Wisconsin

Big Ten Week 1 Game Previews & Fearless Predictions


The Big Ten isn’t really pushing itself early on, but there are just enough good games for a solid Week 1. Check out the fearless predictions and game previews for all the Week 1 Big Ten games.


Big Ten Week 1 Game Previews & Predictions

Big Ten Conference Games of the Week

Thursday, September 1

Oregon State at Minnesota Preview & Fearless Prediction
9:00 PM, BTN. TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

Saturday, September 3

Bowling Green at Ohio State Preview & Fearless Prediction
12:00 PM, BTN, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH

Hawaii at Michigan Preview & Fearless Prediction
12:00 PM, ESPN, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI

Rutgers at Washington Preview & Fearless Prediction
2:00 PM, Pac-12, Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA

LSU vs. Wisconsin Game Preview & Fearless Prediction
3:30 PM, ABC, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

Thursday, September 1

Indiana at Florida International

7:30 PM, ESPNU, FIU Stadium, Miami, FL

Can FIU keep up the pace with the Indiana offense making the trip down to Miami?

It wasn’t a shocker when the Hoosiers decided to go with Richard Lagow as the starting quarterback, but now that he’s the man, the offense has its bomber to stretch the field on a bad Golden Panther secondary that’ll be under fire all game long.

Outside of being at home, how can FIU keep this close?

The defensive front seven will get steamrolled over by Devine Redding and the IU ground attack, but the FIU offensive backfield has enough talent and ability to give the always-average Hoosier defense problems on the ground.

The Golden Panther O line will be a relative strength with a good group of veterans that should be a bit better in pass protection against an IU defensive front that’ll have a rough time getting into the backfield.

Give it about a half, and then the IU offense will open it up and pull away.

Fearless Prediction: Indiana 38, Florida International 20
Line: Indiana -9.5, o/u: 61
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 3
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2.5

Friday, September 2

Furman at Michigan State

7:00 PM, BTN, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI

With a week off and then the Notre Dame showdown, Michigan State has to look the part right away against a Furman team that shouldn’t have a prayer of keeping this interesting.

Last year the Spartans seemed a bit too sleepy early on and a bit too inconsistent, but obviously everything turned out okay in the end. With so much turnover and so many new parts that have to mesh on both sides of the ball, this is the game to turn everyone loose.

New starting quarterback Tyler O’Connor has to be sharp, and it would be nice to get Damion Terry a little bit of work. The receiving corps needs to get on the same page with O’Conner, and the defensive front has to work around Malik McDowell on the inside.

The Paladins aren’t going to be able to stop the run, and MSU will run at will. On the other side, they’re not going to be able to move the ball a lick, especially on the ground. The Spartans will decide what the final score is.

Fearless Prediction: Michigan State 52, Furman 3
Line: No Line
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 1.5

Saturday, September 3

Eastern Kentucky at Purdue

12:00 PM, ESPNews, Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN

Purdue has to take wins whenever it can get them, and it needs a big confidence boost to show that this really is a new year and a new team. It won’t be easy to totally look the part against an Eastern Kentucky defense that should be just solid enough to keep this from getting crazy.

The Colonels should come up with a decent passing attack that could test the Boilermaker secondary, but it’ll be that D that has to hold up and get the job done on third downs. Purdue won’t make this ugly, but QB David Blough will have an effective day to offset a disappointing performance from the ground game.

Fearless Prediction: Purdue 31, Eastern Kentucky 13
Line: No Line
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

Howard at Maryland

12:00 PM BTN, Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD

Welcome to a head coaching gig, D.J. Durkin. Enjoy the coronation.

The Terps will ease their way into the season with a home scrimmage before two relatively easy Florida games against FIU and UCF on the road, and that’s probably just fine for the Maryland fans looking to see something positive.

Howard started out last season losing to Appalachian State and Boston College by a combined score of 125-0, and that might be around the score against the Terps if they really wanted to unleash the hounds. QB Perry Hills will do whatever he wants, while the defensive front that needs a ton of reworking should look great out of the gate.

If the Bison score, consider it a plus.

Fearless Prediction: Maryland 58, Howard 0
Line: No Line
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 1

Western Michigan at Northwestern

12:00 PM, ESPNU, Ryan Field, Evanston, IL

Watch out, Northwestern.

