The Tip Sheet: B1G Edition

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Last updated: 09/13/2013 2:24 AM
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The Tip Sheet – Big Ten Edition
By Tony Gerdeman

The Big Ten finally gets their season under way in a respectable fashion this week as half of the 14 teams previewed below play BCS opponents. That's even tougher than conference play for some of these teams.

There are also a handful of Big Ten teams who will be featured in national time slots this week. Of course, that could either be a good thing or a bad thing. We'll know more on Sunday, but I think we're all wondering how much longer the Big Ten can stay respectable when so many people want to diminish them at their earliest convenience.

Saturday September 14

Teams: #16 UCLA (1-0) at #23 Nebraska (2-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 4.5
Cheer For: Nebraska

Last year, UCLA put up over 600 yards of total offense on the Nebraska defense in a 36-30 win over the Huskers. This year, however, the Blackshirts are ready for what's coming. Like how Tea Leoni and her dad were ready for the tsunami after that asteroid hits the earth in 'Deep Impact'. They stood on that beach completely aware of what was heading for them. That's how I'm picturing Nebraska as they wait for UCLA's offense. Nebraska opened up as a 7.5-point favorite, but that's now down to 4.5 points. I'm not sure that the Huskers will be able to stop the Bruins enough times to win in a shootout. I'll go with Brett Hundley over Taylor Martinez in this one. UCLA 41 – Nebraska 37

Teams: Bowling Green (2-0) at Indiana (1-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPNU)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Indiana

The Hoosiers need to bounce back after last week's loss to Navy. Bowling Green, however, isn't necessarily a trampoline. Indiana is going to have to work for this victory over Bowling Green, because nothing will come easily. I'm not really sure which way to go in this one, and when that happens to me, I like to imagine their real-life mascots fighting, and then deciding a winner that way. A Hoosier is just a person from Indiana, whereas a falcon is a bird of prey. I don't know who would win in a physical confrontation, but I'm pretty sure a falcon could outsmart a Hoosier. A falcon could probably lock a Hoosier out of his house through some type of ruse, and then the Hoosier would eventually die of exposure, and then the falcon would feed on the bloating carcass. (I don't care if falcons aren't scavengers, don't send me emails. What part of this game preview sounds serious enough to send an email?) That being said, Hoosiers don't have locks on their doors because they lock themselves out all the time and it just became easier to do away with the locks altogether. Indiana 38 – Bowling Green 34

Teams: Akron (1-1) at #11 Michigan (2-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Michigan

I am not looking forward to watching this game. It's a good thing this game isn't next week and I had to focus on both this game and Ohio State's game against Florida A&M. Yeah, it's still football, but just barely. This game is going to be so messy that it may actually stain your television. However, expect Devin Gardner's September Heisman campaign to really pick up. I'm thinking five touchdown passes and a touchdown run. Michigan 56 – Akron 7.

Teams: Western Illinois (2-0) at Minnesota (2-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Minnesota

Don't watch this game. It's basically “The Ring” of college football games. Once you watch it, you'll get a call on your cell phone and then a week later you'll be given Gophers season tickets. Minnesota 48 – Western Illinois 21

Teams: Eastern Michigan (1-1) at Rutgers (1-1)
Time (TV): 1:00 pm (ESPN3)
Interest: Rutgers
Cheer For: Rutgers

Rutgers is already getting familiar with MAC foes, so they'll fit into the Big Ten just fine. Next, they'll raise ticket prices and lose recruits to Kentucky. Rutgers 45 – Eastern Michigan 14

Teams: Youngstown State (2-0) at Michigan State (2-0)
Time (TV): 2:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Michigan State

The only interesting thing to watch for in this game is to see if Michigan State can move the ball against the Youngstown State defense. If they can't, then it might be time to...heck, I have no idea. The Michigan State offense is so broken that there are no more jokes. I'm thinking a candlelight vigil might be in order. Of course, mixing Spartan fans and fire is never a good idea. All in all, this should be the most horrific thing your eyes have ever seen, and that even includes the stuff you've seen on 'Faces of Death'. Michigan State 5 – Youngstown State 0

Teams: Iowa (1-1) at Iowa State (0-1)
Time (TV): 6:00 pm (FS1)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Iowa

