To be honest folks…to this point in the season, it’s been pretty easy. I know I put myself out there for scrutiny with a statement like that, but it has been easy. With the exception of blowing a Tubberville explosion in week one and overlooking Indiana’s refusal to put a defense on the field week in and week out I have had a pretty good start to 2013. This week however, it gets tough…two of the Big Ten’s best teams are not only on the road, but they are playing PAC 12 opponents, speaking of the PAC 12…the Big Ten is facing four PAC 12 teams this week and three teams from the MAC…so let’s see what happens.
Bowling Green (2-0) @ Indiana (1-1) Noon ESPNU: This will be the first meeting between the two schools. The Falcons have beaten Tulsa 34-7 and Kent State 41-22. Be very careful Hoosiers. This Falcon defense is pretty stingy. They force turnovers and get offenses off the field on 3rd downs….Defensive Coordinator Mike Elko has done a great job since the gig was his in 2009. His defenses are averaging almost 2 forced TO’s a game. His teams also have held opponents to a 36% success rate on 3rd downs…so IU will have to be sharp. I am hearing a rumbling…but I just don’t think it’s loud enough for me to listen to. I think Kevin Wilson will get back to scoring more than his opponents this week. I like the Hoosiers to win at home…IU 33-28.
Akron (1-1) @ #11 Michigan (2-0) Noon Big Ten Network: This will be the first meeting between the two schools. There has to be some let down after last week right?…couple that with the first road game of the season next week and I can see the Michigan team losing a bit of focus. Terry Bowden will bring his spread offense to Ann Arbor and see if he can get the family record vs Michigan over the .500 mark. His daddy was 1-1 vs Michigan while at Florida State. Akron set some MAC records for yardage and TD passes last year, but the only team they beat was FCS school Morgan State. I like the Wolverines to win…they will get their running game going and it will be over by halftime. Michigan wins 48-14. Read the full game preview here: Michigan vs Akron
Western Illinois (2-0) @ Minnesota (2-0) Noon Big Ten Network: This will be the first meeting between the two schools. The Leathernecks have a new coach and his name is Bob Nielson, He comes from Minnesota-Duluth where he finished with a 100-26 record in 10 seasons. He won the NCAA Division II National Championship in 2008 and 2010 with 15-0 records both seasons. This will be a bigger challenge than last week for Jerry Kill and his staff. If they can finish off this game with a W, then I think the Gophers are on their way to a perfect September. The Minnesota defense is playing very well and the rushing attack of the offense is coming off a fantastic week. I like the Pher’s to cruise this week and beat Western Illinois 35-10.
#16 UCLA (1-0) @ #23 Nebraska (2-0) Noon ABC: Nebraska leads the all-time series 6-5 and have won six of the last eight meetings..UCLA has only beaten the Corn once in Lincoln, back in 1948 (1-4). You talk about tough road games for the Bruins this year?…after Nebraska, their easiest roadie of the year is Utah….then in order..they go to Stanford, then Oregon (back-to back weeks none the less), then Arizona and finally they go to USC….wow…you think they win any of those?…I think they beat Utah…and folks, the Jackson (2-0) had nothing to do with this, but I think the Bruins come into Memorial Stadium and their defense will get the tough road win…I like UCLA to beat Nebraska…37-35. Read the full game preview here: Nebraska vs UCLA
Youngstown State (2-0) @ Michigan State (2-0) 2:00pm Big Ten Network: Michigan State leads the all-time series 1-0…they beat the Penguins in East Lansing 28-6 back in 2011. I love college football, but I do not enjoy watching Michigan State this year…they are the team I have watched the most behind Michigan so far…and it’s because I make myself do it. I keep saying the Spartans need to find some offense…especially if their defense can’t score twice every game. Look..I think they beat Youngstown State this week and I think they win big…but this will be the last week I say this if they don’t…the Penguins have scored 95 points in their two games. MSU wins 35-10.
Iowa (1-1) @ Iowa State (0-1) 6:00pm Fox Sports 1: The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series vs Iowa State 37-18..but the Cyclones have won the last two meetings. Kirk Ferentz is 6-8 in the series and is 2-4 in Ames. The Cyclones lost at home last week to Northern Iowa 28-20. ISU coach Paul Rhodes begins his fifth season in Ames and he has some decent W’s to his credit…he is 2-2 vs Iowa..but his two wins have come the last two times the rivals have played. The last time Iowa lost three in a row to Iowa State was when they lost 5 straight from 1998 to 2002…so Captain Kirk could be in rare company with a loss. I think Iowa keeps the running game going this week with over 200 yards and I think they pound the Cyclones in Ames. Hawkeyes win the CyHawk Trophy 22-15.
