Friday, March 23, 2012
Ultimate Big Ten 2012 road trip: Week 4
By Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett
The road trip of all road trips is winding its way through the nonconference slate. In case you're just joining us, we're picking which game we would attend in each week of the Big Ten season if it were up to us (which it's not). Some of our desired destinations will come true, and others won't.
But in a perfect world, we'd be heading to these spots in Week 4 of the 2012 season.
First, let's survey the options:
Michigan at Notre Dame
Temple at Penn State
Louisiana Tech at Illinois
Syracuse at Minnesota
Central Michigan at Iowa
UTEP at Wisconsin
Eastern Michigan at Michigan State
UAB at Ohio State
South Dakota at Northwestern
Idaho State at Nebraska
Adam Rittenberg's pick: Michigan at Notre Dame
When the Big Ten blog launched in 2008, I fully expected to spend at least one fall Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. While there weren't many things I enjoyed about covering ND in my previous gig, I loved game day in South Bend. But for various reasons, I haven't made it back to see the Fighting Irish on their home field. In a perfect world, things will change this fall. Week 4 isn't a great slate of games, and Michigan-Notre Dame easily jumps out as the best of the bunch. Bennett, you were fortunate enough to cover last year's edge-of-your-seat contest at Michigan Stadium, the first night game in Big House history. Now it's my turn to see the Wolverines and Fighting Irish meet under the lights.
It'll be interesting to see what type of condition the teams will be for this game. Michigan has an extremely tough opener against Alabama, followed by a tricky game against Air Force. Notre Dame will be coming off of a tough test at Michigan State. This should be a pivotal game for both squads. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has tormented Notre Dame during his career, turning in a record-setting performance two years ago in South Bend and following it up with last year's fourth-quarter comeback. Fighting Irish fans must have nightmares about No. 16, and he'll try to torment Notre Dame again and post Michigan's fourth consecutive win in the series. Brian Kelly's head might explode. Both defenses should be a lot better than what we saw last year. It's Michigan-Notre Dame under the lights at one of college football's iconic settings. Sign me up.
Brian Bennett's pick: Michigan at Notre Dame
I guess Adam and I will arm-wrestle over this one, or else we'll have this one staffed to the gills. If this one is ruled out for me, I might say my couch would be the best place to watch games on this Saturday. The Syracuse-Minnesota game could be kind of interesting, and I haven't been to TCF Bank Stadium yet.
But Michigan-Notre Dame is always special, and especially under the lights. I was there last year in Ann Arbor for the first night game at the Big House, and it was one of the wildest games I've ever seen. I definitely don't want to miss the rematch.
Previously on the road trip ...
Week 1: Adam at Boise State-Michigan State, Brian at Michigan-Alabama.
Week 2: Brian at Penn State-Virginia, Adam at Nebraska-UCLA
Week 3: Adam at Notre Dame-Michigan State, Brian at Cal-Ohio State