If you are in Iowa and aren’t exactly salivating at the Missouri State-Iowa matchup, take twisted comfort in knowing the slate of Week 2 games around the country is horrible in general.
Only three games nationally qualify as marquee status: Notre Dame-Michigan, South Carolina-Georgia and Florida-Miami. After that? Ick. The fourth-best game of the day might be Coe College at Monmouth.
The Big Ten’s 12 games feature plenty of flotsam and jetsam, like every other league this week.
Here’s how I’d rank them:
1. Notre Dame at Michigan. No explanation is required.
2. Navy at Indiana. The Hoosiers put up 632 yards against Indiana State last week. Navy beat Indiana 31-30 last year in Annapolis.
3. Cincinnati at Illinois. The Bearcats rocked Purdue last week. Illinois needs to beat someone of note.
4. Syracuse at Northwestern. The ‘Cuse played Penn State tough last week in Jersey.
5. Minnesota at New Mexico State. The Aggies are a notoriously bad program (4 winning years since 1967, 1-11 last season, a 56-7 loss to Texas last week), but this is such a weird road game for a Big Ten program that I find it morbidly fascinating. Until kickoff, anyway.
6. San Diego State at Ohio State. Is it the Aztecs who went 9-4 last year, or the team that got drilled 40-19 at home to FCS Eastern Illinois last week?
7. South Florida at Michigan State. USF could get held under 100 yards. The Bulls fell to FCS McNeese State last week, 53-21. It’s the largest margin of victory by an FCS team over an FBS club in, like, a long, long time.
8. Southern Mississippi at Nebraska. USM won the 2011 Hawaii Bowl. And hasn’t won since. It lost at home last week to Texas State. But given Nebraska’s defensive “effort” last week against Wyoming, maybe this won’t be a bloodletting. This game would have been played in Hattiesburg, but USM sold the game to Nebraska to $2 million plus the team’s $105,000 travel expenses. Another proud moment for collegiate athletics.
9. Missouri State at Iowa. It will be over with by 2:30 p.m., and then we’ll pretend it never happened.
10. Eastern Michigan at Penn State. Eastern Michigan hasn’t had a winning season since 1995. It is 0-31 against the Big Ten. It lost 54-16 to Purdue last year. But it beat Howard last week.
11. Indiana State at Purdue. That’s the same Indiana State that started this season with a 73-35 loss at Indiana. That’s the same Purdue that started this season with a 42-7 loss at Cincinnati.
12. Tennessee Tech at Wisconsin. Since 2007, Tennessee Tech is 0-9 vs. FBS teams and has been outscored in those games, 417-58. But it clobbered Cumberland last week, 63-7. More importantly, it’s getting $500,000 from Wisconsin for showing up and taking a savage beating.