Finally, it’s game week!
Rant Sports has you covered for the beginning of the college football season and throughout the entire year. Here we give you a preview of week one in the Big Ten and what the match-ups look like.
Minnesota at UNLV (11 p.m. CBS): The Gophers get their 2012 campaign started in Sin City and lead off the first slate of Big Ten games. MarQueis Gray leads Minnesota’s offense and tries to improve in year two under head coach Jerry Kill. Look out for speedy wide receivers Isaac Fruechte and Devin Crawford-Tufts, who will try to improve Minnesota’s 109th ranked passing attack in 2011.
No. 24 Boise State at No. 13 Michigan State (8 p.m. ESPN): What a treat we get to the start of the season with this match up. Both defenses are some of the best in the country and each squad will be breaking in new quarterbacks in Joe Southwick for Boise and Andrew Maxwell for MSU. We’ll see if the Spartans are ready to make a jump to college football’s elite.
Ohio at Penn State (Noon ESPN): After a long long and difficult offseason, Bill O’Brien will lead his new team out on to the field and try and put it all behind them. Beaver Stadium will surely have an emotional atmosphere and the Nittany Lions have to replace second team All-Big Ten selection Silas Redd at tailback. PSU needs to be careful against an Ohio squad that won 10 games a season ago.
Western Michigan at Illinois (Noon ESPN): Tim Beckman brings his spread attack to Champaign, where quarterback Nathan Sheelhaase is poised for a big season. The Illini will have to fill some holes at the wideout position and boast a strong defense. Getting on the Broncos early will help negate a possible upset.
Northwestern at Syracuse (Noon ESPN2): New starting quarterback Kain Colter is going to be exciting to watch this season for Northwestern. He’s a playmaker and will have a solid wide receiving corps to throw to, including USC transfer Kyle Prater. The Wildcats have to improve in the secondary to give themselves a chance this season.
Miami (OH) at No. 18 Ohio State (Noon BTN): Don’t think new coach Urban Meyer is using this season as a rebuilding year. He’ll unleash quarterback Braxton Miller and let him make plays outside the pocket. The Buckeyes will have a stout defense that will give the Redhawks fits from kickoff till the final whistle.
Iowa vs. Northern Illinois (3:30 p.m. ESPNU): Both teams will travel to Chicago’s Solider Field ready to battle one another. The Huskies finished 11-3 last season and will look to pull off an early upset over the Hawkeyes. Iowa’s quarterback James Vanderberg will have to find a new favorite target to throw to with the departure of Marvin McNutt. Do they have enough running backs left?
Eastern Kentucky at Purdue (3:30 BTN): Coach Danny Hope says this 2012 team is the best unit he’s ever had. He’s got a set starting quarterback and a new defensive coordinator in Tim Tibesar. If the Boilermakers don’t win this game by 40, the seat will be extremely hot in West Lafayette.
Northern Iowa at No.12 Wisconsin (3:30 p.m. BTN): The Danny O’Brien era begins in Madison, where the Badgers are hungry to get the season started after last years close losses that derailed their title hopes. This one will be over by the second quarter.
Southern Miss at No. 17 Nebraska (3:30 p.m. ABC): This is a tricky opener for the Cornhuskers with the Golden Eagles, who come to town after a 12-2 record last season. We’ll likely see a heavy dose of Rex Burkhead and Taylor Martinez, who is looking to improve his throwing ability this year. Nebraska has to return several defensive starters but watch out for them this season.
Indiana State at Indiana (8 p.m. ABC): There’s another game at eight you MIGHT be watching (see below). QB Tre Roberson has the ability to lead this team this season and improve in Kevin Wilson‘s second year at the helm. Hoosiers should have no problem here.
No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 2 Alabama (8 p.m. ABC) YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE. Can’t wait to hear Brent Musburger say that at the beginning of this game in Cowboys Stadium. Everyone in the Big Ten should be rooting for Michigan in this game to end the streak of SEC dominance against the conference. Can Denard Robinson limit his turnovers and put this team on his back? If he does, Heisman leader right out the gate.
Enjoy week one and get ready for the Big Ten to make some noise this season.
Will Wilson is a writer for Rant Sports overing College Football and the Big Ten Conference.