Big Ten Week 2 Predictions

Picks for every Week 2 Big Ten game.

The Big Ten was in the spotlight in college football’s first week of 2015, as Jim Harbaugh’s debut with Michigan was a huge television hit on Thursday night, and Ohio State capped the weekend with a victory over Virginia Tech. The conference is back in the spotlight once again for Week 2, as Michigan State-Oregon is the weekend’s must-see game in college football. The Ducks knocked off the Spartans last season, but Michigan State is favored this Saturday.

 

Outside of East Lansing, there are a handful of games with intrigue in the conference. Indiana needs a win over FIU to bolster its bowl hopes, Rutgers hosts Washington State, Michigan takes on Oregon State and Iowa-Iowa State meet for the Cy-Hawk Trophy.

 

Athlon Sports offers its Big Ten Week 2 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), David Fox (@DavidFox615), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch) and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)

 

Big Ten Week 2 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Oregon at Michigan State

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

Both defenses gave their fans reason to worry in matchups with directional schools — Oregon against Eastern Washington and Michigan State against Western Michigan. Michigan State over time has shown more reason for us to believe in the Spartans. New Ducks QB Vernon Adams had a nice debut, but Connor Cook is playing the part of a trusty veteran who has been in the system for four years.

Michigan State 31–21

 

Braden Gall:

Revenge, playoff implications, playing at home and a veteran quarterback gives Michigan State a slight edge against an Oregon team that allowed 549 yards in the opener to an FCS foe. Can Vernon Adams take the beating Michigan State's defense is sure to enforce? Connor Cook is the difference. Michigan State 37-30

 

Steven Lassan:

The best game of Week 2. Lots of intrigue here, as new Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams takes on his toughest opponent in Michigan State, while the Spartans have revenge on their mind after last year’s loss in Eugene. The Ducks’ secondary was torched by Eastern Washington last week, and that’s a big concern with Connor Cook up next.

Michigan State 38-30

 

Mitch Light:

It was only one game, but Oregon has to be concerned about a defense that gave up 491 yards (and 6.4 per play) in a 61–42 win over Eastern Washington. 

Michigan State 37-33

 

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2. Iowa at Iowa State

Kickoff: 4:45 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

 

David Fox:

The rivalry game actually carries some weight for the respective futures of coaches Kirk Ferentz and Paul Rhoads. Iowa has a big-time defensive difference maker in Drew Ott and the makings of a competent offense. Edge: Hawkeyes.

Iowa 34–21

 

Braden Gall:

One of the more underrated rivalries in the country has gone the way of the Cyclones and Paul Rhoads more times than not recently. Both offenses played well in Week 1 and Jack Trice is also underrated. Iowa's balance on offense gives the CyHawk Trophy to the Hawkeyes. Iowa 30-24

 

Steven Lassan:

A rivalry matchup in Week 2 is certainly welcomed to help spice up a pedestrian slate of games. Iowa State has won three out of the last four games in this series, but I think the Hawkeyes take this one on Saturday.

Iowa 27-20

 

Mitch Light:

Iowa showed nice balance last week, rushing for 210 and throwing for 221 in its 31–14 win over FCS power Illinois State. 

Iowa 24-20

 

3. Oregon State at Michigan

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

The loss to Utah revealed Michigan still has a host of problems on offense. Oregon State is in even deeper trouble than Michigan.

Michigan 28-14

 

Braden Gall:

The defense was excellent and the offense identified a few nice players in Jake Butt, Amara Darboh and De'Veon Smith but the rest of the Michigan offense needs to develop. Oregon State was solid in its debut but Weber State isn't The Big House. Michigan wins in its home opener. Michigan 24-10

 

Steven Lassan:

A matchup between two of the best head coach hires for 2015. Jim Harbaugh’s first home game should be a relatively easy win for the Wolverines. Oregon State freshman quarterback Seth Collins is a dynamic playmaker, but the Beavers are in rebuild mode under coach Gary Andersen.

Michigan 31-10

 

Mitch Light:

Michigan will reward the home folks with the first win of the Jim Harbaugh era. Oregon State isn’t overly talented, but freshman Seth Collins was impressive in his debut (152 yards rushing, 92 yards passing with two TDs an zero INTs). Michigan 28-13​

 

4. Washington State at Rutgers

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Rutgers is a different team with the pass-catch tandem of Chris Laviano and Leonte Carroo. Not necessarily a good team, but a different one.

