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December 17, 2009 BMOC Bowl Games
VIDEO: Watch Mark and Mike pick the Bowl Games

Friday Jan. 1, 2010
Outback Bowl: Northwestern (8-4) Vs. Auburn (7-5) (10:00 AM, ESPN)
These two teams will meet for the first time in history in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day. Northwestern will look to achieve their first win in a bowl since the 1949 Rose Bowl. QB Mike Kafka has been magnificent all season and will want to end the season by cementing his place in Northwestern history with their first bowl win in 60 years.

Auburn 24 - Northwestern 17

Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi: #8 Ohio State (10-2) Vs. #7 Oregon (10-2) 3:30PM on ABC7

It's a matchup between two very opposite teams in this bowl. On one side you have Ohio State's conservative, "Tressel-ball" offense and stout defense. While on the other you have Oregon's high powered spread attack and a mediocre defense. Keep an eye on Buckeye QB Terrelle Pryor in this one, as Coach Jim Tressel says the QB will be "unleashed" for this game.

Ohio State 28 - Oregon 24

Allstate Sugar Bowl: #5 Florida (12-1) Vs. #3 Cincinnati (12-0) (7:30 PM)

Everyone seems to be giving Florida the W in this matchup, I'm not so sure. Cincinnati is sure to come in with a chip on their shoulder as their head coach Brian Kelly left them for greener pastures at Notre Dame. They also still have a chance to finish the season undefeated and have an outside shot at an AP national championship. Let's not forget that Florida surely would rather be playing for a National Championship. Alabama was in a similar position last year against Utah, and got dominated in every aspect of the game by the mid-major. Florida will have to make sure they come in prepared and don't have a let down game like Alabama did last year.

Florida 31 - Cincinnati 21

Saturday Jan 2, 2010

International Bowl: South Florida (7-5) Vs. Northern Illinois (7-5)

Both teams are coming off two straight losses to end the season. Northern Illinois will play in a bowl in back to back seasons for the first time in school history. An intriguing situation is whether South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt will still be the employed for this game, as there is an investigation into him physically striking a player during halftime of a game last month.

Northern Illinois 21 - South Florida 20

Monday Jan 4, 2010

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: #6 Boise St. (13-0) Vs. #4 TCU (12-0)

This matchup is the first between two undefeated teams in a bowl game that is not the National Championship. TCU's defense is yet again at the top of almost every defensive ranking in the nation. While Boise's offense is led by QB Kellen Moore and boasts the nation's highest scoring attack. Both teams will try to win big to earn style points, as both still have an outside shot to be voted AP national champion with a win.

TCU 31 - Boise St. 20

Tuesday Jan 5, 2010

FedEx Orange Bowl: #10 Iowa (10-2) Vs. #9 Georgia Tech (11-2)

There are two keys to winning this game for the Hawkeyes. First is being able to simulate and prepare for the Georgia Tech triple option offense that boasts the nation's 2nd ranked rushing attack. The other key is QB Ricky Stanzi, he is hoping that his sprained ankle is strong enough to make a difference in this one. Keep on eye on Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer and QB Josh Nesbitt, this one-two attack has the ability to break a big play on every snap.

Georgia Tech 35 - Iowa 21

Thursday Jan 7, 2010

Citi BCS National Championship Game: #2 Texas (13-0) Vs. #1 Alabama (13-0)

The flawed BCS system finally worked this year, as these teams are the consensus top two squads in America. One team boasts the newest Heisman winner in Alabama RB Mark Ingram, giving the storied Alabama program its first Heisman winner ever. The other has arguably the nation's top QB in Texas' Colt McCoy, who finished 3rd in Heisman voting. These two teams meet for the first time since 1982. Alabama will look to win their first title since 1992, while Vince Young led the Longhorns to a title in 2006.

Alabama 38- Texas 34

BMOC Week 13
VIDEO: Watch Mark and Mike from Week 13

Fresno State (7-4) Vs. Illinois (3-8)

Illinois will have their hands full in Champaign this week as a very solid Fresno State team comes to town. The teams have a common opponent, having both played Cincinnati. Fresno State put up more of a fight in the matchup, losing by 8, while Illinois was soundly beaten last week. Fresno State's 4 losses have all come against quality opponents, including Wisconsin, Boise State, and Cincinnati. Illinois has certainly been more competitive over the past couple of weeks, but that's really not saying much when compared to their miserable start to the season. This matchup should be a close one though, as Illinois' athleticism should at the very least keep them in the game against a WAC team that does not have the same caliber of athletes.

Players to Watch

Fresno State- RB Ryan Mathews- Mathews was the nation's leading rusher before last week's games. He sat out with a concussion but is fully expected to play this week. He's gained 1491 yards on only 211 carries, averaging an astounding 7.0 yards per carry on the season.

Illinois- QB Juice Williams- Williams had his best game of the year last week against Cincinnati, passing for 282 yards and 3 TD's and running for another. If he has a similar game this week, Fresno State will be in trouble.

Illinois finishes the season on a high note and pulls out a close win.

Illinois 24 - Fresno State 21

# 5 Cincinnati (11-0) Vs. # 15 Pittsburgh (9-2) Sat, 11am on ABC7

Pitt will look to play spoiler this week against Cincinnati and also claim the Big East title with a win. The winner of this matchup will also earn the conference's automatic BCS bid. Pittsburgh is coming off a disappointing loss to rival West Virginia. They will not be lacking motivation looking to right the ship and claim a Big East title along with a BCS Bowl bid.

Players to Watch

Cincinnati- QB Tony Pike – The quarterback threw for six touchdown passes in his first game back from injury. It looked like he had not even missed a game; he'll continue to be sharp this week.

Pittsburgh- RB Dion Lewis- Pitt wondered how they were going to replace LeSean McCoy's production this year, they're not wondering anymore. Lewis is 5th in the nation in rushing as a true freshman and is the engine to this offense.

Cincinnati 28 – Pittsburgh 17

#3 Texas (12-0) Vs. #22 Nebraska (9-3) Sat, 7pm on ABC7

This is the game it all comes down to for Texas. A win puts them in the national championship against the winner of the Florida-Alabama game; a loss will knock them out and open yet another BCS debate. Longhorn QB Colt McCoy will look to cement his legacy at Texas by leading them to their first BCS championship since Vince Young led them there in the 2005-06 season. On the other side of the ball, Bo Pelini has led a program revival in Nebraska. In his first year he turned around a 5-7 team and led them to a 9-4 record. He has already matched that win total this year, and while he likely won't beat a very good Texas team, a bowl win would put the program at the coveted 10 win mark.

Players to Watch

Texas – QB Colt McCoy- McCoy fueled the Heisman talk last week against rival Texas A&M, passing for 304 yards and 4 TD's and running for 175 yards on the ground. This weekend will likely be the deciding weekend for voters in what looks like a two man race for the Heisman between McCoy and Florida QB Tim Tebow.

Nebraska- DT Ndamukong Suh- Suh has started Heisman talk of his own this season and is hands down the best defensive player in the nation. He dominates the game from the DT position and is considered the #1 draft prospect in this year's class.

Texas 19 – Nebraska 12

#1 Florida (12-0) Vs. #2 Alabama (12-0)

For the second year in a row, these two juggernauts meet to decide the SEC Championship and decide who will represent the conference in the BCS title game. Florida QB Tim Tebow is playing for a shot at his 3rd National Championship and a chance to cement his legacy as possibly the best college football player ever. With a big performance this week, Tebow could have a shot at becoming the 2nd player in NCAA history to win two Heisman trophies. He'll have his hands full against Alabama and their own Heisman candidate RB Mark Ingram. Ingram has been sensational this season, he's 6th in the nation in rushing yards. This matchup is the one everybody has expected and looked forward to all year. With two marquee coaches, two Heisman trophy candidates, and two of the best defenses in the country, we're in for a great game.

Players to Watch

Florida- QB Tim Tebow- His accomplishments already rank among the greatest in college football. A win and big performance will cement his legacy at Florida, and also give him a shot at bringing Florida their first undefeated season.

