Bold predictions for every B1G game in Week 3
The first two weeks have been a little crazy, huh? And if you don’t think so, let me refresh your memory.
Penn State, Minnesota and Iowa are all 0-2. Northwestern, Purdue and Indiana are 2-0. Rutgers beat Michigan State in Week 1 and the Spartans turned around the following Saturday and beat rival Michigan as 24.5-point underdogs. Oh, and Wisconsin will be missing a second-straight week due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Who said the 2020 season was going to be normal?!
So far, it’s been anything but normal, and that’s great. With the exception of the positive coronavirus cases in Madison, it’s provided a really fun start to the B1G season — well, unless your a fan of one of those 0-2 teams. Then maybe not so much.
What should we expect in Week 3? Who knows. But let’s make some bold predictions anyway.
#23 Michigan vs. #13 Indiana
Bold prediction: The Hoosiers snap another long, ugly drought under Tom Allen
OK, so I can’t continue by making this bold prediction without clearing one thing up: I’ve made this prediction a few times in my career at Saturday Tradition. Though the Hoosiers have come close, it’s never happened. But this year, I really do think this is the best chance Indiana has had to end a losing streak to Michigan that dates back to 1987.
Indiana snapped a 25-year absence from the Associated Press Poll last season. The Hoosiers beat a Top 10 team for the first time in over three decades with a season-opening win over No. 8 Penn State in Week 1 and is 2-0 on the B1G for the first time since 1991. Who says the Hoosiers can’t snap another drought?
Sure, Michigan will be looking to bounce back after an ugly loss to Michigan State last weekend, but Indiana has nothing to lose. A 3-0 start with wins over Penn State and Michigan would be an unprecedented success for Allen.
Nebraska vs. Northwestern
Bold prediction: Peyton Ramsey terrorizes Nebraska’s defense for a second-straight year
Remember last year’s game between Indiana and Nebraska in Lincoln? Then-IU quarterback Peyton Ramsey threw for 351 yards and added an additional 42 yards on the ground and accounted for 3 total touchdowns. Maybe he doesn’t light up the Huskers that much through the air, but he’ll have a big day.
I’m not sold on the Nebraska defense, and while they’ve had two weeks to prepare for this game, playing a game and then being forced into an off week has to throw a wrench into the schedule. I like the fact that Northwestern enters this game rolling to a 2-0 start.
Expect Ramsey to have a big day on Saturday, one that could net him B1G Player of the Week honors when it’s all said and done.
Michigan State vs. Iowa
Bold prediction: Iowa’s rushing attack piles up more than 200 yards
The Spartans have been solid against the run through the first two games of the season. However, Michigan State hasn’t played an offensive line nearly as good as Iowa’s. With the Hawkeyes eager to get that first win of the season, they’ll be hell-bent on establishing the run to open up the passing attack for Spencer Petras.
Whether or not it results in Iowa’s first win, I’m not sure. But Kirk Ferentz made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to throw the football around 50 times per game like the Hawkeyes did last week against Northwestern. This will be a team focused on playing power football against Michigan State, at least early in the contest.
Maryland vs. Penn State
Bold prediction: A week after scoring 45 points, Maryland doesn’t reach the end zone
The good news for Maryland is that it’s coming off a win, which means there’s some confidence in College Park. But the Terrapins have to play an extremely hungry and frustrated Penn State team that still has a major advantage in the talent department. And the Nittany Lions will be on a mission.
I’m still not sold on Maryland’s offense yet, and I believe Penn State’s defense will be impenetrable this weekend. The Terrapins might squeak out a few field goals, but James Franklin will want to prove a point by keeping the opponent out of the end zone this weekend.
Oh, and Penn State wins big, too. In case that wasn’t clear by Maryland not scoring a touchdown.
Minnesota vs. Illinois
Bold prediction: A B1G record is set for combined completion percentage in a single game
How terrible are these two teams against the pass? Here are some statistics:
- Both Illinois and Minnesota rank last in the B1G in pass defense, allowing 309.5 yards per game
- They’ve combined to allow 11 touchdowns with just 1 interception
- The collective completion percentage is 77.6%
It’s not really that surprising that both teams are off to an 0-2 start.
I’m not sure what the single-game record is for combined completion percentage for two teams, and I’m not sure I want to go down that rabbit hole. All I know, is that if there was ever a chance for that record to be broken, the 2020 versions of Illinois and Minnesota seem poised to shatter it.
Rutgers vs. #3 Ohio State
Bold prediction: Rutgers scores the first touchdown of the game
Greg Schiano is a smart guy. He knows his best shot to try and generate momentum will come on the first offensive series of the game. The Scarlet Knights are going to try and run something the Buckeyes haven’t seen before, go up-tempo, grab a trick play out of the bag or something to that extend.
Is it going to result in a win? No. But you can take out the camera and catch a snapshot of Rutgers’ 7-0 lead on Ohio State on the opening possession. And then the Buckeyes kick it into gear.