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Big Ten Report - Week 3

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Big Ten · ACC · Pac-12
In Week 2, the 12 schools in the Big Ten went 11-1 straight up in non-conference action and they also helped gamblers with an 8-4 record against the spread. For the second consecutive week, the 'over' came out on top with a 7-5 mark. Through two weeks, the 'over' has gone 15-9 in Big Ten games.

2013 BIG TEN STANDINGS
Team SU Conference  ATS Over/Under
Illinois 2-0 0-0 1-1 1-0
Indiana 1-1 0-0 1-1 2-0
Iowa 1-1 0-0 0-2 1-1
Michigan 2-0 0-0 1-1 1-1
Michigan State 2-0 0-0 0-2 0-2
Minnesota 2-0 0-0 2-0 2-0
Nebraska 2-0 0-0 1-1 2-0
Northwestern 2-0 0-0 2-0 2-0
Ohio State 2-0 0-0 1-1 1-1
Penn State 2-0 0-0 1-1 1-1
Purdue 1-1 0-0 0-2 0-2
Wisconsin 2-0 0-0 2-0 0-2


Ohio State (-16, 66) at California (FOX, 7:00 p.m. ET)
There was no early line on this game yet as the status of Ohio State starting QB Braxton Miller was uncertain. The Buckeyes got a scare last week when Miller went out with an apparent knee injury. But it doesn’t appear to be serious and he is listed as 'probable' for Saturday. The nerves of OSU fans were calmed a bit when they saw what Kenny Guiton was able to do in Miller’s absence. Guiton led the Bucks to a 42-7 win over San Diego State. He threw for 152 yards and two scores and added 83 rushing yards and another score. OSU’s defense was much more impressive against SDSU than it was against Buffalo in week one. It’ll have its biggest test this week as it takes on the high-octane attack of Sonny Dykes at Cal. Cal’s freshman QB Goff has thrown for 930 yards through two games and Cal has notched 582 YPG and 33.5 PPG through two weeks. Defensively the Bears are awful. They allowed 44 points to a Northwestern team without its top two playmakers, then allowed 30 points to FCS Portland State. These two met in Columbus last year. Cal had +100 yards and +8 first downs, but OSU came away with the 35-28 victory. Ohio State is 2-3 SU when visiting non-conference BCS schools – losing the last two at USC in 2008 and at Miami in 2011.

Wisconsin (+5.5, 52.5) at Arizona State (ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET)
Everything has gone swimmingly for the Badgers through two weeks. They’ve beaten up UMass and FCS Tennessee Tech to the tune of 93-0. Three different running backs have all topped 200 yards already and the Badgers have the #1 ranked defense in the nation. UW takes a big step up in competition this week as it travels to Arizona State to take on the Sun Devils. The Badgers are underdogs for the first time in non-conference play since a visit to Oregon in 2001. Arizona State had last week off after beating FCS Sacramento State 55-0 in week one. QB Taylor Kelly picked up where he left off last season, tossing for 300 yards and 5 touchdowns on 23-of-31 passing. The Sun Devils have one of the top defensive lines in the country spearheaded by All-American Will Sutton. That penetrating D-Line could wreak havoc on an offense that is predicated on creating big holes for running backs. The pressure could be put on UW sophomore QB Joel Stave. Stave is relatively untested in big games. This is a stage he is unfamiliar with and there is potential for some mistakes (he already has two interceptions against UMass and Tennessee Tech). Wisconsin has had its share of problems when traveling to the west coast and playing west coast teams. Dating back to 2010, the Badgers are 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS against Pac-12 opponents.

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Nebraska (-4.5, 70) vs. UCLA (ABC, 12:00 p.m. ET)

Nebraska’s defense had a much stronger showing against Southern Miss last week than it did in week one against Wyoming. After giving up 602 yards to the Cowboys, the Huskers limited Southern Miss to just 284 yards, 16 first downs, and 13 points. They allowed just 62 rushing yards on 2.3 YPC and forced four interceptions – two of which were returned for TD. They’ll be out for revenge this week against a UCLA squad that absolutely gashed this defense a year ago. The Bruins tallied 653 yards and 344 rushing yards in the 36-30 victory over Nebraska. UCLA had last week off after blasting Nevada in the opener. The Bruins got off to a slow start (led 17-13 at halftime), but outscored Nevada 41-7 in the 2nd half en route to a blowout victory. They use a spread attack that has given Nebraska fits in the recent past and QB Hundley has established himself as an elite college quarterback. Nebraska has covered seven of its last 10 home games while UCLA is 4-1 ATS in its last five non-conference games.