Alabama- RB Mark Ingram- The sophomore has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. He went from virtual unknown last year backing up future NFL RB Glen Coffee, to Heisman candidate this year while carrying Alabama's offense on his back. He is a little banged up with a hip injury, but said he'll be fine to play on Saturday.

Florida ruins Alabama's title hopes for the 2nd straight year in a low scoring bout.

Florida 17- Alabama 10

BMOC Week 12
VIDEO: Watch Mark and Mike from Week 12

Illinois (3-7) Vs. No.5 Cincinnati (10-0) Friday on 11am ABC7

Illinois is coming off a loss to in-state rival Northwestern last week. Redshirt freshman Jacob Charest got the start in place of the injured Juice Williams. He was not performing well through the first half and was pulled for Eddie McGee. However, when McGee performed just as badly, Charest was inserted and almost sparked the Illini to victory with a rushing and passing touchdown in the 2nd half before eventually falling short 21-16. Cincinnati entered the steepest stretch of their schedule last week as they defeated conference rival West Virginia 24-21 in a mistake filled game. They face the Illini this week, followed by an extremely strong Pittsburgh team in a game that will decide the Big East championship.

Players to Watch

Cincinnati- QB Tony Pike- The quarterback was a dark horse Heisman candidate before going down with an arm injury Oct. 15. He threw two touchdown passes in his only two series last week and could give the Illini fits this week through the air.

Illinois- QB Juice Williams- As has been the case all season, the Illini's fate will depend on the play from the quarterback position. Williams returns to action after missing last weeks game due to a sprained ankle.

The Illini don't have much to play for at this point. Cincinnati will have no problem getting fired up on their senior night and a chance to continue an undefeated season. Don't expect an upset here.

Cincinnati 35 - Illinois 14

Northern Illinois (7-4) Vs. Central Michigan (9-2) (Fri, Noon)

Northern Illinois blew a shot at the conference championship last week with their 38-31 loss to Ohio. The Huskies led 28-24 with ten minutes remaining before Ohio's TD pass and an ensuing interception return for a TD ultimately doomed them. The main problem was that NIU could never get the run game going, which has been their strong suit all year. They accounted for only 114 yards on the ground on only 3.4 yards a carry. The win put them at 5-2 in the conference and eliminated them from a conference title shot by knocking off Central Michigan this week. Central Michigan sealed a place in the conference championship game with the Huskies loss last weekend and their own win as they beat up on Ball State. Central Michigan has lost to the only two teams that would be considered "tough" on their schedule this year, so it will be interesting to see how they handle a Huskies team that has been relatively solid this year.

Players to Watch

Northern Illinois-RB Chad Spann- Northern Illinois will have to get back to their style of football this week, and that's running the football. Ohio was very successful in forcing NIU to beat them through the air, the Huskies can't let that happen again.

Central Michigan- QB Dan LeFevour- The team's leading passer and rusher was great again last week, accounting for 5 total TD's as he became the all time leading passer in MAC history. Possibly the most underrated player in the country, the Huskies are going to have a tough time containing him.

LeFevour will be way too much for Northern to handle in this matchup.

Central Michigan 28 - Northern Illinois 17

Notre Dame (6-5) Vs. Stanford (7-4) Sat, 7:00pm on ABC7

Both teams are coming off disappointing losses as they look to wrap up their respective seasons. Stanford lost a heartbreaker to rival Cal, while Notre Dame suffered an embarrassing defeat to Connecticut in South Bend that likely sealed Charlie Weis' fate as head coach of the Irish. Weis has refused to talk about his job this week, adding about his rumored firing, "I'd have a hard time arguing with them." An intriguing subplot is that Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh has been a name that has come up in terms of the Irish coaching position, although he is not considered a front runner. Stanford is known to be an extremely physical team on the offensive side of the ball, which may give Notre Dame lots of trouble as defense has not been their strong suit this season. Redshirt freshman QB Andrew Luck had one of his only lackluster outings of the year last week in the loss, getting intercepted at the 3 yard line to finally seal Stanford's fate. He's usually very efficient and should get back on track this weekend.

Players to Watch

Notre Dame- QB Jimmy Clausen & WR Golden Tate- The junior duo may very well be playing their last game in a Notre Dame uniform. Both are dynamic players and may consider entering the NFL draft if/when Charlie Weis is fired rather than learn a new system under a new coach.

Stanford- RB Toby Gerhart- He almost single handedly carried Stanford to victory last week, rushing for 136 yards and 4 TD's. He is second in the nation in rushing yardage and 30 yards from the lead, he also leads the nation in rushing TD's with 23.

Notre Dame's defense has been their problem all year. There's no way they are keeping up with a Stanford offense that dropped 55 on a USC team that beat ND.

Stanford 31 - Notre Dame 21

BMOC Week 11
VIDEO: Watch Mark and Mike from Week 11

Northern Illinois (7-3) Vs. Ohio (7-3)

Ball State gave Northern Illinois all they could handle last week, but ultimately the Huskies prevailed to win their 4th straight. Chandler Harnish returned to action and went a perfect 9 for 9 and a touchdown. The Huskies used mobile quarterback DeMarcus Grady as well and it will be interesting to see if coach Jerry Kill gives both players looks in different packages this week. Ohio escaped Buffalo with a win in similar fashion, barely edging the Bulls in a nationally televised Tuesday night game.
This game is extremely important to both teams as they both sit at 5-1 and 2nd place in their respective divisions of the MAC.

Players to Watch

Northern Illinois- QB Chandler Harnish- The quarterback went a perfect 9 for 9 in his return from injury. Reserve DeMarcus Grady performed admirably during his absence, but Harnish gives the Huskies a passing threat that has been missing the past couple of weeks.

Ohio- QB Theo Scott- Ohio's three losses this year have come in Scott's three worst games. He is the engine of their offense and their outcome will be decided by him.

NIU is on a roll in winning 4 straight and they'll carry that momentum into this game for a win. The Huskies will win by a field goal.

Northern Illinois 23 – Ohio 20

Northwestern (7-4) Vs. #16 Wisconsin (8-2)

Last week, Northwestern fought off an Illinois comeback attempt to put themselves at 4-3 in the Big Ten. What more can you say about Wildcat quarterback Mike Kafka? He was brilliant again in passing for 305 yards and accounting for 2 touchdowns. Wisconsin is coming off an absolute throttling of an increasingly hapless Michigan team. Quarterback Scott Tolzien threw for four touchdowns and 240 yards in the win.

Players to Watch

Northwestern- QB Mike Kafka- Northwestern's chances depend solely on the arms and legs of Kafka. If he can pass as well as he did last week, along with scrambling for some yards in key spots, Northwestern may pull off its 2nd upset in 3 weeks.

Wisconsin- RB John Clay- The big (6-2, 247lbs.) running back has really developed this year. His last three games are really eye opening. In his last three games, he's averaging 136 yards per game and almost seven yards a carry.

Northwestern pulled off a magical upset once this season, and they may do it again. However, I just don't see it happening against a Wisconsin team whose only two losses have come against Iowa and Ohio State.

Wisconsin 24- Northwestern 17

Connecticut (4-5) Vs. Notre Dame (6-4)

Charlie Weis might not think his fate is sealed at Notre Dame, but the rest of the nation surely does. With the Irish sitting at 6-4 and facing two games that are not exactly easy wins, they could realistically end the season at 6-6 and play in a bowl as illustrious as last years Hawaii Bowl. Connecticut has lost 3 straight after starting the year 4-2. They lost former starting running back Donald Brown to the Indianapolis Colts this year, but they have a two headed monster rushing attack this year that has worked out well for them in Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon.

Players to Watch

Connecticut- RB's Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon- The two have split carries almost as evenly as possible (159 for Todman, 158 for Dixon). The Huskies are a run based team so look for both to get a lot of carries and most likely a lot of yards against a bad Notre Dame defense.

Notre Dame- WR Golden Tate- He almost single handedly brought back the Irish last week against Pitt. Panther head Coach Dave Wannstedt called him "the best player we've played all season," High praise from a former pro football coach.

Notre Dame may be in the dumps right now, but they'll rally around their coach in this one and pull out a win.

