Your Indiana Hoosiers are off this weekend, but we know you’ll still be keeping an eye on the television tomorrow.
So have a nice pint of Upland and join us for a quick recap of last week’s games, along with a preview of what’s to come in Week 2.
But first, your weekly viewing picks –
- 12 PM window: Slim pickings here, but I’m going with Purdue – Central Michigan. Be prepared to flip the channel quick, here, but this one has major schadenfreude factor – this Purdue team doesn’t look good at all, and most of our readership wouldn’t mind seeing a loss. I wouldn’t fault you for watching Missouri – Toledo, either, here.
- 3:30 window: Iowa – Ball State is a decent option here. Iowa’s a swing game for our Hoosiers, so it’s a great fan-scouting opportunity against a Ball State team that Hoosier fans should be familiar with. I expect Iowa to win comfortably, but watch the run game – if Iowa can’t run the ball, it puts a ton of pressure on Jake Rudock for their match-up with the Hoosiers later this fall.
- Late Window: It’s not even a question – Michigan State – Oregon. This is the national game of the week, and features two styles that couldn’t be more different. Make sure you’re in front of a TV for this one. It could be a great one.
Below the fold, check out your list of match-ups – there’s some tasty ones here.
Bowling Green State Falcons vs. VMI Keydets
Saturday at 3:30 PM ET, ESPN3
It’s not been a great start for first year Head Coach and All-Name team honoree Dino Babers. The Falcons totally imploded at Western Kentucky in a 59-31 loss, giving up an absurd 569 yards on 46 of 56 passing from WKU QB Brandon Doughty. Adding injury to an insult of a game, starting quarterback Matt Johnson will miss the rest of the season with a hip injury, and Sophomore running back William Houston has been suspended for two years for attempted rape.
So, no, things aren’t going well.
As you can imagine, it’s a perfect time for a “get-right” game. It appears they have just what the doctor ordered in a matchup with the VMI Keydets. Expect a big win from the Falcons against a totally overmatched opponent.
Can BGSU establish their tempo? Dino Babers is an Art Briles disciple, and looks to bring a similar high-tempo system to the Falcons. If the offense can’t sustain drives, as Hoosier fans can tell you, it will be a long year.
(24) Missouri Tigers at Toledo Rockets
Saturday at 12 PM ET, ESPN
Missouri kicked off the season at Faurot Field with a 38-18 win against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. This one was a bit closer than you may have expected through three quarters, until Kick Returner Marcus Murphy took one to the house in the third quarter to extend the lead to 28-21.
The Tigers got it done on the ground with a solid 5.51 yards a carry. There were some signs of concern, however, as Mizzou was only able to convert 3 of their 11 third down tries. Add to that a couple of missed field goals from within range, and you’ve got Missouri fans feeling a little more uneasy than you’d think.
This weekend sees them taking a road trip to the Glass Bowl in Toledo to take on the 1-0 Rockets. Missouri is a 3.5 point favorite, depending on where you look. Toledo put up 54 points last week against the New Hampshire Wildcats. I’d expect Mizzou to rebound this week, but expect Toledo to give them a game in front of a home crowd.
Can Missouri sustain drives? Against South Dakota State, they only had one drive of at least ten plays. That one ended in a missed field goal. Although time of possession isn’t a particularly meaningful statistic, South Dakota State held the ball for four drives of four minutes or longer.
Maryland Terrapins at South Florida Bulls
3:30 PM ET, CBS Sports Network
Maryland’s first game ended in a 52-7 destruction of James Madison. Terp RB C.J. Brown rushed for three touchdowns on seven carries as the Maryland offense moved the ball with regularity. The Terps had a relatively pedestrian 5.5 yard per play average, but kept great field position all day – they started five drives inside of JMU territory, and only had 4 of the 16 drives start inside their own 25.
After a game that could hardly be called a challenge against JMU, a trip to South Florida should give Maryland more of a challenge. The Bulls are coming off a narrow win over the Western Carolina Catamounts. South Florida showed an explosive offense that may present some problems for Maryland, but the Terps shouldn’t have any problem scoring on the day.
Maryland is favored by 13.5 points. Despite this being a road game, that might not be enough.
Can Maryland keep it up on the road? It’s not an easy trip to South Florida, even if the Bulls are heavy underdogs here.
North Texas Mean Green vs Southern Methodist Mustangs
Saturday at 12:00 PM ET, FSN
The Mean Green had a rough go of it last week, serving as the sacrificial lamb for HC Charlie Strong’s debut at Texas.
