Last Saturday, as I duly noted here last week, the Big Ten’s slate of football games was wretched. And that was with Notre Dame-Michigan living up to its potential as a really good game.
Well, good news. This Saturday’s schedule is pretty good. It doesn’t contain a game of Notre Dame-Michigan’s prestige, but it has several good matchups. Four of them pit Big Ten teams against Pac-12 squads. I rank them this way:
1. UCLA at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers thirst for vengeance after losing to the Bruins in Pasadena last September, 36-30.
2. Wisconsin at Arizona State. Both teams have played two tomato cans. Neither has allowed a point
3. UCF at Penn State. UCF wiped the turf with Akron and Florida International. It has a terrific quarterback in junior Blake Bortles.
4. Washington vs. Illinois (Soldier Field, Chicago). The Illini raised eyebrows by clubbing Cincinnati last week. Washington did the same by mauling Boise State 38-6 the week before.
5. Iowa at Iowa State. It’s for a trophy, I’m told.
6. Ohio State at California. Cal isn’t anything special, but Big Ten teams seldom make trips to Pac-12 venues without having to battle for wins.
7. Bowling Green at Indiana. Had the Hoosiers not lost to Navy last week, they’d be 2-0. Bowling Green is 2-0, having opened the year with a surprising rout of Tulsa and following it with a 41-22 whipping of a Kent State team that won 11 games last season.
8. Notre Dame at Purdue. Both are 1-1. One is better than the other.
9. (tie) Youngstown State at Michigan State, Akron at Michigan, Western Michigan at Northwestern, Western Illinois at Minnesota. If the Big Ten loses any of these games, it’s a disgrace.