B1G conference call: Best of Week 2
Here's a look at some of the highlights:
Mark Dantonio asked about winning this weekend against Oregon to change perception: "We won the Rose Bowl last year." - Austin Ward (@AWardESPN) September 2, 2014
My take: Mark Dantonio is right, but perception is a fickle thing. Before Braxton Miller's injury, Ohio State was still favored to win the Big Ten title. And, even now, the Spartans are the underdog this weekend by double digits. Michigan State keeps having to prove itself over and over again. So when's enough? I have to think if MSU upsets the Ducks that'll be it. You're up against the No. 3 team and a Heisman candidate in Marcus Mariota, so a win over a team like that should definitely vault MSU up the polls. If this doesn't do the trick this season, no other regular-season game will.
Who's Gary Andersen rooting for in the Oregon-Michigan State game? "I'll be pulling for the Big Ten, without question." Plans to watch. - ESPN Big Ten (@ESPN_BigTen) September 2, 2014
Illinois just a 1.5 point favorite over Western Ky. Beckman said it's obvious how good Hilltoppers are. Blew out Bowling Green in Week 1.— Brian Bennett (@BennettESPN) September 2, 2014
My take: The Illini aren't bound for a bowl, but I'm still surprised by the line. And I don't think I'm going out on a limb by saying, when Illinois initially scheduled this game, it didn't expect this line either. Western Kentucky tallied up more than 700 yards of offense against Bowling Green, so the Illinois game could end up being a shootout. Tim Beckman's crew really needs to improve its running game from last week; 3.5 yards a carry won't cut it vs. the Hilltoppers.
Kyle Flood on opening eyes w/WSU win: "When you're the new kid on the block, it doesn't surprise me that people have questions about us." - ESPN Big Ten (@ESPN_BigTen) September 2, 2014
Penn State's @coachjfranklin says offense will definitely need to become more balanced. "We've got some work to do." - Brian Bennett (@BennettESPN) September 2, 2014My take: James Franklin also previously said a team needs to play up to its strengths -- and that's definitely the passing game. The Nittany Lions boast two very good tailbacks in Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak, but even the best backs in the B1G couldn't gain yards with an offensive line like Penn State's. The line did a decent enough job at pass protection, and this line could jell in the future. But for now? Hackenberg's right arm will dictate the success of this offense. Balance is a great thing to shoot for, but I don't know if we'll be seeing it against better opponents than Akron early in the season.
Kevin Wilson said he's got "mixed emotions about the open date" for the Hoosiers. Week Two does seem a bit early for a bye to me.- Austin Ward (@AWardESPN) September 2, 2014