Minnesota kicked off the Big Ten schedule with a Midnight Special at UNLV, a game that ended early this morning. Here’s the rest of the weekend’s lineup courtesy sports editor Jim Rossow:
No. 24 Boise St. at No. 13 Michigan St.
7 p.m., ESPN
First time Sparty’s opening against a ranked team since 1998 (vs. Colorado State).
Rossow’s pick: Boise State, 27-21
Western Michigan at Illinois
11 a.m., ESPNU
The last time teams coached by Bill Cubit and Tim Beckman met (2011), Western Michigan and Toledo combined for 129 points, 1,439 yards and 18 TDs — all MAC single-game records.
Rossow’s pick: Illinois, 42-23
Northwestern at Syracuse
11 a.m., ESPN2
Hard to believe, but Wildcats QB Kain Colter is the team’s leading returning passer (673 yards), rusher (654) and receiver (466).
Rossow’s pick: Northwestern, 28-14
Miami (Ohio) at No. 18 Ohio State
11 a.m., BTN
Buckeyes have won 33 consecutive home openers since a 19-0 loss to Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions in 1978 — Woody Hayes’ final season in charge.
Rossow’s pick: Ohio State, 35-7
Ohio at Penn State
11 a.m., ESPN
Bobcats first of 10 bowl teams on tap for Bill O’Brien and his new-look team.
Rossow’s pick: Ohio, 21-17
Southern Miss at No. 17 Nebraska
2:30 p.m., WICD (ABC)
Cornhuskers have won 26 consecutive openers, by far the longest streak in the Big Ten — and nation. Next up: Wisconsin (14), Ohio State (12) and Iowa (11).
Rossow’s pick: Nebraska, 42-18
Northern Illinois vs. Iowa at Soldier Field
2:30 p.m., ESPNU
It’s the fifth time the Hawkeyes have opened at a neutral site and second trip to Soldier Field, where they beat NIU 16-3 in 2007.
Rossow’s pick: Northern Illinois, 31-28
Eastern Kentucky at Purdue
2:30 p.m., BTN
Boilermakers only team in Division I-A with four players on the roster who have started a game at QB: Robert Marve. Caleb TerBush, Rob Henry and Sean Robinson (now a linebacker). Metamora’s TerBush will start in Week 1.
Rossow’s pick: Purdue, 31-21
Northern Iowa at No. 12 Wisconsin
2:30 p.m., BTN
Badgers (32-8 since 2009) are one of six programs with at least 10 wins in each of the last three seasons, joining Alabama, Boise State, Oregon, Virginia Tech and TCU.
Rossow’s pick: Wisconsin, 55-0
Indiana State at Indiana
7 p.m., BTN
That the Hoosiers are one of the youngest teams around (only 12 seniors on the roster) shouldn’t matter — in Week 1. They’ve outscored the Sycamores 119-10 in three previous routs.
Rossow’s pick: Indiana, 24-20
No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 2 Alabama
at Arlington, Texas
7 p.m., WICD (ABC)
Last time the Wolverines played the Tide, Tom Brady quarterbacked them to an overtime win in the 2000 Orange Bowl.
Rossow’s pick: Alabama, 27-17