You know…each season in the non-conference schedule there is a game that I should’ve gone with my inner football voice. It’s the voice that makes me stop looking at games how I should and it says to me ‘I have a feeling about this game, you may want to go with the underdog or against the heavy favorite’…most times, I tell that voice to quiet down or I explain to it that there is no way that Northern Illinois can go into Iowa City and beat the Hawkeyes….I tell the voice things like ‘Ferentz has been under fire for two years now…there is too much riding on this game for him to lose it’…or like this ‘his team is under the radar this season…it is a typical season in which he brings his team from under the radar to a threat in November for the Big Ten crown’….I usually trump the voice (who from now on will be called The Jackson because when the voice talks to me, it sounds like Keith Jackson)…What the blazes am I talking about??…I really almost picked Northern Illinois to win last Saturday….but I told the Jackson to be quiet. I will never doubt the Jackson again…..On to week Two….
South Florida (0-1) @ Michigan State (1-0)
Noon ESPNU: This will be the 1st meeting between the two schools. This is exactly what the Spartans need to get the kinks out of their offensive woes…a poor defensive team. The Bulls gave up over 420 yards to McNeese State in their season opening home loss last week. The Cowboys also put up 53 points on South Florida…so…if Michigan State cannot get an offensive rhythm established, complete between 50 and 60 percent of their passes and turn the ball over less than two times then I believe it could be said that they are in trouble this season. I am not worried about the defense and no one should be….but if their offense is as bad as it was vs WMU, then they could be in big, big trouble….Look for MSU to put a hurt on the Bulls. Spartans win big 35-10.
Eastern Michigan (1-0) @ Penn State (1-0)
Noon Big Ten Network: The Nittany Lions lead the all-time series 2-0, all the games have been played at Beaver Stadium. The Eagles are 1-0 after beating Howard University last week 34-24. EMU used a pretty balanced attack too…210 passing yards and 170 rushing….but this could be a make or break season for EMU coach Ron English. He is beginning his 5th year in Ypsilanti and is just 11-38…is there a more difficult college football job in the country?…it seems like most teams have at least had a couple of seasons over .500 since the 1980’s…English got them to 6-6 in 2011, Rick Rasnick was 6-5 in 1995 and then Jim Harkema had a 7-3-1 record in 1989…that’s it for .500 or better for the last 23 years….speaking of .500, that is what EMU’s record will be after this one…PSU wins 30-21.
Tennessee Tech (1-0) @ #21 Wisconsin (1-0)
Noon Big Ten Network: Be very careful Gary Andersen….this game has danger written all over it…we have discussed Watson Brown and his Golden Eagles before…I believe it was in 2011 when Brown brought his Tech squad to Iowa City and got beat by Kirk Ferentz…but coach Brown (brother of Texas coach Mack Brown) has been a head coach for 29 years with stops at Vanderbilt, UAB and now Tennessee Tech…his offense is a spread look and had five different backs carry the ball at least 7 times last week in their 63-7 win over Cumberland….The Golden Eagles also rushed for over 320 yards and averaged over 7 yards per carry….we will see how the Badgers handle this team….I like Wisconsin, but I think Tech gives them a run…Badgers win 42-24.
Cincinnati (1-0) @ Illinois (1-0)
Noon ESPN2: The Bearcats won the only previous meeting in 2009 in Cincy 49-36. The Bearcats handled one of the perceived bottom-feeders of the Big Ten last week in Purdue….but I think that was one of those games where I don’t feel the Boilers were as bad as they played and the Bearcats weren’t as good as they played either. We will find out this week as Tim Beckman hasn’t really made an impact yet as Illini coach. A win this week however would do wonders for his less-than-impressive head coaching resume in Champana thus far. His schedule gets significantly tougher from here on out as he gets Washington next week, then a bye, then hosts Miami, Ohio and then the Big Ten schedule starts with a trip to Lincoln. Illinois rides the arm of Nathan Scheelhaase and pulls the upset as Illinois beats Cincinnati 30-24….The Jackson speaks….he is 1-0 this year, so I will listen.
Missouri State (0-1) @ Iowa (0-1)
Noon Big Ten Network: This will be the first meeting between the two schools. I was getting information that this game was not going to be broadcast on tv this week until the Big Ten Network had to be reminded by Big Ten commissioner Jim $ Delany that Iowa was indeed still a Big Ten school….ZING!…seriously, what happens if the Hawks lose THIS game?…can they?…yes, but I don’t think they do. Iowa will flex it’s MAC-like muscle and thump the Bears. But is winning this game enough to put an end to the criticism?….doubt it. I have been one of the biggest supporters of Ferentz, but it seems from results over the past three seasons or so….that I have seen this before. Specifically in Ann Arbor in and around 2007 before Lloyd Carr ‘retired’. It is always disappointing to see heat like this come down on a coach that has done so much for a school like Ferentz has done for Iowa… Hawkeyes beat Missouri State 45-7.
Indiana State (0-1) @ Purdue (0-1)
Noon Big Ten Network: Purdue leads the all-time series 3-0…all games have been in West Lafayette and the last meeting was in 2006. We will call this game the Bounce Back Bowl as both teams are trying to forget last weeks’ embarrassing performances as the Sycamores gave up 73 points to the Hoosiers and the Boilermakers were tattooed by Cincinnati 42-7. I say this each and every year too and it seems that it proves to be right a little over 50% of the time (just like me) that a team improves the most between its first and second game….but I also think the Boilers will welcome their first home game of 2013 and use that momentum to beat the Sycamores. I like Darrell Hazell to win his first game as Purdue head coach with a 28-17 victory.
