Big Ten Football Week 4 Preview
Indiana and Purdue have bye’s this week….that being said, the Hoosiers will still find a way to lose….they always do.
Saturday, September 22
Central Michigan (1-1) @ Iowa (2-1) Noon Big Ten Network: This seems like the perfect game for Iowa to get back on track…Central Michigan is a bad team right now…and them hitting the road and visiting Kinnick is exactly what the Iowa offense needs…Here’s what I am looking for: James Vandenberg to get back on track..he needs to erupt and have a 300 yard passing game with no more than 1 INT or this could be a long season…and I hope that Kirk Ferentz pulls a Brady Hoke and leaves his starters in way too long, they need the reps….another thing I would like to see is the fan sitting in section 31, row 64, seat 21 get a100 yards rushing and a couple TD’s…all you need Mr. or Mrs. Hawkeye fan is a chance…but good luck…try not to read the following if you are the (un)lucky one selected on Saturday…by the way, hawkeyenation.com does a great job of breaking down the curse of the Iowa HB’s I mentioned last week……I like Iowa here 34-17.
UAB (0-2) @ Ohio State (3-0) Noon Big Ten Network: I have heard from all kinds of folks…and I agree that the OSU defense needs some work…and after leading Cal last week going into the half by two scores…the offense completely fell asleep, but the usually stout “Silver Bullet” defense was awful…poor tackling, missed tackles, poor pursuit angles…just not typical OSU stuff….I am guessing it was not a fun week to be a CURRENT Buckeye football player in camp this week…I am sure they had to pay for their own tattoos, purchase their own cars with their own money…when things aren’t going well, Urban steps in and really puts his foot down…and let’s put this in the proper perspective…they are still 3-0 and the best team in the Big Ten that can’t play for the Big Ten title…Bucks win 38-7.
UTEP (1-2) @ Wisconsin (2-1) Noon Big Ten Network: The Badgers are reeling…I haven’t quite seen a lot of film on Wisconsin yet, but I will pay close attention this week and see what exactly (new offensive and defensive coordinators, Russell Wilson and Nick Toon are gone) the problem is…but they really need to get some things ironed out this week…with a trip to Lincoln next then the two week span that will make or break their season…home vs Illinois and then hitting the road vs Purdue…Wisconsin will have showed us what we need to see before the halfway point of the season…and truthfully, it may be the worst Badger team we have seen for quite some time…pre Bielema….Wisconsin wins, but they will not wow anyone…24-14.
EMU (0-3) @ Michigan State (2-1) 3:30pm Big Ten Network: The Spartans want to get back to their winning ways…and how do they do that?…they welcome in the Eastern Michigan Eagles…I just can’t figure out what has happened to EMU…after a 6-6 season in 2011 I really figured they would be back in the hunt for maybe one of the 57 bowl games played before the end of December…but after losing their first three, it looks like more of the same old Eagles…MSU needs to rebound and throttle Eastern or the fan base could get hostile…we all know last weekend was not a great weekend to be living room furniture in East Lansing…I think Andrew Maxwell gets going early and the Le’Veon Bell shows resumes regularly scheduled programming next week in Spartan Stadium…nice scoreboards by the way…do stats come with those or no?..no?…ok then….MSU wins 48-3.
Idaho State (1-1) @ Nebraska (2-1) 3:30pm Big Ten Network: The good news out of Lincoln this week is three fold…first…Rex Burkhead is expected to be back and playing for the Corn….second, Bo Pelini is also expected to be roaming the sidelines and screaming at everything he can when the Tigers come to Memorial Stadium….and finally the Nebraska Corn Festival will be on full display for the 231st consecutive week….there is a lot of corn in that part of the country….hence the almost four and a half year festival…Nebraska wins and wins going away as you will probably see some new wrinkles with the Huskers…maybe both Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah in the same backfield…but they really need to improve their defense…a trip to Madison is next…Corn wins 56-21.