Notre Dame 28- Connecticut 21

#14 Penn State (9-2) Vs. Michigan State (6-5) 2:30 PM on ABC7

Penn State recovered from their crushing defeat at the hands of Ohio State the week before and handled Indiana to go 9-2 on the season. This game may not seem important in the Big Ten race, and it isn't. However, this game is very important in regards to Penn State's BCS bowl chances. A win puts them at 10-2 and they would be a very attractive bowl option as they are a school whose fans are known to travel to watch their team. Michigan State will look to win their 7th game of the season after their close win at Purdue last week. If Coach Mark Dantonio were to lose, it would be his worse season since taking over Michigan State and would surely be looked at as a step backwards in a team many expected to be the surprise of the Big Ten this year.

Players to Watch

Penn State- QB Daryll Clark- He had a shaky first half before calming down last week. In both of the Nittany Lions' losses this year he has had terrible games. If Michigan State can rattle him and create havoc in the pocket they stand a good chance.

Michigan State- QB Kirk Cousins- Cousins has been a real bright spot on the Spartans this year. He has thrown for 17 TD's and only 5 interceptions in just his first year in the starting role.

Penn State 28- Michigan State 17

BMOC Week 10
VIDEO: Watch Mark and Mike from Week 10

Ball State (1-8) Vs. Northern Illinois (6-3)

Ball State comes to Dekalb this week to play a Northern Illinois team that is coming off a 50-6 blowout win over Eastern Michigan. The Huskies were again without QB Chandler Harnish, but backup QB DeMarcus Grady has added another dimension to the offense during that time. He is the 2nd leading rusher behind Chad Spann in the three games since Harnish went out with a right knee injury. Harnish has been taking limited reps in practice this week. Head Coach Jerry Kill is being careful with the injury saying he doesn't want the knee to swell back up. Regardless of who is in at quarterback, they should have no trouble winning against a miserable Ball State team. Ball State's only win was a squeaker over the same Eastern Michigan team that the Huskies wiped the floor with last week.

Players to Watch

Ball State- RB MiQuale Lewis- The senior is one of the lone bright spots on the Cardinals. He should break 1000 yards for the 2nd straight year and any chance they have in this game rests solely on him.

Northern Illinois- RB Chad Spann- The RB has been lights out lately, running for 156, 125, and 174 yards in his past 3 games.

Northern Illinois is really gaining momentum, and they'll continue to roll against Ball State.

Northern Illinois 38- Ball State 10

Northwestern (6-4) at Illinois (3-6) 11am ESPN Classic

By now, most sports fans have heard about Northwestern's amazing upset of undefeated Iowa last week. However, fans thinking that Northwestern will easily steamroll the Illini because of their big win last week should not be so sure. Illinois has quietly won its last 2 games as they are finally righting themselves at seasons end. Juice Williams season troubles continued, though in a different way this week. Williams looked sharp to start the game, but a left ankle injury sidelined him in the first quarter and he was on the sidelines the rest of the game. He is questionable for Saturday's game. Jacob Charest filled in nicely for Williams, and will get the start if Williams is unable to go. Northwestern got the job done last week, ruining Iowa's national title hopes in Iowa City. It was the first time the Wildcats beat a top 10 opponent since they knocked off No. 6 Ohio State in 2004.

Players to Watch

Northwestern- QB Mike Kafka- Kafka split snaps against Iowa with Dan Persa while recovering from a hamstring injury. He finished the game when Persa left with a hand injury and will be the key to the Wildcats winning the game.

Illinois- QB Juice Williams- The Illini have proved to be a decent team when turnovers and bad QB play are not hurting them.

Illinois is looking good lately and needs to win three straight to get to a bowl. Northwestern will have trouble coming down from their big high last week.

Illinois 24- Northwestern 21

#10 Iowa (9-1) Vs. #11 Ohio State (8-2) 2:30pm on ABC7

Iowa seems to be losing momentum on the season just as the exact opposite seems to be happening to the Buckeyes. The Hawkeyes had been making a habit of come from behind wins all season, and it finally caught up with them last week against Northwestern. In the loss, starting quarterback Ricky Stanzi was lost in the 2nd quarter to a severe ankle sprain. He had surgery on the ankle earlier this week and is extremely doubtful for Iowa's next two games. Ohio State, meanwhile, seems to have found its groove. Terrelle Pryor has been magnificent since the embarrassing loss to Purdue, taking care of the football and guiding the Buckeyes to three straight wins.

Players to Watch

Iowa- QB James Vandenberg- The redshirt freshman will have to fill in for Ricky Stanzi. He looked shaky last week, missing a deep ball to an open receiver that could have tied the game. He will need to play a near flawless game to beat the Buckeyes in Ohio.

Ohio State- QB Terrelle Pryor- It's a very simple formula. When Pryor does not turn the ball over, the Buckeyes are very, very good. When he does, the Buckeyes are not. Pryor has been lights out lately and look for that to continue this week.

Ohio State's defense is only allowing 11.6 points per game. In other words, Iowa would've had trouble scoring even with QB Ricky Stanzi at the helm. I don't see them having much of a chance with a redshirt freshman running the show.

Ohio State 28- Iowa 14

Notre Dame (6-3) Vs. #12 Pittsburgh (8-1) 7pm on ABC7

Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis is on the hot seat again after his 2nd straight loss to Navy in three years. It was the first time a ranked Notre Dame team had lost to an unranked navy team since 1936. A win against a very good Pitt team may help cool that seat, but a loss surely makes his situation much worse. A win here can put them on track for a 9-3 season, with two winnable games after this one. A loss can demoralize them, and 6-6 wouldn't be out of the question with Connecticut and a very underrated Stanford team to end the season. Pittsburgh is off to its best start since Dan Marino's senior season in 1982. However, their next 3 games are against Notre Dame, #25 West Virginia and #5 Cincinnati to end the season. This stretch will show us if this Pitt team is for real or just benefactors of a relatively easy schedule thus far.

Players to Watch

Notre Dame- QB Jimmy Clausen- Clausen would likely be at the top of Heisman list if he had won the 3 close games Notre Dame has lost. Realistically speaking, voters are not going to give the Heisman to a QB of a 3 loss team. Regardless of how good his numbers are, and they're very good.

Pittsburgh- RB Dion Lewis- LeSean McCoy who? McCoy was the star RB of the Panthers last season and is now in the NFL. Dion Lewis has made fans forget quickly, the true freshman running back has topped 100 yards in his past 4 games, and 6 of 9 this season.

Its becoming obvious that Notre Dame's offense can score on anyone, it's just too bad their defense can't stop anyone for it to matter.

Pittsburgh 24- Notre Dame 17

BMOC Week 9
VIDEO: Watch Mark and Mike from Week 9

Eastern Michigan (0-8) Vs. Northern Illinois (5-3) (Thursday Game)

Northern Illinois looked sluggish in the first half against Akron last week in their win. However, the running game picked up in the 2nd half behind Chad Spann and quarterback DeMarcus Grady. NIU trailed Akron entering the 2nd half but Spann again came through for the Huskies rushing for two second half touchdowns. Eastern Michigan has been miserable this season, and that may be putting it lightly. They are losing by an average of 20 points a game and have not won a game this year. Don't look for it to happen this week against the Huskies who are now 3-1 in conference play.

Players to Watch

Eastern Michigan- Defense- The only way EMU has a chance in this game is if their defense tightens up. Chances of that happening at this point of the year are slim, but the game depends on them.

Northern Illinois- RB Chad Spann- He has taken over the majority of the carries as Me'co Brown struggled for the 2nd straight week. Look for him to have an absolutely huge day against EMU's defense.

Northern Illinois 38 - Eastern Michigan 14

Illinois (2-6) Vs. Minnesota (5-4)

Illinois finally showed signs of life beating Michigan 38-13 in Champaign. Juice Williams had a decent day, but still failed to get WR Arrelious Benn involved in the offense. Michigan is not a great team, but they are no slouch either, it's possible the Illini can carry this momentum into a couple more wins. Minnesota will be without star playmaker Eric Decker for the game. He was the main receiver in Minnesota's offense and was 2nd in the Big Ten in receiving yards before the injury.

