It is time to get into the depth of Big Ten football, where multiple player arrests and the firing of coaches less than a week before the season is the new normal. So far Rutgers (Player arrests), Minnesota (AD playing grab-ass), and Illinois (Beckman) have had very turbulent events in the offseason. It will be curious to see how this affects the teams going forward.
Maybe losing our free parking isn't so bad.
Anyway, there were two games last night, so only 12 to go in the B1G Preview. They are spread over the next four days too.
Michigan State at Western Michigan, 7pm, ESPNU
Last season it was Purdue that opened with Western and the Broncos went on to have a pretty decent year with an 8-5 finish and bowl game. It is probably the best win of the Darrell Hazell era to this point, not that there is a wealth to choose from. Western gets this game at home because Michigan State worked out a series of contracts a few years ago to visit each Directional Michigan in exchange for two home games. MSU already went to Central and Eastern was forced to cancel.
This could be a bit of a game for awhile. You have a very hyped home team that is decent for a AMC squad and they have Jarvion Franklin. MSU should win, but don't be surprised if Western makes them earn it. Michigan State 31, Western Michigan 17
Kent State at Illinois, 9pm, BTN
Even with the mess that Illinois football is right now they should win this game quite easily. Kent State was awful last year, especially on offense. As we discovered, the cure for a bad offense is often the Illinois defense. Kent State was abysmal, worse-than-2013-Purdue bad as they scored more than 20 points only twice: in wins over Army and Akron. Those were their only two wins.
Illinois should have this. If not, it is going to be an even longer season in Chambana. Illinois 35, Kent State 10
Stanford at Northwestern, Noon, ESPN
This does not look very good for Northwestern, who is starting a freshman at quarterback in Clayton Thorson. He gets to go against a very good Stanford defense that is one of the few in the country to regularly give Oregon fits. At least Northwestern has Justin Jackson. They can throw rock every down and hope it works with him.
Ultimately, I will boil it to this: Stanford is pretty good. Northwestern is mediocre at best. Stanford 21, Northwestern 14
Illinois State at Iowa, Noon, BTN
Sound the upset alert horn, because the Hawkeyes are in serious trouble. Illinois State was only the FCS runner-up last season and they have Big Ten caliber QB Tre Roberson running the show. Even better, the forces of good against OMHR are lead by former Boiler (and future coach?) Brock Spack. Illinois State has an explosive offense and, well, Iowa arguably has an offense. I am not sold on Iowa and neither are Iowa fans.
As always, no Power Conference team ever has an excuse to lose to an FCS team, but that could be tested here. Iowa 27, Illinois State 24
Richmond at Maryland, Noon, ESPNU
Sound the upset alert horn, part dos. The Spiders are ranked 18th in the FCS poll and are usually a pretty feisty team in the lower division. As for Maryland, I haven't paid a single iota of attention to them because they are in the East and Purdue does not play them. They are starting a new 3-4 defense, so there is that. Maryland 45, Richmond 17
Norfolk State at Rutgers, Noon, ESPNNews
Kyle Flood had players arrested at practice yesterday and won't even fully decide on a quarterback until halftime of this bodybag game. Is he Danny Hope?
No. He said he was going to decide on a quarterback. Rutgers 55, Norfolk State 3
Penn State at Temple, 3:30pm, ESPN
The longest active FBS win streak of one opponent over another is Penn State's 31 straight over Temple. Temple tied in 1950 before losing the last 31, but hasn't beaten Penn State since 1941. Think about it. The last time Temple beat Penn State Pearl Harbor still had the Arizona actually afloat. Another Nittany Lion win ties the third longest winning streak of one opponent over another with Oklahoma over Kansas. The record is Notre Dame's 43 straight over Navy. Penn State 24, Temple 10
BYU at Nebraska, 3:30pm, ABC
This could be a tough one for the Cornhuskers. Taysom Hill is an experienced and dangerous quarterback and BYU was an 8-5 team last year. They were not afraid to get in a fight with Memphis in their bowl game, either, which is by far the most exciting thing to ever happen in Marlins Park (trust me, I have been there). With Nebraska trying to implement an entirely new system I think BYU has enough to earn a win here. BYU 21, Nebraska 17
Southern Illinois at Indiana, 4pm, ESPNNews
Purdue easily beat Southern Illinois last season and there is no excuse to lose to an FCS team. Indiana can be rightfully mocked if they lose this one. Indiana 56, Southern Illinois 14
Wisconsin vs. Alabama in Arlington, TX, 8pm, ABC
This is an interesting game, mostly because the entire SEC will collectively flip its shit if Alabama drops a second straight game to a Big Ten team. As usual, Alabama is loaded and Wisconsin has a power run game. The Crimson tide should have enough to win this neutral site game taking place in JerryWorld, but you never know. Maybe the Badgers can slow it down and grind one out. If Wisconsin swings an upset they instantly become the West favorite. Alabama 31, Wisconsin 20
Purdue at Marshall, 3pm, Fox Sports 1
So it is finally here. We open the season against Marshall and I still don't know what to think. The analysis from Herd World yesterday gives me some hope as they are breaking in a new quarterback and they lost a pretty special receiver. They also have a really damn good running back. If Michael Birdsong comes in and controls the Marshall offense like Rakeem Cato did last year, watch out.
Ultimately, I have a bad feeling about this, and that comes from Purdue inability to prove for some time that it can be good. When was the last time Purdue really shocked you? The 2009 Ohio State game? Even with improvement I think most would be surprised if Purdue won. Until proven otherwise, we're the same old, same old. Prove me wrong, please. Marshall 34, Purdue 21
Ohio State at Virginia Tech, 8pm, ESPN
Virginia Tech winning by two touchdowns in Columbus last season was perhaps the most absurd result of the season. There is no logical explanation for it, especially when the Buckeyes were a whirling death machine by the end of the year. This is a game the Buckeyes have had circled for some time, too. From a Purdue perspective, we can keep an eye on this game for Virginia Tech, who comes to Ross-Ade in a few weeks. I have a feeling that Ohio State is going to unleash hell and the Hokies won't have enough offense to keep up. Ohio State 42, Virginia Tech 24