It’s another week of Big Ten football, and there are some big games to go over. Here’s how each team is set to look on Saturday:

 

Ohio (1-0) @ Purdue (0-1)

Friday, September 8 — 8 p.m. ET

The Boilermakers put themselves in a position to actually beat Heisman winner Lamar Jackson and Louisville. However, mistakes played a big role as they couldn’t get over the hump and lost a close one. This week, David Blough should rebound and continue his gunslinging ways against a decent but inferior Ohio Bobcats team. The Boilermakers should come out of Friday night with their first win under new head coach Jeff Brohm.

Northwestern (1-0) @ Duke (1-0)

Saturday, September 9 — 12 p.m. ET

The Wildcats came out flat last week, but expect little of the same this week. Pat Fitzgerald will have his guys ready. Quarterback Clayton Thorson was seen as one of the more underrated guys in the Big Ten while running back Justin Jackson is a stud. They should be able to fend off ACC bottom-dweller Duke. It could be a one-score game given the Blue Devils’ decent offense under David Cutcliffe, but the Wildcats should be 2-0 after the weekend.

Towson (1-0) @ Maryland (1-0)

Saturday, September 9 — 12 p.m. ET

The Terps lost several key players in their shocking victory over then-No. 23 Texas last week, but will welcome the Tigers from the FCS, as it’ll be a good chance to find rhythm with some new starters. Kasim Hill is the guy at quarterback, while the defense lost a couple of starters, so while the Terps work out the kinks, they should have little problem beating the in-state foe. Be slightly wary of a Howard-UNLV situation, but given how Maryland looked in Austin, that should be no issue.

Cincinnati (1-0) @ No. 8 Michigan (1-0)

Saturday, September 9 — 12 p.m. ET

Michigan’s defense looked top-notch when they took down the Florida Gators last week. That means that while their offense may work out some kinks, they shouldn’t have any problems stopping the middling Bearcats. Rashan Gary, Maurice Hurst Jr. and Chase Winovich are studs on the front line and everyone behind them played well against the Gators. If that continues, Wilton Speight, John O’Korn and maybe even Jim Harbaugh could be under center, the Wolverines should be set for victory.

Iowa (1-0) @ Iowa State (1-0)

Saturday, September 9 — 12 p.m. ET

The Hawkeyes are looking exactly like they’ve looked every year under Kirk Ferentz, barring a couple of those more extensive runs like in 2015. Their offense is atrocious but the defense is staunch. They shut down Wyoming and potential first-rounder Josh Allen last week, holding them to three points. However, the Cyclones always spell trouble for the Hawkeyes, and this one should be close. If Ferentz’s team can’t generate any offense—which is highly likely—they might not come out of Ames with this one.

Florida Atlantic (0-1) @ No. 9 Wisconsin (1-0)

Saturday, September 9 — 12 p.m. ET

The Badgers, despite a slow start, pulverized the Utah State Aggies last week, and look like they’ve made some major strides on offense. Meanwhile, the defense will always be among the better ones in the Big Ten. The Owls stand no chance at Camp Randall, even with Lane Kiffin and what feels like the entire squad from “Last Chance U,” even though none of them played in a loss last week. Wisconsin should come out, hit the Owls in the mouth, and put it away early, coasting to a win.

Western Michigan (0-1) @ Michigan State (1-0)

Saturday, September 9 — 3:30 p.m. ET

Do not sleep on Western Michigan. Everyone wants to believe USC is going to make a playoff run and the Broncos gave them a real test in week one. The Spartans, however, are looking a lot better than the team that went 3-9 last season. Brian Lewerke is a work in progress at quarterback, but a three-pronged rushing attack led by L.J. Scott is good enough to carry the load. Western Michigan may keep it close like they did with the Trojans, but expect the Spartans to take this one.

Pittsburgh (1-0) @ No. 4 Penn State (1-0)

Saturday, September 9 — 3:30 p.m. ET

The Panthers were the upset kings last season. Well, they beat the Nittany Lions in week one before many expected James Franklin’s team to be what it was, a Rose Bowl squad. Now, everyone knows who they are, and after blanking Akron, Penn State will not take Pitt lightly. Saquon Barkley is, in the eyes of many, the Heisman favorite. With him leading the charge, the Panthers should not walk out of Happy Valley with even close to a victory.

