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Which Big Ten Team Must Win in Week 2?


Week 1 in college football usually doesn’t mean much when it comes to a team’s chances of ultimate success down the road (well, maybe for Stanford).

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The Big Ten took some lumps, but also shined in the spotlight. It’s time to run down the this week's tilts to find out which non-conference games the league must wrap up and those it can afford to take the hit on losing.

Related: Big Ten Week 2 Predictions

Must Win

Oregon State vs. Michigan After Jim Harbaugh dropped his first game to the Utes, the conference needs the Killer Khakis to get that first win. Knocking off a 1-0 Oregon State team isn’t uber-impressive, but it’s a start.

Miami (Ohio) vs. Wisconsin Nobody should shame the Badgers too badly for losing to Alabama. That said, they need to rebound against a RedHawks squad that shouldn’t be too much trouble to even up their overall record.

Hawaii vs. Ohio State — Because the Buckeyes are the conference’s best team. That’s really all I’ve got.

South Alabama vs. Nebraska — The Hail Mary loss to the Cougars was rough, but like Michigan and Wisconsin, the Huskers need a 1-1 record after Week 2. This game gives the Big Red a chance to work on what didn’t go right versus BYU, too.

It Would Be Nice

Oregon vs. Michigan State — Maybe the East Lansing crowd will help, but Mark Dantonio is going to have to come up with a doozy of a game plan to stop the Ducks. If MSU topples Pac-12 royalty, it’ll definitely be cause for celebration.

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Iowa vs. Iowa State — A yearly treat, the CyHawk trophy is on the line in a game that could be won or lost using a 20-sided die. A victory would give the Hawkeyes badly-needed momentum heading into their game versus Pittsburgh.

Eastern Illinois vs. Northwestern — With the upset over Stanford, the Big Ten West suddenly looks like a competitive division and the Wildcats need to keep it that way. Considering the game is in Evanston and the Panthers were knocked around by Western Illinois to the tune of 33-5, the Big Ten Upset Special may very well sit at 2-0.

Minnesota vs. Colorado State — Goldy and the Gophers let an opportunity to knock off the No. 2 team in the country slip away. They travel to Fort Collins with a chance for redemption and, like the Wildcats, to show that the West division isn’t a one or two-horse race.

Buffalo vs. Penn State — Because you, Penn State, have to atone for your quarterback getting sacked on a two man rush. That’s why.

Bowling Green vs. Maryland — The Terrapins knocked out Richmond in easy fashion, but they welcome a salty South Florida squad in Week 3. Bowling Green doesn't play patty cake, so knocking off the Falcons would do the Terps well.

More or Less

Washington State vs. Rutgers — Regardless of the game’s outcome, the headline will be about Mike Leach. It may as well be in the Scarlet Knights’ favor.

FIU vs. Indiana — If the Hoosiers can knock off a squad of Golden Panthers that took down UCF, the momentum would greatly help them going into their game with Western Kentucky. However, Indiana is not UCF.

Indiana State vs. Purdue — Because the Boilermakers have to play Virginia Tech next week and can’t they have something nice just once?

Western Illinois vs. Illinois — The Illini slaughtered Kent State after the game was originally postponed and have an upcoming game against North Carolina. If you want to use this as a tune-up game that no one saw, Illini, do your thing.

— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow Brandon on Twitter @eightlaces and Periscope (eightlaces), and like his Facebook page.