Here we go...Big Ten season #118! My picks in bold.
Thursday, August 29
INDIANA STATE AT INDIANA
7 p.m. ET • BTN
UNLV AT MINNESOTA
6 p.m. CT • BTN
WESTERN MICHIGAN AT MICHIGAN STATE
8 p.m. ET • BTN
Saturday, August 31
MASSACHUSETTS AT #23/23 WISCONSIN
11 a.m. CT • BTN
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS AT ILLINOIS
11 a.m. CT • BTN
BUFFALO AT #2/2 OHIO STATE
Noon ET • ESPN2
PURDUE AT CINCINNATI
Noon ET • ESPNU
NORTHERN ILLINOIS AT IOWA
2:30 p.m. CT • BTN
CENTRAL MICHIGAN AT #17/17 MICHIGAN
3:30 p.m. ET • BTN
PENN STATE VS SYRACUSE
3:30 p.m. ET • ABC/ESPN2
WYOMING AT #18/18 NEBRASKA
7 p.m. CT • BTN
#22/22 NORTHWESTERN AT CALIFORNIA
7:30 p.m. PT • ESPN2
If you're going simply by head-to-head ranking, there really aren't any big games this week. If you're going be name recognition, then there's a couple games that could draw some undecideds. Penn State at Syracuse could be interesting. As could Northwestern at Cal. A lot of people want to see what Northwestern is all about...so this west coast trip could go a long way in either proving or disproving that the Wildcats are legit. Big Ten teams can struggle out west, but I think this will be a very entertaining game to watch.
I don't want to discount the two Thursday night games. Just the fact that football is back is worth watching. UNLV at Minnesota trumps Indiana State at Indiana...not surprisingly.
Is it wrong if the B1G team is the one who upsets someone else? If that's not the case then watch out Cincinnati!
Iowa lost to Central Michigan last year, and I think the MAC wins at Kinnick again with Northern Illinois.
Michigan State has a tendency to play down to their opponent's level at times, plus they have a 4-horse race for the starting QB spot, so that could be a potential distraction against Western Michigan on Friday night in East Lansing.
Snoozer of the Week
Oh man, pick one. Of all the potential snoozers, and there are a few, Southern Illinois at Illinois takes the cake.
My hat's off to #2 Ohio State for scheduling the worst team in the MAC. Way to start off their laughable non-conference schedule.
I suspect the league will have a good weekend with probably 10 or 11 wins. I like that the 12 games this week are spread across 3 days. That definitely helps.
The primary contenders of the league are all paying for victories, and that's pretty much going to be the outcome with them. Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska fans can all bask in the glow of an opening week win against a drastically inferior opponent.
I hope I'm wrong about picking against Iowa and Purdue. But Northern Illinois and Cincy are decent teams that will give two struggling B1G schools issues.