Week 1 is here! Hallelujah! College football is back, and back for real this time and with that its the B1G 10 Week 1 Preview. Week 0 is like tasting the wine when it’s brought to your table – we’re not quite sure why we do it but it’s a nice novelty to sip and nod at the bar staff, before declaring ‘yes!’ Week 1 is when you get your proper glass, refreshing and full to the brim (depending on who’s pouring!)
Almost all FBS schools are playing this week, bar 2. Northwestern are 1 of the exceptions after their trip to Dublin, but all the other Big Ten teams are in action.
Kicking things off on Thursday night we have an all-Big Ten affair as Penn State travel to Purdue in a mouth-watering opening night game. The Nittany Lions are favourites in this one, but Purdue are coming off an excellent year in 2021 and will be a tough outfit to beat again this time around. Neither side begins the year in the AP top 25 and will look to make a statement for inclusion in week 2.
Also on Thursday, Minnesota will open their season at home to New Mexico State. They simply have to start with a win, New Mexico State are already 0-1 and looked poor in their opener. #15 Michigan State are also involved on Thursday night/Friday morning in what should be a rout of Western Michigan in East Lansing. Rounding off the early slate is the 1-0 Illinois vs Indiana at Memorial Stadium. I’m sneaky excited about this matchup to see how the Fighting Illini get on in a more testing game, and whether Indiana can put a dire last campaign behind them.
Gameday is back!
On Saturday there are a slew of home games for Big Ten sides that they should all win easily. Michigan welcome Colorado State to the Big House, Iowa host South Dakota State, Maryland open with Buffalo, Nebraska should have an easier time against North Dakota and Wisconsin should dispatch Illinois State comfortably.
Rutgers on the other hand travel to Massachusetts to take on the Boston College Eagles. This is another intriguing contest in which the Scarlet Knights find themselves the underdog, but have the belief they can upset the odds.
Game Of The Week
Notre Dame @ Ohio State
The undoubted game of the week in the Big Ten, and not just because I’m a Buckeyes fan. It’s opening week, yet we have such a significant fixture already on the cards. Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman is an Ohio State alumni and will be desperate to turn over his alma mater.
The Fighting Irish have a fierce and feisty offensive line that will challenge Ohio State’s defense early and often. If the Buckeyes win that battle, the game will become very difficult indeed for Notre Dame. That’s because these Buckeyes can seemingly score at will. New safety Brandon Joseph is a familiar foe for CJ Stroud and the Ohio State receivers. He has transferred from Northwestern and will look to fill the massive hole vacated by 1st round NFL draft pick Kyle Hamilton. Joseph will need to be on top of his game to shut down this explosive offense.
The bookies are telling you that Ohio State will win this comfortably, but to do that their defense is going to need to have improved like they claim to have. Jim Knowles was brought in to shore up a leaky secondary and slow linebacker core. Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer will look to exploit any signs of weakness. He is an elite athlete and probable 1st round pick next April. If he can get open across the formation, Ohio State will have some serious problems.
It’s rare that we get a top 5 match up in week 1, hopefully it’s an absolute cracker!