Rutgers 35–28

 

Braden Gall:

One team lost as a 31-point favorite to an FCS school and the other's athletic department is an episode of Law and Order. Take the Knights at home. Rutgers 35-31

 

Steven Lassan:

Both teams are dealing with some turmoil, albeit for two different reasons. Rutgers has an ongoing investigation about coach Kyle Flood, and four defensive backs were kicked off the team last week. Washington State is reeling after last Saturday’s surprise defeat against Portland State. This one should see its share of fireworks between the two offenses.

Washington State 38-34

 

Mitch Light:

Washington State lost at home, 24–17, to FCS foe Portland State in Week 1. Not a good start for Mike Leach. Things aren’t going great at Rutgers, either, but at least the Scarlet Knights won their first game. 

Rutgers 33-30

 

5. Minnesota at Colorado State

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS Sports Network

 

David Fox:

Minnesota’s standout secondary faces a Biletnikoff finalist in Rashard Higgins. Which quarterback can make plays in this game?

Colorado State 28–24

 

Braden Gall:

Upset alert for the Gophers after Mike Bobo's quality debut for the Rams. However, the defense is too much for Colorado State as Jerry Kill's bunch rarely overlooks an opponent. Minnesota 24-10

 

Steven Lassan:

Solid under-the-radar matchup in Fort Collins this Saturday, as Minnesota’s standout secondary takes on one of the nation’s top receivers in Rashard Higgins. Defense certainly isn’t the issue for the Golden Gophers, but the offense needs to play better to win the Big Ten West. Keep an eye on promising running back Rodney Smith in this one.

Minnesota 27-24

 

Mitch Light:

This is not an easy trip for Jerry Kill and the Gophers. Colorado State averaged 8.7 yards per play in its win over Savannah State. 

Minnesota 24-20

 

6. Bowling Green at Maryland

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

Braden Gall:

A sneaky upset alert here for the Terps despite all of the points last week. The Terps running game is the difference, however, after the Falcons were gashed last weekend by Tennessee. Maryland 40-35

 

Steven Lassan:

Bowling Green is a dangerous opponent for the Terrapins. As last week’s loss to Tennessee showed, the Falcons can score (30 points) and averaged 6.5 yards per play. Maryland’s secondary should do just enough to keep Bowling Green’s high-powered passing attack in check, while the offense leans on Brandon Ross to wear down the Falcon defense in the fourth quarter.

Maryland 34-31

 

Mitch Light:

Bowling Green threw for 424 yards and averaged 8.7 yards per passing attempt in last week’s 59–30 loss vs. Tennessee in Nashville. Maryland will have to score a bunch of points to win this game. 

Bowling Green 41-37

 

7. Hawaii at Ohio State

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

The Buckeyes get Joey Bosa, Jalin Mashall, Corey Smith and Dontre Wilson back from suspension. Good luck, Hawaii.

Ohio State 49–10

 

Braden Gall:

Poor, poor Hawaii. Ohio State 59-3

 

Steven Lassan:

Might be a sluggish start in the works for both teams, as Hawaii is making the long trip to the mainland, while Ohio State has a short turnaround from playing Virginia Tech. Even if the Buckeyes have a slow start, this won’t be close in the fourth quarter. 

Ohio State 52-17

 

Mitch Light:

Hawaii recorded a nice win for embattled coach Norm Chow, topping Colorado 28–20 last Thursday night. The win streak will end at one. 

Ohio State 44-13

 

8. Buffalo at Penn State

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

 

David Fox:

Penn State’s offensive line can’t get much worse than last week’s 10-sack effort against Temple. Then again, we said that about the offensive line last season. Buffalo has a solid veteran quarterback who will make this closer than it should be.

Penn State 21–17

 

Braden Gall:

Arguably the worst opening weekend in the nation can only get better for Penn State, right? Block someone, PSU, anyone. Penn State 30-10

 

Steven Lassan:

After last week’s offensive debacle against Temple, it will be interesting to see what changes coach James Franklin makes to jumpstart this group. The offensive line has to play better, but quarterback Christian Hackenberg also shares part of the blame. Buffalo made one of the offseason’s best coaching hires by getting Lance Leipold from Wisconsin-Whitewater, and the Bulls were impressive in their opener against Albany. Buffalo keeps this one interesting until the fourth quarter.

Penn State 27-17

 

Mitch Light:

Penn State will be eager to bounce back after last week’s debacle against Temple. The natives will not be pleased if the Lions struggle to beat Buffalo. 

Penn State 27-6

 

9. South Alabama at Nebraska

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

Nebraska hasn’t started 0–2 since 1957, and it should stay that way. The Huskers should roll.