South Dakota (1-1) @ Northwestern (3-0) 3:30pm Big Ten Network: Why is everyone climbing on this purple wagon?….is it because they all want the Wildcats to be good or perhaps even relevant?…not sure…but I am hearing from certain folks how good their defense looks…and yes they had some big stops vs Vandy…and a few vs BC…but they are dead last in the Big Ten in yards allowed per game…Pat Fitzgerald is winning…but right now he is doing it A) out of conference, like he does every year…and B) with smoke and mirrors…we will see how it all shakes down when they get their Big Ten Schedule rolling next week…nevermind..that they play Indiana…Kyle Prater watch…three games…5 catches..35 yards no TD’s…6th on the team in grabs…the Wildcats will win..but they will struggle..Cats 27-20.
Temple (1-1) @ Penn State (1-2) 3:30pm ABC: What is it with ABC and Penn State?…two straight weeks they roll with the Lions?….I would love to see how the pecking order went this week when the networks got to choose the games they will broadcast….PSU is 5th in the Big Ten in passing yards per game…and yes, Matt McGloin is still the QB…his passer rating went down a bit (and why wouldn’t it vs that menacing Navy defense) so he sits at 6th in passer efficiency in the conference…The Owls have officially dropped of the windshield that is college football…after Al Golden left, they crashed back to the hard pavement after being a bug that was on the windshield briefly and after being doused with a heavy dose of fluid…they are no longer a story…even in State College….Penn State beats Temple 27-10.
Michigan (2-1) @ Notre Dame (3-0) 7:30pm NBC: Isn’t Notre Dame due to win this game?…last year they manhandled the Wolverines for three and a half quarters and then Denard hit a few big plays and it was buhbye Irish…the year before?… Denard scored the winning TD with less than 30 seconds to go…in 2009 it was Tate Forcier with the come-from-behind heroics in Ann Arbor…bottom line is this…Junior Hemingway is gone…The Michigan offensive line hasn’t looked as good as most believed it was supposed to and the Michigan defensive line is about as good as most of us thought it would be at this stage…maybe worse…but then ND had to go and beat up on MSU…and that created a stir…I don’t think ND is as good as it looked last week and I would go so far as to say their secondary is worse than it was last season which gives UM some hope…(just for the record…in my prediction for the UM-ND game in 2011 my last line was this…”Denard Robinson will lead a late drive for a come-from-behind win”) but….isn’t ND due to win this game?…Irish beat UM 33-26…
Louisiana Tech (2-0) @ Illinois (2-1) 8:00pm Big Ten Network: This Illini team needs to get healthy…like today. I think Tim Beckman’s team is teetering on the edge of slipping into the void a lot of first year coaches do….some decent promise heading into the year…a few key players go down with injuries and the season tailspins out of control and they miss a bowl game…but the word out of Champana is that Scheelhaase is close to 100% healthy and ready to go…he’ll play..he is just a difference maker for Illinois…the Fighting Illini have the 5th ranked defense in the Big Ten…what could be a chink in the Illini armor is the Illini pass defense is 7th in the conference…I like Illinois at home…35-30.
Syracuse (1-2) @ Minnesota (3-0) 8:00pm Big Ten Network: When it’s all said and done this Saturday night or Sunday morning…this game may be the best of the lot of the Big Ten schedule…The Orange lost in week one by a point to the charmed Northwestern Wildcats 42-41…then…Syracuse held its own against a very talented USC Trojan team but still lost 42-29…Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib is the catalyst…and the only reason they have been in their games this year…he has already thrown for over 1100 yards…9 TD’s and is averaging nearly 380 yds/game throwing…he is completing 66% of his passes too..The Gophers are currently 3rd in the Big Ten in total defense…expect that ranking to go down…I am guessing the loss of Gopher QB MarQueis Gray will catch up to Minnesota this week…Syracuse hits the road and beats Minnesota 52-44 in OT…