Big Ten Week 3 Predictions and Week 2 Rewind

Michigan Wolverines tight end Devin Funchess (19) celebrates his touchdown during the first half against the Air Force Falcons at Michigan Stadium. (Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE)

All twelve B1G teams are in action for the third straight week and with every team favored, the league should be able come out of this weekend with a much bette record than 6-6.

Minnesota and Indiana look to improve to 3-0, which would be huge for their bowl hopes. Iowa looks to find some offense against an FCS team.  Northwestern also looks to improve to 3-0, and since they have taken on all BCS conference teams so far, that would look mighty good for the ‘Cats.  Of course there is the huge game between No. 20 Notre Dame and No. 10 Michigan State in Spartan Stadium.  More about that contest below.

[Related: B1G Power Rankings, Week 2]

Game of the Week

Just two games this weekend between ranked teams and the Big Ten has one of them.  Notre Dame heading up to East Lansing to take on the tenth ranked Spartans is not only a high priority for Big Ten fans, but should be on everyone’s must watch list.


A few hours earlier, in the same state, is the exact opposite of the MSU tilt.  Michigan hosts Massachusetts, the same team that was held under sixty yards for an entire game by Connecticut, and then got the snot pounded out of them by Indiana of all teams.

Upset Watch

The Upseter: Not one Big Ten team is an underdog this week, so I will go with a bit of a stretch.  When Western Michigan and Ball State scheduled Minnesota and Indiana, respectively, they were probably thinking: “Yes, a paycheck and a good chance to upset a BCS conference team.”  I expect the teams to leave Minneapolis and Bloomington thinking, “Well, we got the pay check.”  This works double for Ball State who knocked off Indiana last season (and in 2008).

The Upsetee: With how bad Wisconsin has looked and how fun Utah State is, especially when Chuckie Keeton is in beast mode, the Badgers better be ready for the BCS-busting Aggies. USU and Louisiana Tech are both attempting to make their final go around in the WAC a season to remember.  Two BCS teams slain by the Aggies would make that dream go a long way.

MVP Prediction

Considering I have the final score 21-14, I’m not sure how this will work, but after a whole off-season of anger and embarrassment, followed by two gut-wrenching losses, one of which he was the goat for missing four kicks, I’m going with Penn State kicker Sam Ficken.  I hope this nineteen year-old kid, and let’s not forget that he is just a kid, booms a fifty yarder to give Penn State a victory.

Weekly Preseason Waffling

You know what time it is now, my weekly waffling act where I dig up those horrid preseason picks of mine and get a chance to reassess now that I’ve had a chance to see the teams in action.

Preseason: Illinois 45 Charleston Southern 7

CSU was terrible a year ago and Scheelhaase is expected to be back.  I’ll stick with the lopsided score because the Illini should be ticked off about last week’s fiasco.

Preseason: Indiana 31 Ball State 17

Ball State’s QB, Keith Wenning, has been a starter since his freshman year. Last year, as a sophomore, he had a pretty “nice” season. Wenning was expected to break-out in 2012, but he has struggled here in the early going; however, IU enters this one without Tre Roberson. Although Cameron Coffman played well last week, Ball State is night and day better than UMass.  I expect the offense to lose some of its pop and the defense to be called upon to save the win.

Update, Indiana: 21-17

Preseason: Iowa 38 Northern Iowa 14

It is unclear if Iowa will even score 38 points this season, let alone in a game.  UNI played very well in Madison, so going to Kinnick will cause no worries for the FCS powerhouse.  An upset is possible, but the Hawks will dig deep as the defense puts together another solid effort.

Update, Iowa: 17-14

Preseason: Michigan 49 Massachusetts 6

UMass lost 44-6 to Indiana, Michigan is a touch better than the Hoosiers, and by touch, of course I mean a Mike Tyson haymaker.

Update, Michigan: 56-3

Preseason: Michigan State 31 Notre Dame 14

Andrew Maxwell’s jitters, which he had against Boise State, were gone against CMU as he ripped them apart.  Le’Veon Bell is the single best athlete in this game and man I love the MSU defense.  No changes here.

Preseason: Minnesota 35 Western Michigan 31

After a very ugly opening week, WMU bounced back against an FCS cupcake and Alex Carder, the very skilled Broncos QB, exploded for five touchdowns.  Minnesota probably has a strut in their step after starting 2-0 and looking good against New Hampshire, but this WMU team will be their toughest test yet.  I like it tight, I like it high scoring and I like the score I predicted a month ago.

Preseason: Nebraska 42 Arkansas State 21

ASU has had no problems scoring (34 points against Oregon and 33 against Memphis), so three touchdowns seems conservative after a shaky game for Nebraska’s defenders. I think the Blackshirts respond well to the criticism and keep the Red Wolves in check the majority of this game.  The Huskers have been able to score well this season and ASU’s defense, well, they haven’t had much luck in stopping teams.  Long story short, leaving it the way it is.

Preseason: Northwestern 28 Boston College 17

BC put up 32 points on Miami’s struggling defense and 34 on FCS Maine’s.  I know NU is coming off a great game defensively against Vanderbilt, but I’m still inclined to boost the Eagles score a bit. Typically, the previous week for Northwestern doesn’t project onto the next week, as they never seem to have two similar games back-to-back.  This season they start in a dome with a shootout and seven days later they’re in a defensive struggle in the slop.  No matter how this one shakes out, Northwestern still gets to 3-0.

