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Thursday, September 6, 2007

9/6/07 - Saturday Preview

Akron at Ohio State 12:00 BTN Line: Ohio State -29
Ohio State had very little trouble disposing of Youngstown State last week 38-6 and will now face an Akron team coming off a 22-14 victory over Army. The Buckeyes offense and QB Todd Boeckman will face a tougher test in the Zips defense, but the OSU O-Line should eventually take over and pave some major running room for RB Chris Wells. Look for Wells to bounce back from a lackluster opening game and gain over 100 yards en route to another Buckeye blowout. Akron's only real chance of keeping this close is if OSU's inexperienced offense turns over the ball and gives the Zips anemic offense great field position all game.
BTC Prediction: Ohio State 34 Akron 10

Nevada at Northwestern 12:00 BTN Line: Northwestern -10
Northwestern looked pretty impressive in their shutout victory last week, albeit against Division 1-AA Northeastern. Nevada, despite getting drilled by Nebraksa 52-10, will certainly prove to be a much tougher test for the Wildcats. The Wolfpack gave up 400+ yards on the ground to Nebraska and Northwestern's improved offensive line will also try to take advantage of Nevada's weak run defense. Also, keep an eye on NU QB C.J. Bacher. He continues to protect the ball and threw for 243 yards on 23-29 passing on Saturday. Northwestern should move to 2-0 if the offensive line can control the line of scrimmage, and the Wildcat defense steps up again against a decent Wolfpack offensive unit.
BTC Prediction: Northwestern 27 Nevada 24

Bowling Green at Michigan State 12:00 BTN Line: Michigan State -18
Bowling Green tries to make it 2-for-2 against the Big Ten after a shocking overtime win at Minnesota last Saturday. Michigan State is coming off a very impressive 55-18 drubbing of UAB. The Spartans rushed for 298 yards in their victory against UAB, and they should be able to gain some massive amounts of yardage on the ground against the Falcons, who gave up 246 yards rushing to Minnesota. Bowling Green QB Tyler Sheehan will give the Spartan secondary some fits with a short, controlled passing game, but Michigan State should be able to control the clock with their strong running game and pull out another victory.
BTC Prediction: Michigan State 31 Bowling Green 17

Miami (OH) at Minnesota 12:00 BTN Line: Minnesota -8.5
Minnesota looks to avoid a second straight loss to a MAC team at home after falling in overtime to Bowling Green. Miami comes into this game 1-0 after beating Ball State 14-13 on a last minute touchdown run. The bad news for Minnesota is that their pass defense does not appear to be very much improved from last season after giving up 412 yards through the air last Saturday. The good news is the Redhawks don't have much of a passing attack. Miami threw for only 118 yards against Ball State. Don't expect the Gopher defense to improve too much from last week, but they won't need to towin this one. Minnesota's offensive line and RB Amir Pinnix will wear down the Redhawks and take over giving coach Tim Brewster his first victory.
BTC Prediction: Minnesota 27 Miami (OH) 13

Eastern Illinois at Purdue 12:00 BTN
In Purdue's 52-24 victory over Toledo, they gained 244 yards rushing and 244 yards passing. The Boilermakers will look to continue that balance on offense against 1-AA (Note: if you haven't noticed, the Chronicle refuses to acknowledge the new Football Champsionship Subdivision namesake) Eastern Illinois. Purdue QB Curtis Painter is going to have a lot of fun this season throwing to one of the best receiving corps in the nation. WR Dorien Bryant is nursing an ankle injury and will be a game-time decision, but with or without Bryant, the Boilers should light up the scoreboard again this week and if everyone can stay healthy, they may be the surprise team of the Big Ten this year.
BTC Prediction: Purdue 45 Eastern Illinois 13

