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The B1G Preview and Degenerate Challenge: The East Remains Undefeated

The Big Ten West is a debacle, and the East is still undefeated heading into week 3 action.

Michigan State’s Elijah Collins runs for a gain against Akron during the third quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Week 2 came and went, and taught us a lot of the possible pecking order in the Big Ten this season. The Big Ten West has one undefeated team remaining in the Minnesota Golden Gophers, while every team in the East remains undefeated through week 2.

The challenges ratchet up a notch, as several teams go on the road to face Power 5 competition, including our very own Penn State Nittany Lions. By the end of week three, every Big Ten team except Michigan and Maryland would have played at least one Power 5 opponent. In the case of the Terps, they play a pretty good SMU squad this weekend, so be on alert for fireworks on that one.

The Games


UConn Huskies (1-2) at No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (2-0)

12:00 PM Eastern, ABC
Michigan -47.5

Michigan’s feast on the dregs of college football continues, as they face the Huskies in their last non-conference game. UConn is not the disaster that it was last season, but former Nittany Lion TaQuan Roberson, the guy who earned the quarterback job in the offseason, is out for the year with a torn ACL.

Michigan will get their points, but I don’t expect them to cover 47 and a half. They didn’t against Hawai’i, and UConn, for as bad as they’ve been, is not Hawai’i bad.

Should you Watch? No. There are much better games on this time slot.
Prediction: Michigan 45, UConn 7

No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners (2-0) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-2)

12:00 PM Eastern, Fox
Oklahoma -11

Nebraska is going through a lot right now, and it wants you to respect its privacy in this time of need. Oklahoma, on the other hand, struggled with Kent State for a half before they turned the jets on in the second. If the Sooners have as sluggish of a first half as they did against the Golden Flashes, Nebraska will only lose by a single score!

Should you watch? Yes. This will likely be a good game, as it was last season.
Prediction: Oklahoma 38, Nebraska 34

Southern Illinois Salukis (0-2) at Northwestern Wildcats (1-1)

12:00 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Line TBD

Another game without a line due to FBS/FCS shenanigans, Northwestern will look to bounce back in this one against Southern Illinois. The Salukis are not that good, but the Wildcats have proven they can throw any game if you give them enough opportunity. Besides, it wouldn’t be Even Year Northwestern if they didn’t lose all their non-conference games en route to a Big Ten West title.

Should you watch? No.
Prediction: Northwestern 28, Southern Illinois 7

Purdue Boilermakers (1-1) at Syracuse Orange (2-0)

12:00 PM Eastern, ESPN2
Syracuse -1.5

Syracuse has rolled in their previous two games, one of which was against aforementioned UConn. The other, Louisville, just got done beating UCF on the road. What to make of this Syracuse team is anyone’s guess, but if one thing is certain, is that points will be aplenty.

Should you watch? If Nebraska/Oklahoma turns out to be a snoozer, this one will do!
Prediction: Purdue 45, Syracuse 42

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (2-0) at Indiana Hoosiers (2-0)

12:00 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Indiana -6.5

Indiana looked atrocious at some points last week against Idaho, but a thunderstorm delayed that game by over an hour, and when it did start, the wet field made things difficult.

No such thing is expected this Saturday, other than Western Kentucky flinging the ball all over the field. These teams met last season and put a barn burner on our TVs, so it would be pretty nice if they did it again.

Should you watch? If you like points, and Purdue/Syracuse is out of hand, this is your game.
Prediction: Indiana 38, Western Kentucky 35

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-0) at Temple Owls (1-1)

2:00 PM Eastern, ESPN+
Rutgers -17.5

This is Rutgers’ second non-conference road game of the season, which should be plenty of practice for the Big Ten slate. Temple isn’t much to write home about, but I don’t know that the Scarlet Knights can cover 17.5 on the road.

Should you watch? No.
Prediction: Rutgers 33, Temple 20

No. 22 Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0) at Auburn Tigers (2-0)

3:30 PM Eastern, CBS
PSU -3

Penn State has five road games this year. This is the second of the bunch. After this one, the toughest remaining road game will be at Michigan. That bodes well for a Nittany Lions squad looking to finish the season strong in 2022.

On the one hand, Auburn will be pumped to pay the Lions back for last season’s thriller in Happy Valley. On the other, the Tigers’ quarterback situation is not particularly great. The Lions won’t be able to outright stop the Auburn run game, but if Penn State can contain the ground attack, they should be able to pull this one out.

Should you watch? You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t plan to watch the game.
Prediction: Penn State 56, Auburn 17

Colorado Buffaloes (0-2) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-0)

3:30 PM Eastern, ESPN2
Minnesota 27.5

The Gophers ran all over Colorado last season, to the tune of a 30-0 drubbing. I don’t know that they’ll shut out the Buffaloes two seasons in a row, and I don’t know that the Gophers will score at will against a Power 5 opponent, even if that opponent happens to be winless Colorado.

