If ever there was an easy batch of games to predict, it’s this week’s Big Ten lineup. There aren’t a ton of marquee matchups in college football this week as a whole, but the Big Ten lineup features a bunch of stinkers, with Illinois the only team not playing a JV squad, given that they are idle this week.
Wisconsin comes off their third straight game in which their play wasn’t stellar, but they found a way to win, edging my school, Arizona State, 20-19. The Sun Devils hung around, and had an opportunity to tie the game until the Badgers blocked the extra point that would have tied it. ASU had their chances to win, but penalties and some timely running from John Clay proved to be too much. Clay has been a force already this season, racking up 383 yards and five scores on the ground. Clay and the Badgers offense should have their way with the Austin Peay defense, a squad that gave up 56 points to Middle Tennessee State two weeks ago.
In a pair of games oozing with mediocrity, Indiana plays Akron, while Big Ten doormat Minnesota meets Northern Illinois. The Hoosiers are coming off a few offensively charged wins over teams a little better than 0-3 Akron, a team that has been trounced in two of their three games, which include the likes of Syracuse and Kentucky. Minnesota was better than expected against USC, but still fell to Lane Kiffin’s Trojans by double digits. Quarterback Adam Weber leads to Gophers in what could be the closest game of the weekend against the Huskies from Northern Illinois, who lost a close one to the Illini over the weekend.
Another game with heartbreaker potential involves Penn State and a sneaky good Temple Owls team out of Philly. The Nittany Lions have had a pair of easy wins, but didn’t show any life in their loss to Alabama. I’d imagine the Owls will focus their defense on running back Evan Royster, but don’t sleep on true freshman quarterback Robert Bolden, who has turned heads with his play right out of the gate. Penn State should be weary, though. This is an Owl team playing with a lot of confidence, and a couple big plays from running back Bernard Pierce could make it interesting. I’m not calling for an upset, but it’s going to be closer than some may think.
As an ASU student, watching them drop that heartbreaker to the Badgers was painful enough. Watching the Wildcats of Arizona send Iowa home losers made me cringe nearly as much. Iowa should rebound nicely, though, as they face off against former Cinderella story Ball State, in what could be at least the second biggest blowout of the weekend. Ricky Stanzi and an angry Hawkeyes team should have little trouble with the Cardinals.
Though I go to ASU, I’ve always held Notre Dame nearest and dearest to my heart. So to say that I’m a little peeved at those two schools in Michigan would be a gross understatement. As much as I dislike the Wolverines, there is no denying how good Denard Robinson is. After torching my Irish two weeks ago, “Shoelace” led the Wolverines in their shootout scare against UMass this past weekend. After three weeks, Robinson’s numbers are scary. He’s thrown for 671 yards and four scores, while also rushing for 559 and four more. Imagine if he tied his shoes. Don’t expect any sort of drop off against Bowling Green.
The Michigan State Spartans find themselves ranked after a thrilling overtime win against the Irish, but are now reeling after their coach suffered a heart attack after the win. I wouldn’t expect to see too many reservations from the Spartans, though. Dispite possibly having the easiest matchup in the Big Ten, look for the Spartans, led by their rushing duo of Le’Veon Bell and Edwin Baker (694 combined yards and eight scores) to really put the hurt on Northern Colorado, and win one for Mark Dantonio.
Northwestern and Purdue are sneaky good. Purdue isn’t flashy, but they play a sound game. Northwestern’s Dan Persa is quickly making fans forget about Mike Kafka. However, they’re both also playing a pair of decent teams, though I don’t expect Central Michigan to give the Wildcats too much trouble. Toledo might make it interesting against Purdue, though. Similar to Wisconsin, I’m not expecting blowouts, but I’m thinking steady seven or eight point wins are in the cards for both teams.
Ohio State rounds up our Week 4 action, taking on Eastern Michigan. It seems the Buckeyes always have that one game that they slip up against a lowly opponent. Will this week be that game? Very doubtful. Usually the team OSU trips up against is at least a middle-of-the-road squad, not a team that just lost to Central Michigan. Even if Terrelle Pryor has a little bit of trouble finding Devier Posey or my boy Dan Sanzenbacher, running back Brandon Saine’s Usain Bolt-type speed should easy grab the ‘W’ for the Bucks.
I’ll break it down a bit more:
- Game of the Week: Penn State/Temple. In state rivals, with a true freshman starting for Penn State. Besides, name a game that could be closer.
- Player of the Week: With the easy matchups this week, it’s hard not to find just one guy set for a big week. But if anyone has a bigger week than Denard Robinson, I’ll be very surprised. He did it against Notre Dame, he can sure do it against Bowling Green.
- Snoozer of the Week: Indiana/Akron. The Hoosiers are decent, but still the 10th best team in their conference. Nothing relevant has come out of Akron since LeBron James. Too soon?
- Upset of the Week: Is Northern Illinois over Minnesota an upset? Not really, but it’s all I have. I could see Toledo over Purdue. Temple and Penn State will be close, but upset? Doubtful
- Bust of the Week: Again, tough pick with so many cakewalks. Look for Temple to put the pressure on freshman quarterback Robert Bolden and force mistakes, though it’s hard to consider a freshman a bust.
Check back with ChiCitySports following the weekend, for a recap of Week 4 in college football.
Written by RandallPinkFloyd.