San Diego State (0-1) @ #3 Ohio State (1-0)
3:30pm ABC: The Buckeyes lead the all-time series vs the Aztecs 3-0. All games have been played in Columbus and the last meeting was in 2005. The Aztecs lost their home opener to Eastern Illinois 40-19 last week…SDSU’s QB Adam Dingwell was 27of 63 for 318 yards but he threw 4 INT’s…that loss shows me how much the program has fallen since Brady Hoke left it. When a QB like Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois lights you up for 361 and three TD’s you are not on the map of even second tier D-1 programs…and it means you have zero chance of coming into Columbus and making your mark. The Urban Buckeyes pound the Aztecs into submission with a 55-6 haymaker and ready themselves for the trip to Cali.
Syracuse (0-1) @ #19 Northwestern (1-0)
6:00pm Big Ten Network: The all-time series is tied at 5-5. The Orange have won two of the last three meetings but the Wildcats are 3-2 at home in the series. The Cats are banged up with QB Kain Colter, HB Venric Mark and CB Daniel Jones all being hurt last week…and at last word, Colter and Mark were day-to-day but Jones hurt his knee and surgery earlier this week ended his 2013 season. So those items make this game a bit more interesting. But I still love me some Trevor Siemian. I think they have enough to beat the Orange this week and then they should have some time to get healthy before the Big Ten schedule gets under way…and I would rest everyone as long as I could. I don’t think another team has a more difficult start to the conference slate as the Cats do…Northwestern wins their home opener 28-24.
Navy (0-0) @ Indiana (1-0)
6:00pm Big Ten Network: The Hoosiers lead the all-time series 2-1. The Midshipmen won the last meeting 31-30 last season. Coach Kevin Wilson wants this one…last years one point loss in Annapolis was a heartbreaker for him. It could’ve been his first legit non-conference road win at IU…but now he just wants to bury these guys….Tre Roberson will probably see more action than he did last week when he threw all of 6 passes. Keep an eye out for IU’s #1 Shane Wynn…he’s only 5’7”, but he is excitement in a can. The little guy is explosive and you have to know where he is at all times. I really like IU to roll the Middies…Hoosiers 52-27.
Southern Mississippi (0-1) @ #22 Nebraska (1-0)
6:00pm Big Ten Network: The Corn leads the all-time series 3-1…Nebraska won last year 49-20. I wasn’t impressed with Nebraska defensively…I really thought that they would have a lot to prove after giving up more than 110 points in their final two games of 2012. I guess technically, they are improved defensively…they only gave up 34 to Wyoming…right?…..grasping at straws?…yeah, I know. But be careful Corn fans…Eagle QB Allan Bridgford threw for 377 last week and the Southern Miss defense only gave up 215 yards of total offense to Texas State in the loss. They shut down the Bobcats running game giving them only 81 yards and a measly 2 yards per carry average….so as long as Southern Miss has an offensive unit against the Nebraska D, they have a chance..I like Taylor Martinez to win, but another close one. Corn 35-31.
#14 Notre Dame (1-0) @ #17 Michigan (1-0)
8:00pm ESPN: Michigan leads the all-time series 18-15-1 and is 11-6 in Ann Arbor vs the Irish and has won three of the last four meetings…Notre Dame hasn’t won in Ann Arbor since a 17-10 win in 2005 (0-3). This game marks the last in Ann Arbor for the near future (at least into the 2020’s) from what I am hearing. ND QB Tommy Rees torched Temple last week on 16 of 23 passing for 346 yards and 3 TD’s…in 2011 vs Michigan he was 27-39 for 315 and 3 TD’s, 2 INT’s and at least 2 fumbles and/or mishandled snaps…then in 2012 he was 8-11 for 115…so that puts him 35 of 50 for 430 yards…good completion percentage but turnovers were killers for him….I do not expect him to be as rattled as he was two seasons ago at the first night game in Ann Arbor…I think he will play well, the running game will be sufficient, but I am just not sure that ND will be ready for Devin Gardner…as he goes, so go the Wolverines…breakout game for Gardner as Michigan wins another classic 31-29.
Minnesota (1-0) @ New Mexico State (0-1)
8:0pm BTN2Go: The Aggies lead the all-time series vs Minnesota 1-0 winning at TCF Field in 2011. The Aggies were hammered in Austin last week by Texas 56-7. You may look at this game and say ‘Who Cares?’…but Big Ten fan, heads up…these are the kinds of games that can show some things. If the Gophers can go out west, under the radar as they are and beat a New Mexico State it may signify that they are coming together as a team. When late October rolls around and Minnesota is sitting there at 5-2 with Nebraska coming into the Bank and Minnesota beats them….these are the games that may tell you that it’s coming. I like the Goldies to hammer the Aggies and to give them a big handshake afterwards too…after all, that 2011 loss was the game that got Tim Brewster booted from Minneapolis…now aren’t you glad you lost to them back then?….Tinysota beats NMSU 45-13.
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