Players to Watch

Illinois- Running Game- The Illini running game broke off big play after big play last week. This may be the key to them winning as it allows the erratic Juice Williams to just manage the game.

Minnesota- TE Nick Tow-Arnett- Last week, Arnett had a career high in catches with 8 for 81 yards and 2 touchdowns. Minnesota's offense is extremely pass-based, so he'll need to continue that production.

Illinois 21- Minnesota 17

Northwestern (5-4) Vs. #4 Iowa (8-0) ESPN 11am

Northwestern faces a tough 3 game stretch that will ultimately decide whether or not they go to a bowl this year. They play undefeated Iowa this week, than travel to Champaign to face the Illini, before finishing the year at home against Wisconsin. The Wildcats will have to win at least one of the games to remain bowl eligible. One would think that the win would be hard to come by against Iowa, but Iowa has a penchant for keeping games close this year. Iowa trailed Indiana by 14 in the third quarter last week before having a phenomenal fourth quarter to pull out the win. If Iowa keeps making winning hard on themselves, just maybe Northwestern can keep it close enough to pull out the win and dash the Hawkeyes national title dreams.

Players to Watch

Northwestern- QB Mike Kafka- Kafka and the Wildcats had Penn State on their heels last week before he exited the game with a hamstring injury. He is the identity of the Wildcats offense and leads the Big Ten in passing and total offense. Coach Pat Fitzgerald expects Kafka to play this week.

Iowa- QB Ricky Stanzi- Stanzi is coming off a miserable 5 INT performance last weekend and will need to play much better if he hopes to keep the Hawkeyes title dreams alive.

Iowa 24 - Northwestern 13

Navy (6-3) Vs. #22 Notre Dame (6-2)

Navy travels to Notre Dame this week for the 83rd matchup between the two. It's been two very weird years in the rivalry. Navy won the game in 2007 ending a 43 game losing streak against the Irish, and lost by only six last year. While Notre Dame should clearly be the superior team this year, no team can ever overlook the Navy offense. Navy again leads the nation in rushing thanks to their dangerous triple option offense. The Irish defense better come out fired up or they have the potential to lay a stink bomb like Ohio State did in week 1 barely escaping the Midshipmen in their win.

Players to Watch

Navy- QB Ricky Dobbs- Dobbs did not play 2 weeks ago and only played sparingly last week. Despite the fact, Dobbs has 16 touchdowns on the ground this year, the D1-A record is 22 set by Tim Tebow in 2007 and Dobbs has an outside chance to break that this year with a couple big games.

Notre Dame- WR Michael Floyd- Floyd is expected to play this week after missing the past 5 games due to a broken collar bone. If he's healthy, Notre Dame will boast arguably the most dangerous 1-2 punch at wide receiver in the country with Floyd and Golden Tate. Tate has played out of this world since Floyd's injury, and his return is a bonus at this point.

Notre Dame 45 - Navy 21

#16 Ohio State (7-2) Vs. #11 Penn State (8-1) on ABC7 2:30pm

The Buckeyes travel to Happy Valley in a game that bears serious implications on the Big Ten title. Due to a Big Ten rule that does not allow night games in November this game will be played at 2:30 instead of in a prime time slot. Because of this, Penn State fans will not get their coveted nighttime "white-out" against the Buckeyes. The story here is which Buckeye team, and more importantly, which Terrelle Pryor shows up this week. Pryor has been the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde this year. He has either performed masterfully while leading the offense as he did the past 2 weeks, or he'll single-handedly lose the game like he did 3 weeks ago at Purdue.

Players to Watch

Ohio State- QB Terrelle Pryor- Pryor is traveling into a hostile venue in the one of the biggest games of the season for the Buckeyes. Can he handle the atmosphere or will he cave under the pressure of a Happy Valley crowd that hasn't forgotten he chose the Buckeyes over his home state Nittany Lions?

Penn State- QB Daryll Clark- He is the leader of the Nittany Lions offense and he needs to get them started a lot earlier than last week. The Lions offense didn't do much until a big 4th quarter helped them pull away against Northwestern. Wait that long this week and it may be too late.

Penn State 21 - Ohio State 17

BMOC Week 8

Akron (1-6) Vs. Northern Illinois (4-3)

Northern Illinois faced a team with a little more fight than they expected on Saturday versus winless Miami of Ohio. The Huskies allowed over 348 yards passing, but did shut down the Redhawks running game, holding them to -11 yards rushing on the day. NIU stuck to their game plan of running the ball and playing defense, passing only 10 times in the win. Akron's season has not gone as planned. They just can't seem to get their offense going in the right direction, with their only win coming against 1-AA Morgan State in week 2.

Players to Watch

Northern Illinois- Me'co Brown- One of NIU's two star RB's, he had only 5 carries for -5 yards last week. Chad Spann carried the NIU running game, but it's essential that Brown gets back on track this week.

Akron- RB DeVoe Torrence- The true freshman was a heralded Ohio State commitment until legal issues prevented him from attending the school. He has been splitting carries but is arguably their most talented running back.

Chad Spann will pound the ball, along with Me'Co Brown getting back on track. NIU will control the game with the run and win big.

NIU 35- Akron 10

#12 Penn State (7-1) Vs. Northwestern (5-3) ESPN 3:30pm

Northwestern had the kind of signature win Saturday a team needs when it goes on a bowl run. The Wildcats trailed Indiana 28-3 in the second quarter, but overcame the 25 point deficit to get the win. Northwestern QB Mike Kafka accounted for 377 yards of total offense and 3 TD's . The Wildcats have now won 3 of their last 4 after starting the season 2-2. Penn State handled Michigan easily last week. Daryll Clark was again masterful throwing for 230 yards and 4 TD's in the game.

Northwestern may be inching closer towards a bowl, but Penn State just has too much talent across the board for them to deal with.

Penn State 38- Northwestern 17

Michigan (5-3) Vs. Illinois (1-6) ABC 7 2:30pm

It looked like there might finally be hope for Illinois. They marched down the field and were up 7-0 on a Purdue team that had just beaten Ohio State. Alas, it was short lived as Purdue matched the score and Illinois never truly threatened the rest of the game in the 24-14 loss. Redshirt freshman Jacob Charest got some playing time late in the first half and played well for a debut performance, completing 4-8 passes for 52 yards. Michigan is coming off a blowout loss to Penn State last Saturday. Freshman QB's Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson both struggled while splitting time, combining for 3 turnovers. Michigan will look to gain its bowl eligibility this week with their 6th win, after failing to make a bowl last year in losing a school record nine games.

Players to Watch

Michigan- QB Tate Forcier- The freshman QB has gone from boy wonder to scapegoat after poor performances in his past four games.

Illinois- QB Juice Williams- It really does get repetitive putting him in this spot every week, but Illinois success depends on his play. If he can put it together and play well enough to involve playmaker Arrelious Benn in the offense, the Illini have a chance to win.

Michigan will get better quarterback play this week, even if it is a result of Illinois' defense.

Michigan 31- Illinois 17

Washington State (1-6) Vs. #25 Notre Dame (5-2)

Notre Dame is coming off yet another nail biting win as they defeated Boston
College 20-16. It marks their 6th straight game decided by a touchdown or less. They now head to Texas to play Washington St. in the Alamodome in San Antonio. The neutral site game is the first "off-site" game for the Irish and Weis thinks it will keep them focused enough to help them avoid laying an egg against Washington State. The game is a new experience for Notre Dame, and will be used as a recruiting tool. Weis says that there will be a number of recruits from Texas on hand with an emphasis on the junior class. The Irish come in as 28.5 point favorites and should easily dispose of a much weaker Washington State team if they play to their strengths.

Players to Watch

Notre Dame- WR Golden Tate- What's been overlooked with all the Jimmy Clausen for Heisman hoopla going on is the magnificent play of Tate. Star WR Michael Floyd was hurt in the 3rd game of the season at Purdue. Since then, Tate has put up games of 244, 117, and 128 yards respectively while scoring 5 TD's in that stretch.

