Maryland at Florida International (7:30 PM ET, CBSSN)
For the second week in a row, Florida International will host a Big Ten school. This time, the Maryland Terrapins. The D.J. Durkin era began on a high note last week and the Terps look to continue their success this weekend. Quarterback Perry Hills needs to be as efficient as he was last week, and Maryland should be on their way to a 2-0 start to the season.
Nebraska vs. Wyoming (12:00 PM ET, ESPN2)
After a run heavy start to the season, expect the Cornhuskers to do the same this week against Mountain West opponent Wyoming. Running backs Devine Ozigbo and Terrell Newby should have big weeks again and look for Tommy Armstrong to be just as involved in the running game. Coach Mike Reilley might be saving some things in the passing game for their battle with the Oregon Ducks next week.
In a battle between two of the east coast’s best running backs (Saquon Barkley and James Connor), Penn State travels to Heinz Field to take on the Panthers of Pitt. Pittsburgh may be the favorite according to Vegas but I believe their quarterback play takes a back seat to Trace McSorley and the Nittany Lions. Expect McSorley to use his offensive weapons effectively this week and put some points on the board.
Michigan vs. UCF (12:00 PM ET, ABC)
After absolutely throttling Hawaii last week, look for the same type of game again from the Wolverines. Jim Harbaugh will most likely run through the Knights by committee just like he did the Rainbow Warriors. Last week, four different players carried the ball six times or more. I see much of the same coming this Saturday.
Purdue vs. Cincinnati (12:00 PM ET, BTN)
The Boilermakers started the season off with a win and they have a very nice chance to do double their yearly total this Saturday. Cincinnati looked nowhere near impressive last week in their 28-7 win over Tennessee Martin, yet they are nearly a touchdown favorite. Just like Penn State should, Purdue needs to use their offensive weapons in running back Markell Jones, as well as receivers Cameron Posey and Domonique Young. If the Boilermaker defense can contain Cinci quarterback Hayden Moore, Purdue has a very good chance to win this football game.
Rutgers vs. Howard (12:00 PM ET, BTN)
Both of these teams took a beating last weekend and will be looking to turn things around. The Scarlet Knights traveled to a tougher environment to play a much better team in Washington. Hopefully they can use that experience to get the win this weekend. Quarterback Chris Laviano will need to improve this week and he is playing a defense that should allow him that opportunity. Howard gave up 52 points last week to Maryland. Chris Ash should have his team ready to go as he looks for his first win as a collegiate head coach.
Minnesota vs. Indiana State (12:00 PM ET, ESPN News)
Minnesota squeaked out a victory against Oregon State last week but this one should come much easier. Mitch Leidner did not look too bad in their previous game, passing for 130 yards and rushing for 76 more with two touchdowns. The Golden Gophers will need to take this game seriously though in order to wrap things up earlier, as the Sycamores are coming off of a 41-25 victory over Butler. Their spirits are high and they should be hungry for the upset.
Ohio State vs. Tulsa (3:30 PM ET, ABC)
The Buckeyes cruised to a 77-10 win against MAC contender Bowling Green last Saturday and this one should be pretty similar. I can see the Ohio State offense getting off to a slow start but by halftime, this one should be over.
Northwestern vs. Illinois State (3:30 PM ET, BTN)
Talk about a team in need of turning things around. Northwestern struggled against another MAC contender, Western Michigan, last week. This will not be as difficult of a game this week but the Wildcats need to take care of business and save running back Justin Jackson as much as they possibly can. It’s clear that a lot of their success rides on his shoulders, and relying on him every game, won’t bode well towards the end of the season.
Wisconsin vs. Akron (3:30 PM ET, BTN)
The Badger defense came to play last weekend at Lambeau as they knocked off the LSU Tigers. Defense isn’t something that is talked about a lot around the country but linebackers Vince Biegle, Jack Cichy, T.J. Watt (yes, he has a brother), and Ryan Connelly played outstanding football. If this group, as well as the rest of the defense, plays with the same intensity, it will not matter how ineffective their offense is. Their biggest task this week, shutting down Ohio State transfer Warren Ball and quarterback Thomas Woodson.
Indiana vs. Ball State (4:00 PM ET, ESPN News)
After a successful Thursday night victory without a few of their top players, the Hoosiers should be able to take care of business on Saturday now that those players have returned from suspension. Receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. and safety Chase Dutra were the most notable suspended players and they should have a huge impact against Ball State. Slowing down Ball State running back James Gilbert will be a tough task though. He rushed 29 times for 160 yards and two touchdowns last week and will be looking to duplicate that performance.
Saturday night will be a tough match-up for Lovie Smith and his Fighting Illini. Quarterback Wes Lunt will have his hands full trying to find the end-zone, and running the ball might be a challenge as well. The Tar Heel defense has now played against probably the best running back they will see all year in Georgia’s Nick Chubb, but they could be banged up too after attempting to bring him down all night long. The Illinois defense will need to get pressure on UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky and force some turnovers to have a chance in this one.
With a huge in-state rivalry on the line, the Hawkeyes look to win back-to-back against the Cyclones for the first time since 2010. With multiple lethal weapons at running back, the Hawkeyes should run the ball all over Iowa State on Saturday night. This year’s Iowa State team should look a little different though with former Toledo coach Matt Campbell at the helm. It should be a great battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy on Saturday night in Iowa City.