It was a quiet week for the Big-10 as many of them were still finishing up their non-conference schedule. A handful of teams beat their small school opponents, Ohio State avoided an upset, and Michigan State lost the biggest game of the weekend. Let’s dive in a bit deeper.
I will be happy when I can start riling off big time conference scores as opposed to meaningless bad team beatdowns, but we have one more week of them. Here’s how most of the games in the conference looked. #18 Michigan had their best game of the young year, beating UMass 63-13. #25 Nebraska bounced back from a disappointing loss to UCLA by whipping Arkansas State 42-13. Illinois blanked Charleston Southern 44-0, while Purdue pummeled Eastern Michigan 54-16. And to round out the blowouts, Penn State finally had a positive Saturday, beating Navy 34-7 to notch their first victory this year.
It wasn’t easy for all teams in the conference this week. Minnesota had an unexpected sweat against Western Michigan, winning 28-23. Northwestern picked up a nice out of conference win agaisnt the ACC’s Boston College 22-13, and Iowa continued their less then impressive season with a 27-16 win over in-state rival Northern Iowa. And Wisconsin, who was highly touted coming into this year, continued to look less then impressive, barely squeezing out a 16-14 win over Utah State. Lastly, Ohio State got a huge test from Cal, barely knocking off the Bears 35-28 at home, needing a late 4th quarter touchdown to do so.
Only two Big-10 teams lost this past week, and Indiana was one of them. The Hoosiers dropped their first game of the year, losing to Ball State 41-39. Lastly, there was the biggest result of the week, and that was #21 Michigan State dropping the ball against now #11 Notre Dame. The Irish shot out to an early lead in the first, and they never looked back, keeping the Spartans at bay the whole game, ultimately winning 20-3.
Speaking of Notre Dame, they are once again in the spotlight in the Big-10, as they will welcome Michigan to Notre Dame stadium. It will be a close game, but I like the Irish in this one. I think Michigan State is better then Michigan this year, and while Denard Robinson could be very effective against Notre Dame, I still don’t think he alone can beat this team. Look for the Irish to notch another big win, and shoot out to a 4-0 start.
The only other game to really make mention of is an inter-conference matchup between Indiana and Northwestern. The Wildcats have shot out to a 3-0 record, and the wins werent against slouches. Northwestern has knocked off three BCS conference opponents, beating Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Boston College. I think they continue this trend, and blow Indiana out at home.
That wraps up the Big-10 for us this week. Who’s going to win the Michigan Notre Dame game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!