Iowa (+2.5, 48.5) at Iowa State (FS1, 6:00 p.m. ET)
Ironically, Iowa was much better in its loss to Northern Illinois in week one than it was in a win against FCS Missouri State last week. The Hawkeyes had just seven points through the first 37 minutes before pulling away. The game was much closer than it should have been considering Iowa had +292 yards and +13 first downs. The Hawks held the ball for nearly 37 minutes and racked up 296 rushing yards on 58 carries. Up next is a road trip to their bitter rival, Iowa State. Iowa is 4-3 over the last seven seasons against in-state rival Iowa State. The Hawks have dropped two straight to ISU, both by three points (the Hawks lost 6-9 in an ugly game last season, and 41-44 in a 2011 shootout). They’ve lost three games to ISU over the last seven years, all by three points or less. In wins they’ve outscored ISU by 20.5 points per game.

Illinois (+9.5, 62.5) vs. Washington (Big Ten, 6:00 p.m. ET)
(Played at Soldier Field, Chicago, IL)

Illinois surprised the nation last week with a blowout of Cincinnati. The Illini offense that was non-existent at times a year ago notched 522 yards and 45 points (2nd consecutive week of 40+ points). QB Scheelhaase completed 26-of-37 passes and appears to be much more confident throwing the football this year. There’s no time to celebrate that victory, however, as Washington comes to Chicago this week to face Illinois at Soldier Field. The Huskies had last week off after one of the most impressive wins on opening weekend. They thoroughly dominated Boise State and held the Broncos out of the endzone in a 38-6 victory. QB Price and RB Sankey will be a tough test for this young Illini defense. Illinois is 1-11 in their last 12 road/neutral openers, losing by 17 points per game. Washington isn’t much better, going just 1-10 in its last 11 road/neutral openers (lost five straight by 22 points per game).

Michigan (-37, 56.5) vs. Akron (Big Ten, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Michigan notched the biggest win in the Big Ten thus far with a 41-30 victory over Notre Dame last week. QB Gardner made a name for himself with a huge performance against a strong defense. He tallied 294 passing yards and four touchdowns and also rushed for 82 yards and a score. The defense had its issues against the Irish – allowed 410 yards, 5.1 YPC, and 23 first downs – but made timely plays when it counted and earned the victory. Michigan is a heavy favorite this week against Akron. The Zips were the worst team in the MAC last season and finished with a 1-11 record. Akron was smoked by Central Florida in week one and then barely got a victory over FCS James Madison last week. The Zips were outgained by 142 yards and had 12 fewer first downs. Through two games, Akron already ranks at or near the bottom of every major offensive & defensive stat category. Akron has played at five BCS schools over the past three years (Tennessee, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Kentucky, and Indiana). They’ve lost each game by an average of 32 points per game but are 2-3 ATS.

Purdue (+20.5, 50) vs. Notre Dame (ABC, 8:00 p.m. ET)
No team needed a feel-good win more than Purdue last week after getting drubbed at Cincinnati in the opener. What the Boilers got was an uninspiring 20-14 win at home against FCS Indiana State. After a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the game, Purdue’s scoring was again stagnant. The Boilers notched just 284 total yards and 16 first downs. QB Henry was unimpressive and the running game gained just 134 yards on 46 carries (2.9 YPC). Up next the Boilers are 20 point underdogs at home against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Notre Dame is going to be angry off of its loss to Michigan last week and Purdue is going to need a huge performance to end the five-game series losing streak. Notre Dame has won two straight in West Lafayette by 15.5 PPG.

