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What I Want in the Non-Con: Week 3

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Northwestern can't lose this week! ... But Purdue still can (and probably will).

David Cobb and the Gophers play one of a challenging slate of games for the middle of the B1G in Week 3.
David Cobb and the Gophers play one of a challenging slate of games for the middle of the B1G in Week 3.
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Well, let's review.

General Guidelines for the Non-Con in 2014

No losses to non-AQ schools
2-1 against Notre Dame
Protect yo turf (no home losses)

I like to think these guidelines are pretty straightforward.

Wha' Happened? Week 1:

No losses to non-AQ schools

Northwestern, Purdue. BAD. BAD BAD BAD.

2-1 against Notre Dame

So it appears the conference's best chance at a win...was a 31-0 pasting at the hands of Notre Dame. So that's, uh, that's not good. But Purdue has a chance to keep the dream ali--hahahahhahahahahaha shit.

Protect yo turf (no home losses)

Ohio State. WHY. Northwestern. WHY. Purdue. Sure, OK. Whatever.

So things basically aren't good right now. The B1G brand, as GoForTJ noted in Sunday Morning Coming Down, is at its lowest point since Jan. 1, 2011. Let's see if we can turn things around this week.

What I Want, Week 3:

(All games Saturday, all times CST, all rankings AP.)

Maryland (-4) vs. West Virginia (11am, BTN): The Terrapins underwhelmed against South Florida in Week 2, turning the ball over 6 times, including two interceptions on the arm of quarterback C.J. Brown. Brown will need to manage the game more efficiently in Week 3, as the Mountaineers offense behind Clint Trickett can move the ball up and down the field. I want a win straight-up from Maryland, not even needing the cover. A solid win over WVU would look even better, perhaps leading Maryland fans to demand a shot at Bama /trollgaze.

Iowa (-11) vs. Iowa State (2:30pm, ESPN): The Hawkeyes could sure use a convincing win. The third in a series of opponents which have historically (under Kirk Ferentz) found a way to give superior Hawkeye clubs trouble, Iowa State is not very good. The Hawkeyes need to turn this game into 2009 or 2010, when they blew out the Cyclones. ISU QB Sam Richardson can give Iowa trouble if he can establish OC Mark Mangino's quick-hitting offense, but I expect Iowa to run the ball down their throats and hold onto the Cy-Hawk Trophy, keeping their in-state rivals at a comfortable 10-point arm's length for most of the game.

Minnesota (+16) @ TCU (3pm, FS1): This line shocks me. Apparently a 48-14 drubbing of Samford means that the 1-0 Horned Frogs are that superior to the 2-0 Gophers, who comfortably handled Middle Tennessee State last weekend. I want Mitch Leidner to prove he's a competent pocket passer, though I seriously doubt that happens. This game will likely come down to which offense is imposed first: the TCU Air Raid, or the Gophers ground-and-pound. Neither defense seems particularly well-equipped to handle the other, with the Gophers likely struggling to keep up with the Horned Frogs, and Gary Patterson's 4-2-5 defense (excellent at handling the spread) either forced to switch to a more traditional style or beaten down by David Cobb, Berkeley Edwards, and Mitch Leidner. I want the Gophers to keep it within a score, but I think they could stun TCU at home.

Illinois (+13) @ Washington (3pm, FOX): How Illinois is getting fewer points than Minnesota is...just, whatever. Don't embarrass us, Illinois. Cover the spread, show some signs of life.

Purdue (+28) @ #11 Notre Dame (Indianapolis, 6:30pm, NBC): God help us. It could be a long night.

BONUS! Penn State (-4) at Rutgers (7pm, BTN): I want Penn State to lose, mostly because it'd be really, really, really, really funny. But this isn't non-con, so it really doesn't factor into my overall.

Nebraska (-11) @ Fresno State (9:30pm, CBSSN): Screw you, Fresno, for such a late start time. It's a good thing you aren't very good. I just want Nebraska to leave with a win, but since the Bulldogs are a shell of their 2013 selves (0-2 with blowout losses to #15 USC and Utah), I want the Huskers to show some defensive identity and ground a scuffling Fresno pass attack, covering with authority.

Michigan (-32) vs. Miami Hydroxide (11am, BTN)

Indiana (-8) @ Bowling Green (11am, ESPNU)

#22 Ohio State (-32) vs. Kent State (2:30pm, ABC)

Reprising his popular role from 2012, it's the Big Ten Network's newsbreak, featuring Dave Revsine!

3956r_medium_mediumThe Big Ten heads into another challenging week of non-conference games after a disappointing showing in week 2, this week featuring exciting matchups as Minnesota and Illinois head south and west to face--wait, where the hell is DiNardo? Oh, no, not...

4m92v_medium_mediumGreetings, Dave! Eet eez I, ze Count! Vat shall ve count to today?

3956r_medium_mediumDammit, how do you keep getting in here? Did Mike Hall pay you to do this?

4m92v_medium_mediumNo! Today, I am brought to you by ze number... Three! Three! Ze number of games ze Beeg Ten plays against ze MAC zis veek!

4m92v_medium_mediumEight! Ze number of points ze Hoosiers get on ze road! Good thing zey never lose to Bowling Green MAC team before!

3956r_medium_mediumWell, uh, actually...

4m92v_medium_mediumVait. You mean to tell me zat Beeg Ten schools lose to MAC team... At home?! Een front of own fans?! How eez Indiana allowed still een conference?!

3956r_medium_mediumActually, last week both Northwestern and Purdue lost at home, to Northern Illinois and Central Michigan, respectively.

4m92v_medium_mediumFuck zees conference. I qvit.

So How Will It Go?

What I Want:

7-2. I really do want the MAC games to go easy, Maryland to assert themselves against WVU at home, Iowa to not play with its corn before it eats it, and Minnesota to surprise us at TCU. I have a feeling one of those three things won't happen. I think it's Maryland, but Minnesota's equally as possible.

What I Expect:

4-5. I don't feel good about this, either. Indiana's always a risk to remember they don't actually play defense. Maryland's playing a surprisingly decent WVU team. Minnesota are 2+ score dogs on the road. Iowa is playing a rivalry game, so forget the book. I'm giving up already on Purdue and Illinois, and I just think three of those four games I named are going to go poorly. I don't want them to (Maryland and Minnesota in particular), but I'm pessimistic.

Burn Mattresses in the Streets If:

2-7. That's everyone except Michigan and Ohio State, by the way. I already lost one mattress last week, Big Ten. Don't make me lose another.