This is one of the great college football rivalries in all of the state of Iowa. There have been other great rivalries, with Iowa Pre-Flight against Iowa Medical and Corn coming immediately to mind. Iowan boys grow up dreaming of playing in this game. Some even dream of playing in it and winning. Iowa State is coming off of a bye week, so they've had two weeks to prepare for the Hawkeyes. Of course, they had all summer to prepare for Northern Iowa to open the season, and they still lost to the Panthers 28-20. I like Iowa in this one but I don't really know why. It obviously can't be because of their football team. Iowa 17 – Iowa State 16

Teams: #19 Washington (1-0) vs Illinois (2-0) (Chicago, IL)
Time (TV): 6:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 4
Cheer For: Illinois

Illinois is throwing for 363 yards per game this season, but they're also allowing 324 yards passing per game, which is exactly how many yards Washington threw for in their season-opening 38-6 win over Boise State. The Huskies are a 9.5-point favorite based off of that win. This has a chance to be one of the best shootouts this week, because I'm not sure if either defense will be able to have much success. Washington's success on defense against Boise State was more about Boise State and less about Washington. That being said, I'll go ahead and continue to pick against Tim Beckman until I shouldn't. Washington 42 – Illinois 31

Teams: UCF (2-0) at Penn State (2-0)
Time (TV): 6:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Penn State

Penn State is only a 5.5-point favorite in this game. That seems a little low to me. I almost feel disrespected for the Nittany Lions, but then I remember that they have no shame, so therefore there's really no reason to feel bad for them. Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg is playing about as well as you can expect a freshman quarterback to play. He's averaging nearly 300 yards passing per game at this point. Basically, Bill O'Brien is a quarterback wizard. What he did with Matt McGloin last year was the football version of the pyramids being built. What he's doing with Hackenberg is more like one of those pyramids in Mexico. They're neat, but not as impressive as the ones in Egypt. Penn State 30 – UCF 21

Teams: #4 Ohio State (2-0) at California (1-1)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (FOX)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Ohio State

The Buckeyes are making their first road trip of the year, and they could be doing it with their backup quarterback. The only people that that may actually worry is the California defense. Portland State put up 400 yards of total offense on Cal's defense in the first half last week, so it may not matter who is at quarterback for the Buckeyes. In fact, it may not even matter if there is a quarterback. Ohio State 48 – California 20

Teams: Maryland (2-0) at Connecticut (0-1)
Time (TV): 7:30 p (ESPN3)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Connecticut

This game is only on the internet, which is further proof that they'll put anything on the internet nowadays. Do you mind if I don't talk about this game and instead talk about anything but? No, not “anything butt”. You creep. Maryland 27 – Connecticut 17

Teams: #21 Notre Dame (1-1) at Purdue (1-1)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: Purdue

This is a huge game for Purdue, but even if they stay close, they'll still lose in a heartbreaker because they are Purdue and you want this win too badly. You have to act like you don't care. Like when Illinois hired Tim Beckman. Notre Dame 34 – Purdue 13

Teams: Western Michigan (0-2) at #17 Northwestern (2-0)
Time (TV): 9:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Northwestern

Northwestern has this game against Western Michigan, a game against Maine, a bye week, and then they host the Buckeyes at night in Evanston. I'm sure that Maine game will help a great deal in their preparation for Ohio State. Like how I used to prepare for midterms by studying 50-cent mugs at the Out-R-Inn. Northwestern 41 – Western Michigan 10

Teams: #20 Wisconsin (2-0) at Arizona State (1-0)
Time (TV): 10:30 (ESPN)
Interest: 4
Cheer For: Wisconsin

Arizona State opened as a 3.5-point favorite, and now they're up to 5.5 points. Apparently, Vegas really liked ASU's 55-0 win over Sacramento State last week. Of course, that is a more impressive win than either of the Badgers' two shutouts. These two teams are outscoring their shameful non-conference opponents 158-0 this season. The first point either team gives up this season will be their first. We don't really know anything about these teams, but I do have confidence in Wisconsin's offense, specifically quarterback Joel Stave and running backs James White and Melvin Gordon. They are going to pound the ball, and against a Pac 12 defense, that's usually a pretty good idea. I'm interested in seeing Gary Andersen's debut against a team with a pulse. Wisconsin 31 – Arizona State 27

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