Bold predictions for every B1G game in Week 2
That’s all it took before the B1G season faced its first obstacle. On Wednesday, Wisconsin announced that it was pausing all football-related activities due to a spike in positive COVID-19 test results, which meant a cancellation of Saturday’s game against Nebraska.
The B1G had to wipe erase the number “1” from beneath the “weeks without an accident” sign its warehouse and replace it with a big ol’ “0.”
But there is good news. We still have six other B1G games on the schedule this week. We have two rivalry games — Michigan-Michigan State and Illinois-Purdue — and a Top 25 showdown between No. 3 Ohio State and No. 18 Penn State. It’s still going to be an entertaining weekend.
So, rather than look at the one negative, let’s focus on the six positives and make some bold predictions for this weekend.
Minnesota (0-1) vs. Maryland (0-1)
Bold prediction: Mo Ibrahim hits the 200-yard mark on the ground
I know Minnesota’s offense wasn’t nearly as sparkly and shiny in the loss to Michigan as it was last season, but Ibrahim still managed to crank out 140 yards and 2 touchdowns against a solid Wolverines defense. He’s clearly one of the three-best running backs in the B1G right now.
And what, exactly, from Maryland’s 43-3 loss to Northwestern gave you any faith in its defense? Yeah, that’s what I thought. The Terrapins struggled to bring down Peyton Ramsey, Isaiah Bowser and Drake Anderson. How are they going to be able wrap up Ibrahim?
Michigan State (0-1) vs. #13 Michigan (1-0)
Bold prediction: The Spartans hit a double-digit turnover total by the end of Week 2
This probably isn’t really a bold prediction at all. If Michigan forced three turnovers, Michigan State will be on 10 for the season. The Spartans were not in sync last week against Rutgers and I don’t suspect Mel Tucker waved a magic wand over the team’s ball security issues and it was fixed overnight.
Here’s a free prediction: While I do think Michigan wins this game relatively easily, I don’t think it will cover the 24.5-point spread. Maybe that should be considered the bold take…
Purdue (1-0) vs. Illinois (0-1)
Bold prediction: This turns into a shootout
Neither defense played outstanding football last weekend. Illinois was torched through the air by Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz and Purdue benefited from some Iowa penalties and turnovers (and won, so kudos!).
Both teams have some dynamic playmakers on offense, but really, I just don’t trust either defense right now. Maybe I’m wrong, but don’t be shocked to see this game reach the high 30s or 40s on Saturday.
#17 Indiana (1-0) vs. Rutgers (1-0)
Bold prediction: Whop Philyor has a 100-yard receiving day
No part of Indiana’s offense looked particularly good against Penn State last weekend, but Rutgers is a different story. Michael Penix Jr. should have more time in the pocket this week and his No. 1 target, Whop Philyor, will be targeted a lot more frequently this Saturday.
Philyor piled up the numbers last season against the Scarlet Knights, hauling in 10 catches for 182 yards. His stats may not be quite that high this year (Rutgers’ defense is better) but he’ll have another big day for the Hoosiers.
Side note, in two games against Rutgers, Philyor has 14 receptions for 252 yards but hasn’t scored a touchdown. I’ll bet that changes this weekend, as well.
Northwestern (1-0) vs. Iowa (0-1)
Bold prediction: Keith Duncan adds another game-winning field goal to his resume
Two very disciplined teams that play great defense. Northwestern and Iowa have had some intense battles in the B1G West in recent years. We’ll see more of the same in 2020.
Northwestern is hoping to exceed its B1G win total from a season ago and Iowa is trying to get its first victory of the year. I think special teams will be the difference in this one, and the Hawkeyes have a better kicker. This one comes down to the leg of Duncan, lifts Iowa to its first win in 2020.
He probably won’t blow kisses to the sideline this time, though.
#3 Ohio State (1-0) vs. #18 Penn State (0-1)
Bold prediction: Ohio State’s rushing attack is too much for Penn State
Everyone seems to be criticizing Ohio State’s rushing attack after the opener against Nebraska. No, it didn’t look great and the Buckeyes certainly don’t want to have to depend on Justin Fields to be the leading rusher this season.
The offensive line is going to be on a mission to prove its not overrated and Trey Sermon and Master Teague III will have a lot more running room earlier in the game than they did against the Huskers. The Buckeyes won’t be able to run the ball as well as they did last year with J.K. Dobbins, but it’s going to look much better in Week 2.
Yes, even against the better defensive front of Penn State.
Canceled: #9 Wisconsin (1-0) vs. Nebraska (0-1)
Bold prediction: Scott Frost does NOT take his team to Uzbekistan to play an American game of football, despite all the jokes on Twitter.