Washington State-QB Jeff Tuel- The true freshman had the best game of his young career last week against Cal. He passed for 354 yards and 2 TD's in the game.

Notre Dame will be hyped up playing in an unfamiliar site , and won't let WSU sneak up on them.

Notre Dame 42- Washington State 14

#4 USC (6-1) Vs. #10 Oregon (6-1) ABC 7 7pm

The Trojans travel to one of the loudest venues in the nation at Autzen Stadium to face arguably the nation's hottest team. After losing in the season opener to a very good Boise State team, Oregon has been blowing teams out of the water. First year head coach Chip Kelly has obviously righted the ship in Eugene. USC is coming off a win over an Oregon State team that just wouldn't go away last Saturday. It seemed as if every time the Trojans would pull away, the Beavers would claw back for more. USC has already gone into road games at Ohio State and Notre Dame and came away with victories in both of them. This matchup is a bit of a tossup, and it may be decided in the final seconds.

Players to Watch

USC- QB Matt Barkley- He's two for three in intimidating road venues as a true freshman, coming away with wins at Ohio State and Notre Dame and a loss at Washington. If he can handle the pressure at Autzen, USC most likely pulls out the win.

Oregon- QB Jeremiah Masoli- The quarterback returned from a knee injury to score 3 TD's. It may have been the perfect tune-up to do the same against USC this weekend.

This is a matchup of two very explosive teams. I think USC pulls out a close win that comes down to a last second play.

USC 31- Oregon 28

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Indiana (4-3) Vs. Northwestern (4-3)

Northwestern is coming off a tough loss in East Lansing after leading early in their game against the Spartans. The Wildcats are now 1-2 in the Big Ten and need a win this week to keep their bowl chances alive. Indiana is coming off a win against rival Illinois. The win helped jump them to 4-3 on the year and improved their bowl chances significantly. The real key for Northwestern will be their offensive line and how it affects the running game. Coach Pat Fitzgerald has been disappointed with the line play so far this season.

Players to Watch

Northwestern- QB Mike Kafka- Kafka was again exceptional running the offense last week. He threw for 291 yards and 2 TD's and was also the team's leading rusher.

Indiana- WR Tandon Doss- Doss could be the best receiver is the Big Ten this season. He had 7 catches for 130 yards and a TD last week and is clearly the Hoosiers biggest playmaker on offense.

Indiana 21- Northwestern 17

Illinois (1-5) Vs. Purdue (2-5)

In a battle of two teams going absolutely nowhere this season, this matchup may come down to the energy on the field. That advantage would have to go to the Boilermakers, as they are coming off an unbelievable upset of the Buckeyes last weekend. This Illini team continues to have problems at the quarterback position. Juice Williams was back in his role as the starter. Despite having a decent game through the air, his two fumbles led to Indiana touchdowns and ended up being the difference makers in the game as they lost 27-14. Expect Purdue to add to the Illini's woes this Saturday.

Players to Watch

Illinois- QB Juice Williams- If you take away the two fumbles, he had a pretty decent game. He got playmaker Arrelious Benn involved in the offense again, and even picked up some yards on the ground.

Purdue- QB Josh Elliot- He threw for 281 yards and 2 TD's against a Buckeye defense that was supposedly one of the best in the nation. If he can repeat a little of that magic, he should have no trouble doing the same against the Illini.

Purdue 24 - Illinois 10

Northern Illinois (3-3) Vs. Miami (OH) (0-7)

Northern Illinois played their style of football last week, running the football and being efficient and managing the game in the air. The strategy worked well enough, with the Huskies driving 50 yards to set up a game winning 42 yard field goal with 37 seconds remaining. However, the field goal was blocked by Toledo and the Huskies came away with a loss. Miami of Ohio is still looking for their first win and is losing by an average of 25 points per game.

Players to Watch

NIU- RB's Me'co Brown and Chad Spann- The two headed monster running attack will likely control the game and time of possession for the Huskies. Expect both to have big games.

Miami (OH) - QB Zac Dysert- It's hard to pick a player who has thrown for only 4 td's and 11 interceptions this season. But he is the leader of the offense and is their only hope this Saturday.

NIU 20 – Miami Ohio 3

Boston College (5-2) Vs. Notre Dame (4-2)

Boston College will prove to be a tough challenge for the Irish in the "Holy War" this Saturday. BC sits atop the Atlantic ACC standings and has played well this season despite their blowout loss to Virginia Tech. Notre Dame is coming off a loss to USC last weekend in an exciting game that came down to the final play. The series has been lopsided of late, with Boston College winning 6 in a row against Notre Dame. The Irish's last win against the Eagles came back in 2000.

Players to Watch

Boston College- RB Montel Harris- The sophomore had 264 yards last week against North Carolina State. If they are successful with the run, it will open up a passing game against a weak ND secondary.

Notre Dame- Secondary Unit- They got torched by USC last week as true freshman Matt Barkley threw for 380 yards and two TD's. The Irish will have to shore up their pass defense if they want to win this game.

Notre Dame 31- Boston College 28

#13 Penn State Vs. Michigan (5-2) on ABC7 2:30pm

Penn State is coming off two straight impressive defensive performances. Their defense has allowed a grand total of 3 points in their past two games. The shutout last week was especially impressive as they held Minnesota's best player Eric Decker to just one catch. Michigan racked up 727 total yards in last weeks win over Delaware State. It's safe to say they won't repeat that performance this week against Penn State. Wolverine QB Tate Forcier is recovering from a concussion and will be needed to pull off an upset over Penn State.

Players to watch

Penn State- QB Darryl Clark- The orchestrator of the "Spread HD" offense is the key to this game. If he has his way through the air, Michigan stands no chance.

Michigan- QB Tate Forcier- He has led 3 last second comebacks this year, and he will need to do it all against Penn State.

Penn State 35- Michigan 14

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Illinois (1-4) Vs. Indiana (3-3)

The Illini roll into Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers this Saturday in a game that may be the beginning of a new start for the Illini, or an end to any bowl hopes they had. If the Illini win this weekend, they sit at 2-4 and still have a chance, albeit a small one, to work their way into a bowl game. Last week in a loss to Michigan State, Eddie McGee replaced Juice Williams at QB. After going 2 for his first 11 he was replaced by Williams. Indiana started the season extremely promising, winning their first 3 games, but have lost three straight since then, including an embarrassing 47-7 loss to Virginia last Saturday.

Players To Watch

Indiana- WR Tandon Doss- Despite only having one TD on the year the sophomore receiver has put up solid numbers in every outing this year in averaging 91 yards a game.

Illinois- QB's Juice Williams & Eddie McGee- Neither QB impressed last week and you would have to think at least one of them will need to step up for the Illini to win this game. Zook has not committed to a starter yet and many think he may interchange the two

Illinois has been absolutely pathetic this season, with their only win coming against Illinois State, no reason it won't continue this week.

Illinois 14 – Indiana 24

#20 Oklahoma (3-2) Vs. #3 Texas (5-0)

Oklahoma was a favorite to reach the title game with their starting QB Sam Bradford and returning superstar TE Jermaine Gresham coming back to school for their senior year. But injuries to both at points in the season dashed those hopes. Texas been winning games, but it hasn't been pretty. QB Colt McCoy has put up lackluster performance after lackluster performance and has taken himself out of the Heisman Trophy talk at least for the time being.

Players to Watch

Texas- WR Jordan Shipley- The 6th year WR, yes 6th, that is not a typo, has quietly made his own Heisman case beneath his teammate McCoy's shadow. He's averaging 116.6 yards a game receiving. He also returned a punt for a TD last week. He, not McCoy, is carrying the Longhorns on his back right now.

Oklahoma- QB Sam Bradford- The future pro QB looked good in his first outing back from injury, throwing for 339 yards and a TD. The Sooners are going to win or lose on the arm of Bradford.

The Longhorns have not been playing great football. I still can't see Oklahoma upsetting them, though they will keep it close in a high scoring affair.

