The best non-conference player B1G teams will face
Trevone Boykin and Cameron Robinson are two of the top players in the country heading into 2015. Minnesota and Wisconsin get the pleasure of seeing them in Week 1.
Who are the other individual matchups that will present problems in non-conference play?
Landon Turner (G), UNC
The preseason All-American might be the toughest offensive lineman Tim Beckman’s defense will have to deal with all season. For a unit that ranked last in the Big Ten in 2014, the Illini will need Jihad Turner back in lineup to get past Turner and the stout UNC line.
Tyler Boyd (WR), Pitt
One of the best returning receivers in the country already has 2,435 yards and 15 touchdowns under his belt. An experienced Iowa secondary will need a group effort to slow down the junior wideout.
Trevone Boykin (QB), TCU
Arguably the Heisman Trophy favorite, the senior’s versatility is unmatched. Jerry Kill’s playmaking cornerback duo will have the ultimate test to open the season.
Brett Kaaya (QB), Miami
As a true freshman, Kaaya lit up Nebraska for 359 yards in Lincoln last year. He’ll certainly be atop the scouting report this time around.
Jeremy Cash (S), Duke
What’s something an inexperienced quarterback hates to see? Five returning starters to a defensive backfield with a ball-hawking safety like Cash at the center of it.
Kendall Fuller (CB), Virginia Tech
Whoever starts under center for the Boilermakers might want to just avoid Fuller’s side altogether. He won’t make it fun for Purdue’s best offensive player, receiver Danny Anthrop, to break free.
Cameron Robinson (G), Alabama
Maybe the best offensive lineman in the country will present a tall task for a young Badger defensive line. If Wisconsin doesn’t find creative ways to generate some pressure, Robinson could plow the Tide to a Week 1 rout in Dallas.
Brandon Doughty (QB), Western Kentucky
It took awhile for Doughty’s career to get rolling — two redshirts in his first two seasons — but few have as much experience under center as the sixth-year senior. For an IU defense that hasn’t stopped much of anything in the Kevin Wilson era, Doughty has the ability to turn the Week 3 tilt into a shootout.
Karl Joseph (S), West Virginia
There won’t be any fooling a guy with 38 career starts. Joseph can disrupt the passing and running game, both of which are unproven for Maryland.
Taysom Hill (QB), BYU
As long as Hill can stay on the field for the Week 4 matchup — he’s missed 15 games since winning the starting job — he’ll lead one of the nation’s best balanced attacks into Ann Arbor. Hill and the Cougars will give the Wolverines defense all it can handle.
DeForest Buckner (DE), Oregon
The nation’s best offensive line will have to draw something up to prevent DeForest Buckner from wreaking havoc and getting to Connor Cook. Pass protection will be important against a guy who racked up 13 tackles for loss last season.
Kendall Fuller (CB), Virginia Tech
Ok, so he’s already on this list, but for good reason. Either J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones will have to be mindful of the preseason All-American.
Tyler Matakevich (LB), Temple
All the talk about the improved Penn State offensive line will surface with a playmaker like Matakevich in Week 1. The nation’s fourth-ranked defense is led by a linebacker with 22 career tackles for loss. If the Lions haven’t made strides up front, it’ll be a long, frustrating opener for Christian Hackenberg and the PSU offense.
Jeremy Timpf (LB), Army
The Black Knights return their best tackler, who will have the responsibility of trying to contain a deep Rutgers backfield. The junior linebacker has been a part of some subpar defenses, but he’ll have to be accounted for when the teams square off in the second to last week of the regular season.