Should you watch? No, you’re busy.
Prediction: Minnesota 38, Colorado 17

New Mexico State Aggies (0-3) at Wisconsin Badgers (1-1)

3:30 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Wisconsin -37

Jerry Kill must have really had the itch to coach again, having taken one of the worst jobs in the country. He also must be gunning for an invite to the Big ten, as this is their second game against the conference in three weeks.

Wisconsin likes to beat up on bad teams, so don’t expect this to be close at any point other than kickoff.

Should you watch? No. You’re busy.
Prediction: Wisconsin 44, New Mexico State 3

Toledo Rockets (2-0) at No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0)

7:00 PM Eastern, Fox
Ohio State -32

The Buckeyes have yet to cover a spread this season, and this won’t be the game they start.

Should you watch? If the Penn State game is over by then, sure!
Prediction: Ohio State 55, Toledo 21

No. 11 Michigan State Spartans (2-0) at Washington Huskies

7:30 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Washington -3.5

Will you look at that! A Big Ten team is an underdog as it goes West to face a [for the time being] Pac-12 opponent! I don’t know how much Mel Tucker subscribes to the “disrespect” mantra, but if this were a Mark Dantonio team, being an underdog as the 11th-ranked team in the nation, agains an unranked foe, is just the kind of bulletin board material that provides a full season’s worth of chips for one’s shoulder.

The last time Michigan State faced a healthy Michael Penix Jr., it did not go well for them. Now at Washington, we will see if the Spartan defense has been feasting on cupcakes, or if they actually are improved over a year ago. If not, Penix will have no trouble penetrating the Spartans.

Should you watch? Yes.
Prediction: Michigan State 24, Washington 21

Nevada Wolfpack (2-1) at Iowa Hawkeyes (1-1)

7:30 PM Eastern, B1G Network
Iowa -23

Look, I do not care that Nevada’s defense is atrocious. However set this line at 23 must be smoking the good stuff. It’s not that I don’t think Iowa doesn’t have the ability to get it together against the Wolfpack. After all, this is likely the worst team on their schedule. My problem is that, for a team that has yet to score more than 7 points in a game this season, asking them to score at least 24, while allowing none, is just too all an order.

Let’s shoot for a 50% completion rate from Spencer Petras and go from there, shall we?

Should you watch? If you like train wrecks, and somehow are not interested in fun, sure!
Prediction: Iowa 11, Nevada 7

SMU Mustangs (2-0) at Maryland Terrapins (2-0)

7:30 PM Eastern, FS1
Maryland -2.5

Is it me, or is SMU the quietest 2-0 team in the country? If Purdue/Syracuse figures to be a shootout, this is going to be a full display of fireworks! Both teams have scored at least 30 points a game, but Maryland has a road game under its belt, while SMU does not.

Should you watch? Might be fun.
Prediction: Maryland 38, SMU 34

BYE: Illinois Fighting Illini

The Picks

Picks Table

Writer Straight Up Against The Spread Score (road team) Score (home team)
Writer Straight Up Against The Spread Score (road team) Score (home team)
Northestern at Iowa (-11)
Bennett Iowa Northwestern 10 15
Dylan Iowa Iowa 3 21
Eli Northwestern Northwestern 3 0
Jared Iowa Northwestern 9 18
Lando Iowa Iowa 20 34
Marty Iowa Northwestern 9 10
Tim Iowa Iowa 7 20
Rutgers at Minnesota (-14)
Bennett Minnesota Rutgers 13 24
Dylan Minnesota Rutgers 20 16
Eli Minnesota Rutgers 16 23
Jared Minnesota Rutgers 17 24
Lando Minnesota Minnesota 17 34
Marty Minnesota Rutgers 20 23
Tim Minnesota Minnesota 13 28
Illinois (-7.5) at Nebraska
Bennett Illinois Illinois 27 13
Dylan Illinois Nebraska 38 31
Eli Nebraska Nebraska 20 23
Jared Illinois Nebraska 20 14
Lando Illinois Illinois 31 21
Marty Illinois Nebraska 24 20
Tim Illinois Illinois 31 21
Michigan State at Michigan (-22.5)
Bennett Michigan Michigan 10 38
Dylan Michigan Michigan 13 49
Eli Michigan Michigan State 13 33
Jared Michigan Michigan State 20 37
Lando Michigan Michigan State 21 38
Marty Michigan Michigan 10 35
Tim Michigan Michigan State 17 38
Ohio State (-15.5) at Penn State
Bennett Ohio State Penn State 37 23
Dylan Ohio State Penn State 35 24
Eli Penn State Penn State 56 17
Jared Ohio State Penn State 38 24
Lando Ohio State Penn State 35 21
Marty Ohio State Penn State 42 28
Tim Ohio State Penn State 37 27
Picks for each Big Ten game ordered by game and picker.