Eastern Michigan (1-0) @ Rutgers (0-1)

Saturday, September 9 — 3:30 p.m. ET

The Scarlet Knights put up a valiant effort against Washington last week, but fell short. They still are a very upstart team under Chris Ash, and they looked a lot better in game one than in their midseason form last year. The Eagles are not one to be forgotten though, as they are a pretty solid squad led by quarterback Brogan Roback. Rutgers is likely desperate for its first win, given the well might run dry when they reach the Big Ten slate, so they get the edge here.

Indiana (0-1) @ Virginia (1-0)

Saturday, September 9 — 3:30 p.m. ET

The Hoosiers are yet another like Purdue and Rutgers who put up a great fight against a top team. People were actually sweating when Indiana led Ohio State, but talent took over and they fell way behind. Virginia is a middle-of-the-road ACC team and with Indiana’s improvements on defense, they should be able to stop the Cavaliers. Meanwhile, Richard Lagow looks much-improved and Simmie Cobbs Jr. was a beast against Ohio State. The Hoosiers should be 1-1 after the weekend.

Nebraska (1-0) @ Oregon (1-0)

Saturday, September 9 — 4:40 p.m. ET

I know what you’re thinking—Oregon isn’t the Oregon of old, don’t let the name influence the pick. However, Nebraska gave up 36 points to Arkansas State last week. While the Ducks may not be the high-flying Marcus Mariota team of a couple years ago, they still have the talent for a strong coach like Willie Taggart to beat good teams. The Huskers, meanwhile, looked solid on offense, but inconsistent. It’d be a good win for their resume as they try to rival Wisconsin in the Big Ten West, but it’s unlikely they get out of Eugene without a blemish.

No. 5 Oklahoma @ No. 2 Ohio State

Saturday, September 9 — 7:30 p.m. ET

Not only is this the top game in the conference, it’s probably the best matchup on the national slate this week. Two stellar offenses converge in Columbus and only one will remain with an early shot at the College Football Playoff. This one will absolutely be a shootout, with Baker Mayfield and J.T. Barrett trading blows. Whichever one makes the first mistake might end up finding themselves on the outside looking in when December comes. Given the Big Ten’s track record against the Big Twelve’s, the money is on Oklahoma to make that mistake. Ohio State should remain in good shape.

Western Kentucky (1-0) @ Illinois (1-0)

Saturday, September 9 — 8 p.m. ET

The primetime game nobody will be watching. I kid, but this isn’t exactly going to be the best football on display on Saturday. Still, Lovie Smith has his Illini improving, especially with a young batch of players seeing a lot of the field. Most will question them after a close call with a three-point win, escaping Ball State, but they should have the edge over the Hilltoppers. It could be close though, so if Ohio State–Oklahoma gets boring, flip to BTN for a tight finish.

Minnesota (1-0) @ Oregon State (1-1)

Saturday, September 9 — 10 p.m. ET

The Gophers came out completely flat against Buffalo last week, not nearly exciting people like they were supposed to under the energetic P.J. Fleck. Oregon State is a decent team out of the Pac-12, and they’ll be comfortable at home in what east-coasters like to call the “oh, football is still on?” game. Still, the thing about coaches like Fleck is that their energy and demanding nature give the teams a good chance to win even when playing poor. Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks should return to their form as a stellar running back duo and the Gophers have a good shot on Saturday, but must play better than last week.

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Author Details
Department Head for Armchair Big Ten , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
I’m a multi-platform journalism major at the University of Maryland, covering all things Terps. However, as a native New Englander, my allegiances still lie with my hometown Boston sports teams as well as Liverpool F.C.
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Department Head for Armchair Big Ten , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
I’m a multi-platform journalism major at the University of Maryland, covering all things Terps. However, as a native New Englander, my allegiances still lie with my hometown Boston sports teams as well as Liverpool F.C.

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