Hello again, friends.
So the Big Ten is bad.
In week 2, the Big Ten lost to a team that lost to FCS Portland State in week 1 (Washington State over Rutgers), a MAC squad with no defense (Bowling Green over Maryland), and two squads originally thought to be among the class of the Big Ten (Penn State & Minnesota) only scraped by very average opponents (Buffalo and Colorado State).
The top of the conference is great, as both Ohio State and Michigan State look primed for College Football Playoff runs. The bottom of the conference is a dumpster fire, with Indiana and Purdue battling it out for who looks more like an FCS squad.
Basically, it’s just another year in the Big Ten.
Illinois @ North Carolina, 11:00 AM (ESPN2)
Dead serious, this is probably the game of the week in the Big Ten. Illinois, against some of the worst competition you can imagine, has absolutely rolled through two games, so much so that they might actually be, you know, good. This week will tell us if the Illini are actually a decent team. If they roll again, they might have a case to be thought of as Big Ten West contenders.
USF @ Maryland, 11:00 AM (ESPNU)
We’ve written it more than once, the story of Maryland this season is “can Randy Edsall be mediocre enough to keep his job.” The answer seems to be no. A horrific loss against Bowling Green has made Maryland the butt of many a joke in Big Ten Country. A loss against USF, and the season might be beyond help.
UNLV @ Michigan, 11:00 AM (BTN)
Michigan will win this game, and it really shouldn’t be a game that anyone should care about. But it will be the lead story on everywhere because HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH.
Air Force @ #4 Michigan State, 11:00 AM (ABC)
Oregon might not be a top ten team in the country this year, but make no mistake, Michigan State knocking off the Quack Attack is a big deal. It’s hard to imagine a team notching a better non-conference win than what the Spartans did last week. There is certainly a chance that Michigan State can find itself in the College Football Playoff if it can handle its business the rest of the way.
Kent State @ Minnesota, 11:00 AM (BTN)
Kent State is awful.
Nebraska @ Miami, 2:30 PM (ABC/ESPN2)
Miami is no longer the U, but this is still one of the better games being played this weekend in the Big Ten. I still think (for some reason) that Nebraska can compete in the Big Ten West. A win against Miami, however bad this iteration of the Canes my be, would go a long way in helping to prove me right.
NIU @ #1 Ohio State, 2:30 PM (ABC/ESPN2)
Ohio State probably brought its C- game against Hawaii. They won 38-0. And yet they didn’t cover the spread. So Ohio State is worse than expectations, right? So they’ll only win this game by 40?
Virginia Tech @ Purdue, 2:30 PM (ESPNU)
FOR GOD’S SAKE DON’T WATCH THIS GAME, HIDE THE CHILDREN THIS GAME WILL BE NIGHTMARISHLY HORRIFIC.
Troy @ #24 Wisconsin, 2:30 PM (BTN)
All the proof you need that non-conference football is, 9 time out of 10, terrible.
Western Kentucky @ Indiana, 3:00 PM (ESPNNEWS)
Oh hey, Indiana has actually won two games in a row, let’s see how SBNation Hoosier affiliate Crimson Quarry is reacting to the news, I’m sure it’s measured and reasonab—
TWO AND OH, DAMN I THINK OHIO STATE HAS COMPETITION FOR THE BIG TEN TITLE
— Crimson Quarry (@crimsonquarry) September 13, 2015
This is fine.
Rutgers @ Penn State, 7:00 PM (BTN)
WOOOO THE FIRST GAME OF THE BIG TEN SLATE RUTGERS VS PENN STATE, HOW EXCITED ARE YOU!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
But seriously, Rutgers is an awful place, Kyle Flood is in even more trouble (somehow), people are getting suspended left and right, and basically, they should just go back to the Zombie Big East.
Meanwhile Penn State is disappointing too and Christian Hackenberg will eventually be turned into ground beef by the end of the season. What a fun game.
Pitt @ Iowa, 7:00 PM (BTN)
Don’t make me write about Iowa.