Week one of the Big Ten Football season is somewhat underwhelming. For a conference that needs desperately to win some big games and climb back into prominence, the scheduling is horrific.
Let's break down the full schedule and predictions for the first week of football.
Thursday, September 3
Indiana Hoosiers vs Eastern Kentucky Hilltoppers
Talk about a real ratings fest! Indiana will win this game based on the fact that Eastern Kentucky is just flat worse than they are.
There are not many teams one can say that about, but EKU is definitely one of them.
Indiana may be somewhat of a spoiler this season. Which Hoosier team will show up? The team that went to a bowl game in '07 behind the arm of quarterback Kellen Lewis?
Or will Mr. Hyde show up in the form of the same team that lost by a combined 100-22 score against Illinois and Iowa?
Regardless of what happens the rest of the season, the Hosiers will take this one away.
Watch for the Hoosier defense to step it up, especially the front seven.
IU - 24 EKU - 14
Saturday, September 5
Illinois Fighting Illini vs Missouri Tigers
Illinois is going to be scary good on offense this season. Every player that gained yards rushing last season is back.
Combine the rushing with quarterback Juice Williams propensity to pass or run, and the Illini are looking at a very explosive group. The Arrelious Benn and company will look to exploit a Missouri defense that ranked 117th in pass defense last season.
Missouri will not have a hard time replacing quarterback Chase Daniel, as Blaine Gabbert will take over the tossing chores. Gabbert has a cannon of an arm, and will make Illinois pay if anyone gets beat deep.
This will be Gabbert's first game as a starter, so expect a few mistakes.
Illini - 31 Mizzou - 10
Iowa Hawkeyes vs Northern Iowa Panthers
This will be one of the most lopsided games this week, as quarterback Ricky Stanzi and running back Jewel Hampton lead the Hawkeyes attack.
The Hawkeyes offensive line will punish Northern Iowa, and this game will be over by the end of the first quarter.
Iowa 41 - Northern Iowa - 14
Michigan Wolverines vs Western Michigan Broncos
It looks like Tate Forcier will start at quarterback for the Maize and Blue.
Forcier is a dual-threat quarterback, and will look to start of strong against the Broncos. Forcier needs to alleviate some of the pressure on his shoulders going into the season.
The defense will continue to use the 3-4 pattern, some key defensive linemen have to be replaced, but that will not effect the beating the Wolverines will provide.
Michigan 31 - Western Michigan 17
Michigan State Spartans vs Montana State Bobcats
Sparty will lay a whoopin' on the other MSU.
I gave the Bobcats six points simply because they may be in field goal range twice, and any points they can get they will take.
The Michigan State defense, led by linebackers Greg Jones and Eric Gordon, will dominate on the defensive side, and Keith Nichol, Kirk Cousins and friends will put up some huge numbers on offense.
Sparty 52 - Bobcats 6
Minnesota Golden Gophers @ Syracuse Orange
There is some drama in this game. Syracuse is likely to start Greg Paulus, transfer from Duke, at quarterback.
Paulus has owned the Big Ten over the course of his collegiate career, but that will end in this game.
Adam Weber has great field vision and a great group of receivers to throw too. Eric Decker will begin his campaign for All Big Ten in this game, as the Gophers will top the Orange.
The Gophers will also look to start improving on a Big Ten worst 104 yards per game rushing average.
Gophers 24 - Orange 21
Northwestern Wildcats vs Towson Tigers
Northwestern, the team that everybody is used to beating up, will start some beating of it's own against lowly Towson.
Navy clobbered the Tigers last season 41-13, so the Wildcats should have no problems.
Mike Kafka will headline a very talented backfield. With the loss of Tyrell Sutton, one would expect the Wildcat rushing game to suffer, but expect Stephen Simmons and Alex Daniel to pick up the slack.
Northwestern's defense is very stout, and Corey Wooton may have ten sacks in this game, and match his sack total from last season.
Northwestern 42 - Towson 13
The Ohio State Buckeyes vs Navy Midshipmen
Terrelle Pryor will come out throwing the ball, and Danny Herron will begin his campaign to be an elite Big Ten rusher as OSU will trounce Navy.
The Buckeyes defense, led by Thaddeus Gibson and Cameron Heyward will terrorize the Navy backfield, and force at least two fumbles.
tOSU 37 - Navy - 14
Penn State Nittany Lions vs Akron Zips
Navarro Bowman is a very skilled, very scary linebacker.
Akron quarterback Chris Jacquemain will have to run for his safety from Penn State's athletic front seven.
PSU will come out hitting on all cylinders in this one. Evan Royster and Darryl Clark will both be looking to begin a solid campaign in a big way.
Lions 54 - Zips 17
Purdue Boilermakers vs Toledo Rockets
Someone should lose the first week, and I picked Purdue, for the simple reason that they are terrible.
Toledo should be honored to get Purdue this season.
The defense was bad last year, and with quarterback Dustin Siller gone, Purdue has a controversy at the position to start the season.
I wish the Boilers luck this year, but they may be reminiscent of the Hoosier teams of bygone days more than the Joe Tiller led teams.
Toledo 21 - Boilers 17
Wisconsin Badgers vs Northern Illinois Huskies
This one could be a toughy for the Badgers.
Northern Illinois has been tough for Wisconsin in recent years. The badgers will look to solidify an offense that struggled mightily last season.
Quarterback Dustin Sherer will have a solid group of receivers to throw too, and super sophomore John Clay will run all over the field in this one.
the Huskies will hang tough in Madison, but the Badgers will be victorious.
Sconnie - 34 NIU 21
Not bad overall. The conference should have only one loss heading into the big second week.