Three. That’s it.

That’s how many Power Five teams the B1G will take on in the second week of the season. Everyone expects the momentum the conference built in Week 1 to continue through the second week of the season. Sure, it’s a case-by-case basis, but the all-important national perception of the B1G right now is positive.

Looking ahead to Week 3, there’s a promising chance that at least 10 B1G teams will remain unbeaten.

Ah, not so fast.

I’m already looking ahead. I shouldn’t be. Nobody should be. If Week 1 reminded us anything, it’s that opinions can change in a hurry. Just ask the SEC.

Week 2 is scary for the B1G, though not necessarily because of matchups. It’s scary because nearly every team in the conference can hurt itself more than it can help itself. Maybe with the exception of Illinois, there isn’t a single team in the conference that can suffer a “good loss.”

The two other B1G schools playing Power Five teams — Iowa and Penn State — cannot stomach losing to their in-state rivals. And Darrell Hazell’s path to stay in West Lafayette beyond 2016 gets a lot trickier if he can’t muscle out a nice home upset vs. Cincy.

RELATED: Week 1 B1G Grades

The aforementioned B1G teams aren’t necessarily in a sleeper week, but there are plenty of other B1G teams who are. Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin are all riding especially high after loud Week 1 statements. The three top-10 teams are each favored by 24-plus points against schools that dominated in Week 1.

Nobody is saying Michigan, Ohio State or Wisconsin are going to lose. But if they stumble out of the gate or play like a Tennessee team that thought it just had to show up vs. Appalachian State, the world will notice.

Why? Because conferences — not just teams — are being judged more critically than ever this time of year in the playoff system. There’s a reason everyone was talking about the SEC’s historically bad opening week. If the B1G lays a few eggs against non-Power Five schools, it’ll hurt. If the top teams don’t look like top teams, it’ll hurt.


This is an easy week for a slew of B1G teams to take their foot off the gas. They won’t have the juice of a season opener to rely on. And for a few, the bigger tests will come the following week. Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State all have easy Week 2 matchups with solid Week 3 showdowns looming.

Does everyone remember 2014? The B1G was declared dead after Michigan State lost to Oregon, Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech and Michigan was shut out by Notre Dame. Those games weren’t necessarily sleepers. That was actually just part of the horrific week for the B1G. Look at how many brutal Week 2 showings B1G teams had that year:

  • Nebraska 31, McNeese State 24
  • Illinois 42, Western Kentucky 34
  • Central Michigan 38, Purdue 17
  • Rutgers 38, Howard 25
  • Northern Illinois 23, Northwestern 15
  • Iowa 17, Ball State 13

None of those were Power Five teams, yet they all hung with or beat B1G teams. Nobody will predict that to happen again, especially after the opening week that was.

Consider this a reminder. College football is crazy, which is part of the reason we tune in every week. Saturdays with headliners like what lies ahead for Sept. 17 are the days we look forward to.

Just make sure you don’t sleep in this Saturday.