STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 01: Quarterback Shane McGregor #2 of the Penn State Nittany Lions kneels after losing to the Ohio Bobcats at Beaver Stadium on September 1, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. The Bobcats won 24-14. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
The Big Ten has a Week 2 slate that is relatively more interesting than Week 1's schedule. Seven of twelve teams are on the road this week, seven of twelve play teams from major conferences (or Notre Dame), there's only one FCS game, and four teams are underdogs.
Penn State (+10) at Virginia (ABC):How the mighty have fallen. Who would have guessed a year ago, when IU took Virginia down to the wire (blew the game, frankly), that the Cavaliers would be 10 point favorites over Penn State on the same weekend the next season? In fairness to UVa, the Cavaliers ended up having a nice season after nearly losing in Bloomington, finishing second in their division. Penn State has a respectable noncon schedule, playing Navy and Temple after UVa, and could lose any or all of these games. I really didn't expect the ugliness to set in for a couple of years, so this one merits watching.
Minnesota (NL) v. New Hampshire (BTN): The Gophers have the weakest opponent of the weekend, but have to be careful after losing to FCS North Dakota State last year. New Hampshire upset Northwestern in 2006.
Ohio State (-18) v. Central Florida (ESPN2): Central Florida won big at Akron last weekend, but their second consecutive trip to Ohio probably won't be as much fun.
Purdue (+14) at Notre Dame (NBC): After making a series of it in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Purdue has now lost six of seven to Notre Dame and has won only once in South Bend since 1974. And Purdue is facing its usual QB chaos, both by fate and by Danny Hope's design. Still, ND played in Ireland last weekend, and is still missing suspended running back Cierre Wood. If I were a betting man I think those 14 points would be awfully tempting.
Michigan (-20.5) v. Air Force (ABC): After going to the woodshed against Alabama, we'll see what Michigan is made of. I've been skeptical of the Wolverines, but they should beat Air Force.
Michigan State (-19) at Central Michigan (ESPNU): This is an obvious mismatch, but I suppose it's possible that the Spartans will revert to pre-Dantonio form. This would be a dangerous game under John L. Smith or Bobby Williams.
Indiana (-13.5) at Massachusetts (ESPN3): discussed elsewhere, obviously.
Iowa (-4.5) v. Iowa State (BTN): The Hawkeyes always manage to play down to the Cyclones. According to the oddsmakers, they won't really have to play down this year. This game is almost always entertaining.
Wisconsin (-7) at Oregon State (FX): Oregon State's opener was postponed because of Hurricane Isaac, and so the Beavers will be making their debut at home against Wisconsin (but sans game tape from the Big Ten's king of gamesmanship, Bret Bielema). The Badgers looked human against Northern Iowa, and this one is two time zones away. Might be interesting.
Nebraska (-5) at UCLA (FOX): The Huskers will play their first road game in the venue where the would like to play their last road game of the season: the Rose Bowl. UCLA put up big numbers in the first game of the Jim Mora era, winning 49-24 over Rice.
Northwestern (+3.5) v. Vanderbilt (BTN): I'm stunned that Northwestern is a home underdog to the Commodores. Have these people not watched Northwestern for the last decade? This is the sort of game that Northwestern, always, always wins, especially if it's against IU and unless it's played in December or January.
Illinois (+4) at Arizona State (ESPN): The Illini hit the road, and may be without QB Nathan Scheelhaase, who will be limited by an ankle injury even if he plays.
Indiana State hosts Division II Quincy at 2:05 p.m. Ball State is a 27.5 point dog at Blogpoll #10 Clemson (ESPN3). Navy, which apparently gave this a bit more thought than Notre Dame, has a bye this week after the Ireland trip.