Most Big 10 teams are a week away from Conference play. They enter the final week of non-conference play with a couple of tough tests, but there are a few cupcakes on this weeks schedule.
Iowa 2-1 (0-0) V. Central Michigan 1-1
The Hawkeyes struggled against FCS Northern Iowa 27-16 last week. After struggling in week 2 against Iowa State. The Cyclones are the only team to beat Iowa, but the Hawkeye’s offense has been anything but explosive in the first three weeks.
The Hawkeys rank 101st nationally, in passing offense, and 112th in scoring offense. The one thing keeping the Hawkeyes above .500 is there 18th ranked scoring defense.
The one thing that could spark the Iowa offense could be Central Michigan’s 99th ranked scoring defense. The Chippewas have allowed 68 points this season through 2 games.
Iowa 31, Central Michigan 17
18. Michigan 2-1 (0-0) At 11. Notre Dame 3-0
After struggling against Alabama, and Air Force, Michigan routed UMASS 63-13 last week. The Wolverines got back on track against the Minutemen. No UMASS is not FBS school, and they are not a power rushing team like Alabama or Air Force, but sometime a confidence builder is all a struggling team needs.
Most people expected Denard Robinson to help lead this offense to new heights in his senior season. Truth is the Wolverines, are 67th in passing offense, and 44th in rushing offense in the nation. The defense is ranked 78th in scoring in the country.
Brian Kelly has Notre Dame on the right track to being a relevant power in college football again. The Irish are 3-0 for the first time in more than 10 years. The key has been the play of the defense. The Irish have the 8th ranked scoring defense in the country. Despite being ranked in the low 60s in all offensive categories nationally, the Irish are averaging 30 points a game through 3 games.
Notre Dame 45, Michigan 31
21. Michigan State 2-1 (0-0) V. Eastern Michigan 0-3
Michigan State is coming off the first loss of the season to Notre Dame, by a 20-3 margin. Sophomore running back, Le’Veon Bell is a preseason Heisman candidate. He was averaging 2 touchdowns a game till the offensive debacle against the Irish.
Eastern Michigan is the 116th ranked pass offense in the country, and 109th scoring offense. The Spartans, the 16th ranked scoring defense in the country. It could be a long day for the Eagles.
Michigan State 38, Eastern Michigan 3
Minnesota 3-0 (0-0) V. Syracuse 1-2
The records of these two teams do not tell the story of their seasons. The Gophers struggled against UNLV, a 3 overtime game, and Western Michigan. On the other hand, Syracuse is the No.3 ranked pass offense in the country, and were very competitive against No. 13 USC.
The Gophers defense has vastly improved statistically in 2012. The Orange will be the first serious offensive challenge Minnesota has faced.
Syracuse 31, Minnesota 17
25. Nebraska 2-1 (0-0) V. Idaho State 1-1
Nebraska bounced back against Arkansas State with a 42-13 win, after their first loss of the season at UCLA. Idaho State will be the last “warmup” test before a struggling Wisconsin team comes to Lincoln to open Big 10 play.
Nebraska is the 8th ranked rushing team in the country, averaging 295 yards a game on the ground. Senior running back, Rex Burkhead sprained his MCL in week 1 against Southern Miss. He has not practiced until Monday of this week, and is expected to be receiving carries this Saturday. His leadership could help this team going forward to achieve their preseason goals.
Idaho State will be the 4th straight team Nebraska has faced that runs the spread offense. The Bengals will show a lot of 5 wide receiver looks against the Blackshirts.
Northwestern 3-0 (0-0) V. South Dakota 1-1
The Wildcats have faced some very tough competition this season. They have played a Big East team, an SEC team, and an ACC team. The only game that was close was the Wildcats only road game, a 42-41 win at Syracuse. Northwestern may be the most impressive Big 10 team of the season so far.
Junior quarterback Kain Colter has completed 66.1% of his passes this season, and has yet to throw an interception. He is our front runner for Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year 3 weeks into the season.
Northwestern 45, South Dakota 10
By Jimmie Allen
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