- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Week 2 arrives with the long-awaited Pac-12/Big Ten challenge and ... what's that? Oh, that's right, the series was cancelled. But we get a look at what it might have been like with three interconference matchups. Elsewhere, we have the first showdown with Notre Dame and two teams already desperate for a win.
Here's your early Week 2 Big Ten preview of Saturday's games (all times ET):
Air Force (1-0) at No. 8 Michigan (0-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC: The Wolverines need to get over the Alabama loss quickly, as Air Force presents a tricky challenge with its option attack. Cody Getz ran for 218 yards on 17 carries in a win over Idaho State on Saturday. Michigan has better athletes but had better not still be thinking about the Crimson Tide debacle.
No. 12 Wisconsin (1-0) at Oregon State (0-0), 4 p.m., FX: The Badgers head out to the West Coast after a near-disaster against Northern Iowa. The Beavers had their opener against Nicholls State cancelled because of Hurricane Isaac, so Wisconsin won't have any fresh film on Oregon State.
No. 13 Michigan State (1-0) at Central Michigan (1-0), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU: Things might not be real pleasant in Mount Pleasant for the Chippewas, who had to avoid an upset bid from Southeast Missouri State in their opener. This game might give Michigan State a chance to work on its passing game against a team that served up 27 points to SEMO.
No. 17 Nebraska (1-0) at UCLA (1-0), 7:30 p.m., Fox: The Huskers go to the Rose Bowl for what they hope might be the first of two trips this season. Taylor Martinez looked terrific against Southern Miss and now goes back home to California. UCLA showed increased offensive firepower in an easy win over Rice, so this one could be a lot of fun.
UCF (1-0) No. 18 Ohio State (1-0), Noon, ESPN2: Much like the Buckeyes, UCF beat up on a MAC team from Ohio in its opener, waxing Akron 56-14. The Knights, who some picked to win C-USA this season, could give Ohio State some problems.
Purdue (1-0) at Notre Dame (1-0), 3:30 p.m., NBC: The Boilermakers haven't brought home the Shillelagh Trophy since 2007, but this might be their best chance since then. Though the Irish looked really good against Navy, they have to get over their jet lag from the trip back to Dublin. Who will start at quarterback this week for Purdue?
Illinois (1-0) at Arizona State (1-0), 10:30 p.m., ESPN: Both teams looked better than expected in their openers -- Illinois dispatched Western Michigan without much trouble, and Arizona State housed Northern Arizona 63-6. The Sun Devils don't figure to run for 305 yards a second straight week with the Illini defense coming to Tempe.
Iowa State (1-0) at Iowa (1-0), 3:30 p.m., BTN: Always a contentious rivalry, this one figures to be a pretty good game. Iowa showed it has much to work on after a nailbiter against Northern Illinois, while Iowa State beat Tulsa 38-23. The Hawkeyes look to avenge last year's overtime loss in Ames.
Vanderbilt (0-1) at Northwestern (1-0), 8 p.m., BTN: The Mississippi schools have the Egg Bowl. Maybe this is the Egghead Bowl. But both schools can play a little football, too. Vanderbilt nearly beat South Carolina on opening night and has a defense capable of giving Northwestern trouble. And, you know, the Big Ten can salvage some respect against the SEC. Ahem.
Penn State (0-1) at Virginia (1-0), Noon, ABC: The Ohio loss hurt in many ways, including the fact that the schedule offers few real breaks for Penn State the rest of the way. Now, the Nittany Lions must go on the road to ACC country and face Virginia, which blew out Richmond in its opener. The Lions try again for their first victory since 1997 (sorry, the NCAA made me write that sentence).
New Hampshire (1-0) at Minnesota (1-0), Noon, BTN: The Gophers have an excellent chance to improve to 2-0 and win their third straight game since last season, but nothing is guaranteed. The FCS Wildcats put up 531 total yards in their Week 1 victory over Holy Cross.
Indiana (1-0) at UMass (0-1), 3:30 p.m., ESPN3: The Hoosiers got their first win since Sept. 17 by beating Indiana State on Saturday. Now they look for their first win over an FBS team since 2010. The Minutemen seek their first win as an FBS team, as they were drubbed by Connecticut in their first game since making the official transition from the FCS.