Week zero gave us a nice appetizer. Illinois and Northwestern came out victorious, the Nebraska memes went over 9,000, and our thirst for college football was partially satiated watching a small selection of teams duke out almost a week ago.
But this week i the official start of college football. And boy are there good games on the slate! It goes without saying, Penn State at Purdue is the highlight of Thursday night, but Minnesota also kicks its season off on Thursday against former head coach Jerry Kill and the New Mexico State Aggies.
Friday sees another conference matchup between Illinois and Indiana, two teams who absolutely need a conference win to avoid being behind the eight ball in a year where conference wins might be few and far between.
Penn State (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at Purdue (0-0, 0-0)
8:00 PM Eastern, Fox
Penn State -3.5
Purdue is coming off one of its best seasons in program history. Penn State is coming off the incredible disappointment of 2021. The public isn’t giving the Nittany Lions the amount of love reserved for Michigan and Ohio State. As a result, the Boilermakers are a trendy upset pick in this game.
It stands to reason that, like last season’s Big Ten slash season opener, Penn State will struggle against a quality Big Ten West opponent until they either 1) finally pull out the win, or 2) Purdue opens up the bag of tricks and comes out victorious. After all, this is the vaunted Blackout we’re talking about, where top 5 teams go to die.
Too bad no one things Penn State is a top 5 team just yet.
Should you Watch? Why are you here?
Prediction: Penn State 56, Purdue 17
New Mexico State (0-0) at Minnesota (0-0)
9:00 PM Eastern, B1G Network
The most compelling story line in this game will be Jerry Kill returning to his former coaching spot after he revived the Gopher program. In fact, if that isn’t the only story line of the game, Minnesota has so many things to worry about!
Should you watch? No, you’re busy.
Prediction: Minnesota 45, New Mexico State 3
Western Michigan (0-0) at No. 15 Michigan State (0-0)
7:00 PM Eastern, ESPN
Michigan State -21
Michigan State burst into the scene last season after Mel Tucker’s transfer portal gamble paid off. Now, expectations are a little bit more tempered in East Lansing. Can the Spartans maintain the level of success they established a season ago? Is a crash back down to earth imminent? Or, maybe, will they find themselves somewhere in the middle, having a respectable season but not real shot at a Big Ten Title?
This writer things the third option will happen in Year 3 of the Mel Tucker experience, and, as a result, giving 21 to Western to start the season, even with the running back transfers coming in, seems like a lot of points against a team that themselves were pretty decent last season.
Should you watch? It’s the first football Friday of the season. You got something else going on?
Prediction: Michigan State 28, Western Michigan 10
Illinois (1-0, 0-0) at Indiana (0-0, 0-0)
8:00 PM Eastern, FS1
Speaking of crashing back down to Earth, Indiana found themselves crashing back down in the most severe fashion, going 0-fer in conference play last season. After a 2-10 year, Tom Allen made wholesale changes to the staff, and got himself a number of transfers to hopefully infuse some life into the Indiana program.
Illinois did the same, and looked pretty good too a week ago against Wyoming. Both of these teams badly need a conference win in a game where both teams believe they can win, because things don’t get easier from here on out.
I’m going to go with the home team in this one, as I do think Indiana will put out a better product this season than they did a year ago.
Should you watch? If the Michigan State gets out of hand, this should be competitive throughout.
Prediction: Indiana 24, Illinois 20
Colorado State (0-0) at No. 8 Michigan (0-0)
12:00 PM Eastern, ABC
The Michigan Wolverines begin their title defense against a Colorado State team that went 3-9 a season ago, and isn’t projected to be any better this season. In fact, Michigan doesn’t play a single team outside the bottom of FBS in terms of, well, everything, which should work pretty well given the biblical implications this steam brings into the season.
Jim Harbaugh jerking the quarterbacks around shouldn’t bite him this time around, as Colorado State won’t pose any sort of challenge to the wolverines.
Should you watch? No.
Prediction: Michigan 49, Colorado State 7
South Dakota State (0-0) at Iowa (0-0)
12:00 PM Eastern, FS1
The Big Ten West defending champion opens up the season against South Dakota State. The defense should be exceptional once again in Iowa City, but can the offense take any sort of step forward? If not, expect this game to be debacle for the black and gold, regardless of line.
Should you watch? Only if the game is close.
Prediction: Iowa 24, South Dakota State 14
Buffalo (0-0) at Maryland (0-0)
12:00 PM Eastern, B1G Network
This is your generic “Maryland plays OOC opponent and blows them out of the water leading everyone to believe the Terps are better than they’ll eventually be” game. Now, I do believe this season Maryland can be better than they have been under Mike Locksley, but this isn’t going to be the game that demonstrates it. In fact, if this game is competitive in any way, Maryland fans should be worried.
Should you watch? Put it in the back burner.
Prediction: Maryland 45, Buffalo 10
Rutgers (0-0) at Boston College (0-0)
12:00 PM Eastern, ACC Network
Boston College -7
Rutgers showed signs of life last season, and Boston College isn’t exactly a world beater at the moment. While I admittedly don’t know how the game will turn out, I do expect it to be a competitive affair from start to finish, with the home team getting the edge by virtue of being at home.
Should you watch? Yes. This is the most competitive game on paper in the noon slate.
Prediction: Rutgers 21, Boston College 14
North Dakota (0-0) at Nebraska (0-1)
3:30 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Nebraska gets to wash the bitter taste out of their mouths with an FCS opponent in North Dakota (not the good one). Expect the Huskers to score early and often, as the offense did look the part early in the Northwestern game, they just ran out of gas.
Should you watch? If you’re bored...
Prediction: Nebraska 56, North Dakota 21
Illinois State (0-0) at No. 18 Wisconsin (0-0)
7:00 PM Eastern, FS1
These are the kinds of teams Wisconsin is built to pummel. We probably won’t see much of Graham Mertz in this one, as the Badgers will simply run it down the Redbirds throats for 60 minutes and grind them to a pulp. As with other massacres above, if this game isn’t well out of hand by the third quarter, expect a long season for the Badgers.
Should you watch? As a precursor to the nightcap maybe, otherwise no.
Prediction: Wisconsin 44, Illinois State 10
No. 5 Notre Dame (0-0) at No. 2 Ohio State (0-0)
7:30 PM Eastern, ABC
Ohio State -17
The retooled Ohio State defense will be on full display on Saturday night in one of the biggest games of the week, and certainly the biggest one in the primetime spot. Notre Dame has not been exactly thrilled with being viewed as an afterthought in the matchup, and will look to spoil the Buckeyes’ quest to another national championship. It’ll be interesting to see how new defensive coordinator Al Golden handles the potent Ohio State offense. Likewise, how fast can Jim Knowles get Ohio State into high gear, even against an Irish offense that also needs to replace some talent?
In the DC draw, Golden may have had the short end of the stick here.
Should you watch? Yes
Prediction: Ohio State 35, Notre Dame 14
Week 0 was wonky here at Black Shoe Diaries, so we decided everyone gets full points for having sit through Nebraska/Northwestern and Illinois/Wyoming. So the real fun begins now! Your contestants are a selection of the BSD writers you know and love, and both Clay and Dylan are making a return this season to fill the “guest picker” role in these here section! Without further ado, the picks!