Week one of the college football season is in the books and week two should be just as exciting, if not more exciting.
There were two big games in the Big Ten in week one and there were mixed results for the conference. No. 8 Michigan took on No. 2 Alabama in Dallas and the game ended in a lopsided victory for the SEC‘s top team, 41-14.
The other game was No. 24 Boise State vs. No. 13 Michigan State, a game that did not disappoint. The Spartans came out on top in East Lansing, beating the Broncos 17-13 in a close game. This was a positive game for the conference, having a Big Ten team beat one of the peskiest teams in the past decade, a team that could beat anyone anywhere.
Here are some games that will be worth watching in week two and some that could make or break the outside view of the Big Ten.
Wisconsin vs. Oregon State, Sat. 4:00 PM
Okay, so this game isn’t exactly prime time-worthy, but it will be big for the Badgers when seeing where they stand as a team. They scored just 27 points against Northern Iowa in week one which shocked many people because they never failed to score 28 points in a game last season. This offensive output had many people scratching their heads, especially because they failed to beat a team that they were expected to run out of the stadium. Montee Ball had an average performance for his standards and will likely improve on his numbers against a mediocre Oregon State team. Quarterback Danny O’Brien played his first game as a Badger since transferring from Maryland and trying to adjust to the new offense. Wisconsin will likely win big, but if the offense doesn’t produce like expected, they could be in trouble in Madison.
Prediction: Wisconsin 35, Oregon State 17
The Boilermakers are my sleeper team in the Big Ten this season and for good reason. They are returning 19 starters and could challenge Wisconsin for the Leaders Division title. After a blowout week one victory over Eastern Kentucky, the Boilermakers face a solid Notre Dame team that is coming off of a 50-10 massacre against Navy in Dublin, Ireland. A star emerged in the Purdue gold and black by the name of Robert Marve. He was excellent at quarterback, completing 30 of 38 passes for 295 yards and a touchdown. Running back Akeem Shavers had a big game as well with 11 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown. The offense looks great to start the year, although their only opponent wasn’t a true test. The defense made big stops all game as well, but Notre Dame is a completely different machine. The game will go down to the wire in South Bend, but it will be Notre Dame with the edge.
Prediction: Purdue 28, Notre Dame 31
Illinois vs. Arizona State, Sat. 10:30 PM
Illinois got off to a good start under new head coach Tim Beckman, defeating Western Michigan 24-7 at home. The offense struggled throughout the game with Josh Ferguson carrying the ball 11 times for just 38 yards. The passing game wasn’t much better with Nathan Scheelhaase completing 11 of 18 passes for just 126 yards and a touchdown. The Illini defense is one of the best in the conference, even top tier in the country. They will be going up against a potent offense in Arizona State, who put up 63 points in their opening with against Northern Arizona. Since the offense likely won’t be putting up big points this season, look for the defense to make big stops but still come up short. The Sun Devils’ offense is just too strong and will put up just enough points to ensure a win against the Illini’s lack of offense.
Prediction: Illinois 13, Arizona State 24
Iowa State vs. Iowa, Sat. 3:30 PM
The Cyclones have been a thorn to the side of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz at times since becoming the head man in 1999. The most popular example was in 2002 when the Hawkeyes went 11-1, with their only loss being to the in-state rival Iowa State. They shared the Big Ten championship with Ohio State and would have possibly made the national championship game if it weren’t for the dreaded rivalry defeat. Despite last season’s overtime thriller loss, the Hawkeyes have had relative success against the Cyclones in previous years, but the series has been pretty close for the past decade. The Iowa offense in underrated and with Damon Bullock being a big surprise at running back, look for him to put up monster numbers for the second week in a row. It will be a defensive battle, but Iowa’s sneaky offense will prove to be the deciding factor in this week two rivalry.
Prediction: Iowa 27, Iowa State 20