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Big 10 Conference Report

   by ASA - 09/17/2010

Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0, 2-0 ATS)

Last week: Defeated Miami FL, 36-24

Ohio State dominated the ‘Canes all game and save a couple of uncharacteristic special teams’ miscues by the Buckeyes and OSU would’ve won in blowout fashion. OSU’s opportunistic defense picked off Jacory Harris four times and converted 20 points off of those turnovers. Terrelle Pryor completed less than 50% of his passes, but made up for it with 113 rushing yards.

Next up: vs. Ohio – Saturday – 11:00 AM CST – Big Ten Network

Ohio State opens as a heavy favorite (-30.5) over their in-state opponent. Frank Solich's Bobcats gave the Buckeyes a scare two years ago, but Ohio is coming off of a home loss to Toledo. OSU lost starting safety C.J. Barnett – who had a breakout performance against Miami – to a season ending knee injury and will have to find a permanent replacement.

Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0, 1-1 ATS)

Last week: Defeated Iowa State, 35-7

No Big Ten team has looked more dominant in the first two weeks than the Hawkeyes. They jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead against in-state rival Iowa State and didn’t allow the Cyclones to score until 1:51 remaining in the 4th quarter. Iowa had a +204 total yard advantage and 275 rushing yards, led by Adam Robinson’s 156.

Next up: at #23 Arizona – Saturday – 9:30 PM CST - ESPN

Iowa opens as a 1.5 point favorite on the road and will have to adjust to the elements in the desert. Nick Foles and the Arizona offense has outscored opponents 93-8 (against Toledo and The Citadel) this season and will be a huge test for Iowa’s defense, who could be without their defensive coordinator (hospitalized). ‘Zona is 14-5 at home the past three seasons while Iowa is 4-8 in road openers since 1998.

Wisconsin Badgers (2-0, 0-2 ATS)

Last week: Defeated San Jose State, 27-14

The Badgers’ victories are leaving everyone a little unsettled. They’ve missed several chances for points in both of their victories this season. John Clay continued his hot start with 137 rushing yards and two touchdowns, but QB Tolzien was shaky again (191 passing yards and a bad interception).

Next up: vs. Arizona State – Saturday – 2:30 PM CST – ABC

Stud WR Nick Toon hasn’t practiced all week while WR Gilreath is out with a concussion. Seniors Anderson and Jefferson (105 career receptions, 4 TD’s combined) could start with two freshmen backing them up. Threet is the starting QB for ASU and he had a come-from-behind victory against Wisconsin in 2008 as the starting QB for Michigan. Wisconsin opened as a two-touchdown favorite at home.

Penn State Nittany Lions (1-1, 0-2 ATS)

Last week: Lost to Alabama, 3-24

Penn State true freshmen QB had a rough-go in his first career road start at top ranked Alabama. Bolden finished with 144 passing yards and 2 interceptions. Their offensive line hasn’t been able to open any holes for RB Royster (72 rush yards this season) and has allowed far too much pressure on the QB.

Next up: vs. Kent State – Saturday – 11:00 AM CST – ESPN2

PSU opens as a 21 point favorite against Kent State. Despite committing five turnovers, the Golden Flashes gave Boston College a real scare last week, losing by just 13. Kent State also leads the nation in rush defense, allowing just 11 yards per game.

Michigan Wolverines (2-0, 2-0 ATS)

Last week: Defeated Notre Dame, 28-24

It hasn’t taken long for quarterback Denard Robinson to make a name for himself. He followed up his impressive week one performance by passing for 244 yards and running for 258 more, totaling 3 touchdowns in the win over Notre Dame. Their defense will have to improve if they want to continue competing once Big Ten play rolls around. Notre Dame tallied 535 total yards and had touchdown plays of 53 and 95 yards.

Next up: vs. Massachusetts – Saturday – 11:00 AM CST – Big Ten Network

After a big win over Notre Dame, Michigan will try to avoid a letdown against FCS Massachusetts (2-0). UMass QB Havens has thrown for 516 yards and 3 touchdowns while completing 64% of his passes and could cause some problems if this Michigan secondary isn’t prepared.

Michigan State Spartans (2-0, 1-1 ATS)

Last week: Defeated Florida Atlantic, 30-17

Florida Atlantic was able to stick around against the Spartans while holding a +15 minute time of possession advantage. Sparty’s defense allowed the Owls to convert on 9 of 18 3rd and 4th down attempts. MSU was able to prevail behind sophomore RB Edwin Baker, who has been spectacular so far this season. Baker ran for 183 yards and 1 touchdown on just 15 carries against the Owls.

