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B1G Wrestling: The Conference Season Begins!!!

Iowa at Nebraska is a helluva way to start things off

Along with Aaron Brooks at 197, Penn State 174 pounder Carter Starocci is seeking to become PSU’s first four-time champion.

Hey everybody, welcome to our more regular wrestling coverage. In case you missed last week’s epic length power rankings, they’re right here:

There were a couple of solid duals last week.

Ohio State downed Cornell 21-20 in what I would consider a minor upset. InterMat has Cornell #10 and Ohio State #11 in tournament rankings. WrestleStat LOVES Cornell, putting them #2 and Ohio State #5. Now a couple of different things are true about this dual: 1) Ohio State only won because 133 #1 Vito Arujau didn’t go for Cornell, and his backup got pinned. Cornell has the better lineup right now, and is probably going to do better this year, BUT 2) Ohio State is ahead of schedule. They Buckeyes’ lineup vs. Cornell was four frosh (all redshirt), three sophs, two juniors, and a senior. They’re wrestling without Sammy Sasso, who was shot in an apparent carjacking in the offseason. No idea what the future holds for him, and, obviously we wish him the best. In the meantime, Ohio State is carrying on, and impressively at that.

In almost the exact opposite situation, Nebraska was unimpressive in defeating Northern Iowa by criteria, 18-17. At 141, Brock Hardy lost a tossup to Cael Happel, and #3 Peyton Robb was upset by Ryder Downey.

But, now it’s time for B1G wrestling, and there will be some fantastic individual matchups, as well as some pretty damn good duals, starting tonight!

6:00 CST: #4 Iowa @ #3 Nebraska (BTN)

We’re using InterMat rankings, but the WrestleStat breakdown predicts a 21-19 Nebraska win. That said, there’s a pretty good chance of some lineup alterations. Assuming starters go, check out these bouts:

125: #5 Drake Ayala (Iowa) vs. #7 Caleb Smith (Neb)

141: #1 Real Woods (Iowa) vs. #7 Brock Hardy (Neb)

149: #1 Ridge Lovett (Neb) vs. #12 Caleb Rathjen (Iowa)

157: #2 Jared Franek (Iowa) vs. #3 Peyton Robb (Neb)

197: #11 Silas Allred (Neb) vs. #16 Zach Glazier (Iowa)

Three top 10 battles and two other bouts featuring Hawkeyes who have really come into their own this year. Beyond that, Iowa looks to send out top-10 wrestlers at 165 (Mikey Caliendo) and 174 (Patrick Kennedy) while #3 Lenny Pinto will look for bonus points at 184 for the Huskers. I cheated with Kennedy’s ranking, as it’s from WrestleStat. He’s not ranked in InterMat as he hasn’t seen action in an Iowa singlet yet this year owing to his gambling suspension. But he should be good to go, and is definitely top 10 caliber.

In fact, looking at this breakdown, an Iowa victory seems entirely possible. Nebraska will need Smith and/or Robb to come up big and maybe ride a great crowd to grab the dual win. HWT is the weakest matchup, so it will be interesting to see if the dual starts at 125 or not.

Elsewhere

FRIDAY:

Indiana @ Rutgers (6:00, B1G+)

Illinois @ Ohio State (6:00, B1G+)

HWAHSQB: This dual has the only non-iowa top ten matchup of the opening weekend as we could see #3 Edmond Ruth for Illinois against #8 Carson Kharchla for the Buckeyes. Not just a really fun match, but the loser could easily see themselves on the 4 line at B1Gs instead of 2 or 3 which is a major disadvantage in a weight with a frontrunner like Starocci.

Michigan @ Maryland (6:30, B1G+)

SUNDAY:

Michigan State @ Michigan (Noon, B1G+)

Northwestern @ Maryland (Noon, B1G+)

HWAHSQB: This one is interesting to me just because these are two programs heading in opposite directions. Last time these two teams met was two years ago and the Wildcats won 29-7. Wrestlestat has the Terps winning 19-15, but that has the two tossup matches both going the Wildcats direction. I would definitely take the over on 19 points for the Old Bay eaters.

Indiana @ Penn State (Noon, B1G+)

HWAHSQB: There is a little drama here. Donnell Washington is the only active wrestler with a win over Carter Starocci so maybe he does it again? Yeah, I don’t think so either. The real drama is Will Indiana score? If PSU runs their fully armed and operations Death Star lineup out there, this could be 40-0.

Rutgers @ Purdue (Noon, B1G+)

MONDAY:

Minnesota @ Iowa (7:00, BTN)

Honestly, this doesn’t figure to be particularly close, but what are you going to do, watch a crappy NFL playoff game? It’s on BTN, and 125 (Ayala vs. Patrick McKee) could be a really good bout. Minnesota will have a real shot at 184, 197, and HWT, so if Iowa doesn’t get up early, it might be closer than expected.