North Texas’ passing game was something that even triple-option stalwarts Navy would be ashamed of. North Texas quarterback Josh Greer was 2/11 for 8 yards and 2 interceptions, while backup Andrew McNulty threw 2 interceptions against 1 completion. Calling the passing game abysmal would honestly be too kind.
The positives were limited for North Texas, but they did show an ability to force turnovers (2 fumbles forced) and limit the run game (4.1 yards per carry average for Texas).
North Texas invites Southern Methodist in for a tilt at Noon ET Saturday. June Jones’ SMU was embarrassed 45-0 at the hands of Baylor, a game where Coach Jones claimed that his players “(were hit by) the fog of war.” SMU comes in as 2.5 point underdogs, but it’s hard to call a game where neither team showed much of anything in the debut.
Nothing. Please, save yourself some time and don’t watch this game. If you’re such a College Football junkie that you need to main line this game into your bloodstream, seek help from a professional immediately.
Iowa Hawkeyes vs Ball State Cardinals
Saturday at 3:30 PM ET, ESPN2
Iowa narrowly escaped defeat against the Northern Iowa Panthers last week, winning 31-23 on the strength of a 250 yard day from QB Jake Rudock. Iowa’s vaunted rushing attack couldn’t get anything going outside of a 35 yard rush on a reverse from Tevaun Smith. That rush alone made him Iowa’s leading rusher for the day, beating out Mark Weisman’s ten carries by a yard.
UNI had the game down to a point with 13 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but a Jake Rudock touchdown pass to Damond Powell put the Panthers to bed for good.
The Hawkeyes look to rebound against a Ball State program coming off a 10 win season under Head Coach Pete Lembo. The Cardinals beat Colgate 30-10, but are 17.5 point underdogs going into Kinnick Stadium.
Can Iowa’s offense rebound? They looked less than mediocre against a FCS opponent, particularly in the run game. If they can get Mark Weisman unhinged, the outlook for this Iowa offense improves considerably.
(7) Michigan State Spartans at (3) Oregon Ducks
Saturday at 6:30 PM ET, Fox
Michigan State unloaded on Jacksonville State for a 45-7 win in a rare Friday night game. The Spartans could do no wrong as Connor Cook threw for three touchdowns in a blowout first quarter. Jeremy Langford didn’t need to do much more than his 13 carries for 57 yards, as this game was over before it really got started.
Things change in a big way for the Spartans, though, as they visit the Autzen Zoo for a showdown with the Oregon Ducks. This is your game of the week. It’s a massive opportunity for Michigan State to announce themselves as a national title contender. It’s important to note that a win would be huge for the Big Ten’s reputation in the new College Football Playoff era.
Oregon’s still the team you remember – they put up 62 points (3rd nationwide) and 673 yards in their first game against South Dakota. Marcus Mariota returns to run the offense, and could give this Michigan State defense fits.
The books like Oregon by 11.5 points in this one, with an over/under of 56. It’s hard to imagine even Michigan State’s vaunted defense slowing Oregon down that much, so it’s critical that Jeremy Langford has a big day on the ground to keep the crowd quiet and the clock running.
Is this the same Michigan State defense we saw last year? The Spartans lost Darqueze Denard, Isaiah Lewis, and three of their front four, so some regression is expected. I refuse to bet against a Mark Dantionio defense, however – the guy can coach defense.
Michigan Wolverines at (16) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Saturday at 7:30 PM ET, NBC
Michigan exercised some demons this past weekend by hammering Appalachian State 52-14. The Wolverines got it done in the rushing game, seeing Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith combine for 285 yards rushing on 23 carries. This game was never really a contest, and had no chance of repeating the historical Appalachian State upset from 2007.
This weekend, Michigan travels to South Bend for the final time in this series – future dates in the series have been cancelled (for now) as Notre Dame adjusts to half of an ACC schedule. Much is expected of Notre Dame this season as Everett Golson returns after a year off due to suspension. The Irish will be tested often this season by a brutal schedule, as they face off against Stanford, North Carolina, Arizona State, Louisville, and USC in addition to a major test at defending national champions Florida State.
Michigan is only a slight underdog here at +3.5 points, although I’m seeing projections out there that see this as being closer to a nine point win for Notre Dame.
Can Michigan’s defense slow down Notre Dame? Your Indiana Hoosiers put up a ton of points on Michigan last year, and it’s not clear from the first week how much they actually improved. Brian Kelly runs a solid offense for the Golden Domers, so if Michigan lacks discipline defensively, this game could be uglier than you think.