Next up: vs. Notre Dame – Saturday – 7:00 PM CST – ABC/ESPN2

Michigan State opens as a 3.5 point favorite over the Irish, whom they’ve beaten 9 of the past 13 meetings. Notre Dame will be hungry for a win after a close loss to Michigan a week ago. Brian Kelly’s revamped offense will test this MSU secondary that really struggled a season ago.

Northwestern Wildcats (2-0, 1-1 ATS)

Last week: Defeated Illinois State, 37-3

After an unimpressive win over inferior Vanderbilt in week one, Northwestern had a complete performance against Illinois State. NU QB Dan Persa has been extremely efficient in his first year as a starter, completing 38 of 44 passes (86%) for 462 yards with five touchdowns and no picks. Defensively they forced four turnovers and allowed just 263 yards against Illinois State.

Next up: at Rice – Saturday, 6:00 PM CST –

Rice hung with Texas in week one (tie-game midway through the 2nd quarter) and defeated North Texas on the road last week. Their quarterback (Fanuzzi) is an Alabama transfer and their running back (McGuffie) is a Michigan transfer. Northwestern is a 6.5 point road favorite, but the Owls are 4-1 all time against the Wildcats.

Illinois Fighting Illini (1-1, 2-0 ATS)

Last week: Defeated Illinois State, 35-3

The Illini delivered an impressive performance against a good FCS opponent, Southern Illinois, winning 35-3. Quarterback Scheelhaase was much more efficient in week two, completing 14 of 18 passes for 229 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mikel LeShoure (115 rush yards, 2 TDs) and A.J. Jenkins (114 receiving yards, TD) were also impressive in Illinois’ home debut.

Next up: vs. Northern Illinois – Saturday, 11:00 AM CST – Big Ten Network

The Illini will try to maintain their unbeaten record (12-0) against public schools from the state. In a similar situation, Iowa State hosted NIU in week one and held the Huskies to 249 total yards and 10 points in the Cyclones 17 point win. NIU head coach Jerry Kill was hospitalized Sunday and could miss this game. Illinois opens as a 7-point favorite.

Purdue Boilermakers (1-1, 1-1 ATS)

Last week: Defeated Western Illinois, 31-21

The Boilers might have found an answer at running back in Dan Dierking, who ran for 102 rush yards and 2 touchdowns in the win over Western Illinois. But star receiver Keith Smith will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL & MCL. Their young defense allowed 406 yards to Western Illinois, including 286 passing yards.

Next up: vs. Ball State – Saturday, 11:00 AM CST – Big Ten Network

QB Robert Marve has completed 71% of his passes for 391 yards this season, but has just 1 touchdown compared to 3 interceptions. Receivers Cortez Smith and Justin Siller will have to step up now that Keith Smith is lost for the season. Ball State lost to Liberty last week and Purdue is 37-8-1 all-time vs. current MAC teams. Purdue opens as 17 point favorites.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (1-1, 1-1 ATS)

Last week: Lost to South Dakota, 38-41

Minnesota was the victim of the nation’s biggest upset in week two, losing to FCS South Dakota. South Dakota’s QB Dante Warren threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Overall, the Gophers allowed 41 points and 444 total yards. Gophers quarterback Adam Weber (258 yards, 3 TD’s) and running back Duane Bennett (104 yards, 2 TD’s) did their part, but the defense really let them down.

Next up: vs. USC – Saturday, 2:30 PM CST – ESPN

USC's Matt Barkley takes aim at a Gophers' secondary that really struggled against South Dakota. Gopher starting safeties Kim Royston and Kyle Theret are both out for this one. Minnesota is 1-6 vs. non-conference BCS schools since 2005 (average loss by 11 PPG) and is a 12 point underdog entering this game.

Indiana Hoosiers (1-0, 1-0 ATS)

Last game: Defeated Towson, 51-17 (week one)

The Hoosiers were idle Saturday and it has now been 16 days since they defeated Towson in week one. Towson out-gained the Hoosiers and had +13 minutes time of possession. Defensively Indiana allowed 227 rushing yards on 5.4 yards per carry.

Next up: at Western Kentucky – Saturday, 4:00 PM CST – Big Ten Network

All-Big Ten wideout Tandon Doss is expected to make his season debut as Indiana hits the road for the first time against Western Kentucky. WKU is just 2-24 the since joining the Sun Belt in 2008 and is already 0-2 this season after allowing 112 points to Nebraska and Kentucky. Indiana is a 12 point road favorite.

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