Oregon at Michigan 3:30 ABC Line: Michigan -8
Michigan's fall from grace has been well documented, and the Wolverines now come into this Big Ten-Pac 10 matchup as an unranked team. Lloyd Carr's squad has now lost three straight games dating back to last season, and a loss on Saturday would mean two straight home losses for the first time since 1990. The big concern in Ann Arbor is that this Oregon offense looks a lot like the Appalachian State offense that just ripped through Big Blue's defense (only Oregon has Division 1-A talent of course). The Duck's speedy QB Dennis Dixon and a slew of receivers will certainly challenge the Wolverines, and now is the time we find out if the UM seniors are going to circle the wagons or mail it in. The defense has to show some improvement this week, it certainly can't get any worse, and as long as we see a steady diet of Chad Henne turning around and handing the ball to RB Mike Hart, the offense will be okay. This has to be the earliest "must win" game played in the Big House in a long, long time. A loss and coach Carr might have his retirement decision made for him.
BTC Prediction: Michigan 34 Oregon 27

Notre Dame at Penn State 6:00 ESPN Line: Penn State -17.5
Talk about getting your feet wet! Charlie Weis finally made up his mind on a quarterback and is going with highly touted freshman Jimmy Clausen on Saturday, and he will face possibly the best defense in the Big Ten this year at Penn State. After a 33-3 loss to Georgia Tech, in a game where Notre Dame ended with a net -8 yards rushing, the Irish offense will need to greatly improve and do it in a major hurry if they expect to get in the win column anytime soon. The interesting thing to watch in this game will be Penn State QB Anthony Morelli and the Lion offense. They did just about anything they wanted against FIU in a 59-0 blowout win, and if they can run the ball with anything close to the success they had in that game this will be another ugly loss for the Irish.
BTC Prediction: Penn State 37 Notre Dame 20

Western Illinois at Illinois 7:00 BTN
After being knocked out in the 1st half against Missouri, Illinois QB Juice Williams is expected to start on Saturday versus Western Illinois. Former Iowa Hawkeye offensive coordinator Don Patterson will be back in a Big Ten stadium for a day when his Leathernecks travel across state to Champaign. The Illini looked like an improved team from last year in their loss to Missouri, but they will need to cut down on mistakes if they expect to challenge for a bowl game this season. Illinois should get a notch in the win column and some much needed confidence on Saturday.
BTC Projection: Illinois 31 Western Illinois 17

Indiana at Western Michigan 8:00 ESPNU Line: Pick 'em
After an emotional win over Indiana State, the Hoosiers travel to Western Michigan where the MAC team is actually favored. WMU got torched for 62 points in their opening day loss to West Virginia, but most of damage was down on the ground by a Mountaineer team that obviously has a lot more weapons than the Hoosiers. IU QB Kellen Lewis had a monster first half through the air against ISU; he and favorite target James Hardy will give the Broncos secondary fits. This should be a high scoring affair, and the Indiana defense will be tested by a very good Western Michigan ground game. It may surprise some folks, but this game will be very tight and one mistake could be the difference in the ball game.
BTC Predicition: Western Michigan 37 Indiana 34

Syracuse at Iowa 8:00 BTN Line: Iowa -22
Iowa went to Chicago and came home with a 16-3 victory over Northern Illinois. The Hawkeyes dominated with outstanding running balance by seniors Albert Young and Damien Sims and a very tough defense, but there is much to improve on. QB Jake Christensen will need to show more consistancy, and his receivers are going to need to show they can hang onto the ball. Iowa had far too many dropped passes and failed 3rd down conversions against NIU to sustain any offensive flow. Syracuse is coming off an embarrising 42-12 loss to Washington and it is not going to get any easier on the Orange this week. Iowa's front four led by DL Mitch King should control the line of scrimmage and look for the Hawkeye offense to improve and really get rolling at home.
BTC Prediction: Iowa 34 Syracuse 10

Wisconsin at UNLV 10:00 Line: Wisconsin -25.5
Wisconsin looked impressive in their 42-21 win over Washington State. QB Tyler Donovan picked apart the Cougars defense, and expect much of the same in Vegas. Big Ten teams historically do not have a good history of traveling West for non-conference games, but this is a UNLV squad who struggled to put away a very bad Utah State team last Saturday. The Badgers will look to get P.J. Hill and their ground game sharpened up. The only major area for improvement for Wisconsin from last game was tackling. The Badger defense had some trouble wrapping up against Wazzu, but expect the linebackers to take care of business on Saturday in what should be an easy win.
BTC Prediction: Wisconsin 37 UNLV 10

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