B1G Week 1 Preview

Maybe Braxton hurt his shoulder trying to forcibly remove Thomas Gordon's facemask last November? No one's talking about it, but I think he might have tweaked something.

This was a lot more fun (and less time consuming) to do when the Big Ten had 11 teams. Just sayin. Also, in case you missed it, we posted our B1G power rankings and bowl projections a couple weeks ago.

Week 1
Date Time Visiting Team Home Team Site TV
August 28 7:00 Eastern Illinois MINNESOTA Minneapolis, MN BTN
August 28 10:00 RUTGERS Washington St Seattle, WA FS1
August 29 7:30 Jacksonville St MICHIGAN ST East Lansing, MI BTN
August 30 8:30AM Central Florida PENN ST Dublin, Ireland ESPN2
August 30 12:00 Youngstown St ILLINOIS Champaign, IL BTN
August 30 12:00 Indiana St INDIANA Bloomington, IN ESPNEWS
August 30 12:00 Northern Iowa IOWA Iowa City, IA BTN
August 30 12:00 Appalachian St MICHIGAN Ann Arbor, MI ESPN2
August 30 12:00 OHIO ST Navy Baltimore, MD CBSSN
August 30 12:00 Western Michigan PURDUE West Lafayette, IN ESPNU
August 30 3:30 James Madison MARYLAND College Park, MD BTN
August 30 3:30 Florida Atlantic NEBRASKA Lincoln, NE BTN
August 30 3:30 California NORTHWESTERN Evanston, IL ABC/ESPN2
August 30 9:00 LSU WISCONSIN Houston, TX ESPN
All times eastern. B1G team in ALL CAPS. My picks in bold.

Biggest Game
Pretty obvoius which game is the marquee matchup of the week. And that, of course, it Indiana State at Indiana. I mean if you go back into the long, storied history of this rivalry you will see that....

...what's that? No...not the biggest game of the week? You...I mean...um. Alright then.

I've just been handed an memo that tells that LSU vs Wisconsin is this week's biggest game thanks to it being the only game in the league featuring two top-25 ranked teams. I guess if that's what you guys consider important for a game to be considered "big"...well that and its going to be on ESPN in primetime, I suppose I see where you're coming from.

But seriously, this game will be an entertaining one. For one, it's going to tell us a little something about Wisconsin and whether or not they'll be considered legit or not...or LSU for that matter. Not to be outdone, Cal @ Northwestern does feature a nice week one B1G/Pac-12 matchup.

Upset Alert
A week ago, I'd probably put Penn State on here because frankly who goes all the way to Ireland to play Central Florida? Not that I think Penn State will lose this game, but flying around the world can do things to people, ya know? Plus a first year coach...that's upset alert worthy.

No, we're putting Ohio State squarely on upset alert for week 1. Thats right...the mighty Buckeyes. Navy and their cooky flexbone offense could just be weird and different enough to throw the Buckeye defense off their game. And if things are as bad offensively as folks say they could be, OSU will need their defense to step up not only this week, but all season.

Welcome to life after Hyde, Miller and a senior-laden offensive line, Ohio State.

Snoozer of the Week
Oh my, pick one. As per usual for college football opening weekends, sacrificial lambs abound...especially in the Big Ten. The aforementioned Indiana State @ Indiana or perhaps Jacksonville St @ Michigan St, James Madison @ Maryland, Florida Atlantic @ Nebraska, Youngstown State at Illinois. All great snoozers worthy of our weekly distinction.

Appy State @ Michigan should be on this list if not for a monumental upset that occurred 7 years ago that suddenly changed the course of the winningest program in college football history...but let's not go there. The simple fact is, a lot of the games on the B1G slate are snoozers that and is exactly how the B1G teams playing in those games want it. Get the W, and move on.

Bold Predictions
Frankly, I don't know how to feel about Maryland and Rutgers yet. I think Maryland probably wins, and Rutgers loses because how great is it that as an introduction to the B1G, they have their first game on the west coast where B1G teams rarely play well. Who knows.

Ultimately, I think Ohio State survives. So does Penn State. Wisconsin finally starts to feel the impact of the loss of Bielema in year 2 under Gary Andersen as they lose a close one to LSU. NW won a big one in their opener against Cal a year ago, and I think the Golden Bears return the favor in Evanston.

And yes, Michigan beats Appalachian State. About time...amiright?!?!

As for the rest of the league, I don't expect any major upsets or surprises...which means there will be at least one (I'm looking at you Purdue).

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