Big Ten Preview: Week Three

Eric Francis

Not every game is a cupcake game this week. I can't believe it either.

So last week was fun, amirite? Gonna try to make sure that doesn't happen again...unless the person is Lane Kiffin. Enjoy gainful unemployment in four weeks, bro!

As for the Big Ten, this week has some awesome matchups, including UCLA @ Nebraska and Penn State's showdown with UCF. Naturally, no matter how great the games will be, they'll all pale in comparison to USA/Mexico from Tuesday, because America. Dos a Cero, bitches.

To the games!

Saturday, September 14

Bowling Green @ Indiana, Noon

This certainly won't be the best matchup of the week, but this is one of the more interesting games you'll find. Bowling Green is probably the second best team in the MAC this year behind Northern Illinois, which means they're the second friskiest team in all of college football because #MACtion. As for Indiana, they lost to Navy 41-35 last week, but at least they showed some toughness battling back from an early 17-0 deficit to make it close.

The thing that kills Indiana, as we've seen all season, is that they are morally opposed to playing defense. If you tell Indiana not to give up six points, they'll find a way to give up eight. It's remarkable. Their two opponents so far this season are an FCS team (Indiana State) and a team that does one thing on offense (Navy), and Indiana is still 109th in the country in scoring defense. Bowling Green's offense? 36th in rushing yards, 42nd in points, 47th in passing yards. GOTTA GET SOME MACTION, GOTTA GET SOME MACTION NOW.

Prediction: Bowling Green 45, Indiana 38

Watchability: #MACtion

Western Illinois @ Minnesota, Noon

Can we take two seconds to enjoy Minnesota's schedule so far this year? UNLV, @ New Mexico St, Western Illinois. The first two teams suck. The third one is in the FCS. It's pure evil. They know how to schedule opponents to start 3-0 before winning two games in conference. Not even gonna provide analysis, because FBS teams should always beat FCS teams. Right, Lloyd Carr?

Prediction: Minnesota 38, Western Illinois 17

Watchability: Meh

#16 UCLA @ #23 Nebraska, Noon

The best sporting events, other than the ones that involve Mexico losing in futbol, are the ones where you have zero idea what the result will be. I've been sitting here for a while, I have zero idea which way this game is gonna go, and I love that.

One thing is certain: both of these teams are going to run. UCLA is 7th in the country in rushing yards, Nebraska is 8th. Both teams have explosive QB's (Taylor Martinez and Brett Hundley) and stud RB's (Ameer Abdullah and Jordan James). Neither team will really shred you through the air -- even though both certainly can -- because they will both want to establish the running game. However, if Hundley has time to throw, and I have zero reason to think he won't, he will annihilate Nebraska's defense. Dude can ball out.

Neither defense is exactly the '86 Bears, both are certainly capable of getting the job done if need be. Besides, UCLA is Linebacker U according to one of theiHAHAHAHAHA I can't.

I think this has the potential to be the best game we watch this week, other than 'Bama/A&M. No. Seriously.

Prediction: UCLA 37, Nebraska 35

Watchability: Game of the Week

Akron @ #11 Michigan, Noon

Let's go to my source for all things ever and life coach, Spencer Hall:

While he makes a compelling argument, from a football stance this should be a blowout. Akron, despite being card carrying #MACtion members, aren't that good this year. Michigan, on the other hand, is getting some "Best in the Big Ten" buzz. I wouldn't be shocked if UM comes out a bit slow, then fires on all cylinders and obliterates the Zips.

Prediction: Michigan 52, Akron 10

Watchability: I won't be watching

Youngstown State @ Michigan State, 2:00 p.m.

Sure, the polenta I made for dinner last night is a more competent quarterback than anyone Michigan State will throw out there. But like I said before, always take the FBS team over the FCS team, even if Youngstown State has been playing well (they beat Morehead State last week 67-13). Also, this game has so much SPARTY NO!!!!!!! potential that I'm jumping up and down as I write this.

Prediction: Michigan State 27, Youngstown State 17

Watchability: Very little

Iowa @ Iowa State, 6:00 p.m.

So I bonded with friend of the site @blerms over 'Merica these past few days. Listening to him talk about the state of Iowa was like listening to Rush Limbaugh discuss Obama: there is hatred, it runs deep, and I'm not 100 percent sure how it got there but good Lord it's terrifying.

As for this game, both teams suck because hahahahahaha iowa. Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa last week (with no help from Ali Farokhmanesh!). Iowa beat Missouri State, but only by two touchdowns. This game won't be pretty, but I expect Iowa's Mark Weisman to run all over Iowa State. Still, avert your eyes.

