Bama Hawkeye left some big shoes to fill here at OTE. One of those shoes was talking about what we want to see happen in the non-conference schedule each week: a breakdown of the games and what the B1G needs to do to get some better respectability nationally. This year I will attempt to step into those shoes.
What happened last week: Despite struggling with some teams that shouldn't have been such a struggle, the B1G came out of week 1 exactly how I expected. Last week I said I wanted the B1G to go 12-0, but expected 10-2. I expected ‘Bama to be too much for Michigan, and I expected some other B1G team would get upset by an unranked non-con opponent. By the end of the 1st Quarter of the Mich/'Bama game my prediction was completely safe.
Season to date records
Against the non-con: 10-2
Against ranked opponents: 1-1
Against BCS opponents: 1-1
A look at this week's match-ups, after the jump.
All B1G Week 2 games are on Saturday
Central Florida @ #14 OSU: Central Florida took Akron behind the woodshed in week 1, but they will be no match for the fighting Urbans. You're favored by 18.5, OSU, I expect you to obliterate that number and have your reserves playing the entire 4th quarter.
New Hampshire @ Minnesota: Despite destroying UNLV on the stat sheet it took Minnesota 3 OT's to beat the
Runnin' Rebels. Things could have been really ugly. In your home opener, against a solid FCS team, it's time to show you are a program on the rise, Gophers. I expect you to beat UNH by two TD's.
Penn State @ Virginia: O hai, Penn State. Ohio is a very good MAC program, but MAC teams shouldn't beat B1G teams. Virginia isn't going to make your life any easier this week, PSU, and they are, in fact, favored by 10 points. Time to bounce back Penn State. Time to show everyone that you haven't completely fallen into the abyss. Find a way to win this game, Penn State, and we'll all feel a lot better about you.
Purdue @ #22 Notre Dame: Great work destroying an FCS team last week, but now it's time to really get to work. Notre Dame went to Ireland to beat up Navy last week (which, in my opinion should be considered treason), and good for them. Several pundits seemed to think you would make some noise this season, Purdue, so time to start proving them right. You're a two TD dog in this game, but I expect you to find a way to win this game outright.
Indiana @ UMASS: You did it, Hoosiers! You won your opener! Mazel! Now you get to travel to UMass where you are favored (FAVORED!!!) on the road (ON THE ROAD!!!) by two touchdowns (TWO TOUCHDOWNS!!!). I guess you've arrived(?), Indiana. Don't blow it. I expect you to cover the spread.
Air Force @ #19 Michigan: Hey Wolverines, good game, good effort in your match-up with ‘Bama in Jerry's World. Let's move on. You want to prove you belong in the B1G Championship conversation, Michigan? Do yourselves a favor and cover the 3 TD spread that Vegas has set for you. We ALL expect it.
#11 Michigan State @ Central Michigan: Sparty, YES! You took care of business last week and beat a ranked opponent! Time to avoid a letdown. You're favored by 20 points as you
host head to Central Michigan, I expect you to make us believe that you deserve that to be ranked in the Top 10 in the nation.
Iowa State @ Iowa: You survived Soldiers Field, Hawkeyes, and a scare from NIU, and now you get to host your in-state rivals. ISU handled a MAC team last week just like you did, and you can bet they're hungry for a W in Iowa City. You're favored by 4, Iowa, which accounts for your home field advantage and that's about it. Your reputation can't handle taking another hit right now, especially from your closest rival. I expect you to win this game by 10 or more and put the doubters to bed.
#13 Wisconsin @ Oregon State: Do you have any idea what life would be like this week if you had lost to UNI last week, Badgers? Yikes. But you didn't. Nice work? Oregon State is from a major conference, but they are expected to be awful. They didn't even get to play their first game last week because of a hurricane, so they should be all full of mistakes. 7 points, Badgers. That's all you're favored by. If you want to be in the conversation as relevant in the B1G, I expect you to triple that number.
#16 Nebraska @ UCLA: Nice win last week, Nebraska. And nice work putting the #ARMPUNT to rest, Taylor Martinez, for at least a week. A couple of folks around these parts think you might be the best team in the B1G, Huskers. Do you think that? You're favored by 5 out in LA, but if you want us to keep thinking you're the best team in the conference, I expect you to win this game by 10, and make a case for why you should be ranked above MSU.
Vanderbilt @ Northwestern: Oh Northwestern, that defense almost cost you one out east, didn't it? Now you host a Vandy team that put a scare into a top 10 team last week, and they are coming in favored to beat you on your own turf. Shameful. You want to show you belong. Do work, Northwestern. I expect you to beat Vandy by at least a TD.
Illinois @ Arizona State: You did what PSU couldn't do, and what Iowa almost couldn't do, Illinois, you beat a MAC team. And you did it in Beckman's first game as coach. Now you get on a plane and head to Tempe, where the women are hot, and the beer flows like wine. ASU beat something called Northern Illinois by... holy hell, am I reading this right? 57 points!!! That's more than eight TD's. Holy Hannah. So, you're a 4 pt underdog against ASU this week, Illini, but I believe in you. I expect you to win this game, Illinois. Do it for your very passionate fan base.
What I want: I want 12-0. I want the B1G to do the conference proud against a much more difficult, top to bottom, slate of opponents than in week 1. As far as proving we are relevant on a national level, Michigan didn't do us any favors last week. But if we can go undefeated against this slate in week 2, we might silence some of the haters.
What I expect: Ugh. I really do want that 12-0, but I think we might be looking at an 8-4 week. As much as I believe Notre Dame is overrated, I think they are too much for Purdue. I don't think PSU is ready to go on the road and win a game against a BCS opponent yet. Illinois wasn't impressive enough in week 1 to make me really believe they can beat ASU, and I think Indiana, Iowa or Northwestern could be in for a letdown.