Oklahoma 31- Texas 38

#6 USC (4-1) Vs. # 25 Notre Dame (4-1)

Say what you want about the Golden Domers, but they give the viewers exciting football. Besides the week 1 drubbing of Nevada 35-0, the Fighting Irish's past four games have been decided by a last second play. In the past 3 years of this annual game, the combined score is USC 120- Notre Dame 27. The Irish know that this would be a huge win for them, and would surely move them up in the rankings to help their chances at a BCS bowl.

A subplot of this game is the relationship between Matt Barkley and Jimmy Clausen. Both quarterbacks have trained under Steve Clarkson, a private QB Coach. Barkley has stated that their "good buds" and Clausen says they still occasionally work out together in the offseason.

Players to Watch

Notre Dame- QB Jimmy Clausen- It pains me to say it, but Clausen has put himself in the Heisman Race. He is the nations most efficient quarterback. He really has played well and he will need to continue that to win this game against the Trojans.

USC- QB Matt Barkley- Barkley doesn't need to do much in this game besides manage it. With USC's defense, he just needs to make the smart throws to win.

Notre Dame will put itself on the national map as a legitimate team in this game. Sadly for Irish fans, it will come at the hands of the Trojans in a close loss.

USC 24- Notre Dame 17

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Miami (OH) (0-5) Vs. Northwestern (3-2)

Northwestern is coming off an exciting win which saw them stop Purdue in the red zone with just seconds left to come away with a 27-21 win. Mike Kafka was again the motor behind the Wildcats' offense as he threw for 224 yards and ran for 39 more and a score. Miami, meanwhile, might just be the most miserable team in college football to this point. They are 0-5 on the season and you could argue they have not even been competitive in a game yet this season. The Redhawks are giving up a miserable 40.8 points per game.

Players to Watch

Miami (OH) - WR Armand Robinson- One of the lone bright stars on the Redhawk's offense, the Junior WR is averaging 103.3 yards per game over the last 3 games.

Northwestern- QB Mike Kafka- An obvious pick as the player to watch, but he is what makes this offense click and the team lives and dies with his production. Look for him to have a big day against a bad Redhawk defense.

Northwestern 38 - Miami OH 14

Michigan State (2-3) Vs. Illinois (1-3)

Illinois' season thus far has been a disappointment to say the least, they'll look to turn things around this week against Michigan State by shaking things up at the quarterback position. Eddie McGee will start at quarterback for the Illini in place of troubled junior QB Juice Williams. McGee will be actively trying to get the ball in playmaker Arrelious Benn's hands as Benn has only 10 catches so far this season. Michigan State is coming off an exciting overtime victory over their in-state rival Michigan. The Spartans are a much better team than their record shows however, losing their 3 games by an average of only 4.3 points a game.

Players to Watch

Michigan State- QB Kirk Cousins- Cousins tweaked his ankle last Saturday against Michigan in the win. Keep an eye on how he performs as the MSU offense runs largely through him.

Illinois- QB Eddie McGee- This game will undoubtedly depend on how McGee runs an offense that has struggled under previous starter Juice Williams.

Michigan State 28- Illinois 17

Wisconsin (5-0) Vs. #9 Ohio State (4-1) on ABC7 2:30 PM

Wisconsin will face its first big test of the season this Saturday as they travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State. Despite being 5-0 this season, the Badgers are not getting much national love because of a weak schedule. With a win this week in the Horseshoe, Wisconsin will prove themselves worthy of not only a ranking, but perhaps a lofty one. Ohio State is coming off a blowout win over Indiana. While it may have something to do with their early schedule, Wisconsin is 15th in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 35.0 points per game.

Players to Watch

Wisconsin- RB John Clay- The sophomore running back is 4th in the nation in rushing yards with 582 yards. He had a huge game last week against Minnesota with 184 yards and 3 TD's and he will need to have a similar day to help Wisconsin against a tough Buckeye defense.

Ohio State- RB Brandon Saine- Saine had a big day against Indiana in his first career start, carrying the ball 17 times for 113 yards. If Saine can repeat that performance and take some of the pressure off Terrelle Pryor, this offense will be hard to stop.

Ohio St 17 – Wisconsin 10

Michigan (4-1) Vs. #12 Iowa (5-0) on ABC7 7PM

Michigan is coming off a heartbreaking loss in which their freshman QB Tate Forcier looked magnificent, while Iowa is coming off a lackluster win against Arkansas State. The Hawkeyes barely beat a bad Arkansas State team 24-21. Michigan's offense has really started to look better under Forcier's direction as he is the perfect QB that can run and throw in Rich Rodriguez's offense. Iowa, meanwhile, will need to be the team that showed up against Penn State and not the team that has been playing down to its competition.

Players to Watch

Iowa- Safety Tyler Sash- The sophomore safety notched his nation leading 5th interception of the season last week. He's been a playmaker all season for the Hawkeye defense.

Michigan- Running backs Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor- The Wolverine duo rushed for a terrible 28 yards rushing in the teams overtime loss to Michigan State. The Wolverines will need to get the running game moving in order to win this game.

Michigan 24- Iowa 21

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Western Michigan (2-2) Vs. Northern Illinois (2-2)

NIU is coming off their 2nd loss of the season at the hands of the Idaho Vandals. Western Michigan is coming off their 2nd straight win after opening the season 0-2. The real question is which NIU team will show up in DeKalb on Saturday. This team has looked great at times, even taking down Purdue in week 3, but it looked a little caught off guard last week against Idaho. NIU Head Coach Jerry Kill might also want to consider dropping the running back by committee approach. Me'co Brown is getting about 60% of the carries while Chad Spann is getting about 40% despite averaging only 3.9 yards per carry to Brown's 6.0.

Players To Watch

NIU- QB Chandler Harnish- Western Michigan employs a mostly passing attack, this means that NIU might have to play catch up on the scoreboard and will give Harnish plenty of chances to throw the football.

WMU- WR Jordan White- White has been marred by knee injuries and the surgeries that have followed. Healthy for the first time in years, the junior caught 9 balls for 101 yards and a TD last week.

I can't figure out what kind of team NIU is, are they a rising team that can take out Purdue, or a team that loses to the Idaho's of the world. I'm going against my gut in thinking they'll pull out a win this weekend.

Northern Illinois 21 - Western Michigan 17

#15 Penn State (3-1) at Illinois (1-2)

Illinois has, to say the least, had a disappointing start to the season. With their lone win coming against lowly Illinois State, an embarrassing loss to Missouri in the season opener, and a throttling at the hands of Ohio State last week in their 30-0 loss. It is safe to say the Illini are not happy with the way their season started. Penn State is coming off a loss to Iowa that essentially killed any shot at a national title. This game will be a test of which team can pick themselves up off the mat and steer their team back in the right direction.

Players to Watch

Illinois- QB Juice Williams- He put up a miserable 13-25 passing day for 77 yards and 2 INT in the rain in Columbus, Arrelious Benn and the Illini receivers can't be playmakers if Williams can't get them the ball.

Penn State- QB Daryll Clark- If you can believe it, he put up a day just as bad Juice Williams against Iowa. He completed 12 of 32 passes and threw 3 INT's. Lets be honest, Illinois just doesn't have it this year, thankfully the schedule ease's up a little after this week. The Nittnay Lions rebound and give the Illini their 3rd blowout loss of the season.

Penn State 28- Illinois 10

Northwestern (2-2) Vs. Purdue (1-3)

Northwestern lost to Minnesota last week in Evanston dropping them to 2-2 on the season. Mike Kafka had a great day through the air, throwing for 309 yards and 2 TD's while setting a school record by completing 16 straight passes. Meanwhile, Purdue is coming off a game against Notre Dame that they probably should have won if not for quite possibly the worst time management by a coach…ever! Coach Danny Hope called a timeout on Notre Dame's final drive instead of just letting the Irish spike the ball and gave them two chances at the game winning score instead of one. The Irish ultimately scored on the 2nd play. Despite this terrible clock management, Purdue has been competitive in every game this season.

Players to Watch

Northwestern- QB Mike Kafka- A very obvious choice, but the quarterback IS the offense for the Wildcats and this game rests on his shoulders.

