Jim Rossow's Big Ten report: Illini on upset alert

Jim Rossow's Big Ten report: Illini on upset alert

Sports editor Jim Rossow's weekly look around the league:

THE SCHEDULE

Want to know which of Saturday's games are worth your time? Here's the dope from sports editor Jim Rossow, who kicked reporters out of practice after last week's 9-3 record:

Central Michigan at Iowa

11 a.m., BTN

About the only drama is whether Mike Meyer will break Nate Kaeding's school record for consecutive PATs (60). Meyer needs two to do it.

Rossow's pick: Iowa, 28-10

UAB at No. 16 Ohio State

11 a.m., BTN

Sorry, Blazers: In the last 25 years, Buckeyes have dominated first-time opponents at Ohio Stadium. They're 20-1, with the only slipup against Texas in 2005.

Rossow's pick: Ohio State, 42-14

UTEP at Wisconsin

11 a.m., ESPN2

Can't complain about the Badgers' defense. They're allowing 15.0 points per game (better than last year's 19.0), and opponents have reached the red zone a whopping four times.

Rossow's pick: Wisconsin, 17-7

Temple at Penn State

2:30 p.m., WICD (ABC)

More than 50 members of Penn State's first national title team (1982) are expected back as part of a 30-year reunion, including N-G favorites Curt Warner and Mark Battaglia.

Rossow's pick: Penn State, 13-10

Eastern Michigan at No. 21 Michigan State

2:30 p.m., BTN

Le'Veon Bell needs 90 yards rushing to become the 16th Spartan with 2,000 in his career. The junior will have a hard time, however, catching all-time leader Lorenzo White (4,887) before he's done.

Rossow's pick: Michigan State, 52-14

South Dakota at Northwestern

2:30 p.m., BTN

South Dakota, picked to finish eighth in the Missouri Valley, is 2-25 against the Big Ten. Coach Joe Glenn plays the piano and has a love of music.

Rossow's pick: Northwestern, 31-10

Idaho State at No. 25 Nebraska

2:30 p.m., BTN

Revamped throwing motion doing wonders for Taylor Martinez, whose 92.9 percent accuracy last week was a Nebraska record — by a lot. The previous mark: Turner Gill (83.3 percent) against Kansas State in 1982.

Rossow's pick: Nebraska, 45-13

No. 18 Michigan at No. 11 Notre Dame

6:30 p.m., WAND (NBC)

Hard to imagine a late rally like the Wolverines pulled off in '11. In the fourth quarter this season, Irish have allowed four first downs and 2.7 yards per play. Michigan State managed one snap in Notre Dame territory in last week's second half.

Rossow's pick: Notre Dame, 24-23

Louisiana Tech at Illinois

7 p.m., BTN

Not to spoil your tailgating, but ... Tech has won nine consecutive regular season games, is 13 for 13 in red zone opportunities and has reached 50 points in back-to-back games for the first time since Loren Tate could touch the rim (1976-77).

Rossow's pick: Louisiana Tech, 28-21

Syracuse at Minnesota

7 p.m., BTN

If only the Twins could score so much. The Gophers, who have 102 points after three games, didn't reach that mark in '11 until Week 6. They've scored at least 28 points each time out after reaching that mark once in 12 games last season.

Rossow's pick: Minnesota, 28-17

Idle: Indiana, Purdue

THE STANDINGS

LEADERS DIVISION

TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL

Ohio State 0 0 3 0

Illinois 0 0 2 1

Indiana 0 0 2 1

Purdue 0 0 2 1

Wisconsin 0 0 2 1

Penn State 0 0 1 2

LEGENDS DIVISION

Minnesota 0 0 3 0

Northwestern 0 0 3 0

Iowa 0 0 2 1

Michigan 0 0 2 1

Michigan State 0 0 2 1

Nebraska 0 0 2 1

THE LISTS

ILLINOIS MVP

ILLINI PREVIOUS

Mason Monheim —

Ryan Lankford —

Reilly O'Toole —

Taylor Zalewski —

Ashante Williams —

Rossow's take: Monheim and Zalewski are two of 18 freshmen to play in the first three games.

IN THE PENTHOUSE (Big Ten MVP)

PLAYER, SCHOOL PREVIOUS

Braxton Miller, Ohio State 1

Venric Mark, Northwestern 3

Denard Robinson, Michigan 5

Derrick Wells, Minnesota —

Mike Taylor, Wisconsin —

Rossow's take: Bet on Robinson breaking Chad Henne's school record for career total yards (9,400) on Saturday (he's 191 shy). In his last two games against the Irish, Robinson has 944 total yards.

IN THE DOGHOUSE (FAN NON-FAVORITE)

GOAT POSITION

Danny O'Brien Wisconsin QB

Defense Indiana

Andrew Maxwell Michigan St. QB

Injury report Illinois

Notre Dame Big Ten nemesis

Rossow's take: O'Brien, who has fumbled three times in the last six quarters, has been demoted — sort of. He's listed as a co-starter with redshirt freshman Joel Stave.

COACH OF THE YEAR

COACH, SCHOOL PREVIOUS

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern 1

Jerry Kill, Minnesota 4

Urban Meyer, Ohio State 2

Danny Hope, Purdue 5

Coordinators, Nebraska —

Rossow's take: Defensive coordinator John Papuchis and offensive boss Tim Beck didn't panic when Bo Pelini bolted midgame for the hospital, the Cornhuskers outscoring Arkansas State 14-0 in the fourth quarter.

BOWL LINEUP

TEAM BOWL

Northwestern BCS

Michigan Capital One

Minnesota Outback

Wisconsin Gator

Nebraska TicketCity

Rossow's take: It's been a long time (2001) since the Big Ten didn't have a team in the Top 10 of the final AP poll (Ron Turner's Illini led the way at No. 12). That run looks like it'll end this fall.

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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