Big Ten predictions: Week 1

September, 1, 2011
9/01/11
9:00
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Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Upset pick

Now that we have two bloggers covering the Big Ten, you'll get two sets of predictions right here each week. Which of us will get more picks right? The winner should receive a trophy at the end of the year, and we have a good idea for a design.

Enough chatter. Let's get to the prognosticating.

Thursday

UNLV at No. 11 WISCONSIN

Brian Bennett: Teams aren't always their sharpest in the first game of the season, but Wisconsin's offensive line and running game produce too much blunt force for the Rebels ... Wisconsin 42, UNLV 10

Adam Rittenberg: Russell Wilson performs as advertised and should be wearing a baseball cap by the third quarter, while Montee Ball scores two touchdowns in a Badgers romp ... Wisconsin 45, UNLV 14

Friday

YOUNGSTOWN STATE at No. 17 MICHIGAN STATE

Adam Rittenberg: Michigan State's new-look offensive line gets a confidence boost against undermanned Youngstown State, allowing Kirk Cousins to have a big night ... Michigan State 48, Youngstown State 10

Brian Bennett: Mark Dantonio will be coaching with a heavy heart, so soon after his father passed away. The Spartans play inspired and put this one away early for their coach. ... Michigan State 38, Youngstown State 3

Saturday

NORTHWESTERN at BOSTON COLLEGE

Brian Bennett: I'm still not sold on a Boston College offense that was really bad last season. But I'm even less sold on Northwestern without a healthy Dan Persa. ... Boston College 19, Northwestern 17

Adam Rittenberg: I agree. Both teams likely will be shorthanded, but Northwestern makes one too many mistakes to get out of Chestnut Hill with a victory. Boston College 24, Northwestern 20

AKRON at No. 18 OHIO STATE

Adam Rittenberg: The Buckeyes come out fast and jump on Akron, as both Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller have their moments at quarterback. ... Ohio State 35, Akron 6

Brian Bennett: When there were as many questions about what Luke Fickell would wear as there were about Akron at the Ohio State head coach's news conference, you know this will be a blowout. ... Ohio State 37, Akron 9

INDIANA STATE at PENN STATE

Brian Bennett: We still don't know who will start at quarterback for the Lions, but JoePa could take some snaps under center and they would still win this game. ... Penn State 45, Indiana State 13

Adam Rittenberg: You know JoePa would stand his ground in the pocket. I don't know how much the Lions learn about their QBs in this one, but Silas Redd and Brandon Beachum run wild. ... Penn State 38, Indiana State 7

TENNESSEE TECH at IOWA

Adam Rittenberg: Iowa's offense takes a little time to click, but Marcus Coker has a big day and a revamped defensive line looks strong. ... Iowa 34, Tennessee Tech 3

Brian Bennett: We're agreeing so much, it's almost scary. Here's a slight changeup: Tennessee Tech actually hangs with the Hawkeyes enough to scare them until Iowa pulls away in the fourth quarter. ... Iowa 31, Tennessee Tech 16

MIDDLE TENNESSEE at PURDUE

Brian Bennett: Tempted for the upset pick here, as Middle Tennessee is a decent program and Purdue has a first-time starting QB. But I think the running game with Ralph Bolden is enough for the Boilers to escape. ... Purdue 21, Middle Tennessee 17

Adam Rittenberg: You're tempted, while I'm pulling the trigger. Purdue is still reeling a bit from Rob Henry's torn ACL, and the Boilers can't complete a late rally against the Blue Raiders. ... Middle Tennessee 26, Purdue 24

MINNESOTA at No. 25 USC

Adam Rittenberg: Your neighbor Pat Forde likes the Gophers in a huge upset. I'm not quite as bold, although MarQueis Gray helps Minnesota hang around for a while. ... USC 30, Minnesota 20

Brian Bennett: First-time QB, new coaching staff, on the road -- this might not be the golden age of Troy, but I can't see the Gophers getting it done. ... USC 28, Minnesota 14.

WESTERN MICHIGAN at MICHIGAN

Brian Bennett: Alex Carder will test the Michigan secondary, but the Broncos have no answer for Denard Robinson no matter what kind of offense he's running. ... Michigan 48, Western Michigan 20

Adam Rittenberg: I actually think "Shoelace" starts off a bit slowly before finding his groove, but Michigan's defense delivers a strong performance against Carder, much like it did against Western Michigan's Tim Hiller in 2009 ... Michigan 37, Western Michigan 16

CHATTANOOGA at No. 10 NEBRASKA

Adam Rittenberg: Chattanooga is a solid FCS team, but Nebraska wants to make a statement with its new offense and Rex Burkhead has a very big day. ... Nebraska 44, Chattanooga 7

Brian Bennett: The Cornhuskers have averaged 49 points per game in their last five openers. Things stay the same as they begin their Big Ten era. ... Nebraska 49, Chattanooga 6

ARKANSAS STATE at ILLINOIS

Brian Bennett: Nathan Scheelhaase and the Illini offense pick up where they left off at the end of last season, though the Red Wolves expose some red flags with the defense. ... Illinois 38, Arkansas State 24

Adam Rittenberg: Your guy Paul Petrino loves this offense, and the unit should pile up points against Arkansas State; the defense will have a few hiccups. ... Illinois 41, Arkansas State 28

INDIANA vs. BALL STATE

Adam Rittenberg: I have a hunch the next Big Ten game at Lucas Oil Stadium will look a bit prettier than this one, but Indiana will take a W in Kevin Wilson's debut. ... Indiana 23, Ball State 21

Brian Bennett: Thought you were going to pick against both Indiana schools for a moment there. There will be some adjustments for the Hoosiers under Wilson, but Ball State's got a new head coach, too. ... Indiana 28, Ball State 20

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