Western Michigan might have the MAC’s best team with a loaded offense that should explode from the start. QB Zach Terrell and the Bronco passing game should push around just about everyone this year. Fortunately for Northwestern, one of its biggest strengths should be the defensive back seven that should be able to weather the storm.

But can the Wildcat offense start to score a bit more and open it up a bit? The WMU secondary will give up its share of big yards and deep plays, and this might be the time to see if QB Clayton Thorson can stretch the field a bit with a sketchy receiving corps.

Northwestern can’t just do everything it did last year and expect the same results – WMU isn’t going to be kept under wraps. The Wildcats will win late, but the defense will do a whole lot of bending without breaking.

Fearless Prediction: Northwestern 27, Western Michigan 23
Line: Northwestern -5.5
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 2
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 3.5

Kent State at Penn State

3:30 PM, BTN, Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA

Get ready for a defensive fight for a Nittany Lion team coming out looking to show some offensive pop.

Kent State cranked up a great defensive season and should be among the stingiest teams in the MAC again this year. The D is talented, experienced, and has more than enough playmakers to make Penn State fans a little grouchy after watching the offense sputter a bit. There’s one problem with the Golden Flashes – they won’t be able to score.

At least, they won’t be able to score against a retooled Penn State defense that has a linebacking corps that won’t give up a thing.

It might not be the prettiest of performances, but the Nittany Lions won’t have any issues after coming up with a few early scores. Kent State will come up with a few points, but for a team that averaged just 13.1 points per game last year, it’s not going to boost the numbers to start out 2016.

Fearless Prediction: Penn State 31, Kent State 6
Line: Penn State -21
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 1.5
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

Miami Univ. at Iowa

3:30 PM, ESPNU, Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA

How sharp will Iowa be early on?

Miami University is 0-for-it-last-10 in openers against Power 5 teams – last beating North Carolina in 2002 – including the lone loss of the Ben Roethlisberger-led 2003 season against Iowa.

This year’s Iowa team is coming off the brutally-tough finish and needs to look the part right away against a punchless RedHawk team that shouldn’t have the offense to keep up the pace early on.

Ten starters return to the MU offense, and the defense will be better and more effective. It’s not going to matter after the Hawkeyes get the defensive front going right away. Iowa will score on its first three drives, the defense will come up with three straight stops, and this will get out of hand by the second quarter. And then it’s on to the Iowa State rivalry showdown.

Fearless Prediction: Iowa 44, Miami University 9
Line: Iowa -27.5
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 4
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

Murray State at Illinois

3:30 PM, BTN Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL

The Lovie Smith era should get off to a rousing start against a Murray State team that’ll get the passing game moving, but won’t be able to stop anything the Illini try to do.

The Racers finished last year with the FCS’s second-ranked passing game, but they’re relying on new starting quarterback KD Humphries to challenge a rebuilding Illinois secondary that should be a bit of an issue early on.

This is the perfect opponent for the Illini to deal with before facing North Carolina. They need to find playmakers at receiver, and it should be target practice time for QB Wes Lunt to get in sync with his targets. At least for a week, the new coaching staff will look fantastic.

Fearless Prediction: Illinois 50, Murray State 10
Line: No Line
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 1.5

Fresno State at Nebraska

8:00 PM, BTN Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE

For two programs in desperate need of a positive start, the opener is going to be more than just a Nebraska coronation. Fresno State needs to come up with a good showing after a miserable 2015.

The Bulldogs have switched up coordinators to try cranking up an offense that averaged just 315 yards per game, and a defense that finished 101st in the country and couldn’t seem to do much of anything right.

This year, Fresno State has a good enough secondary to slow down the Husker passing game, and some dynamic new parts in the backfield – starting with redshirt freshman quarterback Chason Virgil – to challenge a highly-questionable Nebraska defensive front that’ll need time and work.

However, Fresno State doesn’t have the lines. The Husker defensive front might have to undergo an overhaul, but it’s not going to get powered on. The O line should be able to blast away and go with a more powerful attack when needed. It’ll be an inspired Nebraska effort – there won’t be any need to worry about a Hail Mary like last year against BYU.

Fearless Prediction: Nebraska 40, Fresno State 23
Line: Nebraska -28
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 2
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2.5