Central Florida (2-0) @ Penn State (2-0) 6:00pm Big Ten Network: Penn State leads the all-time series 2-0…the last meeting was in 2004. The Knights have victories over Akron 38-7 and they won at Florida International last week 38-0. Keep an eye out for UCF HB Storm Johnson…he is a University of Miami transfer. He is averaging just under five yards per carry and has 188 yards rushing in two games. This will be a test for Penn State. George O’Leary has his squad playing well right now, but hitting the road will be a challenge…especially a night game in Beaver Stadium. I think Christian Hackenberg will struggle a bit, but the running game will win this one for the Nittany Lions…Penn State wins 28-20. Read the full game preview here: Penn State vs Central Florida
#19 Washington (1-0) vs Illinois (1-1) in Chicago 6:00pm Big Ten Network: Washington leads the all-time series 5-4 but is 0-1 in neutral site games. The Huskies have won five of the last six meetings. Washington ripped Boise State last week 38-6 in one of the bigger shockers of the 2013 season in my opinion. Washington totaled 324 passing yards and 268 rushing yards. My guess is we will have an offensive shootout in Soldier Field on Saturday night. Illinois is coming off a great performance from their QB Nathan Scheelhaase. Washington was led by their senior QB Keith Price who was 23-31 and two TD’s…I like Washington to win this road game…it will be because Illinois will not have an answer for the Husky offense…Washington wins 38-28.
#4 Ohio State (2-0) @ California (1-1) 7:00pm Fox: Ohio State leads the all-time series 6-1…The Buckeyes have won the last six meetings. We know what happened to Cal last week at home…Northwestern happened…wait until the Buckeyes unleash Urban on the Golden Bears. I also read somewhere that Urban hasn’t traveled out west to coach a game since he was an assistant at Notre Dame in 2000 and he went to USC…so this may be interesting….but only for about a half. And no, it doesn’t matter if Braxton Miller plays or not..The Buckeyes will continue the Big Ten’s winning ways out west this fall with a resounding 42-20 victory. Read the full game preview here: Ohio State vs Cal
#21 Notre Dame (1-1) @ Purdue (1-1) 8:00pm ABC: Notre Dame leads the all-time series 54-25-2 and has won five straight, seven of the last eight and eleven of the last 14 meetings. They are 25-14 at Ross-Ade vs Purdue. The Shillelagh Trophy is on the line. Can Darrell Hazell and the Boilermakers muster up some magic and make this game competitive?…let’s see..one of the strengths of Purdue is their secondary so if Tommy Rees can play anything like he did last week vs Michigan and if the Boilers do some homework on the ND passing game…but that still means the Boilers will have to move the ball somehow vs that defensive line…and I just don’t think they currently have the horses to do anything vs the Irish…ND wins their first road game of 2013 28-17. Read the full game preview here: Notre Dame vs Purdue
Western Michigan (0-2) @ #17 Northwestern (2-0) 9:00pm Big Ten Network: This will be the first meeting between the two schools. I just keep looking for the week that Northwestern lets their guard down…is it this week?…even if it is, they should still be able to beat the Broncos. WMU lost to Nicholls State last week 27-23. The Wildcats have too many weapons to lose at home to a pretty bad Western Michigan team….I would expect another score update from Evanston at halftime very similar to the last week….they should be up by 20 to 30 points at the half and they should coast to a 42-10 victory.
#20 Wisconsin (2-0) @ Arizona State (1-0) 10:30pm ESPN: Arizona State leads the all-time series 2-1 but Wisconsin won the last meeting in 2010 in Madison 20-19. I really can’t wait for this game…ASU has a really fun offense to watch…they lit up Sacramento State last week 55-0 and now they face a Badger team that hasn’t given up a single point yet in 2013. I think the Big Ten’s success out west ends in this one. I like the Sun Devils to really catch Gary Andersen and his boys off guard. Wisconsin has had it pretty easy…going on the road is tough…going on the road out west is tougher…and going on the road to this Sun Devil Stadium will be very close to impossible. ASU wins at home 35-28.
To receive an email each time I post a Big Ten Football article, fill out the Email Notification Form
You can also follow me on Twitter @isportsChad