ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 01: Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines runs 9 yards for a first quarter touchdown during the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Michigan Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
One week of conference games are in the book, and it's already clear that Wisconsin is the class of the Big 10 this year. Week 2 of conference play features far more boring matchups compared to last weeks games. Of the five games, two of them should be blowouts, and two should be pretty painful to watch.
Game of the Week:
Michigan put an expected butt whooping on Minnesota last week, but may have a more difficult time beating Northwestern this week. Dan Persa rejuvenated the Wildcat offense in his return to the field last week, even though they still lost. Michigan struggled to beat the only other good offensive team on their schedule, so I expect this to be the closest game of the week. If Northwestern's defense can contain Denard Robinson at all and force him to throw, they have a real chance to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Michigan - 37 Northwestern - 30
All the Rest:
How this game is on ESPN, I'll never know. Minnesota comes into this game after suffering their worst loss ever to Michigan. Purdue staggers into this game at 2-2, and is a blocked FG away from 1-3. In a game featuring two teams fighting for last in the Big Ten, one of these teams has to stumble into a win. Might as well be Minnesota.
Prediction: Minnesota - 17 Purdue - 14
Illinois Fighting Illini 5-0 (1-0) @ Indiana Hoosiers 1-4 (0-1) - 2:30 PM on BTN
Last Week: Illinois won 38-35 Indiana lost 16-10
Favorite: Illinois (-14.5 o/u 53)
All Time Series: Illinois leads 44-21-2
Illinois is a sneaky 5-0 so far this year. They've Zooked their way to 3 point victories in each of the past 3 weeks against ASU, WMU and Northwestern. This week, they should have a bit of an easier win, as Indiana is bad at almost everything. But knowing Illinois, this game will be closer than it should be for awhile.
Prediction: Illinois - 35 Indiana - 20
Ohio State Buckeyes 3-2 (0-1) @ Nebraska Cornhuskers 4-1 (0-1) - 8 PM EST on ABC
Last Week: OSU lost 10-7 Nebraska lost 48-17
Favorite: Nebraska (-11 o/u 44)
All Time Series: OSU leads 2-0
Ohio State and Nebraska meet for the first time since 1956 on Saturday. Each team is coming off a loss in their conference opener and needs a win so they don't fall too far out of contention for their division. Ohio State found out earlier this week that they'd be without DeVier Posey, Boom Herron (whom they expected back after serving their 5 game suspensions) and offensive lineman Marcus Hall who were all suspended one game for receiving impermissible benefits. They also found out that their second leading receiver, Verlon Reed will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. So while Nebraska was exposed by Wisconsin last week, Ohio State's offense will be putrid enough for Nebraska to walk away with an easy win.
Prediction: Nebraska - 31 OSU - 13
Bye Weeks: Michigan State, Wisconsin