Big Ten football may not get the juice and publicity the SEC receives, but that doesn't mean the conference can't produce big-name games on a week-to-week basis.
One of those big games this weekend pits Nebraska versus Wisconsin. Each team is 3-1, and each is looking for its first statement-making victory of the season.
Here are three bold predictions for Saturday night's showdown:
Taylor Martinez tallies four touchdowns
According to Tom Lea of ESPNWisconsin.com, Wisconsin's junior defensive end David Gilbert doesn't believe in Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez.
“I’m not convinced,” Gilbert said Wednesday night. “The one game he didn’t play very well in they lost to UCLA. You’ve got to look at who they’ve played. You’ve got to look at who they’ve played. We’re definitely going to bring it. It’s Big Ten season.
“All that is out the window and it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is we’ve got to line up and we’ve got to hit him.”
Not the best idea, David. Martinez has tallied 11 touchdowns on the season; nine through the air. His ability to run out of the backfield and throw the ball down the field is the best in the country. He has only thrown one interception (at UCLA).
Granted, Martinez didn't play great at UCLA, it was just one of those games. UCLA is a solid team, and every road game is difficult in today's college football. His performance was more fluky than anything else.
Sawyer Kollmorgen, a freshman at Northern Iowa, tossed three touchdowns and no interceptions. Nick Lamaison didn't throw a pick while tossing two touchdowns at Wisconsin.
If these guys gave Wisconsin trouble in Madison, Martinez is set to explode against the Badgers.
Wisconsin will fail to reach 300 yards total
There are only 10 FBS schools that average fewer than 300 yards per game. Generally, teams rack up the yards in the 400s or 500s per game.
Not Wisconsin on Saturday night.
The Badgers only average 312.8 yards per game this year. They are 113th in the country in passing and 87th in rushing.
Nebraska's defense has held teams to less than 300 yards total in three of its first four games. Aside from the UCLA game, Nebraska has dominated on the defensive side of the ball.
All signs are pointing to a fourth under-300 yard game for Nebraska's defense. Doing that against a Big Ten foe would be more than impressive.
Watch for it.
Nebraska blows out Wisconsin 34-14
Wisconsin struggled against Utah State (16-14) and Northern Iowa (26-21) and they allowed UTEP to score 26 points.
Nebraska may not be the powerhouse they used to be, but they are head and shoulders better than any of those teams. Wisconsin isn't the same team either.
The Badgers struggle on defense, provide a putrid offense and they don't have too much experience on the road.
Nebraska takes this game by the throat early and cruises to a 20-point victory.