Thank you very much, Darrell Hazell! It only took two games and a bye week to have many of us give up on the 2016 season. Just two weeks ago I had some faith that Purdue would beat Cincinnati and start some sort of a turnaround. Now I am pretty much expecting a 1-11 season if it loses tomorrow. It was his last stand two weeks ago. Barring a completely unexpected turnaround we are merely waiting out the string until the end.
There is still some football to be played, however, and we’re going to preview it or die trying.
Nevada (2-1) at Purdue (1-1) Noon, ESPNNews
Hazell failed me for the last time two weeks ago. Suddenly we're supposed to believe the defense is better when two hobbled starters might play a handful of snaps in Larkin and Hunte? Purdue is down two tackles on an already thin offensive line and Markell Jones is banged up. The staff is still hellbent on its 4-2-5 scheme despite linebackers being a strength on this team and facing a strong running team. This is shaping up to be a disaster. Two years ago Purdue faced a similar team in Central Michigan and got absolutely pantsed at home by a mediocre MAC team. The way Hazell has talked in preparation, plus the key injuries, make me feel like this will be a repeat of that. Nevada 45, Purdue 24
Colorado State (2-1) at Minnesota (2-0) Noon, ESPNU
All of the attention on former Purdue players is directed at Austin Appleby and Danny Etling, but there is a forgotten player involved in this game. Dalyn Dawkins, a 4-star running back that played as a true freshman in 2013 before being run off, has had a nice little career as a primary back for Colorado State. Last year he ran for 867 yards and two scores, and this year he has 156 yards and a TD for the Rams. They haven’t really beaten anyone and will likely drop this one, but it will be fun to keep an eye on him. Minnesota 27, Colorado State 17
Iowa (2-1) at Rutgers (2-1) Noon, ESPN2
Rutgers has established a pattern of falling behind by at least two touchdowns before attempting to stage a comeback. It has worked twice, but it did not work against the one good team they faced in Washington. I don’t think that will work against Iowa, unless Kirk Ferentz is willing to go ultra-conservative again and try to sit on a lead. He probably will. Iowa 17, Rutgers 16
#11 Wisconsin (3-0) at #8 Michigan State (2-0) Noon, BTN
Wisconsin looked just awful last week on offense, barely getting by a winless Sun Belt team. Michigan State looked great in going up 36-7 on Notre Dame before cruising to the end. I have no idea how this ended up as a noon game on BTN, but here we are. This should be a prime time game as Wisconsin is the great West hope fighting against the best of the east. It should be a fun one. Michigan State 27, Wisconsin 24
Penn State (2-1) at #4 Michigan (3-0) 3:30pm, ABC
Michigan continues its opening parade of progressively tougher games. Penn State is likely better than Colorado, but it was still a great joy to see their smug taken down a peg in the loss to Pittsburgh. Their fans feel it should be a big four in the east with Michigan State, Michigan, and Ohio State, but this game should show that it is a big 3. Continuing the theme of the season, Penn State can’t lose by enough to me. Michigan 35, Penn State 24
Wake Forest (3-0) at Indiana (2-0) 3:30pm, BTN
Indiana is going for a second straight undefeated non-conference slate and I don’t think they necessarily needs it if a second straight bowl game is in the cards. The Hoosiers are a legitimate good team and quite easily dispatched their first two foes. Now they get an undefeated Wake Forest team that beat Duke as a “Hey, we might be for real” team. Of course, northwestern also beat Duke. I feel like I should mention here that the kick was not good. Indiana 45, Wake Forest 21