Week three features few really good games in the Big Ten and mostly games for teams to boost morale going into league play.
The conference needs a shot in the arm after last week’s poor play by a majority of teams and injuries to star players across the league. Top ranked teams went down, Penn State suffered another heart-wrenching loss and Michigan State continues to look like the only team that has figured it out.
Here are the games to watch for in week three.
Boston College vs. Northwestern, Sat. 3:30 PM
The Wildcats feature an offense that plays two quarterbacks and one of the conference’s best running backs in Venric Mark. They are coming off a week two win against Vanderbilt at home and host a solid passing attack in Boston College. The Eagles rank 14th in the country in yards per game with 330 behind the strong arm of Chase Rettig who has 660 passing yards and five touchdowns this season. Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter are the two quarterbacks that Northwestern plays and both contribute to the offense equally, Colter with his legs and Siemian with his accurate arm. Look for Northwestern to take advantage of a weak Boston College defense and come away with a nice win heading into conference play.
Boston College 24, Northwestern 31
California vs. Ohio State, Sat. 12:00 PM
The Buckeyes would be one of the Big Ten’s last chances of a possible BCS title game representative, but they are currently on a multi-year postseason ban. With that unfortunate circumstance on the table, they are still the second best team in the conference right now and Braxton Miller has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks. He has over 300 yards passing and 300 yards rushing this season with seven total touchdowns. Ohio State finds themselves ranked No. 12 in the country and this is their first test against a team from a BCS conference. This could either be a game that proves they’re the real deal or that they’re a fluke. My guess: this year’s Buckeyes are for real.
California 14, Ohio State 37
Utah State vs. Wisconsin, Sat. 8:00 PM
There’s no way around it: Wisconsin is the Big Ten’s biggest disappointment thus far. They have one of the nation’s worst offenses through two weeks of play, ranking no higher than 90th in passing yards, rushing yards and points per game. It’s crazy to think that a year ago they featured one of the most feared offenses behind a ferocious offensive line. This season, the offense has struggled against weaker teams and the offensive line has disappointed, forcing the firing of their offensive line coach. This should be a rebound game against the Aggies, but they are coming off of a huge win against in-state rival Utah and their confidence is sky-high. This is a make or break game for the Badgers and they will get back on track with an impressive win.
Utah State 14, Wisconsin 31
Notre Dame vs. Michigan State, Sat. 8:00 PM
This is quite possibly the best game in college football this week. Old rivals meet in East Lansing and they are both ranked in the top 20. Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell is one of the country’s most powerful running backs and is on the early season Heisman watchlist. On the other side of the ball, linebacker Manti Te’o will look to put a rough week(losing his girlfriend and his grandmother) behind him and lead the Irish against a maturing Spartan offense. This game will tell us a lot about Michigan State as a whole. Is their offense ready for elite status? Is their defense better than last season? My answer to both of these questions is yes and the Spartans will dazzle the crowd in another great home game.
Notre Dame 17, Michigan State 28