Prediction: Iowa 16, Iowa State 9

Watchability: GOOD GAWD KING, THE CARNAGE

UCF @ Penn State, 6:00 p.m.

Blake Bortles vs. Hack City has the potential to be the Big Ten's best quarterback duel of the week. UCF hasn't really been tested yet this season -- they've outscored Akron and Florida International 76-7 on the season, which is indicative of how good UCF is and how bad those two teams are. The Knights are talented and well coached, and should be prepared for whatever Penn State throws at them.

HOWEVAH, nobody walks into Happy Valley during a White Out and comes out alive, unless they're Ohio State and they get away with a bullshit holding call on Mike Mauti. Plus one thing to remember: Penn State, for all intents and purposes, hasn't gotten anything out of their tight ends, aka their most loaded position. I expect the Nittany Lions to come out, get in a battle with the Knights, and pull away at the end due to a monster game from Kydamsse Jamterman (Kyle Carter + Jesse James + Adam Breneman, it needs some work).

Prediction: Penn State 31, UCF 24

Watchability: ALL TEH WATCHABILITY

#19 Washington @ Illinois, 6:00 p.m.

Beckman and Co. had a really good game last week against Cincy, winning 45-17 behind a really nice performance from Nathan Scheelhaase. Illinois is building a team that will look to shred you through the air, which they have done in both games that they've played thus far.

Washington, on the other hand, beat Boise State like they stole something last week, 38-6. They whipped the Broncos on the ground (Bishop Sankey ran for 161 yards and 2 TD's on 25 carries) and through the air (Keith Price threw went 23/31 with 324 yards). The Huskies are also a dark horse in the Pack 12 this year -- and by that I mean "they have a great shot at finishing third behind Oregon and Stanford" -- and Price has a chance at being a Heisman finalist if a few things go his way.

Illinois still can't stop anyone, and even though this is a night game at home, I don't think they'll be able to stop Washington.

Prediction: Washington 28, Illinois 24

Watchability: You should be watching Penn State...but this wouldn't be a bad one to DVR.

#4 Ohio State @ Cal, 7:00 p.m.

Did you know Cal has the best passing offense in America? And that this is a home game for them? And that Braxton Miller will miss at least three OSU possessions because Braxton Miller is like the Pele of getting hurt? This game has "upset" and "trap game" written all over it for the Buckeyes.

Despite this, Ohio State's bevy of talent and ability to force turnovers (Cal QB Jared Goff, despite throwing for a ton of yards, has three INT's on the season) helps them survive a tough game in Berkeley.

Prediction: Ohio State 42, Cal 30

Watchability: It's on during the Penn State game and I think OSU wins. Don't watch it.

#21 Notre Dame @ Purdue, 8:00 p.m.

Jesus, did you see Purdue last week? They barely beat Indiana State. Indiana State! They're not that great at throwing the ball, and they're not that great at running the ball. They also kinda suck at defense, as shown by the fact that Cincy gashed them for 42 points.

As for Notre Dame, they lost a heartbreaker to Michigan at the Big House. They're gonna be pissed. Really, really pissed. And Purdue is exactly the kind of team that Brian Kelly will make it a point to annihilate to show that NOTRE DAME FOOTBAWL'S BACK, Y'ALL.

Prediction: Notre Dame 38, Purdue 10

Watchability: *vomits*

Western Michigan @ #17 Northwestern, 9:00 p.m.

Western Michigan is 0-2 and lost to Nicholls State last week. Nicholls State.

Prediction: jNW 45, Western Michigan 13

Watchability: BLOODBATH

#20 Wisconsin @ Arizona State, 10:30 p.m.

Arizona State, despite playing last week, is a bit of an unknown. They beat up on Sacramento State last week, 55-0, behind 370 total passing yards from Taylor Kelly (23/31, 300 yards, 5 TD's) and Michael Eubank (3/4, 70 yards).

Wisconsin is also a bit of an unknown. We know they're gonna run the ball -- Melvin Gordon and James White may be the best 1-2 duo in American, while Corey Clement is perhaps the best 3rd RB in America. But like ASU, they haven't played anyone, unless you consider UMass and Tennessee Tech worthy opponents, and I don't.

In the end, I think Wisconsin wins. They have more balance than Arizona State on offense (Joel Stave is the type of game manager you compare other game managers to in the future), and their defense is typically solid. Also, Arizona State is coached by Todd Graham, so I fully expect him to leave the game at halftime to take the USC job.

Prediction: Wisconsin 44, Arizona State 30

Watchability: If you're at a bar and it's on, cool.

See y'all at Cari's tailgate. Go State, Beat the Knights. I love you, Landon Donovan.


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