stop the Buckeyes. I don't think Cal will. They have given up 31 points per game to the likes of Nevada and Southern Utah. That should allow for Miller to run wild once again as we hear about the brilliant genius that Urban Meyer is. Ohio State 38, California 14

Charleston Southern (0-2) at Illinois (1-1) Noon, Big Ten Network

This could be the bloodiest blowout of the week. CSU has given up 40 points per game in losses to The Citadel and Jacksonville. Jacksonville isn't even a scholarship football school, sharing the Pioneer League with Butler. They still beat CSU 31-10. Illinois 56, Charleston Southern 3

Eastern Michigan (0-2) at Purdue (1-1) Noon, Big Ten Network

This is the most confident I have felt about a game in quite some time. I have had apprehension even in our FCS games the last two years because of our recent history and since we were playing off of teams coming off of playoff years. When I think about it, the last time I was this relaxed about playing a game was probably Northern Colorado in 2008. Purdue absolutely should crush the Eagles with little or no trouble. Purdue 45, Eastern Michigan 10

Boston College (1-1) at Northwestern (2-0) 3:30pm, Big Ten Network

Sippin' on Purple Preview

Boston College couldn't score enough point to beat a Miami team in week one that got absolutely destroyed by Kansas State in week 2. As things stand right now Northwestern has the best wins for the Big Ten. Not only can they move to 3-0 this week, they'll be 3-0 against BCS conference foes. The rest of the league is 0-7 at the moment against BCS foes (1-7 if you consider Boise State a BCS-level team, which I do). Yay, rah, Wildcats! Northwestern 34, Boston College 24

Northern Iowa (1-1) at Iowa (1-1) 3:30pm, Big Ten Network

Black Heart Gold Pants Preview

I am highly tempted to call the upset here. Northern Iowa is ranked 7th in the FCS poll and nearly pulled off an epic comeback to beat Wisconsin in Madison two weeks ago before pounding Central State last week 59-0. Iowa's offense right now can be described as "craptacular", and that is being kind. The Hawkeyes have all of one touchdown, which saved their sorry asses from being 0-2 right now. If it weren't for the fact that no Big Ten team should ever lose to an FCS team I would call for the upset. Iowa 14, Northern Iowa 10

Massachusetts (0-2) at No. 17 Michigan (1-1) 3:30pm, Big Ten Network

Maize N' Brew Preview

If Michigan loses this game a week after Indiana of all people blew out Massachusetts at home the Wolverines need to be relegated to the MAC. Michigan 59, Massachusetts 10

Navy (0-1) at Penn State (0-2) 3:30pm, ESPN2

Black Shoe Diaries Preview

I am going to go ahead and say that if the Nittany Lions lose this game they will go 0-12 this season. At some point the morale just has to reach a breaking point when your season and the next three are already lost. Penn State's offense can't score and their kicking game can't make kicks. If the Navy option attack really gets rolling watch out. Penn State 20, Navy 17

Ball State (1-1) at Indiana (2-0) 8pm, Big Ten Network

Crimson Quarry Preview

Alright Hoosiers, this is your chance to have me stop mocking your football program. Last year Indiana lost to Ball State at Lucas Oil Stadium. Now they get them at home with a chance to go 3-0. Win it, and Indiana going to a bowl game is not farfetched. Could Indiana beat Iowa at home then win at Penn State and Navy? Absolutely. In fact, if Tre Roberson had not gotten hurt I would even think it was likely given how bad Iowa and Penn State have looked. Ball State can run the ball very well, however. Indiana 38, Ball State 31

Utah State (2-0) at Wisconsin (1-1) 8pm, Big Ten Network

Bucky's Fifth Quarter Preview

No one has been impressed by Wisconsin so far, but we'll know the era is over if the Badgers lose a night game at home against a non-BCS conference opponent. That simply does not happen. I can absolutely understand why they fired their offensive line coach. If you can't get 330 pound linemen to block for Montee Ball you obviously have no idea what you're doing. Wisconsin 30, Utah State 14

No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 10 Michigan State 8pm, ABC

The Only Colors Preview

If Notre Dame wins they will move to 3-0 since Ty Willingham briefly became the greatest coach in the history of the world back in 2002. The Spartans have to defend home turf before we have to hose Lou Holtz down on the College Football Final show on ESPN. All of the "Fighting Irish are really back this time, we mean it, seriously" stories will come out of the woodwork if they beat a top 10 team on the road. Help us Sparty, you're our only hope. Michigan State 24, Notre Dame 21