After the first weekend of the season saw a few conference matchups, the Big Ten doesn’t see a single conference matchup in week two. This weekend, all 14 Big Ten teams will face non-conference opponents.
Thirteen of the schools host their opponents, while the Maryland Terrapins have taken a road trip to take on the Charlotte 49ers. A lot of the matchups seem to be adjustment games and automatic wins, more or less, in all honesty.
With that, there are still a handful of intriguing matchups involving the Big Ten teams. Whether it’s a rivalry, a unique matchup with upset potential, an up-and-comer or a big story, there’s still stuff to watch in the Big Ten this week.
Here are the top five Big Ten games in week two and a prediction for what happens in each of them.
5 Duke in the Northwest
AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski
In a battle of two undefeated teams, the Duke Blue Devils arrive at Northwestern on Saturday to battle for bragging rights over which is the smarter of the two schools. Technically, 1-0 is undefeated, so that’s the truth here. Actually, it will be interesting to see if Northwestern can rekindle its momentum from Week 0 against Nebraska to go 2-0 on the road to improvement. 3-9 season in 2021.
Prediction: Northwestern 27, Duke 10 with quarterback Ryan Hilinski stringing together two strong games.
4 Hawaii in Michigan
Syndication: Detroit Free Press
This one won’t be close. It will be decided at halftime, if not at the end of the first quarter. But there is intrigue for the rest of the Big 10 and that intrigue is what the Michigan quarterback will go forward with.
Cade McNamara started last week and completed just 50% of his passes, while JJ McCarthy went a perfect 4-for-4. McCarthy gets the nod as the starter this week for his chance to claim the starting job. The intrigue lies in how Michigan navigates its quarterback situation the rest of the year.
Prediction: Michigan 56, Hawaii 0 and JJ McCarthy wins the starting QB job.
3 Virginia in Illinois
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Well, well, well, we have Fighting Illini taking on a Power 5 opponent in the ACC’s Virginia Cavaliers. Illinois might be the favorite to win this game. That’s a big change from where this show was two years ago.
Illinois is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Indiana that they gave up late while Virginia dealt with Richmond. Expect the Illini to run the ball all day here and further establish themselves as a tough team.
Prediction: Illinois 24, Virginia 20 with three rushing touchdowns by Chase Brown.
2 State of Washington in Wisconsin
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Now we come to a game that could get a little weird. The Wisconsin Badgers are hands down the best team and they should win this game at Camp Randall. All it takes is one or two turnovers and odd rebounds for this game to get interesting quickly.
Washington State will try to throw the ball around the yard. If they can get a couple of scores and turn this into a shootout against Graham Mertz while neutralizing Braelon Allen, they have a chance for a fighter to raise some eyebrows and cause some stress.
Prediction: Wisconsin 31, Washington State 17 with over 200 rushing yards from Braelon Allen.
1 Iowa state in Iowa
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
It’s the Cy-Hawk rivalry. It’s Iowa State in Iowa at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It’s for bragging rights at Iowa State. The Cyclones are coming off a strong 42-10 win in their performance last week, while the Hawkeyes are rebounding somewhat from a 7-3 struggle against Iowa State. South Dakota.
Mind you, throw it away last week. This game is always close. It always has another layer of intensity. Both of these teams level up when the Cy-Hawk is in play. This boils down to fourth quarter in an old-fashioned slug fest.
Prediction: Iowa 20, Iowa State 17 with a defensive touchdown for the Hawkeyes.
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