This is a great week of college football. There are good games all over the place and already a top 5 team has gone down with Oregon losing at home to Arizona. Yes, that is Rich Rodriguez coached Arizona, the same man who was canned from Michigan. I know it has been a week of bashing the Purdue administration around here, but I'll give credit where it is due. At least we're not Michigan. There hasn't been a whiff of impropriety in years with our athletic department. At least I hope there isn't any going on. If we're cheating in some way we're obviously doing it wrong given the results we've seen.
Back to football, however. Here are this week's B1G games
Ohio State (3-1, 0-0) at Maryland (4-1, 1-0) Noon, ABC
This should be very, very interesting. Ohio State has not looked good, except for last week against Cincinnati. Their loss is looking worse and worse as Virginia Tech flounders in the ACC. Now they get a feisty Maryland team in its first ever B1G home game. I kind of want to see Maryland win this, mostly to see Ohio State and the "Urban Meyer is God" myth get taken down a peg. Still, Meyer has never lost a Big Ten regular season game yet (Thank you very much, Danny Hope for botching the 2012 game). Ohio State 31, Maryland 27
Purdue (2-3, 0-1) at Illinois (3-2, 0-1) Noon, ESPN2
I am headed over to Champaign for this one, just as I have for every Purdue at Illinois game since 2002. Generally, good things happen to the Boilers when I go over there. Even the first visit, where Purdue fell behind 24-0, came back to lead 31-24, then got robbed twice in the final seconds of regulation when Illinois failed to break the plane on their TD and Purdue did on the Hail Mary, but was denied, was a good game.
I expect another good game tomorrow, mostly because both teams are terrible. It is a test to see if John Shoop and the offensive staff should be fired before the bus even reaches the Beef House on the way home. Illinois cannot defend against the run. They simply can't do it. They are one of the worst teams in the country against the run. Of course, they were last year too and what did Purdue do? They went away from it after having a successful first quarter.
If Purdue can't run on the Illini they can't run on anyone. I think (hope?) we can do this tomorrow and end the Big Ten losing streak. This is a very winnable game and one that hopefully will build some confidence before a murderous next four. Purdue 24, Illinois 20
North Texas (2-2) at Indiana (2-2) 2:30pm, BTN
Welcome to the random number generator that is Indiana football. The offense is clearly not the rolling juggernaut that it was last season, which is unfortunate for IU because their defense really isn't too bad. If they had this defense last year IU probably goes 8-4. In this one they get North Texas, who beat IU in 2011 and they have a Purdue connection. Reggie Pegram, who played his first two seasons in West Lafayette and even scored twice in the 2011 Little Caesar's Bowl, is their leading rusher. North Texas had 77 points last week in their FCS blowout, but who knows what's going to happen with IU. Indiana 34, North Texas 30
Wisconsin (3-1, 0-0) at Northwestern (2-2, 1-0) 3:30pm, ESPN2
What in the world got into Northwestern last week? They might be more of a random number generator than Indiana because at least IU didn't get outgained by an FCS team. Their test against Wisconsin will go a long way to deciding if they are a bowl threat. I still think they have a long road ahead, but if they could upset Notre Dame later on that would be nice. For now, Wisconsin is still the better team. Wisconsin 37, Northwestern 14
Michigan (2-3, 0-1) at Rutgers (4-1, 0-1) 7pm, BTN
Oh Michigan. I don't think things could get worse in Ann Arbor. At this point you have to question if the players are going to quit on Hoke. He clearly does not care for their well-being after last week's debacle. The administration over them could not have handled things worse this week, either. When there are open protests on campus to not only fire the coach, but the athletic director, it is bad. I think Rutgers wins this one, and probably in a walk. Rutgers 27, Michigan 10
Nebraska (5-0, 1-0) at Michigan State (3-1, 0-0) 8pm, ABC
We should call this "round 1", because it would be the best Big Ten Championship Game pairing by far. If Michigan State wins and both run the table a rematch in Indianapolis might be a play-in game for the playoff, too. Ameer Abdullah is straight up gashing people and playing like the best player in the country. Hopefully he takes a lot out of Sparty before they come to West Lafayette next week. Michigan State 21, Nebraska 17