Nebraska 41–14

 

Braden Gall:

Nebraska gets back on track after the Week 1 heartbreaker. Nebraska 38-10

 

Steven Lassan:

Nebraska should be able to take out some of its frustration from last week’s last-second loss to BYU in Saturday’s matchup against South Alabama. Mike Riley breaks into the win column in his second game with the Cornhuskers.

Nebraska 40-13

 

Mitch Light:

Nebraska is still smarting from losing its opener to BYU on the final play of the game. The Huskers will bounce back against a South Alabama team that is coming off a 10-point win over Gardner-Webb. 

Nebraska 48-3

 

10. FIU at Indiana

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

Indiana’s 48–47 win over Southern Illinois came down to a stopped two-point conversion, and this week’s opponent, FIU, is coming off a road upset of UCF. The Hoosiers’ hopes for a quick start to the season just got a little tougher.

Indiana 42–35

 

Braden Gall:

FIU pulled off the improbable upset over UCF last week and Indiana couldn't stop air in it's opener. That said, give me Nate Sudfeld and company to outscore FIU. Indiana 38-30

 

Steven Lassan:

Indiana avoided a costly upset last week, and the Hoosiers could have their hands full with a FIU team that knocked off UCF last week. The Panthers are improving on offense behind promising quarterback Alex McGough, but the defense – led by standout cornerback Richard Leonard – held the Knights to 14 points last week. Indiana’s defense has to take a step forward if this team wants to get to a bowl.

Indiana 34-27

 

Mitch Light:

Ron Turner and the Panthers had a nice win at UCF last week. Indiana had to make a stop on a two-point conversion to beat Southern Illinois. 

FIU 27-20

 

11. Miami (Ohio) at Wisconsin

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Miami ended its 16-game losing streak but still hasn’t defeated an FBS team since Oct. 27, 2012 and hasn’t defeated a Power 5 team since 2007 (Syracuse).

Wisconsin 42–14 

 

Braden Gall:

I am willing to bet Wisconsin rushes for more than 40 yards in this game. Badgers big in their home opener. Wisconsin 42-14

 

Steven Lassan:

Running back Corey Clement might be limited due to injury, but it shouldn’t matter. The Badgers build a little confidence in quarterback Joel Stave with an easy win.

Wisconsin 45-13

 

Mitch Light:

The Badgers were manhandled by a superior Alabama team last weekend in Arlington, Texas. Wisconsin will have the physical advantage in this matchup. 

Wisconsin 41-11

 

12. Eastern Illinois at Northwestern

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNEWS

 

David Fox:

Eastern Illinois lost 33–5 to Western Illinois. Northwestern just beat Stanford. The old Northwestern might flirt with an upset.

Northwestern 35–7

 

Braden Gall:

Tony Romo isn't walking through that door. Northwestern big. Northwestern 34-10

 

Steven Lassan:

Northwestern continues its momentum from the Week 1 victory against Stanford with an easy win over Eastern Illinois. Interested to see how much quarterback Clayton Thorson progresses this Saturday.

Northwestern 38-7

 

Mitch Light:

EIU, which lost its opener 33–5 at Western Illinois, is still looking for its first touchdown of the season. Northwestern only scored one touchdown in Week 1, but it was enough to knock off Stanford. 

Northwestern 37-7

 

13. Indiana State at Purdue

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPNEWS

 

David Fox:

How will Austin Appleby come back from his collapse at Marshall last week? The answer will determine if Purdue can stay competitive this season.

Purdue 38–28

 

Braden Gall:

Purdue lost a tough one at Marshall but there were signs of life. Get this one, Boilers. Purdue 37-21

 

Steven Lassan:

Purdue showed some improvement in its opener against Marshall, but the Boilermakers gave away four turnovers, including two interceptions returned for scores. Purdue should break into the win column this week.

Purdue 38-17

 

Mitch Light:

Purdue did some good things in its loss on Sunday to Marshall. This team is improved but might have trouble making a move in the Big Ten West. 

Purdue 38-21

 

14. Western Illinois at Illinois

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

Braden Gall:

Wes Lunt is out of the game at halftime again. Illinois 42-13

 

Steven Lassan:

Bill Cubit’s debut was a success, as the Fighting Illini easily dispatched Kent State. Expect another big day from quarterback Wes Lunt as Illinois improves to 2-0.

Illinois 45-10

 

Mitch Light:

It seems as though the Fighting Illini enjoy playing for interim coach Bill Cubit. The 52–3 win over Kent State was very impressive.

Illinois 48-10

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