Big Ten Football Predictions for Week 2
Last weekend, Big Ten teams boasted a 10-2 record while this weeks opponents won nine of their 11 matchups. While there is no marquee game like the Alabama-Michigan contest this coming week, there a handful of games that could be considered tossups this Saturday.
Purdue vs. Notre Dame, Iowa State vs. Iowa, and Illinois vs. Arizona State headline those matchups. In 2011, the Boilermakers and Hawkeyes both lost in these same rivalry games, while Illinois defeated Arizona State in Champaign.
After predicting 11 out of 12 games right last week, I'm confident in a repeat performance this coming week. I'd also like to add that I'll be in beautiful Tempe, Arizona this weekend and attending the Fighting Illini - Sun Devils game.
New Hampshire @ Minnesota
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Despite being pushed to the limit last Thursday, the Golden Gophers outlasted UNLV by winning in a triple-overtime contest. New Hampshire is coming off a 38-17 win, but Minnesota is the only team on their schedule that is in Division-I.
Even though a win over UNLV isn't a big resume builder, Jerry Kill's squad should be relieved to have won a road game. If Minnesota can get off to a 2-0 start in 2012, their bowl aspirations are greatly increased.
Minnesota 23 New Hampshire 13
Central Florida @ Ohio State
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Ohio State's Braxton Miller was impressive in week one during the Buckeyes' 56-10 win over Miami (Ohio). Saturday's contest marks the second of four straight home games to start off the Urban Meyer era in Columbus.
Central Florida also won big on Saturday, beating Akron 56-14 on the road. Although this week should be a bigger challenge for the Buckeyes, expect their defense to overpower and their running game to continue its dominance.
Ohio State 31 Central Florida 14
Penn State @ Virginia
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The Nittany Lions were one of two Big Ten squads that fell last week, blowing a lead at home against a very good and underrated Ohio team. This week's opponent, Virginia, was victorious over Richmond a week ago.
While Saturday is a winnable game for Penn State, this young and inexperienced team didn't show that they have what it takes to win on the road over another power conference team during last Saturday's effort.
Virginia 20 Penn State 13
Purdue @ Notre Dame
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Caleb TerBush did not participate in the Boilermaker's win over Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, but will start this week's battle with in-state rival Notre Dame. Robert Marve started and played very well at quarterback for Purdue last week, however.
Notre Dame was impressive in a 50-10 win over Navy in Dublin last week and looks to continue their recent winning streak over Purdue. The Notre Dame quarterback situation should also be watched closely in this game.
Notre Dame 28 Purdue 20
Indiana @ Massachusetts
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Indiana was not overly impressive in their week one win over Indiana State, but the Hoosiers shouldn't complain. In fact, they have already matched last year's win total. They have a good chance to be victorious again this week against newly added Division-I team UMASS.
Tre Roberson is one of the better athletes at quarterback in the league, but doesn't have the offensive help and firepower around him yet. Expect another close game, with yet another Hoosier's victory coming up.
Indiana 24 UMASS 16
Air Force @ Michigan
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Michigan is the other Big Ten squad that dropped their opening game, falling to second-ranked Alabama. Denard Robinson struggled in that game, but should get his chance to get back on track over an Air Force team that defeated Idaho State last week.
Despite the blowout loss, Michigan remains in the top 25 and is the only team that lost in week one that can say that. Fitzgerald Toussaint will be available for this contest, after missing last week's game due to suspension.
Michigan 37 Air Force 19
Michigan State @ Central Michigan
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Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell was a workhorse last Friday during the Spartan's win over Boise State, carrying the ball 44 times for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Andrew Maxwell was as impressive in his starter debut, throwing three interceptions.
Central Michigan defeated a less than stellar Southeast Missouri State team 38-27 and gets the chance to knock off an in-state team on their home field. Michigan State's defense should be too much for the Chippewas to handle however.
Michigan State 31 Central Michigan 13
Iowa State @ Iowa
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Last season the Cyclones beat the Hawkeyes in triple-overtime in Ames. This season the game will be played in Iowa City. In week one, Iowa defeated Northern Illinois at Soldier Field while Iowa State beat Tulsa.
This hotly contested in-state rivalry should be competitive as always, but I'm predicting the home team will win it late in the fourth quarter. The James Vandenberg - Steele Jantz quarterback quarrel should be a good one.
Iowa 24 Iowa State 23
Wisconsin @ Oregon State
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Oregon State's season kicks off this Saturday at home, after their matchups with Nicholls was postponed last week. Wisconsin, on the other hand, was tested at home against a pesky Northern Iowa squad but won 26-21.
Having another week before this game should help Montee Ball, who was assaulted earlier this summer. Having not played last week could also hurt Oregon State. Expect Wisconsin to play better on both sides of the ball this week.
Wisconsin 34 Oregon State 17
Nebraska @ UCLA
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After defeating Rice 49-24 on the road last week, the Bruins host Nebraska in Jim Mora Jr.'s first home game. Nebraska beat Southern Miss 49-20 last week, behind five touchdown passes thrown by Taylor Martinez.
While Martinez may not have the same success he had throwing the football in week one, he will need Rex Burkhead back and healthy running the ball. At this point, Burkhead is still listed as questionable for Saturday.
Nebraska 30 UCLA 23
Vanderbilt @ Northwestern
Vanderbilt got college football kicked off last Thursday at home, but dropped the game 17-13 to South Carolina. Northwestern also had a battle on their hands in week one, defeating Syracuse 42-41 in a thriller.
The Wildcats will play the Commodores in their home debut, in what should be another close contest. The Kain Colter - Trevor Siemian quarterback duo for Pat Fitzgerald's squad should be enough offensively to hold off Vandy in this one.
Northwestern 28 Vanderbilt 20
Illinois @ Arizona State
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Arizona State defeated Northern Arizona 63-6 in week one, while Illinois beat Western Michigan 24-7. In the Fighting Illini's victory, quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase dinged himself up and is questionable for Saturday.
If Scheelhaase is unable to play, Reilly O'Toole will get the nod at starter in Tim Beckman's first road game as head coach of the Fighting Illini. Illinois' defense was impressive Saturday, but needs to improve their passing game with the loss of AJ Jenkins.
Illinois 24 Arizona State 16