Everyone is glad that last week is officially over. The great thing about sports is a new headline is always on the horizon. The cliché says, “all publicity is good publicity.” My guess is most fans disagree, probably recruits as well. After last weeks abysmal showing, the Big Ten has a few opportunities to show some pride and beat some Power Five foes.
Power Five Matchups
Everyone is talking about the Big Ten’s 1-5 record against the Power Five teams. The Big Ten faces five more opponents this week, will they fare any better?
West Virginia vs. Maryland - West Virginia was picked by media to finish eighth out-of-nine in the Big 12. After watching the Alabama game, it appears the Mountaineers will be better than that. Maryland is favored in this game at home. With head coach Dana Holgorsen taking back the controls of the offense this season, it looks like WVU has got some swagger back. The Terrapins have to look a lot better than last week or they are in for a long day.
Minnesota vs, TCU - Old buddies Gary Patterson and Jerry Kill face off this week. Both of these teams are a little underappreciated and one of them will earn some respect coming out of Saturday. In speaking of the game, Kill said, “they are all big, but this one is on the road, our first road trip; and playing TCU, a team that has been tremendously successful over the last -- long time. I think that Coach Patterson feels like they are going to be really, really good because they are healthy and they weren't that way last year.” He knows it will be a tough fight.
Illinois vs. Washington - Maybe Illinois can call Rutgers and ask them what it takes to go West Coast, upset a Pac 12 team, and fly home with respect. This will be a really tough game for Fighting Illini, but nothing would help Tim Beckman more than getting a win here. He knows it will be a very tough game on his defense. He had this to say about the Washington offense, “They're huge up front. Their offensive line is huge, as big as we'll probably face. Reminds me a lot of a Wisconsin offensive line, size-wise.” Wsahington definitely has size, but they also have some good playmakers to keep an eye on.
Purdue vs. Notre Dame - Notre Dame shamed Michigan and laughed at the entire Big Ten. This week they are able to do that with their second string. Anyone else glad that Ohio State scheduled a home-and-home with them?
Prediction for the Big Ten in Power Five games: 2-3.
Can They Bounce Back?
Let’s face it, Ohio State has been carrying the Big Ten over the last decade. Wisconsin has definitely stepped up as a program, along with more recently Michigan State. With that said, the Big Ten simply needs Michigan and Nebraska to be better than they have been. They both had horrific showings last week and need to right the ship. Nebraska goes to Fresno and Michigan hosts Miami (OH). These two teams have several things they need to fix before conference play comes.
First Conference Game
Penn State heads to Piscataway, New Jersey to take on the Rutger Scarlet Knights. It is good for the Big Ten to start playing some conference games before week four. The last time these two teams faced off was in 1995 when Joe Paterno ran up the score and got in a cursing match after the game with Doug Graber. This one is expected to be much closer. Both of these teams have been pleasant surprises so far this season and one of them will get to continue their streak. Expect Penn State to come out with a little extra fire since hearing the news that they are officially bowl eligible again.
*** Posted by Josh Harvey ***