B1G Football Week 4 Preview: The Reckoning

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

This is the last week of relatively uninspiring games before the season really gets under way. Michigan, Wisconsin, and Purdue will look to make some definitive statements after last week's performances (and one serious officiating FUBAR).

12:00 P.M. Eastern

San Jose State (1-1) at Minnesota (3-0); ESPN2: San Jose State had a much-needed bye last weekend, after taking a 34-13 drubbing at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal. Mountain West Connection says that the issue with the Spartans against Stanford was their line play and that they'll look to make some changes before facing the Gophers. With Philip Nelson nursing a hamstring, freshman Mitch Leidner will probably get the start, and will need to get the Gophers off to a quicker start than what they did against Western Illinois. The passing game just has not been there for Minnesota, and Leidner did an admirable job while replacing Nelson. Donnell Kirkwood may be back in a backfield that has actually done well without him, but having him back isn't going to hurt.

Florida A&M (1-2) at Ohio State (3-0); BTN: Uh, yeah, OSU may as well let Braxton Miller rest another week.

Western Michigan (0-3) at Iowa (2-1); BTN: the last time Iowa played a directional Michigan school, they lost by one point at home to Central Michigan. What will it take for Iowa to win this game? They need to pretend they're not Iowa. Seriously, though, they can probably ride Mark Weisman to the victory; he hasn't rushed for less than 100 yards yet this year. Hear that AIRBHG? Weisman's tempting you. You can probably expect more of this from their defense, too. Kidding aside, it's a pretty safe bet that Iowa will be 3-1 heading into the battle for Floyd.

3:30 P.M. Eastern

Maine (3-0) at Northwestern (3-0); BTN: I have not taken any time to look up any stats on the Black Bears, but since they're 3-0 they must be good, and will probably challenge Alabama for the BCS title or something. Actually, I did find that Maine's leading rusher and passer are the same person, QB Marcus Wasilewski. He's rushing for almost six yards each time he takes off, and he's averaging 246.3 passing yards per game. Expect those numbers to take a serious dip against much better competition than what he's faced so far.

Michigan State (3-0) at Notre Dame (2-1); NBC: the story should be the Michigan State defense, not their offense. Sparty's allowing only 2.9 yards per play so far this season; that is stout. The Irish defense is allowing 5.3 yards per play. So, defense should be the story all the way around. Look for State to put a lot of pressure on Tommy Rees and force him into some more bad throws, which will lead to MSU defensive TDs. Both teams are going to come out and try and prove that they're not who we think they are. For either team to win, though, it will come down to the quarterbacks. Will Tommy Rees be able to keep those turnovers down, and will Connor Cook build on his 4 TD performance and become the undisputed starter?

South Dakota State (3-0) at Nebraska (2-1) BTN: "How in the hell are the f*ing Jackrabbits 3-0, and the f*ing Huskers are 2-1?! Come on! I'm pissed off; seriously pissed off! F*** those Jackrabbits, just f*** 'em. God damn f*ing f*ers. F!"--Bo Pelini. Okay, perhaps he didn't say that. Even though SDSU is an FCS school, I don't think it's a stretch to say that this is still an important game for Nebraska. They need to get some positive momentum going into their bye week and work on a game plan for the better-than-thought Fighting Illini on October 5. Lose this game, or struggle even a little bit, and goodbye Bo.

Kent State (1-2) at Penn State (2-1); BTN: similar to the Nebraska game, this is going to be a match-up where the defense needs to shine through. Hack and Robinson should have more than enough to smoke the Flashes, but can Penn State stop Kent State's Dri Archer? He's a crazy talent in the backfield, and Black Shoe Diaries asks whether Archer is a legit Heisman candidate. Even a win for the Lions could be called into question if the defense struggles against Archer.

Purdue (1-2) at Wisconsin (2-1); ABC/ESPN2: there are a couple scenarios that could play out, here. 1) Wisconsin is going to be pissed off about the Arizona State game, and they'll completely destroy the Boilermakers, or 2) Purdue has actually gained some confidence after their performance against Notre Dame, and they'll come into Camp Randall and get that statement win in Hazell's first year. One thing that won't help Purdue, is the loss of TE Gabe Holmes for the season. If Purdue plays the way they did against the Irish, then a win in Madison is possible. For the Badgers, Joel Stave hasn't looked too bad, but look for the tri-run-virate of Melvin Gordon, James White, and Corey Clement to take it to the Boilermaker defense (a defense that has allowed a total of only 130 rushing yards the last two weeks, by the way).

8:00 P.M. Eastern

Missouri (2-0) at Indiana (2-1); BTN: defense may take a back seat to the offenses in this prime time match-up. Mizzou QB James Franklin can use his feet and his arm; he's passing for 8.4 yards per attempt and rushing for just over five yards per carry, so he can make second down a relatively easy conversion. His backfield has Henry Josey and Russell Hansbrough, who have combined for five TDs and are averaging 6.3 and 7.5 yards per carry. On the outside, the Indiana defense will also need to keep an eye on Dorial Green-Beckham, who has 134 receiving yards in the first two games, but only one touchdown. Can Missouri's defense stop the Nate Sudfeld express? He's averaging a first down with every pass, which shortens the field very quickly.

Michigan (3-0) at UConn (0-2); ABC: Last week's UConn opponent, Maryland, had four turnovers...and still won. UConn is bad, bad, bad. They lost to Towson. Paul Pasqualoni will not see another season after this. I'm not quite sure why this game is in prime time; I suppose it's to get people ready for bed, because Michigan will score early and often, making the outcome obvious by the end of the first quarter. Please be obvious by the end of the first quarter.

Week 4 Prediction: 8-3; losses will be Purdue (against Wisconsin), Indiana, and Michigan State.

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