Last week Northwestern and Rutgers ruined the 14-0 dream week for the Big Ten. Because of bye weeks, that was the lone shot the conference had at a perfect 14-0. Michigan State is off this week, meaning there are only 13 games. The Big Ten should have another big week as only a few of the teams will be seriously challenged.
Maryland (1-0) at Florida International (0-1) 7:30pm, CBS Sports
Somehow Florida International managed to get a pair of Big Ten teams to come to Miami and face them to start the season. Last week it was Indiana, and the Golden Panthers had a slim lead before getting run off the field in the fourth quarter. That probably means that we get a competitive Friday night game since Maryland beat up a hapless Howard team and wasn’t really tested last week. The Terps should still win, but a loss is no out of the question. Maryland 31, FIU 27
Cincinnati (1-0) at Purdue (1-0) Noon, BTN
It is amazing what one blowout of an FCS team can do. Before the year I was convinced that Purdue was toast in this game. Now I am cautiously hopeful. I view this game as Darrell Hazell’s last stand. Cincinnati was far from impressive last week. Purdue struggled in the second quarter, but still never let the game get close. If there is going to be a turnaround it starts in this very game. Purdue absolutely can win this. In fact, since they are playing at home I think they need to win it. If this were last season you could almost guarantee a home blowout loss because that happened four times to similar teams. A win at least opens a few eyes in the “Hey, maybe Purdue doesn’t suck as much as we thought” category, which would be nice.
You got my faith one last time, Darrell. Don’t blow it. Purdue 27, Cincinnati 24
Wyoming (1-0) at Nebraska (1-0) Noon, ESPN2
Wyoming had to survive a lightning delay and three overtimes to beat Northern Illinois last week. Nebraska had an emotional home win over Fresno State. This is the type of game that good Nebraska wins at home with ease, but Wyoming’s Craig Bohl did start the Death Star that is North Dakota State by winning the first three of their now five straight FCS titles. That has to be worth something. Nebraska 42, Wyoming 21
Penn State (1-0) at Pittsburgh (1-0) Noon, ESPN
IT IS NOT A RIVALRY!!! This game represents years of back and forth between the two schools that has outsiders saying, “WHY DON’T YOU TWO JUST F*** ALREADY!” Well, after 16 years of eying each other at the bar, they are. Expect a lot of ground action with James Conner and Saquon Barkley both as stud running backs. Because Penn State should never have nice things again I think Pitt needs this. Pitt 28, Penn State 24
Central Florida (1-0) at No. 5 Michigan (1-0) Noon, ABC
The good news is that Central Florida has already won a game after going unwinfeated last year. The bad news is they now get Michigan. There will be blood. Michigan 52, Central Florida 10
Howard (0-1) at Rutgers Noon, BTN
Howard lost 52-13 at Maryland last week. Maryland is better than Rutgers, so please, don’t screw this up, Rutgers. Rutgers 49, Howard 14
Indiana State (1-0) at Minnesota (1-0) Noon, ESPNNews
I like the Trees and Minnesota struggled last week, but this is another paycheck FCS game. Minnesota shouldn’t be seriously challenged. Minnesota 45, Indiana State 10
Illinois State (1-0) at Northwestern 3:30pm, BTN
The Wildcats lost to future Purdue coach P.J. Fleck last week and now they face Brock Spack and the No. 9 team at the FCS level. The WMU loss was definitely concerning, but a loss this week could turn that into full-fledged panic with Duke and the Big Ten schedule ahead. The Redbirds are good enough to put a scare into Northwestern. Northwestern 24, Illinois State 14
Tulsa (1-0) at No. 4 Ohio State (1-0) 3:30pm, ABC
I sure hope the poor, mistreated, abused, and morose Ohio State fans can enjoy football again this week. What they suffered through last year was unbearable. Ohio State 55, Tulsa 10
Akron (1-0) at Wisconsin (1-0) 3:30pm, BTN
It took this long to get to some delicious MACtion against the Big Ten? Well, this shouldn’t be pretty. Wisconsin announced itself as the B1G West favorite with the win over LSU and this should be little more than a tune-up. Wisconsin 34, Akron 10
Ball State (1-0) at Indiana (1-0) 4pm, ESPNNews
Ball State has won three in a row against Indiana.
Let’s read that again, with proper all-caps hyperbole.
BALL STATE HAS WON THREE STRAIGHT FOOTBALL GAMES AGAINST INDIANA!!!!
The Cards are only 4-51 all-time against Power 5 schools, but three of those wins have come against IU. The Hoosiers struggled offensively last week, but uncharacteristically showed a defense. They’ll probably get the offense fired up this week, but if they don’t, it will feel good to point and laugh at Bloomington again. Indiana 48, Ball State 24
North Carolina (0-1) at Illinois (1-0) 7:30pm BTN
If you thought Purdue fans were excited to blowout an Ohio valley team last week you should see Illinois fans. The Chicago Tribune practically sainted Lovie Smith and entrusted him with solving the city’s murder crisis. Now they get a real team in North Carolina, who had a hard fought loss to Georgia last week. I think the Tar Heels put a dampener on the Lovie Love in a big way. North Carolina 38, Illinois 17
Iowa State (0-1) at Iowa (1-0) 7:30pm BTN
Don’t even bother trying to predict this game. If El Assico has taught us anything over the year it is that this game follows no rhyme or reason. Iowa should win handily after Iowa State lost to FCS Northern Iowa last week. I would not be shocked in the slightest if Iowa State won. This is like Calvinball. If the final were Q to 12 I wouldn’t be surprised. Iowa 27, Iowa State 19