BRR Notebook: Week 5

Conference play is about to be fully underway. Penn State and Rutgers kicked things off for the conference in week 3, as the Nittany Lions beat the Scarlet Knights. While four teams still have a non-conference game left, it is the rest of conferences turn to start taking shots at one another.

With no bye weeks, all 14 teams will take the field. There aren’t any major matchups this week, it could help to give us a better picture of a few certain teams going forward.

Penn State:
First year head coach James Franklin has PSU off to a 4-0 start and with a win this weekend will probably be ranked. Not many people picked the Nittany Lions to be at this spot. Even better, if they beat struggling Northwestern this weekend, they get to host Ohio State in a top 25 show down. It will be the first marquee game of the Franklin era and a chance to make a statement. The question is, will they look ahead to that game and allow the Wildcats to sneak out with a win?

Nebraska:
Many people this week started touting Nebraska as the Big Ten’s best option at making the playoff. They took a step up in national respect after beating Miami last Saturday. The Huskers are undefeated and hosting Illinois, under the lights, while they wear alternate jerseys as they bring in several recruits for the game. Nebraska has had a tendency to be inconsistent, but it is important for them to play a complete game on both sides of the ball before they head to East Lansing next weekend.

Most Intriguing matchups

Maryland vs. Indiana:
The Hoosiers are coming off their biggest win under Head Coach Kevin Wilson. They went on the road to be a ranked SEC team, Missouri. This week they are welcoming a pretty good Maryland team that has some fire power. The Terrapins have played well this year, but they need to put together four solid quarters. They have been a streaky team and that can’t continue in conference play. Will Indiana win at home to help end their playoff streak or will Maryland get a win in their first ever Big Ten Conference game?

Minnesota vs. Michigan:
The Wolverines have underachieved at this point, but head coach Brady Hoke is staying as positive as possible. As of now, we have no idea who will be under center for Michigan when Minnesota pays them a visit this weekend. The Wolverines are heavy favorites at home, but they have lost their last three home games against power five opponents. This game feels like a must win for Hoke, despite only being five weeks into the season.

Cincinnati vs. Ohio State:
The Buckeyes need to redeem themselves against a decent non-conference opponent after the big loss against Virginia Tech. It was good for Ohio State to have an early bye week as they are breaking in a freshman quarterback, J.T. Barrett, and have a young offensive line. Cincinnati coming to town gives the Buckeyes a good opportunity to show the country they aren’t going anywhere. While they aren’t the favorites to win the conference, it helps the perception of the conference when they are strong.

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