Last Saturday as Michigan was being introduced to modern day college football by Alabama, the reputation of the Big Ten was taking another gigantic hit. Another season, another embarrassing loss in a significant game against the SEC.
There are so many ups and downs throughout the season that it is difficult to point to one Saturday as the defining moment, but Week 2 is it for the Big Ten. They have seven games against teams from BCS conference opponents. A winning record is a must.
The slate of opponents is hardly menacing. Notre Dame is the only ranked team, but five of seven games are on the road. Six opponents made bowl games last year. The stage is set to show some grit.
Predictions on the games
Wisconsin over Oregon State 42-24
Nebraska over UCLA 35-31
Arizona State over Illinois 28-24
Notre Dame over Purdue 37-17
Virginia over Penn State 17-10
Northwestern over Vanderbilt 34-31
Iowa over Iowa State 35-27
A strong showing on Saturday won’t change the opinion that the Big Ten is third or fourth best conference right now, but it will prevent further damage to its tarnished image as an obsolete conference playing a second-rate brand of football.