Update, Northwestern: 31-26 (very funny safety in the first quarter, ask me about it Sunday)

Preseason: Ohio State 31 California 28

Cal looked subpar against Nevada and sluggish against FCS Southern Utah.  Now they have the tall task of playing at Ohio State at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time.  Big change coming.

Update, Ohio State 31-10

Preseason: Penn State 28 Navy 21

Navy was off last week so the only thing we know about them is the 50-10 thumping they received from Notre Dame. I’m expecting Navy to have a down year this year, but 28 points appears to be a tall order for Penn State.

Update, Penn State 21-14

Preseason: Purdue 35 Eastern Michigan 17

EMU has been a major bust this year after showing signs of life a season ago.  Purdue should come out fired up and ready to impress after gagging away the rivalry game against Notre Dame a week ago.  Purdue QB TerBush isn’t the most dependable of field generals, but the defense has looked good thus far.  I think the Boilers double them up, and that means I’ll stick to the score.

Wisconsin: 35 Utah State 20

Utah State is 2-0 with one of those wins against Pac 12 “big brother” Utah.  USU nearly knocked off Auburn a year ago on the road and Keeton is one of the most exciting players in the country.  The Badgers will have their hands full.  After stumbling against UNI, the defense put up a stout effort against Oregon State.  I think that will be the difference in a game that proves much closer than people thought it would be a couple months ago.

Update, Wisconsin 21-14

B1G Week Two Prediction Rewind

Whew, no time to catch our breath though.  By doing the new Pac 12 Stock Report (check it out, it is slightly readable!), my prediction rewind got bumped here to this goliath length post.  Let me fly through these so you can get back to paying attention to the prof, or your boss, or landing the plane…you know, wherever you enjoy reading Gamedayr.  My picks last week weren’t all that bad, considering the carnage that the league took.  I managed to go 7-5 and while I didn’t pull the trigger on any of them, I thought UCLA, Iowa State and Arizona State could all win their games.

Illinois 14 Arizona State 45 Prediction: Illinois 21-20

Obviously this was a gutsy upset bid, but Arizona State had only knocked off Northern Arizona in week one and the Illini defense looked very strong in their opener.  Playing without Scheelhaase cost the Illini a little, but since I had them scoring just 21 points (14 without Scheelhaase), I wasn’t that far off for point production, it was just unfathomable that Illinois’ defense would take such a nap.

Indiana 45 Massachusetts 6 Prediction: Indiana 35-14

Not too shabby.  Indiana’s improving defense played a nice game against a lousy UMass offense.  Indiana shredded the Minutemen with nearly 600 yards of offense and racked up over half of it on the ground.  I don’t know if anyone had predicted that big a day.

Iowa 6 Iowa State 9 Prediction: Iowa 28-24

What’s sad is I even lowered the point total from my off-season predictions to the week of the game.  I don’t know if this result was both team’s defense rising to the occasion, or both offenses hanging out on the same beach that Illinois and Miami’s defenses hung out at last week.

Michigan 31 Air Force 25 Prediction: Michigan 42-17

Air Force played much better on both sides of the ball than I would have guessed.  Meanwhile, Michigan couldn’t get much going with Fitz Toussaint, which was surprising to see.

Michigan State 41 Central Michigan 7 – Bullseye of the Week Prediction: Michigan State 41-0

Never have I been more sick at a last second touchdown in a blowout involving two teams I never root for.  Never has anyone said NOOOOOOOOOO louder and longer than I did, other than Vader at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Obviously the bullseye of the week and a great contender for bullseye of the year.

Minnesota 44 New Hampshire 7 Prediction: Minnesota 24-14

All I can really say about this is to praise the Gophers again.  They have exceeded my expectations thus far and played a really nice game on both sides of the ball last week.

Nebraska 30 UCLA 36 Prediction: Nebraska 31-17

I thought that Nebraska would score late to clinch, but that it would be a tight game most of the way.  Neither defense played much during first half and Nebraska made some key errors, none bigger than a fourth quarter safety, which broke the tie and gave the Bruins the ball.

Northwestern 23 Vanderbilt 13 Prediction: Northwestern 31-28

It is safe to say that the major rain storm affected the scoring a bit.  I can pat myself on the back for predicting a tight game involving Northwestern, wait a sec..

Ohio State 31 Central Florida 16 Prediction: Ohio State 21-10

Pretty, pretty close.  And yes I said it outloud and pronounced it prit-tay a la Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Other than a tad more points for each team, this thing played out like I expected.

Penn State 16 Virginia 17 Prediction: Virginia 24-17

I really like this Virginia team.  If Gamedayr allowed me to ruin the ACC for everyone, I would have thirty UVA posts a day.  In fact, look out for a lengthy essay about the Cav’s mascot’s moustache due very soon.

Purdue 17 Notre Dame 20 Prediction: Purdue 28-24

For a while there it looked like my upset special was dead in the water, then Purdue found a way to fight back.  The game was tied late in the fourth, but Tommy Rees led a very late scoring drive.  Perhaps I should not have tossed him under the bus in several predictions, hmm…live and learn.

Wisconsin 7 Oregon State 10 Prediction: W, 31-10

I told you the Beavers would score ten points!  Nailed it.  Let’s just gloss over the rest…

For the week: 7-5
For the season: 18-6

Random Musing: Ohio State is 1-1 against Cal in Rose Bowl match-ups, losing to them in each team’s first appearance in 1921.  The Buckeyes avenged that loss in 1950 behind game MVP Fred “Curly” Morrison.

Week Two B1G Recap

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