College football is here and if you haven't heard already, the boys at First and Big Ten (featuring B/R writers Tim Cary, Kristofer Green, and Kevin Paul) are celebrating by having a little contest on Big Ten football.
It's not too late to play - deadline for the first week is Saturday at 7am. But since the season starts tonight with Indiana taking the field against Eastern Kentucky, we are going to post our picks now.
Here's a recap of the 10 questions for Week 1, plus our predictions:
1. Predict the winner: Toledo at Purdue
TC’s Take: I've got the Boilers over Toledo by a touchdown in Danny Hope's debut; since Joe Tiller lost his first game as Purdue coach against the Rockets, there's no danger of the home team overlooking this opponent.
2. Predict the winner: Navy at Ohio State
TC: Ohio State
KG: Ohio State
KP: Ohio State
KG’s Take: The Buckeyes could have problems with Navy's triple option... for a quarter. Ohio State just has too much on both sides of the ball.
3. Predict the winner: Western Michigan at Michigan
TC: Western Michigan
KP: Western Michigan
KP’s Take: My opinion on this game can be found here. In a nutshell, the Broncos have a ton of talent returning on offense, while the Wolverines are not only battling distractions, but also feature many players at key positions playing in their first college game.
4. Predict the winner: Minnesota at Syracuse
TC’s Take: Most people are talking about Greg Paulus in this game, but it will be the other quarterback, Adam Weber, that makes enough plays to get his team the W.
5. Predict the winner: Missouri vs. Illinois (at St. Louis)
KP’s Take: The Fighting Illini arguably have the most explosive offense in the Big Ten, featuring stars like QB Juice Williams and WR Arrelious Benn. Meanwhile, Missouri lost significant weapons on offense (to the NFL), including QB Chase Daniel and WR Jeremy Maclin.
6. Which Big Ten defense will force the most turnovers this week?
TC: Penn State
KG: Michigan State
KP: Michigan State
TC’s Take: Happy Valley isn't a happy place for visitors, and Penn State's whiteout, coupled with an opportunistic defense, will cause a number of Akron miscues on Saturday.
7. Which Big Ten quarterback will lead the league in passing yards this week?
TC: Juice Williams
KG: Juice Williams
KP: Juice Williams
KG’s Take: Juice Williams will be amped for this final scheduled meeting between the long time rivals. The Illini will be throwing the ball all over the field.
8. Which Big Ten team will kick the longest field goal this week?
KG: Ohio State
KP: Ohio State
TC’s Take: Purdue's Carson Wiggs has the big leg most kickers dream of: his first made field goal for the Boilers was a school-record 53-yarder last season.
9. Which Big Ten player will have the most sacks this week?
TC: Mike Neal (Purdue)
KG: Thaddeus Gibson (Ohio State)
KP: Jammie Kirlew (Indiana)
KG’s Take: Thaddeus Gibson has been waiting for this. This offseason the defensive end developed a motto: "kill everything moving." Bad news for the Midshipmen.
10. Which Big Ten player will have the most tackles this week?
TC: Austin Spitler (Ohio State)
KG: Navorrow Bowman (Penn State)
KP: Obi Ezeh (Michigan)
KP’s Take: Ezeh (98 tackles in ’08) will likely play the entire game, while Michigan battles the Broncos to the bitter end, therefore leaving him with more opportunities compared to others in the Big Ten that may be sitting by the 3rd quarter.