Purdue- RB Ralph Bolden- The running back led the nation in rushing yards at one point, but he has tailed off in the past two weeks. The running game needs to get back on track for Purdue to be successful.

This matchup will come down to which team's stars perform better. Purdue will get the running game rolling again in a close matchup

Purdue 23 - Northwestern 21

Washington (2-2) Vs. Notre Dame (3-1)

Notre Dame's past three games have been decided by a total of 10 points after opening with a 35-0 win in week 1. Washington, meanwhile, came off an extreme high in upsetting USC with an absolute stinker getting blown out by Stanford 34-14. We know that Washington has the weapons in Jake Locker and Chris Polk to pull off another upset against a favored Notre Dame team, but can they put it together to do it again is the real question. Notre Dame could easily be a 1-3 team right now instead of a 3-1 team, and we'll see how they handle a Huskie team that will have upset on their mind heading into South Bend.

Players to Watch

Washington- QB Jake Locker- This team was miserable without him last year, he was shut down in last week's game and when he's shut down, they are a different looking team. If he can play a solid game, Washington has a chance.

Notre Dame- QB Jimmy Clausen- The quarterback wasn't himself last week against Purdue while being slowed by turf toe. Let's see if the toe continues to bother him or if he can put up a big day.

Notre Dame will handle a Washington team that has a bright future, but that future is not now.

Notre Dame 24 - Washington 14

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Idaho (2-1) Vs Northern Illinois (2-1)

Northern Illinois faces Idaho this week as it comes off a huge victory over Purdue. The win was the Huskies first over a Big Ten opponent in 21 years. Huskies Running Back Me'Co Brown led the way rushing for 150 yards on 25 carries. But the real story was the defense, which held the nations leading rusher in Purdue's Ralph Bolden to only 64 yards. While this could be a trap game as NIU comes down from riding the wave of their big win, I don't see it happening. NIU has taken one Big Ten team to the wire this season in Wisconsin, and beaten another. They are shaping up to have a pretty good season under coach Jerry Kill, and they should build on last week's win with a W this week against Idaho

Players to Watch

NIU- RB Me'Co Brown -- Brown has been spectacular this season in averaging 6.5 yards per carry. NIU will lean Me'co Brown and the running game.

Idaho- WR Max Komar- The Vandals deep threat on the receiving corps is averaging 21.4 yards a catch, NIU will need to contain him to keep the big plays from hurting them.

NIU has played solid football so far this year; look for them to continue to do the same this week while taking down the Vandals.

NIU 28- Idaho 14

Minnesota (2-1) Vs. Northwestern (2-1)

Minnesota and Northwestern both enter the start of Big Ten season coming off loses last week. Minnesota was taken care of by #8 Cal and Jahvid Best's Heisman worthy 5-touchdown performance, while Northwestern suffered a heartbreaking loss on a last second field goal to Syracuse. The Gophers put up a good fight against a very good Cal team and were tied with them going into the 4th quarter before Best took over the game. On the other side of the spectrum, Northwestern Quarterback Mike Kafka was masterful last week against Syracuse, throwing for 390 yards and a touchdown and also catching a 24-yard touchdown pass from receiver Andrew Brewer. It should be a dogfight between two pretty evenly matched teams.

Players to Watch

Northwestern- QB Mike Kafka- The do it all QB was responsible for 414 yards of his teams 466 yards of offense last Saturday. He'll look to repeat that this week

Minnesota- WR Eric Decker- He set the school record for career receptions last week as he caught 8 balls for 119 yards and also threw a TD pass.

Both teams brought their game with Syracuse to the wire and I have a feeling that the Gophers could edge this one out.

Minnesota 24- Northwestern 21

Notre Dame (2-1) Vs. Purdue (1-2)

Purdue is coming off of two straight losses heading into their matchup with the Irish. Notre Dame, meanwhile, struggled to beat a Michigan State team that had won the last six meetings in South Bend. Notre Dame has to find a way to win without standout Receiver Michael Floyd. Floyd is out for the regular season with a broken collarbone. Irish QB Jimmy Clausen is also banged up with turf toe but the junior Quarterback says he is going to play in West Lafayette. Purdue couldn't handle the run against Northern Illinois, so Armando Allen and the ND running attack will look to add to ND's dangerous passing game this week.

Players to Watch

Notre Dame- RB Armando Allen- Allen has been having a breakout year, averaging 5.5 yards a carry for the Irish. He might have a big day against a Purdue defense that couldn't do much against the run last week.

Purdue- RB Ralph Bolden- Northern Illinois was able to shut down Bolden last week, who came into the game as the nations leading rusher. For Purdue to be successful, Bolden will have to get back on track this week.

The Fighting Irish should be able to roll over the Boilermakers this week.

Notre Dame 38 - Purdue 17

Illinois (1-1) Vs #13 Ohio State (2-1)

While this matchup may not seem like a blockbuster, Illinois is a team that always seems to give the Buckeyes trouble. The Buckeye defense looked stout last weekend, allowing no points while shutting down Toledo's offense, which had looked great the previous week against Colorado. After all the talk of "Tressel-Ball" after the USC loss, Jim Tressel seemed to loosen the reigns last weekend. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor gained 110 yards on the ground and 264 through the air and accounted for 4 touchdowns. Illinois is coming off a bye week. Don't let the matchup fool you however, Illinois will put up a fight in this one and this could be a scary game for the Buckeyes.

Players to Watch

Ohio State- QB Terelle Pryor- He proved last week he's one of the most electrifying players in college football. The real question is whether or not the coaching of Ohio State will allow him to continue to be that player this week.

Illinois- QB Juice Williams, WR Arrelious Benn- The Illini's playmakers will need to have big days to help their team sneak out a win. Remember, Ohio State has struggled against spread offenses and mobile QB's, both of which the Illini have.

The Illini will give them all they have, and it will be close, but they'll be defeated in the end.

Ohio State 24 - Illinois 21

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Northern Illinois (1-1) VS. Purdue (1-1)

NIU Running backs Chad Spann and Me'co Brown carried the load against Western Illinois as the Huskies ran for 244 yards as a team. They'll have a little more trouble repeating that success against a more formidable opponent in Purdue this weekend. Purdue almost eeked out a win last week against a very good Oregon team, but lost 38-36. The Boilermaker offense was able to move the ball effectively against a very talented Oregon team last week and should do the same against NIU.

Players to Watch

NIU- RB Me'co Brown – The Huskies spread the ball around to various RB's, but Brown is averaging 7.2 yards a carry for the season and should get his share of touches to carry the ground game.

Purdue- RB Ralph Bolden- Purdue is normally known for their spread passing attack; however Bolden has been the star of the offense this year. After being forced to redshirt last year because of a knee injury, he leads the nation in rushing this season with 357 yards in just two games.

Purdue's offense is just too much for NIU to handle in this one.

Northern Illinois 10- Purdue 31

Northwestern (2-0) VS. Syracuse (1-1)

Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald will look for a 4 quarter effort against Syracuse this week from his football team. The Wildcats led Eastern Michigan 21-0 in the 2nd quarter, but the team seemed to back off and that allowed EMU back into the game. Northwestern ended up needing a last second field goal to win the game 27-24. Syracuse has already had their first taste of Big Ten football this year, suffering a 23-20 overtime loss opening weekend and a 28-7 defeat at the hands of Penn State last week. However, Greg Paulus has performed relatively well for the Orange, especially considering this is his first football action in nearly 4 years after spending them playing guard for Duke's basketball team. Syracuse will look to avenge their two losses to the Big Ten with a win over Northwestern this weekend.

Players to Watch

Northwestern- QB Mike Kafka- He will be the key player for Northwestern facing a Syracuse defense that is giving up 283 passing yards a game so far this year.

Syracuse- QB Greg Paulus- Most thought it was a publicity stunt to start the former basketball player, but he has exceeded most people's expectations. If he can perform well Syracuse may have a shot.

Syracuse will put up a fight, but Northwestern will pull this one out giving Syracuse its 3rd loss to a Big Ten team this year.