Penn State (-5.5, 50.5) vs. Central Florida (Big Ten, 6:00 p.m. ET)
PSU didn’t have any problems with Eastern Michigan last week. The Nittany Lions had a +391 yard advantage and +14 first downs. Freshman QB Hackenberg continues to make strides with 311 passing yards on 23-of-33 passing with one touchdown and one interception. Hackenberg will face his toughest defense of the season yet when UCF visits this week. The Knights have allowed just seven points total through two games (against Akron and Florida International) and are allowing just 212 YPG. On the other side, the Nittany Lions will face their toughest offense to date. UCF is led by junior QB Blake Bortles, who is off to a great start after a breakout 2012 campaign (25 TD and 7 INT). Bortles has completed 70% of his passes for 528 yards with 4 TD and 0 INT through the first two weeks. UCF is 0-7 all-time vs. the Big Ten, but covered against Ohio State last season as a 18-point underdog (lost 16-31).

Indiana (-2.5, 63.5) vs. Bowling Green (ESPNU, 12:00 p.m.)
Indiana’s defense has struggled mightily through two games. The Hoosiers allowed 306 yards and 35 points to FCS Indiana State in week one and things got much worse against Navy last week. They allowed Navy to rack up 515 total yards and 41 points. Navy didn’t punt the ball once and rushed 70 times for 444 yards. Bowling Green has looked impressive in two wins so far. The Falcons demolished a good Tulsa team in week one, 34-7; and went on the road to notch another solid win, this time over conference foe Kent State. Bowling Green’s offense has produced 37.5 PPG through two games and looks much better under sophomore QB Matt Johnson (357 passing yards on 76% completions with 2 TD and no INT in his first official start last week). The Hoosiers offense hasn’t had much trouble moving the ball, but Bowling Green’s defense will be their toughest test to date. The Falcons have allowed just 50% completions and just 3.5 YPC to opposing offenses. There has been just 29 points scored against them and 27 total first downs.

Northwestern (-31, 59.5) vs. Western Michigan (Big Ten, 9:00 p.m. ET)
After surviving the Cal Bears on the road in week one, Northwestern had a much easier time discarding Syracuse at home. The Wildcats duo of QB’s Siemian and Colter had huge days, combining to complete 30-of-37 passes for 375 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. They were playing without star RB Venric Mark, but were still able to notch 206 rushing yards on 44 carries. Defensively Northwestern still has work to do. This unit allowed 434 yards and 29 first downs to the Orange. And this game would’ve been a lot closer had Syracuse QB Drew Allen not thrown four interceptions. Nonetheless, Northwestern improved to 2-0 and gets Western Michigan at home this week. The Wildcats are favored by 31 points – the most they’ve ever been favored against an FBS squad. They are 9-0 in their last nine games vs. MAC opponents and are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games hosting non-conference schools.

Minnesota (-24, 45.5) vs. FCS Western Illinois (Big Ten, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Minnesota gets a tune-up this week against FCS Western Illinois after easy wins vs. UNLV and at New Mexico State. Much like the game against UNLV, the game against NMSU would’ve been a lot closer if not for two non-offensive touchdowns for Minnesota. The Gophers scored on a punt return and a fumble return. That gives them five non-offensive touchdowns through two weeks. The Gophers used a bruising running attack to eat clock and exhaust the defense last week. They ran 43 times for 342 yards (8.0 YPC) and three touchdowns. Minnesota is just 4-2 against FCS opponents over the last six years with the average score 28-22.

Michigan State (-24, 40) vs. FCS Youngstown State (Big Ten, 2:00 p.m. ET)
Another week, another underwhelming offensive performance by Michigan State. MSU gained just 265 yards and 16 first downs. They used three quarterbacks who combined to complete just 12-of-24 passes for 94 yards. The Spartans notched a 21-6 win over South Florida, but the defense scored two of the three touchdowns. The “D” also held the Bulls to just 155 total yards and 12 first downs. Right now the defense is the only thing holding the Spartans together but sooner or later the offense is going to have to step up. The Spartans get a tune-up game this week against Youngstown State before traveling to Notre Dame next week. The only prior meeting between these two was the 2011 opener. MSU won 28-6 and allowed YSU to just 81 total yards. Youngstown State finished 7-4 last year and beat FBS Pittsburgh, 31-17.

  
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Edwards: College Playoff Props
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War of words in Northwestern fight
Texas A&M QB Joeckel to transfer
Dismissed Clemson QB Kelly apologizes
Cure Bowl becomes Orlando's third bowl
Dabo: QB Stoudt Clemson's starter
Kentucky QB Whitlow plans to transfer
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