Big Ten Football Forecast: Michigan State Beats Notre Dame & Week 3 Predictions
Yeah, maybe my head feels as big as Sparty's noggin after picking Michigan to beat Notre Dame in a night game at the Big House in Ann Arbor last Saturday.
But I am going to do it again and pick the Michigan State Spartans to beat Notre Dame this Saturday afternoon.
The Big Ten is 17-7 after two weeks of football and I'm 21-3 in predicting the outcome of Big Ten games. Last week's miscues were in picking Iowa to beat Iowa State and Minnesota to beat New Mexico State.
Let's see if I can keep up the streak of predicting the winner in 10 or more game as we look at week 3's contests:
- Big Ten College Football Game of the Week (CFGotW)
- Chillers (sometimes called "trap" games)
- Snoozers (games you couldn't get me to watch)
- Big Ten Player to Watch
Big Ten CFGotW: Irish Will Drop to 0-3 After Losing to Michigan State
The Big Ten College Football Game of the Week (CFGotW) features some good news and bad news for Irish fans.
Here's the good news: No Spartan running back has run for more yards than Michigan's Denard Robinson.
Now here's the bad news: Michigan State's three running backs have combined for almost twice the yardage of Robinson and scored five touchdowns.
The Spartans' leading rusher is Edwin Baker (pictured above) with 141 yards and a touchdown in two games. His backup is Le'Veon Bell who has 109 yards and three touchdowns. The third back is Larry Caper, who has 49 yards and one touchdown. Together they've averaged just under five yards per-carry.
What else have the Spartans got going for them as they make the trip to South Bend?
They have senior Kirk Cousins who was picked as the second best quarterback in the Big Ten in a preseason Bleacher Report article. Michigan State also has record-breaking wide receiver B.J. Cunningham and multipurpose offensive weapon Keshawn Martin.
The pride of the Irish will also be rocked by a tougher defense. The Spartan defense was ranked No. 6 in the conference entering the season, while Michigan's defense was No. 9 among the 12 Big Ten teams.
Notre Dame has been plagued by turnovers and defensive lapses. Not even Rudy can save them this time.
Michigan State 28, Notre Dame 14.
Chillers: Arizona State-Illinois and Ohio State-Miami (Fla.)
Arizona State is ranked No. 18 in three college football polls and No. 22 in another, so they should be able to beat Illinois in a road game in Champaign, Illinois.
Sorry, I disagree. I am taking the Fighting Illini at home.
Illinois trounced South Dakota State, 56-3, in week 2 and quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has a quarterback rating of 192.2, which puts him second behind Wisconsin's Russell Wilson in that offensive category.
Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler may be the second-best quarterback in the Pacific-12, but he's facing one of the better secondaries in the Big Ten. Free safety Trulon Henry is No. 7 among safeties in the Big Ten and teammate Tavon Williams is No. 9.
Illinois beats Arizona State, 24-21, at home in a week 3 Chiller game.
Meanwhile, two "The's" collide in Florida. The Ohio State University Buckeyes face The University of Miami Hurricanes in the other Chiller game of the week.
The Buckeyes must have felt like they spent a week playing Toledo last Saturday in Columbus. It was painful and dumbfounding, but they won. And they will win again this week because defensive linemen John Simon and Johnathan Hankins (pictured above) won't be embarrassed two weeks in a row.
The Buckeyes 27, The Hurricanes 13.
Snoozers: Cannot Watch Michigan, Purdue or Wisconsin in Week 3
Keep it humble, Denard Robinson, because you and your Wolverine teammates are going to thrash Eastern Michigan in the Big House this Saturday. The question should be: will we get to see Michigan's No. 2 and No. 3 quarterbacks play against the Eagles?
I suspect since the two campuses are so close to each other, the commute won't be too bad for the students.
Purdue, who barely won in Week 1 and barely lost in Week 2, should triumph over Southeast Missouri State. The Boilermakers and their fans should be gunning for a victory and they'll get it in a one-sided win in Week 3.
Wisconsin plays at the new Soldier Field this weekend and they should crush Northern Illinois. Since my wife went to Central Michigan, I appreciate it when a Big Ten team plays a MAC team. Unfortunately, it's going to be a one-sided contest.
"On Wisconsin" as they move closer to their October 1st showdown game with Nebraska.
Michigan 42, Eastern Michigan 7.
Purdue 24, Southeast Missouri State 3.
Wisconsin 32, Northern Illinois 6.
Big Ten Player to Watch: Michigan State Quarterback Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins is THE offensive leader of the Michigan State Spartans. If he plays well (and he has in the past), the outcome is a win.
The senior captain is third in quarterback rating (181.2) in the Big Ten. He and Wisconsin's Russell Wilson have completed an incredible 79% of their passes.
Cousins has accumulated 405 yards passing and thrown three touchdown passes. He has been sacked only twice and is averaging close to 10 yards per pass attempt.
Expect Cousins to manage a carefully crafted offensive game plan in the Spartans win over Notre Dame.
The Rest of the Big Ten: Six Winners and No Losers
Marcus Coker, third in rushing in the Big Ten, needs to have a great game if Iowa is going to beat he Pittsburgh Panthers. Coker (no. 34 in the picture) is tied in yardage at 181 with Wisconsin's Montee Ball, but has significantly more carries.
Here is how the rest of the "etc." games look for Week 3:
- Iowa 25, Pittsburgh 21.
- Minnesota 28, Miami (Ohio) 14
- Nebraska 21, Washington 17
- Northwestern 24, Army 9
- Indiana 27, South Carolina State 20.
- Penn State 20, Temple 10.