Northwestern 24 - Syracuse 21

Notre Dame (1-1) VS. Michigan State (1-1)

Both football teams will look to jumpstart their seasons after both squads suffered heartbreaking last second losses last week. Michigan beat Notre Dame 38-34, while Central Michigan beat Michigan State on a last second field goal. The Spartans have not lost to Notre Dame in South Bend since Sept 18, 1993, winning their last 6 matchups. Michigan State will look for someone to take the lead as no true offensive weapon has emerged this season.

Players to Watch

Notre Dame- QB Jimmy Clausen- Clausen played exceptional again last week despite the loss. He should have another big week against a team that allowed over 350 yards passing to Central Michigan.

Michigan State- Defense- This game will come down to the Spartans defense tightening up after last week, if they allow Clausen to throw all over them, this game will be as good as over.

Michigan State couldn't stop Central Michigan's passing game, they won't stop Notre Dame's either.

Notre Dame 35- Michigan State 14

#1 Florida (2-0) VS. Tennessee (1-1)

Lane Kiffin may be regretting some of the statements he made earlier this year this Saturday. His Volunteers visit The Swamp to face a Florida team that is fired up from comments he made this year regarding Florida. Kiffin called Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer a cheater in February, and even stated that he'd "beat Florida and sing 'Rocky Top' all night long". Meyer has played the situation like a head coach should, not mentioning Kiffin's comments and strictly talking about the game.

Players to Watch
Florida- QB Tim Tebow- One of the best college QB's is sure to put up some big numbers against Tennessee.

Tennessee- Defense- You could highlight a couple of options on offense for Tennessee, but at the end of the day, if their defense doesn't at least contain Florida's high powered attack, than they have no chance.

Florida 45 – Tennessee 7

#11 Ohio State Vs. Toledo (1-1)

Ohio State is coming off a crushing last minute defeat at the hands of USC, while Toledo is coming off an energizing win against a Colorado team that would've been better off using former Buffalo Ryan Chiaverini back in the secondary to stop Toledo's passing attack. This game is emitting smells of an upset however, as the game is being played in a neutral site at Cleveland Stadium. Toledo has 1117 yards of total offense in two games, so the Buckeyes should not take them lightly.

Players to Watch

Toledo- QB Aaron Opelt- Opelt has passed for 742 yards in two games and rushed for 132. He's on pace for 4452 passing yards and 792 rushing yards for the season.

Ohio State-Secondary- The defense played well against the Trojans last week up until the final drive. If the secondary can shut down the Toledo passing attack, then the Rockets have no chance against a much more talented Buckeye team.

Toledo will give Ohio State a scare and keep the game close early, but the Buckeyes will pull away in the end for a win.

Ohio State 31- Toledo 17

BMOC WEEK 1 2009

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Eastern Michigan (0-1) Vs. Northwestern (1-0)

Coach Pat Fitzgerald's Wildcats look to build on their impressive performance from last week. Although it was against Towson, a college most have never even heard of, the offense looked impressive posting a 47-14 win. The Cats rushed for 221 yards on 54 attempts. Northwestern also used the game to test out their squad as 71 players saw action, including True Freshman Arby Fields, who had 2 touchdowns at RB. This week they'll face off against an Eastern Michigan team that gave up 308 rushing yards to Army's triple option attack last week, so look for Northwestern to continue to pound the football.

Players to Watch:

NU: WR Andrew Brewer, who had a career high 145 yards receiving last week, equaling his entire total from last year.

EMU: Entire Defense, this game will bank on whether or not EMU can shore up the holes in the rushing defense that Army exposed last week.

Northwestern will just be too much for Eastern Michigan in this one.

Northwestern 35- Eastern Michigan 10

Western Illinois (1-0) Vs. Northern Illinois (0-1)

Northern Illinois put up a fight last week but came up short losing to Wisconsin 28-20. The real question is will the Jerry Kill coached Huskies team be the one who played a lackluster 3 quarters and was down 28-6 entering the 4th quarter, or the team who showed heart in the 4th quarter staging a comeback to lose 28-20. NIU Quarterback Chad Harnish was efficient going 15-24 for 174 yards, but had no touchdown passes in the game. Making the trek up north is a Western Illinois team that is coming off an impressive aerial assault in their first game. WIU QB Matt Barr threw for a ridiculous 437 yards in the leathernecks 35-28 win over Sam Houston State.

Players to Watch:

NIU Defense- A defense that could get zero pass rush last week against Wisconsin will be tested as they need to get to the quarterback to stop Western Illinois' passing attack.

WIU QB Matt Barr- Can he replicate his ridiculous stats from week 1 against a more worthy opponent?

Western Illinois will put up a fight, but NIU's talent will be too much in the end.

NIU 38- Western Illinois 17

Illinois State (0-1) Vs. Illinois (0-1)

Illinois looks to rebound after an embarrassing loss at the hands of Missouri last week. The Illini were outclassed 37-9 in St. Louis in their season opener. Arrelious Benn was lost to an ankle injury early in the 1st Quarter and the Illini never looked the same after. The meeting will be the 3rd in history between the two teams. The Redbirds will be led by new coach Brock Spack, formerly Purdue's defensive coordinator. Look for Juice Williams and Benn to rebound and put up big numbers this week against lesser competition.

Players to watch:

ILL: Arrelious Benn. Sidelined by an ankle injury last week, he's one to keep an eye on to see if he can bring it back to full speed.

ISU: Redshirt Fr QB Matt Brown- Brown has been elevated to the number 1 spot due to Starter Drew Kiel having surgery on his thumb.

An upset from the Redbirds would be almost as impressive as their head coaches mustache, but it's not likely to happen.

Illinois 45- Illinois State 7

#18 Notre Dame (1-0) Vs. Michigan (1-0)

The 2nd annual battle between Rich Rodriguez and Charlie Weis, Notre Dame travels to the Big House to try and prove that last weeks 35-0 drubbing of Nevada was no fluke. Michigan aims to do the same, after coasting to a 31-7
win over Western Michigan. After the dismal seasons last year for both teams, this could be a test to see who is ready to finally take that step to being back at the elite level that their programs are used to achieving. Whichever team loses this one will likely put their coach on a hot seat that will be sure to sizzle for the rest of the season.

Players to watch:
Notre Dame- WR's Golden Tate and Michael Floyd, QB Jimmy Clausen, If these 3 can repeat their week one performance, not only should Michigan be scared, but the rest of the nation should keep on eye out as well.

Michigan- Freshman QB's Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson. The freshman QB's both performed well in the season opener, with Forcier passing for 173 yards and 3 TD's, and Robinson toting the ball 11 times for 74 yds and a TD in Rodriguez spread offense. If they can duplicate that success things will get interesting in Ann Arbor.

Michigan allowed 263 passing yards last week against a lesser opponent. Expect Clausen, Floyd, Tate and the Irish to pass for more than that in a Notre Dame win.
Notre Dame 28-Michigan 14

#3 USC (1-0) Vs. #8 Ohio State (1-0) (7pm, ABC7)

In a battle they are billing as the "Showdown in the 'Shoe", this is a primetime matchup between two of the best teams of the decade. Recently however, you could say that Ohio State has been one of the worst "big game" teams, while USC has been one of the best. A win for the Buckeyes could go a long way towards redemption for their knack in losing big games. Things are looking pretty bleak for that redemption, however, as the Buckeyes needed a late INT on a two point conversion to slip past Navy in their season opener. USC did not need saving, as they routed San Jose St. 56-3 behind a powerful running game in which 3 different ball carriers averaged over 10 yards a carry, led by Joe McKnight's 14 carries for 145 yards.

Players to Watch

USC- QB Matt Barkley, This will be a true test to see whether the freshman is the real deal or not as he'll come into a hostile stadium with 105,000 Buckeye Fans trying to ruin his night.

Ohio St- QB Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State's hopes depend solely on the budding superstars arm and legs. If he can carry Ohio State to victory with an impressive win over USC, he might also have a chance to carry a Heisman and a National Championship at the end of the season.

Ohio State had trouble with Navy and will not be able to keep up with the Trojans elite talent across the board. Ohio State will give them a fight to keep their pride on their home turf, but the Trojans will come down with the victory.

USC 24- OSU 14

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