Penn State Nittany Lions vs Akron Zips
Saturday at 12 PM ET, ABC/ESPN2 (depending on your market)
Penn State returns from a working vacation to Dublin, Ireland, where fans were able to witness a 26-24 come-from-behind victory over the UCF Knights. Christian Hackenberg was every bit of “as-advertised”, throwing for 454 yards in the win. Hackenberg led an improbable 8 play drive with 1:13 left on the clock, leading to the game winning, 36 yard field goal from Sam Ficken.
The Nittany Lions struggled with turnovers, giving the ball up 3 times. The rushing attack was embarrassing in this game for both sides. Penn State couldn’t run the ball at all on the Knights’ front, gaining 2 yards a carry on 28 carries. Somehow, UCF was worse, rushing for 0.8 yards a carry on 29 carries. That’s not a typo – it was actually a 0.8 average.
Penn State fans hope that the team’s recovered from jet lag quickly as they take on the Akron Zips this weekend. Akron flambéed the Howard Bison 41-0 over the weekend. Akron shouldn’t put up too much of a challenge this weekend as Penn State looks forward to welcoming Rutgers to the Big Ten on September 13th.
Penn State is favored by two touchdowns.
Can Penn State get their rushing attack going? Zach Zwinak is an experienced player, but 2.7 yards a carry isn’t going to cut it against better opposition. He was a 1000 yard back last year, so the guy has talent. Yet, I’m sure Penn State fans are hoping for a serious step up this weekend against the Zips from the big guy.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs Howard Bison
Saturday at 12 PM, BTN
New Jersey is flying high after a successful cross country trip to Pullman, Washington. Rutgers defeated Mike Leach’s Washington State Cougars by a score of 41-38. Although the Scarlet Knights gave up 532 yards to Leach’s air raid scheme, their balanced offense was good enough to narrowly steal the win. Big days from Paul James and Leonte Carroo were key for Rutgers on the day.
The team takes a breather as the Howard Bison come to town.
Don’t kid yourself – this game’s not going to be close. Howard was blown out 41-0 by Akron last week, and Rutgers is, at this stage, objectively a better team than Akron. If it’s close, Rutgers is in for a long, long season.
Is this a huge blow-out, or a less of a blow-out? The only “watching” you should do on this game is to check the score on your phone. This one’s not likely to be interesting, and should be one of the worst games in the 12 PM window.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Saturday at 8 PM, ESPN
Scheduling Navy is a losing proposition, and Ohio State showed why this past week. The Navy triple-option gave Ohio State fits, accumulating 330 yards through the rush.
This game was a three point game in the fourth quarter, until Ezekiel Elliott and Michael Thomas scored to push the lead to double digits.
New QB J.T. Barrett had a nice day against Navy, throwing for 226 yards on 15 attempts. Losing Braxton Miller hurt, but this OSU team has an embarrassment of riches talent-wise. If there’s any Big Ten team that can overcome the loss of a starting QB, it’s Ohio State.
The next challenge for the Buckeyes comes from the Virginia Tech Hokies. Virginia Tech lost veteran Quarterback starter Logan Thomas to graduation this year, and replaces him with 6’1 Junior Michael Brewer. Brewer lacks a ton of experience, but had a nice day against William and Mary in week 1. Look for VT to present a balanced attack to try to keep the Buckeyes defense guessing.
Can J.T. Barrett handle the step up in competition? For Ohio State to factor in to the playoff conversation, they need solid quarterback play. This game may give us a preview of how Barrett will hold up against Michigan State and Michigan later in the year.
Purdue Boilermakers vs Central Michigan Chippewas
Saturday at 12 PM, ESPNews
This Purdue team is still in a bit of upheaval. They weren’t able to get the passing game going against Western Michigan, and gave up 6.25 yards per play. That’s a concerning statistic against a MAC team that isn’t expected to do much this year.
The difference in the game last week came through turnovers. Western Michigan missed two fourth down tries, and threw a 56 yard interception that was nearly returned for a touchdown.
Purdue is only favored by 3.5 against an average Central Michigan team. While I do expect Purdue to win this one, there’s likely to be some concern in West Laffayette if this game is too close. Central Michigan barely snuck home a win against the Chattanooga Mocs, 20-16.
Does Purdue get upset here? If so, you may be starting to hear chatter about Darrell Hazell’s future with the Boilermakers. There’s already some dissent in the ranks, and it’s still just the dawn of his second year with our neighbors up north.